Financial Aid and Scholarships

Neuberger Hall Lobby

The professional staff in the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships is ready to help students determine the level of their financial need and to plan for the most efficient use of their financial resources for education.


To assist the student in financial planning and in determining eligibility for assistance, the following expenses are taken into consideration: tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation, child care costs and personal/miscellaneous expenses. Specific allowable student expense budgets are shown at under Applying for Financial Aid. Note: All tuition and fee costs are subject to change by the Oregon State Board of Higher Education. 

The Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships provides qualified students with financial aid in the form of loans, grants, and student employment.  Underlying the awarding of financial aid at PSU is the nationally accepted philosophy that parents are the primary source responsible for helping dependent students to meet educational costs. The amount of the contribution expected from parents is related directly to a family’s financial strength as reflected by adjusted gross income, number of dependents, allowable expenses, and assets. Both dependent and independent students also have a responsibility to make a reasonable contribution toward their costs from earnings and savings. Financial aid resources serve to supplement these primary resources. Aid eligibility is determined through a federally established formula.

Students should apply annually using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA can be filed on-line at FAFSA on the Web Worksheets are available at high schools or at college financial aid offices.

PSU’s federal school code to be used on the FAFSA is 003216.

Applications for aid

Applications for financial aid must be submitted annually for the academic year and/or summer aid. The Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships accept applications at any time during the year, with priority given to admitted applicants who submit their FAFSA in January and who provide all requested information promptly. It is recommended that students apply by January 15th each year. It is not necessary to wait for formal admission to the University before submitting the financial aid application.

In order to be eligible to receive state or federal financial aid, students must remain in good academic standing as defined in the University Scholastic Standards Policy. Students also must meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy requirements described at the end of the Financial Aid section. The student must be in an aid-eligible degree or certificate program, and must be a U.S. citizen or be an eligible non-citizen.

Undergraduate students

Undergraduate students may receive consideration for financial assistance through the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), TEACH grant, Federal Perkins loan, Federal Work-Study, and Federal Stafford Loan programs. Oregon resident students may also be eligible for the Oregon Opportunity Grant and the Oregon University System Supplemental Tuition Grant programs. Parents of students who apply as dependent students may borrow through the Federal PLUS Loan program, described in the Educational Loans section.

Post-baccalaureate students

Post-baccalaureate students may receive consideration for financial assistance through the Federal Stafford Loan programs. Parents of post-baccalaureate students who apply as dependent students may borrow through the Federal PLUS Loan program, described in the Educational Loans section. Graduate students. Graduate students may receive consideration for financial assistance through the Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Work-Study, and Federal Stafford Loan and Federal Graduate PLUS Loan Programs.

International students

International students are not eligible to participate in federal financial aid programs.

Award notification

An Award Notification will advise applicants of the decision on their financial aid application. Award amounts will be displayed on the PSU student portal at  Students will review and accept or decline their aid offer online.

Delivery of aid

After the financial aid award is accepted and all requirements have been completed, available financial aid will be automatically credited to pay tuition and other PSU charges. Excess financial aid and other refunds are disbursed through Higher One (PSUOne). To ensure timely receipt of refunds, students should activate their PSUOne Card upon receipt of the card and select one of the three disbursement methods: a paper check delivered via U.S. mail, an electronic deposit to an existing bank account, or disbursement to the optional PSUOne Account, an FDIC insured bank account that allows students to use their PSUOne Card as a debit card.

Federal Work-Study is earned on a monthly basis and paychecks are issued at the end of each month. Students may authorize direct deposit of their Work-Study pay to their bank account, or pick up their paychecks from the cashier window in Neuberger Hall lobby. Website:   

Aid Disbursement Policy

Financial aid can be disbursed to a student’s account as early as ten days prior to the start of a term. Aid will only disburse at this time if a student’s enrollment level matches their award level for the term, and there are no outstanding requirements. Our ability to disburse aid prior to the beginning of a term means that we must have a “census date” that corresponds to a student’s official aid eligibility for a term. Census dates for the 2014-15 aid year and minimum enrollment requirements for the various sources of aid can be found on the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships Web site at At the census date of each term, student’s enrollment is locked. Their financial aid for that term is then adjusted, based on the enrollment level at that time. When a reduction in aid is required due to a student’s enrollment level on the census date, the reduction usually creates a balance due on the student’s PSU account. If there is tuition refund because of dropped credits, the tuition refund will be used to reduce the balance due on the student’s account.

A student whose census date enrollment is less than half-time is not eligible for any federal student loans. In these cases, the entire loan amount for the term will be returned to the lender. The return of loan funds to the lender creates a bill on the student’s PSU account, but also reduces the outstanding principal balance due on the student loan. Any current term aid disbursed after the census date will be based on the student’s enrollment on the census date, or their actual number of credits enrolled at the time of disbursement, whichever is less. Credits added after the census date cannot be used to increase aid eligibility. Retroactive aid (aid for a term that has ended prior to disbursement) must be disbursed based on completed grades/credits, or census date registration, whichever is less. This includes retroactive grants and loans. Grades that are considered “complete” for disbursement purposes are: A, B, C, D, P, I or IP.


Please see the annual Registration Guide or visit for the university policy regarding dropping classes and tuition refunds. Students who withdraw completely during the term and are receiving federal and/or state financial aid may have a percentage of their aid reversed, based upon a formula prescribed by the U.S. Department of Education. These students will have any unearned portion of their aid charged back to their PSU account, and may owe repayment directly to the U.S. Department of Education of any overpaid Federal grants. Federal student aid recipients who begin attending classes and who cease attending or performing academic activities prior to the end of the quarter are considered by the federal government to have Unofficially Withdrawn. A student receiving all X, M, NP, W or F grades for a term often reflect an unofficial withdrawal. If University records indicate that student did begin attending classes but subsequently unofficially withdrew, the University will consider the Unofficial Withdrawal date to be the midpoint of the quarter (unless documentation exists of an earlier or later date of attendance/academic activity by the student). If no attendance or academic activity can be documented, the Unofficial Withdrawal student must repay the entire amount of aid disbursed for that term. If University records show a federal student aid recipient never attended a class and/or performed an academically related activity for a quarter or term, then the recipient never established eligibility for any aid funds that may have been disbursed for that quarter or term. In addition, any student aid recipient who drops all classes or voids his/her schedule with an effective date prior to the first day of class for a quarter or term did not establish eligibility for any funds that may have been disbursed for that quarter or term.

In either case, the student aid recipient must repay the entire amount of aid disbursed for that quarter or term. Website:

Award sources

Additional details on the federal aid programs are available in The Funding Education Beyond High School Guide, published annually by the U.S. Department of Education. Students can also find the Financial Aid Guide at This guide gives a detailed explanation of the conditions for receiving aid, student rights and responsibilities, and other information of which aid applicants should be aware.

Educational grants

Federal Pell Grants

This federally funded grant program is designed to provide assistance to eligible undergraduate students. The federal government determines the amount of the grant with the University acting as the disbursing agent. Eligibility is based upon financial need. Students have a lifetime limit of the equivalent of 6 years of full time enrollment for Pell Grant eligibility.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant

This is a federally funded grant program under which eligible applicants are selected for awards by Portland State University. Eligibility is based upon exceptional financial need and awards are limited to undergraduate students only.

Oregon Opportunity Grants (Oregon residents)

All Oregon resident undergraduate students needing financial aid will be considered for the Oregon Opportunity Grant awarded by the Office of Student Access and Completion (formerly Oregon Student Assistance Commission). Awards are based upon financial need. Details about eligibility can be found at Awards are renewable for 12 terms provided satisfactory academic progress and financial need continue.

The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program

This grant provides up to $4,000 per year in grants for graduate and undergraduate students who intend to teach full-time as a highly qualified teacher in high-need subject areas for at least four years at schools that serve students from low-income families. Graduate students are eligible for $4,000 per year ($8,000 total). Undergraduate students may receive up to $16,000 for undergraduate study and/or up to $8,000 for graduate study. Part-time students are eligible, but the maximum grant will be reduced.

Notice: If a student fails to complete the four-year teaching obligation, they must repay the grant with interest.

Oregon University System Supplemental Tuition Grant

This is a state-funded program that provides tuition assistance to eligible Oregon resident undergraduates.

Athletic grants-in-aid and scholarships

Athletic grants-in-aid and scholarships are administered by the institution’s financial aid and athletic departments. Each head coach is responsible for selecting recipients based upon eligibility and athletic ability. The National Collegiate Athletic Association sets forth the eligibility and financial aid requirements for Portland State University men’s and women’s athletic teams. Any prospective PSU student should contact the coach of the desired sport about availability of scholarships and the recruiting process. Each coach will then consider the prospective student’s athletic ability, eligibility, finances available, and the need of that particular sport. An athletic grant-in-aid request is then submitted to the director of Athletics for award to the prospective student.

Educational loans

Federal Direct Loan (DL)

Portland State University participates in direct lending. Under this program, capital for student loans is provided by the federal government through colleges rather than by banks. When loans are due, borrowers repay them directly to the federal government through a loan servicer. Loans are available to students and parents of dependent students through the Direct Loan program. Undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students can borrow Federal Stafford loans; graduate students can borrow Federal Stafford loans and Graduate PLUS loans; and parents of dependent students can borrow a Parent PLUS loan. Graduate students and parents will apply for the Graduate PLUS or the Parent PLUS loan on our website, Students will apply for Federal Stafford loans online at

Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans

Subsidized loan eligibility is based upon the demonstration of financial need and in conjunction with other sources of student assistance. The federal government pays the interest on this loan while the student is in school, and enrolled at least half-time. The student is responsible for interest on the loans once repayment begins. The federal government has set loan limits: $3,500 for the first academic year of undergraduate study (up to 44 credits); $4,500 for the second academic year (45–89 credits); and $5,500 an academic year for the remaining years of undergraduate study. Not all students are eligible for the maximums. Graduate students’ are not eligible for Subsidized Stafford loans.

Student borrowers must be enrolled in good standing at least half-time and have been accepted for admission to a program leading to a degree or certificate. Once repayment begins, borrowers are charged a fixed interest rate.  For current interest rates, visit the Department of Education’s website at

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans

This program provides unsubsidized federal direct loans to students who do not qualify, in whole or in part, for the subsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loan. All Graduate level Stafford loans are Unsubsidized. Unsubsidized loans are not eligible for the federal government payment of interest while the student is in school. The student may make interest-only payments while in school, or the interest will be added to the loan balance. The interest rate for the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan is fixed. For current interest rates, visit the Department of Education’s website at  The student must pay the interest that accrues while in school, during their six-month grace period, and any authorized deferment periods. The federal government has set loan limits: $2,000–$5,500 for the first academic year of undergraduate study (up to 44 credits); $2,000–$6,500 for the second academic year (45–89 credits); and $2,000–$7,500 an academic year for the remaining years of undergraduate study. A student’s dependency and financial need determines the amount of the loan offered. Graduate and doctorial students may borrow up to $20,500 per year depending on their enrollment and financial need. Generally, the cumulative amount a student can borrow from all Federal Direct Stafford Loans is as follows: $31,000 (only $23,000 may be subsidized) as a dependent undergraduate; $57,500 as an independent undergraduate (only $23,000 of this amount may be subsidized); $138,500 as a graduate or professional student (only $65,500 of this may be subsidized).

Additional Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

Dependent undergraduate students whose parents are denied access to the Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students program may be eligible for additional Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan money. Students with fewer than 90 credits may borrow a maximum of $4,000 a year in additional funds above the maximum Federal Direct Stafford Loan limits. Students who have earned 90 credits or more may borrow a maximum of an additional $5,000 per year. Not all applicants will qualify for the maximums in additional funding. The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan may be used to replace expected family contribution, but total direct loan (subsidized and unsubsidized) borrowing cannot exceed the cost of education.

Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans (PLUS)

This program provides loans to parents of dependent undergraduate students. Parents may borrow up to an annual amount that is equal to the cost of education minus any estimated financial assistance the student receives during the periods of enrollment. The borrower may use the amount of the Federal Direct PLUS to replace the expected family contribution and cover unmet need for the loan period. The Federal Direct PLUS loan is limited to parents who do not have an adverse credit history or who have obtained an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history. A direct loan program servicer, contracted by the federal government, performs the required credit check. The interest on the Federal Direct PLUS is fixed.  For current interest rates, visit the Department of Education’s website at

Parents interested in participating in the Federal Direct PLUS program can obtain application information from the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships or apply online at

Federal PLUS Loans for Graduate and Professional Students (Graduate PLUS)

This program is offered to qualified students with or without financial need, but the student must have financial aid eligibility. Like the Direct Stafford loans for students, the U.S. Department of Education is the lender of the Graduate PLUS loan. Typically, repayment must begin within sixty days after the Graduate PLUS is disbursed. However, students that meet their requirements may obtain an in-school deferment from the U.S. Department of Education. Interest begins to accrue at the time the first disbursement is made at a fixed rate.  For current interest rates, visit the Department of Education’s website at

Federal Perkins Loans

This federally funded loan program is available to undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate exceptional financial need and who are enrolled at least half-time. This is a long-term, low interest loan for which repayment commences nine months after the student is no longer enrolled on at least a half-time basis.

Alternative Loans

Privately funded loans are not based on need, and no federal formula is applied to determine eligibility. However, the amount borrowed cannot exceed the cost of education minus other financial aid. Interest rates and repayment terms vary, but are generally less favorable than those provided through the federal direct lending program. Private loans are used to supplement the federal programs when the cost of education minus federal aid still leaves unmet need.  For information on alternative loan lenders, visit the PSU website at

Loan Repayment

Repayment of Federal Direct Stafford Loans (subsidized and unsubsidized) begins six months after enrollment drops below half-time or after graduation. Repayment of Federal PLUS loans begins within sixty days of the last disbursement. There are no penalties for making payments while in school or during grace.  Student may make payments at any time directly to their loan servicer.

Entrance and Exit Counseling

First-time Federal Direct Stafford Loan (subsidized and unsubsidized) borrowers must complete Entrance counseling. This enables students to become educated on their rights and responsibilities of borrowing loans. Shortly before graduating from or terminating enrollment at the Portland State University, borrowers must receive exit loan counseling. Both Entrance and Exit counseling is completed online at

Debt Management and Default Reduction

Portland State University is committed to helping students achieve sound financial planning and debt management. Information about loans, repayment options, and debt management strategies is available in the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships. Website:

Federal Work-Study

The Federal Work-Study Program is a need-based program in which the federal government pays from 50 to 100 percent of student wages and the employer pays the remainder. Work-Study is available to undergraduate and graduate students. Employment opportunities are on-campus and off-campus. On-campus jobs are with nearly every academic and administrative department. Off-campus jobs are with government agencies and non-profit groups; many are community service jobs that involve directly serving the community, while providing good work experience. The America Reads program, which tutors young children in public schools, is one of these programs. The Career Center lists openings for on-campus and off-campus jobs at For Federal Work Study information, please see the Student Employment Coordinator, in the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships or the website at


Portland State University has a number of scholarships and awards, which are administered by individual academic departments, the Scholarship Committee, or special committees developed for specific scholarships. Scholarships generally are awarded on the basis of academic achievement, promise, and financial need. Additional information is available on the Web at

Satisfactory Academic Progress and Financial Aid

In accordance with the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended by Congress, Portland State University has established a satisfactory academic progress (SAP) policy for students. All students who wish to receive federal student aid funds must make satisfactory progress toward completion of their program of study. Portland State University monitors the following for all students:

• Completion rate-the percentage of credits taken at PSU, or PSU plus transfer courses which have passing grades, according to the student level

• Grade point average for PSU courses, or PSU plus transfer courses, according to student level

• Maximum time frame (PSU courses plus accepted transfer credits). The maximum time frame for undergraduate students is 270 attempted credits. The maximum time frame for post-baccalaureate students is 90 attempted credits. The Maximum time frame for graduate students is established according to the degree or program being sought.

Graduate students must take courses applicable to their degree or certificate. At least 67% of all credits enrolled in during each academic year must be graduate level courses. In addition, financial aid recipients who withdraw from all classes or received all negative grades twice within the school year are placed in immediate Suspended eligibility status.

Students who do not meet all requirements of the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy will have their eligibility for financial aid suspended. Students whose eligibility is suspended may submit a written appeal.

The full policy is on-line at under Eligibility for Aid. Printed copies can be found at the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships in Neuberger Hall lobby.