The staff in the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships is ready to help students understand the financial aid application process and the details of the funds they have been awarded.
To determine students’ eligibility for assistance, the following estimated direct and indirect expenses are used to create the students’ Cost of Attendance: tuition and fees, books and supplies, housing and meals, transportation and personal/miscellaneous expenses. Because the Cost of Attendance uses average amounts, it may not reflect students’ actual costs.
The Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships provides eligible students with financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships, employment and loans. Underlying the awarding of financial aid at PSU is the nationally accepted philosophy that parents are the primary source responsible for helping their dependent students meet their educational costs. The amount of the contribution expected from parents is based on a family’s financial strength as indicated by taxed and untaxed income, household size, number in college, and assets. Both dependent and independent students have a responsibility to make a reasonable contribution toward their costs from earnings and savings. Financial aid resources serve to supplement these primary resources and are intended for educational expenses only. Financial aid eligibility is calculated using a formula determined by federal law.
Students should apply annually using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA can be filed online at www.fafsa.gov. 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 academic year at Portland State University begins with fall term and ends after summer term. While the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships accepts FAFSA data at any time during the year, priority is given to admitted applicants who submit their FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1st, and who provide all requested information promptly. It is recommended that students apply no later than February 1st each year. It is not necessary to wait for formal admission to the University before submitting the financial aid application. Scholarship applications are only accepted within the scholarship application open and close dates.
In order to be eligible to receive federal, state or institutional financial aid, students must remain in good academic standing as defined in the University Scholastic Standards Policy and by the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy requirements described at the end of the Financial Aid section. The student must be officially admitted to an aid-eligible degree or certificate program, and must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen as defined by federal regulations. Students may not receive aid beyond established limits, which include a rate of course completion, a maximum time frame, and annual aggregate dollar amounts. Information about each aid program is available at www.pdx.edu/finaid/financial-aid-programs.
Eligible undergraduate students may receive consideration for financial assistance through the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal TEACH Grant, Federal Work-Study, and Federal Direct Loan programs. Oregon resident students may also be eligible for the Oregon Opportunity Grant. Eligible parents of dependent students may borrow through the Federal Direct PLUS Loan program, described in the Educational Loans section.
Eligible post-baccalaureate students may receive consideration for financial assistance through the Federal Direct Loan programs. Parents of dependent post-baccalaureate students may borrow through the Federal Direct PLUS Loan program, described in the Educational Loans section.
Eligible graduate students may receive consideration for financial assistance through the Federal TEACH Grant, and Federal Direct Loan programs, which include Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans.
International students are not eligible to participate in federal financial aid programs but are eligible for certain scholarships.
An Award Notification will indicate the kinds and amounts of financial aid from all sources for which the student is eligible, along with the terms and conditions of receiving and using the funds awarded. Award amounts will be displayed on the PSU student account at www.banweb.pdx.edu. Students must review and accept the terms and conditions, then accept or decline their aid offer.
Delivery of Aid
After the financial aid award is accepted and all requirements have been completed, available financial aid will be credited to pay tuition and other billed charges for enrolled students each term. Financial aid that exceeds billed charges are then delivered to the student by the Portland State University Student Financial Services Office according to the preference that the student has established with the University. See www.pdx.edu/student-financial/hello-students for more information.
Federal Work-Study is earned on a monthly basis and paychecks are issued at the end of each month by the University’s payroll office. Students may authorize direct deposit of their Federal Work-Study pay to their bank account. More information can be found at www.pdx.edu/finaid/apply.
Aid Disbursement Policy
Financial aid can be disbursed to a student’s Portland State University revolving charge account up to ten days prior to the start of each 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 2019-2020 aid year and minimum enrollment requirements for the various financial aid programs can be found on the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships website at www.pdx.edu/finaid/eligibility. At the census date of each term each student’s final enrollment is locked. Financial aid for that term may then be adjusted based on the enrollment level at that time. When a reduction in aid is required due to a student’s reduced enrollment level at the census date the reduction can create 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.
Students applying to borrow a federal student loan must be enrolled in a minimum of half time credit hours, have demonstrated need and/or eligible costs to receive a disbursement from the federal student loan programs.
Students who have received a disbursement of a federal student loan and then reduce enrollment below half-time will be required to complete federal student loan exit counseling as outlined in the federal student loan master promissory note. The PSU Registrar’s Office will report the less than half time enrollment status to the federal student loan servicer which will result in the loss of In School Deferment status. All prior federal student loans for a borrower who does not qualify for in school deferment will enter the grace period or repayment if a grace period was previously used.
Students who regain eligibility to borrow from the federal student loan programs by increasing enrollment after the census date for any term must notify the Office of Student Financial Aid by submitting an updated enrollment plan and request a reinstatement of their federal 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/credit hours, 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, F (if earned through course participation), P, I or IP.
