Getting a college education is one of the most important investments you'll make in your life. But with the increasingly high costs of tuition, figuring out how to pay for your education can be discouraging -- or just downright scary.
Along with aid from the U.S. federal government, you'll want to check out the variety of grant and loan repayment programs available directly from the state of Oregon.
Oregon offers its residents a unique grant for undergraduate education -- the Oregon Opportunity Grant, administered by the Oregon Student Assistance Commission.
The need-based grant provides nearly $10 million to Oregon residents studying at Portland colleges and universities. Recipients must show financial need, be residents of Oregon, and attend a participating school at least half-time (or 6 credit hours).
The Oregon Student Assistance Commission (OSAC) provides access to a number of other scholarships and grant programs, including:
Ford Family Foundation scholarships.
Based in Roseburg, Oregon, the foundation offers a suite of mostly need-based scholarships for students who "understand the values of work, taking responsibility, giving back and helping others." These scholarships include:
- the Ford Scholars Program, for students pursuing bachelor's degrees in Oregon;
- the Ford Opportunity Program, for single parents who are heads of households and pursuing bachelor's degrees;
- the Ford ReStart Program, for nontraditional adult students to begin or return to full-time for a certificate or degree; and the
- Ford Sons and Daughters Program, for dependents of employees of Roseburg Forest Products Co.
Chafee Education and Training Grant
This grant is worth up to $3,000 and is available to students currently in foster care, and who have been in foster care for at least 6 months after their 14th birthday.
Nursing Faculty Loan Repayment Program
This program provides payments to nurses to help pay down their student debt, in return for work as a nurse educator.
Oregon Youth Conservation Corps (OYCC)
The OYCC protects Oregon's natural resources, and provides early employment training and education to youth corps members. Funds from the OYCC can be used to pay for tuition and related education fees like room and board, books, transportation, and lab fees.
More information is available about these and other state-approved funds at GetCollegeFunds.org.
All students should apply for aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, more commonly known as the FAFSA. This form is the gateway to Stafford, PLUS, and Perkins loans; Pell grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Oregon Opportunity Grants, and work study awards. Most schools have their own financial aid applications in addition to the FAFSA. It's a good idea to check with a school's financial aid department about specific procedures and deadlines, as they vary at all institutions