Because the Financial Aid office is no fun

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Illustration by Terra DeHart

What it do newbies and oldies. The first semester of the academic year is approaching and that means there are some monetary challenges you need to get taken care of—money is possibly the worst part of higher education, right? You may be going horribly in debt, or working three jobs to pay for school; either way, here is a quick guide of what you need to get straightened before the school year starts.

FAFSA

FAFSA applications needed to be completed by August 1, so if you have been procrastinating past this time…you’re basically fucked.

Nah, just kidding, but there is a chance they won’t get you your money by the time classes start. This can be a scary time, leaving you stuck wondering if you will need to drop all your classes and postpone school one more term. You are also ineligible for the Oregon Opportunity Grant if you didn’t apply before March 1.

Use fafsa.ed.gov to fill out the initial application and to make changes.

Go to BanWeb under the Financial Aid tab and check the status of your application.

The Outstanding Requirements tab will let you know if more information is still needed. Sometimes they randomly ask you to retrieve IRS data from the government, it’s pretty easy though. Stop by the financial aid office in Neuberger Hall, they have little printed out guides to doing this. It does take 7–10 business days to process, so no more procrastination.

You can accept or decline funds from the Financial Aid tab on Banweb as well.

PSU Scholarship Application

The PSU Foundation makes scholarships pretty easy for students. One application covers a whole gamut of them. You can fill it out and have your application sent to all you are eligible for.

Scholarship applications are a very boring process. There is no definitive best way to increase your chances of being chosen, but do it when you are having a good day. Make that positivity present in your writing.

Scholarship applications become available August 1 for incoming freshmen, October 1 for everyone else.

Goodbye Higher One

This term marks the first in 12 years without all financial aid money going through college banking giant Higher One. Over that 12 years there has been on-again off-again bitter fighting by the student body to get rid these required bank accounts and credit card IDs. Higher One has also had its share of legal tangles, including a case brought against them by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 2015 for deceptive practices such as lack of a complete fee schedule and lack of transparency, issues PSU Student Financial Services said were important considerations—so, maybe that’s a happy parting. Happy about it or not, you need to do two things:

1. Cancel you Higher One card if you do not want them as a personal bank. They sent out an email notifying current users that fees for the card will begin fall term. There is a special phone to reach Higher One in Neuberger Hall by student services. There is also an 800 number on the back of your credit/ID card, call it and tell them to shut down your account and mail any remaining funds.

2. Set up how you now wish to receive funds. Go to your Banweb account, click the Student Services tab and the second option is direct deposit refund setup. From here you can give your bank routing and account number (both on a personal check if you have one, or contact your bank for the routing number). You can also choose to receive a mailed check. My favorite option!

Mandatory Insurance

Health insurance is required to be a PSU student. Your account will be charged for it automatically. PSU insurance is through PacificSource and is a fairly good option from what I have heard, but it is $827 per term. More information about it is available at the Center for Student Health and Counseling. If you have your own insurance, fill out a Health Insurance Waiver found at pdx.edu/shac toward the bottom of the page. Call the PSU insurance team at 503.725.2495 with questions, or email insurancehelp@pdx.edu.

OK, are you good to go? Now you can get back to sampling Oregon’s finest green, playing Pokemon or whatever you kids are doing these days.

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