State Financial Aid Agency Name Changes January 1, 2012

Media Contact:

Lacie Morgan, Executive Assistant

(541) 687-7394 lacie.a.morgan@state.or.us

Oregon Student Assistance Commission becomes the Oregon Student Access Commission

November 22, 2011

Eugene, OR – Effective January 1, 2012, the state's financial aid agency, the Oregon Student Assistance Commission, officially has a new name - the Oregon Student Access Commission (OSAC). The state legislature approved the name change last spring to better reflect the agency's mission of enhancing access to postsecondary education for Oregon students and families.

Along with the agency name change, OSAC announces a new mission and vision statement, and a redesigned website. According to Josette Green, Executive Director of OSAC, "Oregon students will be better served with the strategic focus OSAC has on creating a college-going culture. This focus is evident in our one word name change, in our mission and a website dedicated to action – action for students to access our products as simply and easily as possible."

OSAC's Board of Commissioners adopted a new mission and vision statement in late October. The new mission is "To create a college-going culture for all Oregonians by providing access through information, mentoring, and financial support." The Board adopted as its vision statement, "An organization of innovation and excellence in leading a college-going state."

"Getting Oregonians on to education or training beyond high school is essential to the future of our state and meeting the state's goal of 40/40/20. OSAC is key to this goal and it makes our focus essential," Green said.

OSAC's redesigned website features a new name and look to replace its multiple websites the agency previously managed. The agency's previous websites, www.osac.state.or.us,www.GetCollegeFunds.org, www.ASPIREOregon.org, and www.osac.state.or.us/ODA/ have all been replaced with the new website name www.OregonStudentAid.gov. From this main OSAC site, visitors can reach all agency services and programs administered by the agency.

OSAC administers the Oregon Opportunity Grant and other public grant programs, and more than 400 privately funded scholarship programs. OSAC also manages the state's pre-college mentoring program known as ASPIRE (Access to Student assistance Programs In Reach of Everyone) that helps middle and high school students access education and training beyond high school.

The Oregon Opportunity Grant (OOG) is the state's primary need-based form of student assistance to help Oregonians attend college. The application process for the OOG is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and should be filed as soon as possible after January 1 each year and before February 1, if possible, due to limited state funding. OSAC determines student eligibility, and awards are disbursed from the student's campus financial aid office.

OSAC partners with private donors, foundations, employers, associations, and membership organizations throughout the state to administer more than 400 scholarships for which students can apply by using one common online application on the OSAC website www.OregonStudentAid.gov. Students can search for and select from among the available scholarships using the online scholarship catalog's search filters, such as high school attended, GPA, academic and career interests, county of residence, and enrollment status. The deadline each year to apply is March 1.

ASPIRE (Access to Student assistance Programs In Reach of Everyone) is the state’s pre-college mentoring program to help middle and high school students graduate with a "plan of choice" about their postsecondary education and training options once the student leaves high school. Trained adult volunteer mentors work one-on-one throughout the year with students to provide support and information about college admissions, applying for financial aid, and learning about other postsecondary options such as career training and apprenticeships.