21 Resources Oregon Residents Should Know About Paying for College
If you ever feel stressed out when you think about paying for college, you’re definitely not alone. Many people find the financial aid process overwhelming at first.
However, there are lots of resources available to Oregon residents to make paying for college a little bit easier.
Are you ready to begin your college career? Let’s discuss the four steps all Oregon residents should take to fund a college education.
Step 1: Apply for Federal Funding
Regardless of where you live or your financial situation, every student needs to fill out the FAFSA. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. While it might not be too fun to fill out, the FAFSA might be the most important part of the financial aid process.
FAFSA has a lot of benefits. After filling it out, you will automatically be qualified for some aid such as federal grants, federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans, and some state grants.
If you have any questions while filling out the FAFSA, check out our helpful step-by-step guide that will walk you through all of the sections.
You don’t have to know which school you’ll be attending in order to fill out the FAFSA, so you can apply right away. Plus, some grants might have application deadlines that you don’t want to miss, so the sooner you fill out the FAFSA, the better.
Step 2: Apply for State Funding and Scholarships
When you receive financial aid letters from the colleges you have applied to, you may find that you’ve already been awarded state aid or scholarships. That’s because some state financial aid is awarded automatically based on your FAFSA application.
However, some forms of state aid require separate applications.
To begin your search on state funding, you may want to browse the state of Oregon’s Higher Education website. There, you can find helpful information and tips about financial aid. You can also find information about financial aid for undocumented students.
Oregon grants include:
You can find more information about Oregon grants here.
Along with grants, Oregon also awards more than $18 million dollars in scholarships annually. To apply, fill out the OSAC form, which stands for Office of Student Access and Completion.
Similar to the FAFSA, you will automatically be qualified for scholarships that are available to you after filling out the OSAC. You can watch a step-by-step video that walks you through the application process.
Oregon scholarships include:
- Scholarships for graduating seniors at specific high schools can be found on the OSAC website. Hold down your CONTROL key and the letter F to search for your specific high school name.
- Dependent scholarships for students whose parents or guardians work at certain companies or within specific trades. For example, dependents of union members may qualify for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 2067 scholarship. Scroll down the page to view companies and affiliations.
- Better A Life Scholarship is available to single parents, ages 17-25, who plan to attend an Oregon public or nonprofit college.
Step 3: Apply for Institutional, Local, and National Scholarships
If you’re a current high school student, it’s wise to regularly check in with your guidance counselor to stay up-to-date with local scholarships and deadlines.
It’s always a smart idea to do your own searches online as well. You’d be surprised how many scholarships are out there, you just have to hunt for them. You can check out the websites of Oregon colleges or call their financial aid offices for more information.
You can search online for sports scholarships, religious scholarships, military scholarships, etc.
CollegeScholarships.com is a great scholarship resource. They have tons of local scholarships available for Oregon residents.
Another place to look for scholarships is Sallie Mae's Scholarship Search. This is a helpful scholarship database that is constantly updated.
You might also want to check out Big Future by College Board. Here, you can find aid from more than 2,200 different programs.
Step 4: Apply for a Private Loan
If you’ve exhausted your options for grants, scholarships, and federal loans, a private student loan can help cover your remaining college costs.
Before taking out an Oregon private loan, check out our free NitroScore tool. It can help you figure out if a private student loan is right for you.
The tool is very easy to use. Simply enter a college and a major, and the tool will tell you your total cost of education. It’ll also lay out your projected salary after graduation and how much of your salary per month will go towards paying off your loans.
From all of this, you’ll receive a score that tells you how easy or hard it may be to pay off your loans.
In addition, you can customize the results of the score. Different factors, such as scholarships, savings, and grants, will produce different scores. You can also compare different college and major combinations.
After using the NitroScore tool, you can find out which of our highly trusted loan partners can give you the best rate.
A college education is attainable for all Oregon residents, thanks to all the resources available. Start planning for your education today.