What you need to know about financial aid at PSU

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Illustration by Lydia Wojack-West

Portland State offers several financial aid programs and opportunities, from grants and scholarships to work-study and peer mentorships. Below is a list of available scholarships, deadlines, eligibility requirements, and an overview of the application process.

In order to apply for most financial aid programs, students have to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Once a FAFSA is filled out and an application has been processed, which can take weeks to months, an eligibility notice will be available in the student’s PSU account. The notice will confirm if a student has been awarded a grant or is eligible for a loan.

The 2017–18 FAFSA application is open through June 30, 2018, and can be found here: https://fafsa.ed.gov.

Grants & loans

Federal grants are sources of free money provided by the federal government and do not have to be repaid. Several grants are awarded annually, including the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant and the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant.

Federal Pell Grants are awarded to undergraduate students based on financial need. Up to $5,920 is awarded to students who qualify.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant is also awarded to undergraduate students based on financial need. Up to $4,000 is awarded to students who qualify.

Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education is awarded to undergraduate, post-baccalaureate or graduate students who will be taking coursework to become elementary or secondary school teachers. Up to $3,724 is awarded to students who qualify.

Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant is for students who had a parent or guardian in the U.S. armed forces and died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan following the events of 9/11. Up to $5,413 is awarded to students who qualify.

Unlike grants, loans have to be repaid. When a student repays a loan depends on which loan they qualify for. There are two types of loans: federal student loans and private student loans. A federal student loan is money borrowed from the federal government while a private student loan is a loan made through a private party such as a bank or credit union. There are several federal loan programs offered including Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, and Direct Plus Loans.

Direct Subsidized Loans are for undergraduate students who have financial need and are often accompanied by an interest rate. The interest rate for the 2017–18 year is 3.76 percent, meaning 3.76 percent of the money borrowed will be tacked on as part of the total payback amount. For direct subsidized loans, students are usually not charged interest rates on the loan during certain periods. Up to $5,500 is awarded to students who qualify.

Direct Unsubsidized Loans are for undergraduate, graduate and professional degree students; a financial need is not required. The interest rate for the 2017–18 year is 3.76 percent for undergraduate students and 5.31 percent for graduate and professional degree students. Unlike a subsidized loan, interest is charged while you are attending school. Up to $20,500 can be awarded to students who qualify.

Direct PLUS Loans are available for dependent undergraduate, graduate, or professional degree students whose parents are borrowing money to pay for their child’s education. This is not a financial need-based loan and requires an interest rate of 6.37 percent. The loan covers the maximum cost of attendance.

Federal Perkins Loans are available for undergraduate, graduate and professional degree students. Eligibility for this loan depends on financial need and available funding. The interest rate is 5 percent. Up to $5,500 is awarded to undergraduate students and $8,000 awarded to graduate and professional degree students.

Scholarships

PSU offers several scholarships throughout the year. Two main scholarship programs include the PSU Scholarship application and the Oregon Office of Student Access and Completion Scholarship Application.

PSU scholarships are a form of free monetary aid for students. PSU offers several scholarships throughout the year for undergraduates, graduate and professional degree students and vary by financial need, academic achievement and area of study.

The PSU scholarship deadline for the 2017–18 year has passed. However, students can apply for 2018–19 scholarships approximately one year prior to the term they plan to attend. For example, the window to apply for fall 2017 was from Oct. 1, 2016, to Dec. 1, 2016. According to the PSU scholarship web page, students can check back in October 2017 for 2018–19 academic year scholarships.

Office of Student Access and Completion is for Oregon residents and offers a range of scholarships. To search the catalog, visit the OSAC website: https://oregonstudentaid.gov/scholarships.aspx. The Deadline for this scholarship is March 1, 2018 for the 2018–19 academic year. Students must fill out a FAFSA and a separate OSAC scholarship application. The application can be found here: https://app.oregonstudentaid.gov.

Outside scholarships are also offered throughout the year. Search the scholarship database here.

Specific deadlines depend on each scholarship listed and can differ from one scholarship opportunity to the next.

For a full list of available PSU scholarships visit the PSU scholarship website: pdx.edu/scholarships/home.

Work study, GAships and more

PSU also offers several work study programs, GAships and other on-campus jobs for partial or full tuition remission and/or stipend.

Work study programs offer students job opportunities on campus in exchange for money toward college expenses. There are also a few available off-campus opportunities found listed on The Advising & Career Services website also lists a few off-campus work study opportunities.

Graduate assistantships, or GAships, are available for graduate students based on their area of study. The student may work for the department in exchange for tuition remission and a small monthly stipend. Students should check with their department for study for available graduate assistantships and deadlines. Available graduate assistantships are listed here: https://www.pdx.edu/ogs/graduate-assistantships.

Peer mentorships are another form of work study and are available for both undergraduate and graduate students while offering full tuition remission and a monthly salary. Peer mentors collaborate with faculty to lead teaching sessions in freshman and sophomore courses. Applications for the 2018–19 applications will open during fall 2017. For more information visit mentors.unst.pdx.edu.

Educational Leadership Service Award, or ELSA, is another source of money for education. ELSA is awarded to students in positions of leadership on PSU campus. Leadership positions include student government and student media, among others. The amount of money awarded by ELSA varies depending on positions. In most cases, ELSA is not a deadline-based award.

Financial aid terms

Here are a few terms to reference when applying for financial aid:
Stipend: salary awarded for work-study, graduate assistantships and other similar forms of financial aid
Disbursement: Financial aid money will be disbursed and available in a student’s PSU account
FTE: hours worked by a student in relation to full-time hours. FTE is a concept used to convert the hours worked by part-time students into the hours worked by full-time students. The FTE number depends on how much tuition remission and stipend will be received.

For more information on financial aid, visit, email, or call the PSU financial aid office.

Phone:
(503) 725-3461

E-mail:
For questions about financial aid, email askfa@pdx.edu.
For questions about scholarships email scholarships@pdx.edu.

Office hours:
Regular Office Hours: Monday–Thursday, 9 a.m.–5:30 p.m., Friday 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Summer Office Hours: Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

The Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships is located on the ground floor of Neuberger Hall.

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