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: