What Is Financial Aid?

Financial aid for college comes from a variety of government and private programs:

  • Grants - do not have to be repaid
  • Scholarships - (competitive) not repaid
  • Loans - must be repaid after the student leaves college
  • Work-Study - wages for work performed (check with your school's financial office)

How can anyone afford this?

Regardless of your economic status, you should be able to find enough resources to cover your needs. In addition to your family resources, most states and colleges offer:

  • need-based aid
  • student loans
  • merit-based scholarships

Students should apply for all forms of aid. One additional source is the IRS Publication 970: "Tax Benefits for Higher Education," which explains the American Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning tax credit, tax-advantaged college savings programs, and other tax benefits for students.

Tips for OSAC Application Success

Always complete the OSAC Application process.

You never know when a donor might make a new award available, but you can't get an OSAC award if you do not apply for a scholarship(s) using the OSAC scholarship application.

Take the SAT or the ACT.

High school students need to take the SAT or ACT in order to be more competitve when applying for scholarships, even if it's not required by the school.

Apply for federal financial aid.

The federal government is the biggest source of financial aid (loans, grants, and work study) and you must start by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) To be considered for many OSAC scholarships, complete the FAFSA by March 10. If you don’t have the prior year’s tax information, you can always update your FAFSA as soon as it becomes available.

Include complete transcripts.

To be considered for OSAC scholarships, high school transcripts must include seven semesters, including course work for fall semester of your senior year. If your school reports grades by four quarters, make sure that your transcripts reflect the first two quarters of your senior year. Read and follow the OSAC application instructions carefully!

Apply for scholarships every year you are in college.

As long as you remain an Oregon resident, you are eligible to compete for OSAC scholarships.