Oregon Promise FAQ

Questions and Answers

 
General
What are the eligibility requirements for the Oregon Promise?

In order to be eligible to participate in the Oregon Promise program, a student must:

  • Be an Oregon resident for at least 12 months prior to enrolling in community college
  • Have graduated from an Oregon high school or home school (completed grade 12) or received a GED certificate
  • Have earned a cumulative high school GPA of 2.5+ or equivalent
  • Enroll in the Fall 2016 community college term within six months of high school completion
  • Enroll in courses at an Oregon community college required for one year curriculum for students transferring to another postsecondary institution, an associate's degree, or a program in career and technical education
  • Complete the FAFSA if eligible to do so, or the ORSAA
  • Not have completed more than 90 credit hours or the curriculum/programs noted above

 

Will awards be based on actual number of credits a student takes each term or on standard enrollment ranges (e.g., full-time or half-time)?

Award size will be based on standard enrollment ranges (half-award for 6-8 credits, three-quarters award for 9-11 credits, full award for 12-14 credits)

Can I still participate in Oregon Promise if I need to attend college part-time?

Students who attend at least half-time (six credits per term or more) and meet the other requirements are eligible for the Oregon Promise. The amount of money a student receives, however, will be based on the number of courses enrolled in for each term.

Will a student who did not list any Oregon community colleges on their FAFSA or ORSAA still be considered?

No. OSAC relies on school codes listed on the FAFSA and the ORSAA to identify which students plan to attend community college.

How will OSAC notify students that they have been awarded an Oregon Promise award?

OSAC will notify students of their award via email, and the information will be available in the student's profile on the OSAC Application Portal. OSAC will also notify schools' financial aid offices via weekly award lists. Schools include this award information in students' financial aid award letters.

I've been out of high school longer than six months. Am I eligible for Oregon Promise?

No. Participation in Oregon Promise is limited to those who will begin community college in Fall 2016, no more than six months after high school completion or GED completion. If you have completed high school or your GED prior to March 1, 2016, you would not be eligible to participate in the Oregon Promise Grant.

Have any awarding priorities been established for the Oregon Promise? Will the money be awarded first come-first serve?

Based on the projections that have been completed, the Higher Education Coordinating Commission does not anticipate limiting participation, or prioritizing participation in Oregon Promise beyond the eligibility requirements already established.

Is Oregon Promise based on financial need?

While students must file the FAFSA or the ORSAA to qualify for the program, their participation in the program will not be limited based on the income of the student or their parents.

What if my high school cumulative GPA isn’t quite 2.5 at the end of fall 2015, but I know I will have a 2.5 GPA by the time I graduate in June 2016?

Students should submit their Oregon Promise applications and ensure that their seventh-semester transcripts are provided to OSAC. OSAC will review those transcripts and will notify the student that they can provide their eighth-semester transcript when it becomes available in June 2016.

Is the Oregon Promise program available to non-US citizens?

Yes. To be eligible, individuals must complete their high school or GED®program in Oregon and have resided in the state of Oregon for at least 12 months prior to enrollment at a community college.

Is there an alternate form to complete for students who are not eligible for federal financial aid?

U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens must complete the FAFSA to be considered for the Oregon Promise grant. Individuals who are not eligible for federal student aid must complete the state's approved alternate application, he Oregon Student Aid Application (ORSAA).

What about the $28 fee I see on the ORSAA?

As long as you only choose schools in Oregon, with ORSAA as a prefix (e.g. ORSAA- PCC Portland Community College), you will not be charged.

 
Applications
Is there an application deadline? What is it?

Students must complete the Oregon Promise application, ensure that their seventh-semester transcripts have been provided, and file the FAFSA or ORSAA before 5pm PST on March 1, 2016.

 
Transcripts
Which transcripts do I provide?

Seventh-semester transcripts will be used to demonstrate a GPA of 2.5 or greater. High school staff will upload the transcripts via the OSAC scholarship portal, or students can mail their transcripts to OSAC. Transcripts received via email will not be accepted. For students who attend schools that grade on other than a four-point scale, their transcripts will be evaluated by OSAC to determine whether the student has demonstrated academic ability equivalent to a 2.5 GPA. High school juniors who are graduating ahead of their class must provide their fifth-semester transcript, or the transcript that is most current as of March 1, 2016. High school students who are participating in Expanded Options Programs or Accelerated College Credit Programs must provide whichever transcript is most current as of March 1, 2016. Home-school students must provide:

  • A copy of the Confirmation of Enrollment letter (also called "Letter of Intent to Home-School") on file at your local Education Service District (ESD); (A DMV receipt or record will not suffice.)
  • A copy of the results of your tenth-grade standardized achievement test is required for all home-school students; and
  • A transcript from your home-school teacher describing your coursework and letter grades assigned

 

 
Home-School Students
Are home-school students eligible for Oregon Promise?

Yes, provided they meet all of the other eligibility requirements.

Which transcripts should home-school students provide?

A copy of the Confirmation of Enrollment letter (also called “Letter of Intent to Home-School”) on file at your local Educational Service District (ESD); (A DMV receipt or record will not suffice.)

  • A copy of the results of your tenth-grade standardized achievement test is required for all home-school students; and
  • A transcript from your home-school teacher describing your coursework and letter grades assigned

 

 
GED Completors
How will the completion date for GED recipients be established?

OSAC will determine the actual completion date based on transcripts provided by the GED Testing Service.

Does the GED certificate need to be obtained through the State or Oregon?

There is nothing in statute that mandates that the GED must be awarded through the State of Oregon; however, the student must have been a resident of Oregon for the 12 months preceding enrollment in community college and must enroll in community college within six months of completing their GED testing. Additionally, the GED test scores must demonstrate academic ability at least equivalent to a 2.5 high school GPA. If the GED was earned in a state other than Oregon, additional review will be required to verify it meets that academic standard.

How will GED test scores translate into a 2.5 cumulative GPA?

The Higher Education Coordinating Commission has determined that a GED passing score of 150 will equate to a 2.5 cumulative GPA. Students who pass each of the four GED tests with a score of 150 or better will meet the Oregon Promise 2.5 cumulative GPA requirement.

I graduated from high school years ago. Can I earn my GED now and participate in Oregon Promise?

No. Graduation or completion eligibility date pertains to a student’s first graduation or completion.

Can I submit the Oregon Promise application in December 2015 and then complete my GED in summer 2016 and STILL make the Oregon Promise work for me?

Yes. Students who plan to complete their GED test series in the spring or summer of 2016 should apply for the Oregon Promise before 5pm PST on March 1, 2016. Once their tests are complete, they can submit the GED Testing Service score details. Scores must be submitted by August 1, 2016.

 
Accelerated College Credit
Will students who have taken some college classes while in high school (examples include Dual Credit, two-plus-two programs, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and College Now) be eligible for Oregon Promise?

Students will be eligible for Oregon Promise as long as they have not already earned 90 college credits. College credits earned while a student is still enrolled in high school will be included in the student’s cumulative GPA at the community college.

 
Expanded Options Programs
Are students who participate in an Expanded Options Program (fifth-year senior program) eligible for Oregon Promise?

Students will be eligible for Oregon Promise as long as they have not already earned 90 college credits. College credits earned while a student is still enrolled in high school will be included in the student’s cumulative GPA at the community college.

 
Seniors Who Graduate Early
Will high school seniors who graduate early (e.g., after fall semester) be required to enroll summer term to retain eligibility for Oregon Promise?

High school seniors who graduate early (i.e. Winter 2015-2016) will not satisfy the requirement to enroll within six months of high school completion.

 
Modified Diplomas
Are students who will receive a Modified Diploma eligible for Oregon Promise?

Yes. Students who receive an Oregon Modified Diploma are eligible for the Oregon Promise if they meet the remaining eligibility requirements.

 
Adult High School Completors
Are Adult High School Completers eligible for Oregon Promise?

Yes. Students receiving an Adult High School Diploma are eligible for the Oregon Promise if they meet the remaining eligibility requirements.

 
Dual-Enrollment
Are students who are dually-enrolled in a community college and a four-year university eligible for the Oregon Promise?

Yes. The Higher Education Coordinating Commission will determine award calculations.

 
Foster Youth
Are foster youth and former foster youth eligible for Oregon Promise?

Students who were formerly in the foster care system and meet the other requirements of the Oregon Promise are eligible to participate.

What about the Chafee Education and Training Grant? If youth participate in the Oregon Promise program, will that decrease their “unmet need” and reduce some Chafee Grant amounts?

The Chafee Education and Training Grant in Oregon provides up to $3,500 annually ($5,000 for students over 21) for qualified foster youth to assist them in covering any portion of their total Cost of Attendance not covered by Federal or State Grants or tuition waivers. In 2015-2016, the average full-time Cost of Attendance at an Oregon community college is about $17,300, so even a student who received the maximum Pell Grant ($5,775), the maximum Oregon Opportunity Grant ($2,100), and the Oregon Promise Grant ($1,000) would still have more than $3,500 in remaining need.

It looks like the Oregon Promise is a “better” deal for our youth than Oregon’s Foster Youth Tuition and Fee Waiver in that all full-time students are guaranteed at least $1,000 annually, even if their tuition costs are fully covered by state/federal grants.

Both programs can be accessed simultaneously.

If a foster youth applies for an Oregon Foster Youth Tuition and Fee Waiver (completes the FAFSA) and also completes the Oregon Promise application, how will it be determined which program the student will participate in (will one program take priority over the other, are they covering the same type of expenses, could some of our youth be accessing benefits from both programs at the same time, etc.)?

If a student is eligible for the Tuition and Fee waiver, the waiver comes into effect if tuition and fee costs still remain after all grants and scholarships have been applied, including Oregon Promise. For students whose tuition and fees are fully covered by the Federal Pell Grant and the Oregon Opportunity Grant, there would be no waiver, and they could receive $1,000 under Oregon Promise for other educational expenses (if attending full-time, full year). For students who did not receive sufficient Federal Pell Grant or Oregon Opportunity Grant funds to cover their tuition only, the Oregon Promise would pick up most or all of their remaining tuition costs. In that case, the Tuition and Fee waiver could be applied to their student fees or any tuition costs that exceed the amount covered by the Oregon Promise.