Why? Because financial aid and scholarships can make a huge difference in what it costs you and your family to get a college education. It can even determine how quickly you get through college.
Have your attention now? Good. But don’t panic. Because there are people at Oregon State whose primary job is helping students and their families find resources to help pay for college. They’re in the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, 218 Kerr Administration Building. Get to know them.
The first step in the financial aid process is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, more commonly known as the FAFSA. If you haven’t already completed the FAFSA, do it now! The deadline to submit the FAFSA and be considered an on-time applicant is Feb. 28, 2012. When you consider that all current and future college students nationwide are applying for the same finite pool of money, you definitely want to be on time. The FAFSA asks some specific questions that you and your parents will want to work on together. Think of this bonding time as an investment in your future!
Your financial aid award
The FAFSA covers things like Pell Grants, work-study, student loans and parent loans. If you don’t apply via the FAFSA, you won’t be considered for any of these aid programs, especially the grants, which are free money. After you’ve submitted your FAFSA, you’ll receive a Financial Aid Award Offer, usually in the spring. This letter outlines your financial aid package, including the financial assistance Oregon State can offer to help bridge the gap between your own resources and the cost of attending OSU. Awards are generally based on financial need as determined by the FAFSA. Your award may include gift aid such as scholarships and grants, as well as self-help programs like student or parent loans and work-study. We’ve made the process for accepting your financial aid award easy by putting it online (see the box below for specific instructions).
But wait, there’s more!
If you completed the OSU scholarships application when you applied for admissions, you’ve automatically applied for about 90 percent of the scholarships offered by OSU. Our scholarships are handled separately from financial aid awards, and there are a number of scholarships also offered by colleges, academic departments, alumni and donors (the Campaign for OSU has raised $120 million for scholarships). We’ve developed an online search tool at oregonstate.edu/scholarships where you can find scholarships that you may qualify for.
If you’re selected for a scholarship award, you’ll receive an offer letter in the mail. You must respond to this scholarship offer by May 1, 2012. OSU scholarship offers cannot be accepted online. The signed letter of offer must be returned to secure any scholarship awards prior to the deadline. IMPORTANT: The OSU scholarship offer letter is not the same as the financial aid award offer, which may include the scholarship offer listed as a form of estimated assistance for the school year.
Become a University Scholar
If you’re one of the exceptional students receiving a Presidential, Provost’s, International Provost, Academic Achievement or Diversity Achievement scholarship, you’ll be invited to join the University Scholars Program (USP). As a university scholar, you can choose from multiple opportunities to enhance your academic, professional and personal life. You can also access resources to help you develop effective communication, leadership and service skills. The USP coordinator can provide information about scholarships, internships, philanthropic opportunities, honor societies, campus workshops and other leadership opportunities. And it’s never too early to think about things that will look good on your résumé!
You can view and accept* your financial aid award through OSU’s Student Online Services:
1) Log in using your OSU ID number.
2) Go to Financial Aid and select My Award Information.
3) Choose Award by Aid Year and select your aid year.
4) Under the far right tab, click Accept Award Offer.
5) Make your decisions about the aid you want and click Submit when done.
*Note: Grants do not require acceptance, and scholarships require submission of the acceptance letter, which is sent separately from your financial aid award letter.
Award packages should be accepted or declined by May 1, or within 30 days of offer if made after May 1. Visit oregonstate.edu/financialaid for more information.