Final Steps

Financial aid in four simple stepsPiggy bank icon

How I learned to stop worrying and love the FAFSA.

Paying for college doesn’t have to stress you out. Almost everyone, regardless of income, can qualify for some form of financial aid. That includes you. And to make the process a little less intimidating, we’ve broken it down into four steps.

1. Get to know the FAFSA: Apply for aid.

If you haven’t heard of the FAFSA before, it’s time to get acquainted. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and it’s the first step in the financial aid process. Apply online and include OSU Federal School Code 003210 when you submit your form. Be sure to turn in the FAFSA by Feb. 28. That means your application is considered “priority,” and you’ll get the best available combination of federal, state and institutional aid.

2. Financing Your Education? Review your award offer.

If you submit the FAFSA by the Feb. 28 priority deadline, you should receive an award offer by early April. Based on your eligibility and application filing date, it will include the types of aid you are eligible to receive. These funds can be a combination of grants, loans and federal work-study jobs. Be sure to respond to your award offer at Most fall into one of four categories:

Scholarships are awarded based on merit and/or need and do not have to be repaid.

Grants are based on financial need and do not have to be repaid.

Loans are borrowed money and have to be repaid. Fortunately, interest rates are generally low, and there’s usually a grace period after graduation before you have to start making payments.

Student employment includes part-time jobs available both on and off campus, along with federal work-study jobs that are based on need.

3. There’s more to be had. Apply for other scholarships.

You may also qualify for scholarships given by Oregon State as well as individual colleges and departments (the Campaign for OSU has raised more than $125 million for scholarships). Most are based on a combination of academic merit and financial need. Turn in the Oregon State Scholarship Application by Feb. 1; it’s part of the Oregon State admissions application, so you’ve already done most of the work.

4. The easy part: Receive your aid.

Be sure to check Student Online Services for any outstanding requirements from the financial aid office. If your file is complete and you have accepted your award offer, your financial aid should disburse prior to the start of classes. Before the start of the term, you’ll receive an email with instructions on viewing your billing statement online. This statement will have your anticipated financial aid credited to your account a few days before the start of each term. You can view your account balance at

Still have questions? We have answers. 

Considering all the different types of financial aid and eligibility requirements, it’s natural you might still have questions. To find the answers, start at our website. Or call the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships at 541-737-2241.