Please see the annual Registration Guide, or visit www.pdx.edu/registration, 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 federal regulation. 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 then stop attending or stop performing academic activities prior to the end of the quarter are considered by the federal government to have unofficially withdrawn. For students who receive grades of X, M, NP, W or F in all of their classes, we must determine whether they they unofficially withdrew. 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 for 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 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. More information can be found at www.pdx.edu/finaid/withdrawing/.
Comprehensive details on the federal aid programs are available online at www.studentaid.gov. Students and families can also find Financial Aid consumer information and guides at www.pdx.edu/finaid.
Federal Pell Grant
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 determined by the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) that results from the student’s FAFSA data. Students have a lifetime limit of the equivalent of 6 years of full time enrollment for Federal Pell Grant eligibility. Students apply for this grant by completing the FAFSA.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
This is a federally funded grant program available to Federal Pell Grant recipients who have the lowest EFCs. Students apply for this grant by completing the FAFSA.
Oregon Opportunity Grant
All Oregon resident undergraduate students applying for financial aid will be considered for the Oregon Opportunity Grant awarded by the Office of Student Access and Completion . Awards are based upon financial need. Details about eligibility can be found at www.oregonstudentaid.gov. Awards are renewable for up to 12 terms provided satisfactory academic progress and financial need continue each academic year. Oregon students apply for this grant by completing the FAFSA, or, if not eligible to complete the FAFSA, the Oregon Student Aid Application (ORSAA).
Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant
This grant provides up to $4,000 per year to 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 up to $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. Student apply for this grant by completing the FAFSA.
Important Notice: If TEACH Grant recipients fail to complete the four-year teaching obligation, they must repay the grant with interest under the Federal Direct Loan program.
Tuition Grants, Scholarships, and Remissions
A variety of school funded programs that provide tuition assistance to eligible students. Students apply for these institutional programs by completing the FAFSA. More information can be found at www.pdx.edu/finaid/grants.
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 (NCAA) sets forth the eligibility and financial aid requirements for Portland State University athletic teams. Any prospective PSU student should contact the coach of the desired sport about the 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.
Federal Direct Loan Programs
Portland State University participates in the Federal Direct Loan program. Under this program, funding for student loans comes from the U.S. Treasury and are disbursed by schools. When loan repayments are due, borrowers repay them directly to the federal government through a loan servicer assigned by the U.S. Department of Education to each borrower. Any subsequent loans are then serviced by the assigned loan servicer. Undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students can borrow Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans; graduate students can borrow Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans; and parents of dependent students can borrow Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans.
Federal Direct Loan applicants must submit a FAFSA to have their loan eligibility determined. After their loans have been awarded, they must accept them as part of their financial aid award acceptance process, and complete Master Promissory Notes and satisfy entrance counseling requirements at www.studentloans.gov.
Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan
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 enrolled at least half-time and during the six month grace period directly after a student separates from school. For students who are new borrowers after July 1, 2013, interest is paid by the federal government up to 150 percent of the published length of the academic program. The student is responsible for all interest on the loan once repayment begins or after 150 percent of the published length of the academic program is exceeded.
The federal government has set annual borrowing limits of $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 maximum loan amount.
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 eligible certificate. Once repayment begins, borrowers are charged the interest rates that were in effect for each year they borrowed. For current interest rates, visit the Department of Education’s website at https://studentaid.ed.gov/types/loans/interest-rates.
Students must complete a FAFSA each year to participate in this loan program.
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
This program provides unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans to undergraduate and graduate students who do not have to demonstrate federally defined need. 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 rates for the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan are specific to each year that the student borrows. For current interest rates, visit the U. S. Department of Education’s website at https://studentaid.ed.gov/types/loans/interest-rates. Students are responsible for the interest that accrues while in school, during their six-month grace period, and during any authorized deferment periods. The federal government has set annual borrowing limits of $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. Undergraduate borrowing limits vary based on the borrower's dependency status as indicated by the FAFSA. Graduate students may borrow up to $20,500 per year.
Lifetime (aggregate) Federal Direct Loan Borrowing Limits by Academic Program
A student may borrow up to an aggregate limit of $31,000 (only $23,000 may be subsidized) as a dependent undergraduate or post baccalaureate student; $57,500 as an independent undergraduate or post baccalaureate student (only $23,000 of this amount may be subsidized); and $138,500 as a graduate or professional student (only $65,500 of this may be subsidized). The aggregate amount for graduate students includes all previous loans borrowed as an undergraduate student.
Additional Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
Dependent undergraduate students whose parents' Federal Direct PLUS Loan applications are denied may be eligible for additional Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan. Students who have earned fewer than 90 credits may borrow up to $4,000 a year in additional funds above the maximum Federal Direct Stafford Loan annual limits (but may not exceed aggregate limits). Students who have earned 90 credits or more may borrow up to an additional $5,000 per year (but may not exceed aggregate limits). Not all applicants will qualify for the maximums in additional funding. The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan may be used to replace the Expected Family Contribution, but total Federal Direct Loan (subsidized and unsubsidized) borrowing, plus other financial assistance received, cannot exceed the Cost of Attendance.
Students must complete a FAFSA each year to participate in this loan program.
Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan (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 Attendance minus any financial assistance the student receives during the periods of enrollment. The parent 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 adverse credit history or who have obtained an endorser who does not have adverse credit history. A servicer, contracted by the federal government, performs the required credit check. The interest on the Federal Direct PLUS Loan is fixed. For current interest rates, visit the U.S. Department of Education’s website at https://studentaid.ed.gov/types/loans/interest-rates.
Parents interested in participating in the Federal Direct PLUS Loan program can apply online at www.studentloans.gov.
Students must complete a FAFSA each year for their parent to participate in this loan program.
Federal PLUS Loan for Graduate and Professional Students (Graduate PLUS)
This program is offered to credit qualified graduate students with or without financial need. Repayment begins within sixty days after the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan is fully disbursed. Students who meet deferment requirements may obtain an in-school deferment from the U.S. Department of Education. Interest is fixed for each loan, and begins to accrue at the time the first disbursement is made. For current interest rates, visit the Department of Education’s website at https://studentaid.ed.gov/types/loans/interest-rates.
Students must complete a FAFSA each year to be eligible for Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans.
Private Alternative Loans
Privately funded education loans are not based on need, and no federal formula is applied to determine eligibility. The amount borrowed cannot exceed the Cost of Attendance minus other financial aid, including other loans. Interest rates and repayment terms vary by lender, and should be carefully considered when making borrowing decisions. Privately funded education loans may be used to supplement the federal programs when the cost of attendance minus the maximum federal aid still leaves unmet need. For information on alternative loans, visit the PSU website at www.pdx.edu/finaid/apply.
Repayment of Federal Direct Loans (subsidized and unsubsidized) begins after the grace period, which is six months after the student withdraws or graduates from school, or has been enrolled less than half-time. Repayment of Federal Direct PLUS Loans begins within sixty days of the last disbursement. There are no penalties for making payments while in school or during the grace period. Students or parents may make payments at any time directly to their loan servicer.
Entrance and Exit Counseling
First-time Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loan and Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan borrowers must complete entrance counseling, which focuses on a borrower’s rights and responsibilities and provides information about responsible borrowing. Shortly before graduating or enrolling in less than half time credit hours at Portland State University, borrowers must also complete student loan exit counseling. Both entrance and exit counseling are completed online at www.studentloans.gov.
Debt Management and Default Reduction
Portland State University is committed to helping students with 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 at www.pdx.edu/finaid and the Student Financial Services office at www.pdx.edu/student-financial/financial-wellness-center.
The Federal Work-Study Program is a limited, need-based program available to eligible undergraduate students. Employment opportunities are on-campus and off-campus. On-campus jobs are available with nearly every academic and administrative department. Off-campus jobs are available with government agencies and nonprofit groups; many are community service jobs that involve directly serving the community while providing a good work experience. The America Reads program, which tutors young children in public schools, is one of these programs. The Portland State University Career Center lists openings for on-campus and off-campus jobs at www.pdx.edu/careers. More information can be found at www.pdx.edu/finaid.
Portland State University has a number of scholarships which are administered by individual academic departments, the PSU General Scholarship committee, or special committees developed for specific scholarships. Scholarships generally are awarded on the basis of academic achievement or promise, and financial need. More information can be found at www.pdx.edu/finaid.
Satisfactory Academic Progress and Financial Aid
To be eligible for federal, state or institutional aid students must make satisfactory progress, as defined by federal regulations, toward completion of their program of study. Portland State University monitors the student's course completion rate, which is 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; and maximum time frame for 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 student's degree or program.
Repeated coursework: students may only receive aid once for repeating a previously passed class; students may receive aid for multiple repeats of failed classes as long as they maintain compliance with satisfactory academic progress requirements.
Multiple withdraws: financial aid recipients who withdraw from all their classes, or who receive all non-passing grades twice within the school year, will have their financial aid eligibility suspended.
Graduate students must take courses at the appropriate level; at least 67% of all credits enrolled in during each academic year must be graduate level courses.
Students who do not meet all requirements of the satisfactory academic progress policy during a term will be placed on Financial Aid Warning; students who do not meet all requirements of the satisfactory academic progress policy during a second term will have their eligibility for financial aid suspended. Students whose eligibility is suspended may submit a written appeal. Students who appeal successfully will be placed on Financial Aid Probation and may need to submit and follow an academic plan.
The full policy is online at www.pdx.edu/finaid/eligibility. Printed copies can be found at the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships.