What is Financial Aid?
Financial aid is money to help you pay for college. It may be in the form of grants, scholarships, loans, work-study programs, or a combination. The aid comes from federal and state governments, colleges and universities, banks, and private organizations.
Applying to receive financial aid is a separate process from applying for admission to a college; you have to do both. For all government aid, and most of the private and institutional aid, you apply using the Free Application for Federal Student AID, or FAFSA.
Primary Resources of Financial Aid
Grants are free money - they don’t have to be repaid. Grants come from the state and federal government as well as from colleges. Generally, grants are based on financial need, which means that they are awarded based on your family’s size and financial circumstances. One example of a grant is the Pell Grant from the federal government. For 2022-2023, the maximum grant available to students with the most financial need was &6,895.00 (this amount may change every year). To earn a Pell Grant, you must be a US citizen or eligible noncitizen and must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
Scholarships are also free money and don’t need to be rapid. Scholarships can come from a variety of places, from state and federal governments to colleges and private companies. Scholarships may be awarded based on your financial need, academic achievement, community service, athletic talent, and many other factors.
Loans are money that you borrow from a bank, government, or private lending company. A loan must be repaid with interest. Loans offered by the government often have lower interest rates and can be repaid over an extended period of time. Visit www.studentaid.gov for more information
Work- Study allows you to receive funds through part-time employment while you are enrolled in college and can help you pay part of your college costs. Unlike other campus jobs, students apply for Work-Study by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
When you are searching for financial aid, consider a wide variety of options and apply to as many programs as possible. Here are some commons types of organizations that offer financial aid:
Your College: Colleges offer financial aid programs for their students. It is recommended that you visit the financial aid webpages of every college you are considering and apply for all the scholarships you think you might be eligible to receive.
The Community: Nonprofit organizations, foundations, and businesses often provide scholarships as a community service. To find these programs, talk to your school counselor.
The Government: The Federal Government offers $150 billion in aid each year. Likewise, Oregon offers millions of dollars to its students.
State Aid - Oregon Financial Aid:
OSAC (Oregon Student Assistance Commission) provides over $118 million in grants and scholarships to thousands of Oregonians each year to help offset the costs of vocational, two-year college, four-year college, and graduate programs.
OSAC programs include:
- Oregon Promise is a state grant that helps to cover tuition costs at any Oregon Community college for recent high school graduates and GED test graduates.
- The Oregon Opportunity Grant helps Oregonians based on financial need (including US citizens, eligible non-citizens, and members of Native American trips with ties to Oregon).
- The Chafee Grant helps current and former foster care youth to pay for postsecondary education and training
- The Childcare Grant helps students with children or legal dependents pay for childcare while the student is enrolled in postsecondary education or training.
- Scholarships are available for a wide range of criteria. OSAC administers many private scholarships from organizations such as labor unions, Oregon businesses, and individuals. Also, many high school-specific scholarships are administered through OSAC.