Oregon Promise Frequently Asked Questions

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Overview & Eligibility Details

What is Oregon Promise?

Oregon Promise is a state grant that helps cover tuition at any Oregon community college for recent high school graduates and GED® test graduates. This program was launched by legislation passed in 2015, and grant awards became available for Oregon students to attend college in Fall 2016. Oregon Promise does not cover the full cost of college attendance; see award amount details below. Oregon Promise is administered by the Higher Education Coordinating Commission Office of Student Access and Completion.

You can learn more in this video: Oregon Promise: Introduction & Application Demo.

Where can I find more information and program support?

Visit the main Oregon Promise Page for full program details. For support, contact info@oregonpromise.org or (541) 687-7400.

Who is eligible for Oregon Promise?

Students must meet all of the eligibility and application requirements:

APPLY

  1. Submit the Oregon Promise Grant Application by the appropriate deadline.
  2. Submit the FAFSA* or ORSAA and list at least one Oregon community college. You must complete this by your application deadline.


ELIGIBILITY

  • Be a recent Oregon high school graduate or GED® test graduate.
  • Attend an Oregon community college by your required start termbased on your graduation date.
  • Have a 2.50 cumulative high school GPA or higher, or a 145 grade on all GED® tests.
  • Be an Oregon resident for at least 12 months prior to college attendance. For dependent students, your parent(s) must also live in Oregon.
  • Have no more than 90 college credits completed or attempted.
  • Students may be subject to eligibility requirements based on their Expected Family Contribution (EFC). EFC eligibility requirements are subject to change based on available funding. 
    • There is no EFC limit for Class of 2019 applicants, who will begin community college in 2019-20.
    • OSAC has not yet determined if there will be an EFC limit for students who will begin attending a community college in Fall 2020 (Class of 2020) or later. OSAC typically announces EFC limit information in early spring each year.

*Some students may be selected to verify information on their FAFSA. If a student has been selected for FAFSA verification and they have questions, they should contact their college financial aid office. Students must complete verification promptly, or they risk losing their Oregon Promise award.

 

 

Once a student is awarded the grant, what are the requirements to remain eligible?

Once awarded, students maintain eligibility by:

  • Attending community college and begin receiving the grant during the first term the student is eligible for Oregon Promise.
  • Filing the FAFSA or ORSAA each year of college by JUNE 1.
  • Complying with any other requirements or requests from the community college, related to the award.
  • Maintaining at least half-time continuous enrollment (i.e. 6 or more credits) during fall, winter, and spring terms each year.
  • Accepting all state and federal grant aid offered through the community college financial aid office.
  • Completing a First-Year Experience as directed by the community college where the student attends (this must be completed during the first three terms of Oregon Promise). 
  • In renewal years, students must attend college and receive Oregon Promise each fall term, or their award will be revoked.

Can students participate in Oregon Promise if they have been out of high school longer than six months?

No. Participation in Oregon Promise is limited to students who begin community college - and begin receiving the Oregon Promise Grant - no more than six months after high school completion or GED® test graduation. Students must also meet the appropriate application deadline for Oregon Promise, based on their graduation or GED® test graduation date.

Certain students may be eligible for a waiver of the 6-month enrollment requirement for Oregon Promise, including students who experience significant hardship, students who are engaged in military active duty or training, certain new Oregon National Guard recruits, and students who enter into service with certain career and technical student organizations relating to farming. The student must have already applied for and been awarded an Oregon Promise Grant by OSAC to be considered for a waiver. Please contact your college Financial Aid office or OSAC for more information: (800) 452-8807.

How long can I receive Oregon Promise?

Once awarded, you can receive Oregon Promise until you have attempted a total of 90 college credits. There is no limit to the number of years or terms you can receive the grant; it is based on the 90 credit limit.

All of the following types of credits may count toward the 90 credit limit:

  • College credits you take while in high school or as part of a high school completion program
  • College credits you take during summer term*
  • College credits you take at another college or university while dual-enrolled at a community college
  • College credits for courses you withdraw from or fail
  • Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) credits earned 
  • Any other college credits you attempt or complete prior to and during your time as an Oregon Promise recipient

*Oregon Promise does not pay for summer courses.

If a student is awarded Oregon Promise but then does not attend community college, can they use the grant later on?

No. When a student applies for Oregon Promise and is awarded the grant, it is for a particular term when they must begin attending community college. If the student delays enrollment, attends a 4-year college or other college instead, then they cannot use the grant at a later date.

Certain students may be considered for a waiver of the 6-month enrollment requirement for Oregon Promise,including students who experience significant hardship, students who are engaged in military active duty or training, certain new Oregon National Guard recruits, and students who enter into service with certain career and technical student organizations relating to farming. The student must have already applied for and been awarded an Oregon Promise Grant by OSAC to be considered for a waiver. Please contact your college Financial Aid office or OSAC for more information: (800) 452-8807.

Application Details

How and when do students apply?

You must complete both steps below by your application deadline (deadline varies by graduation date). For most students, you MUST apply during your senior year of high school (before you graduate) - or immediately after you complete the GED® test credential.

The application is currently available for students who graduate between July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020.

How to Apply:

  1. Complete the Oregon Promise application in the OSAC Student Portal
  2. File the FAFSA or ORSAA for the year that you will start college. List at least one Oregon community college on the FAFSA or ORSAA.

How does GPA verification work?

For most students, their seventh-semester grades will be used to demonstrate a GPA of at least 2.50. There are two ways to complete the GPA/Transcripts Section (#5) of the application:

1) Recommended: If the student indicates this in their application, high school staff can verify the student’s GPA via the secure OSAC High School Portal. Students are ultimately responsible for making sure that their high school verifies their GPA on time, or else they may provide a transcript in their application. Applicants should talk to their high school registrar to ensure that their GPA is verified on time.

2) The student can upload their transcript as a PDF in the Oregon Promise application or mail the transcript directly to OSAC.

High School Staff: 

If you would like to complete GPA Verification in the High School Portal, please complete this form.

Learn more about GPA Verification by reading the GPA Verification Instructions or watching this training video: GPA Verification and Transcript Upload.

Can a student apply during their senior year, even if they don't yet have a 2.50 GPA?

YES. The student must submit their Oregon Promise application by the appropriate deadline and ensure that their high school verifies their GPA by the appropriate deadline. If the GPA does not meet the 2.50 minimum at the time of application, then the student may provide an updated transcript (or the high school may re-verify the GPA) once final grades are available. If you are not sure of the deadline to provide this, please contact OSAC: info@oregonpromise.org

What if a student does not list an Oregon community college on the FAFSA or ORSAA?

This is a required part of the application process and must be included for consideration for Oregon Promise. OSAC relies on school codes listed on the FAFSA and the ORSAA to identify which students plan to attend community college.

In order to receive an Oregon Promise award, the student must list the community college where they end up attending. This can be updated on the FAFSA or ORSAA.

Does Oregon Promise consider "weighted" GPA?

No. Oregon Promise uses unweighted, cumulative high school GPA to determine qualification for the grant.

How and when do applicants know if they are awarded the Oregon Promise Grant?

The Office of Student Access and Completion (OSAC) notifies students of their award via email, and the information is also available in the OSAC Student Portal. Make sure that your email is updated in the Student Portal, so that you receive all notifications.

For spring graduates, awarding typically begins in March or April each year for students who have completed all application requirements.

OSAC also notifies community college financial aid offices of students' award on a regular basis. Colleges include this award information in students' financial aid award letters.

What if a student misses their deadline to apply?

Most students can only apply once for Oregon Promise based on their high school or GED® test graduation date. Most students must apply during their senior year of high school. If a student misses their deadline to apply, they are no longer eligible for Oregon Promise moving forward.

Students can still apply for OSAC Scholarships each year, and apply for the Oregon Opportunity Grant by filing the FAFSA or ORSAA.

OSAC has an appeal process for students who miss the deadline. The appeal must be submitted by the student to Oregon Promise staff within two weeks after the application deadline to be considered for review. Please contact OSAC for more information: (800) 452-8807.

Award Details

How much Oregon Promise money will I receive?

Awards range from $1,000 to $3,834 per year (in 2019-20) for full-time students, minus a $50 co-pay per term. Your Oregon Promise award amount depends on your remaining financial need after you receive other state and federal grants. The $50 co-pay is automatically deducted from the award each term.

 

These factors determine your Oregon Promise award amount:

  1. Federal Pell Grant and Oregon Opportunity Grant Award Amounts - Oregon Promise covers your remaining tuition amount (up to the average cost of 12 credits per term) after any Federal Pell Grant and Oregon Opportunity Grant funds have been applied.
  2. Number of Credits Taken - You must enroll in at least 6 credits per term to receive Oregon Promise. Oregon Promise covers up to 12 credits per term. Students are financially responsible for paying for any additional credits above 12. Oregon Promise award amounts are based on standard enrollment ranges.
  3. Tuition at Your Community College - Oregon Promise will cover up to the average tuition charged by an Oregon community college ($3,834 in 2019-20). Some community colleges have a higher or lower tuition cost than this average. If the tuition cost is above the average, the student is responsible for the difference. If the tuition cost is below this average, Oregon Promise pays up to that college’s actual tuition cost.
  4. $50 Co-Pay - A co-pay of $50 per term is automatically deducted from your Oregon Promise award amount.

90 Credit Limit – Once you have attempted a total of 90 college credits, you are no longer eligible to receive Oregon Promise. Learn more about what the 90 credit limit includes.

Does Oregon Promise cover all community college costs?

No. Oregon Promise helps pay for community college tuition after other state and federal grant aid has been applied. However, there are other college costs of attendance that Oregon Promise does not cover, such as books, fees, and housing. A $50 co-pay is automatically deducted from the Oregon Promise award each term (the co-pay is already deducted from the award amount you see in the OSAC Student Portal).

What is the maximum number of credits that Oregon Promise pays for per term?

Oregon Promise covers up to 12 credits per term (fall, winter, spring) up to a maximum total of 90 credits attempted. Students are responsible for paying for any additional credits above 12.

Do award amounts differ according to the number of credits taken?

Yes. You must enroll in at least 6 credits per term to receive Oregon Promise. Oregon Promise covers up to the average cost of 12 credits per term. Students are financially responsible for paying for any additional credits above 12.

Oregon Promise awards are based on standard enrollment ranges:

Credits Attempted Per TermEnrollment StatusOregon Promise Award Amount
12 or more credits Full time 100% of award
9-11 credits Three quarter time 75% of award
6-8 credits Half time 50% of award

Students receive the same award amount within a given credit range. For example, a student receives the same award amount whether they take 9 credits or 11 credits.

What is my Expected Family Contribution (EFC)?

Your EFC is a number that is calculated according to financial and other information that your family submits on the FAFSA or ORSAA. You can find your EFC in your FAFSA or ORSAA account:

Your EFC is not the amount of money your family will have to pay for college nor is it the amount of financial aid you will receive. Learn more about the Expected Family Contribution calculation.

How does OSAC determine Expected Family Contribution (EFC) criteria for Oregon Promise?

OSAC evaluates several factors on an annual basis: available funds, cost of awarding new applicants, cost of awarding current recipients in future years, and changes in tuition costs. OSAC uses these factors to determine if and where to establish an EFC limit for each new group of applicants. OSAC may be required to reinstate, remove, or adjust the EFC limit each year.

OSAC has not yet determined if there will be an EFC limit for students who will begin attending a community college in Fall 2020 (Class of 2020) or later. OSAC typically announces EFC limit information in early spring each year.

Information for Current Recipients

For current Oregon Promise recipients, what is the award renewal process each year?

Current Oregon Promise recipients must file a valid FAFSA or ORSAA each year of college by JUNE 1. You must list your Oregon community college to renew the award. No additional application is required. 

Some students may be selected to verify information on their FAFSA. If a student has been selected for verification and they have questions, they should contact their college’s financial aid office. Students must complete verification before they can receive their Oregon Promise award.

How do current recipients remain eligible for Oregon Promise?

  • File the FAFSA or ORSAA by June 1 each year, and list your Oregon community college.
  • Comply with any other requirements or requests from the community college, related to the award.
  • Complete a First-Year Experience as directed by the community college, within your first 3 terms of college. The First-Year Experience varies depending on the college. More information is available at the college financial aid office.
  • Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress, as determined by the community college.
  • Maintain at least half-time continuous enrollment (i.e. 6 or more credits) during fall, winter, and spring terms each year.
  • Accept all state and federal grant aid offered through the community college financial aidoffice.
  • Have attempted or completed no more than 90 credits.
  • Attend college each fall term during renewal years.

Learn more by watching this video: Oregon Promise: Stay on Track.

When do I need to complete First-Year Experience?

Oregon Promise recipients must complete First-Year Experience (FYE) during their first three terms of receiving the grant, or the grant will not be renewed for the following year. For example, students who start Oregon Promise in fall term must complete FYE by the end of spring term. First-Year Experience varies depending on the college. If you have questions, contact your college financial aid office.

What if I transfer to a different community college?

You can transfer and still use your Oregon Promise award at another community college in Oregon. When you are preparing to transfer, update your current FAFSA or ORSAA as soon as possible, and list the new community college. It is also a good idea to contact your new community college's financial aid office to ensure that they have your Oregon Promise award information.

Can part-time college students participate in Oregon Promise?

Yes. To receive the grant, you must attend a community college at least half-time (6 credits or more per term). See prorated award amount details for part-time enrollment.

What if I take less than 6 credits or skip a term?

If you take less than 6 credits or skip your first Oregon Promise term (typically fall term), then your Oregon Promise is canceled and you cannot reapply.

If you attend fall term and receive the grant, then you can take less than 6 credits or skip winter term and still receive funds in spring term (if you take 6 credits). However, you would not be eligible for a renewal grant in future academic years, since you skipped a required term (winter).

You must take 6 or more credits each term (fall, winter, spring) in order to maintain your renewal eligibility. OSAC can only make exceptions due to emergency circumstances, military training, active duty, etc. Contact your college financial aid office for more details.

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

Yes, you can be dual enrolled or in a Degree Partnership Program (DPP) and receive Oregon Promise. Please work closely with both colleges to ensure that you meet the following requirements:

  • Establish a dual enrollment agreement between the two schools
  • Have the community college listed as your home college for financial aid purposes
  • Attempt at least 6 credits at the community college each term

Oregon Promise will only pay for the credits you take at an Oregon community college. However, credits completed at both colleges will count toward the 90 credit limit allowed by Oregon Promise.

If you are dual enrolled between multiple community colleges in Oregon, make sure that a dual enrollment agreement is in place. You can receive Oregon Promise funds to cover credits taken at both community colleges. Contact OSAC for more assistance.

Does Oregon Promise pay for summer classes?

No, Oregon Promise funds are not available during summer quarter. The Oregon Promise Grant is available to students during fall, winter, and spring quarters. Students may take summer classes if they choose. Even though Oregon Promise does not pay for summer courses, any credits that a student takes in the summer will count toward the 90 credit limit.

Which courses or programs are eligible for Oregon Promise?

To receive Oregon Promise funds, you must be enrolled in courses at an Oregon community college that are part of one of the following:

a) An associate degree; or
b) A program in career and technical education (CTE); or
c) A one-year curriculum for students who plan to transfer to another post-secondary institution of education.

These courses must have tuition charges (rather than fee-only), since Oregon Promise helps to pay for tuition costs. If you are authorized for Oregon Promise but do not enroll in eligible courses or an eligible program, then your grant may be cancelled.

Talk to your college financial aid office to confirm whether or not your courses are compatible with Oregon Promise.

Information for Specific Applicant Types

Can undocumented and DACA students participate in Oregon Promise?

Yes. Students must meet all eligibility requirements for the grant, including living in Oregon for at least 12 months prior to attending college. Undocumented and DACA students must complete the Oregon Student Aid Application (ORSAA) (instead of the FAFSA) and complete the Oregon Promise application. Learn more about Financial Aid for Undocumented & DACA Students.

Can home-school students participate in Oregon Promise?

Yes, provided they meet all eligibility requirements. In the Oregon Promise Application, you must submit all 3 documents:

  1. A copy of the Confirmation of Enrollment letter on file at your local Educational Service District (ESD) (also called "Letter of Intent to home-school"). A DMV receipt or record will not suffice.
  2. A copy of the results of a tenth-grade standardized achievement test, required for all home-school students who have registered with their ESD.
  3. A transcript from your home-school teacher describing your coursework and letter grades assigned.

How do GED® test scores translate into a 2.50 GPA?

A GED® test score of 145 is equivalent to a 2.50 GPA for Oregon Promise. Students who pass each of the four GED® tests with a score of 145 or better meet the Oregon Promise requirement of a 2.5 cumulative GPA.

The GED® test graduation date is the date of their final/fourth GED® test, as listed on the official GED® test transcript.

If a student graduated from high school years ago, can they earn their GED® now and be eligible for Oregon Promise?

No. Graduation eligibility dates pertain to a student’s first high school graduation or GED® test graduation date.

If a student has taken college classes while in high school, can they 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. College credits from high school will also count toward the 90 credit limit allowed by Oregon Promise.

If a student participates in an Expanded Options Program (fifth-year senior program), can they be considered for Oregon Promise?

Yes, provided that: 1) the student has not already earned or attempted 90 college credits; and 2) the student obtains a high school diploma or GED® credential and begins the Oregon Promise program within 6 months of graduation or GED® test graduation. College credits earned while a student is still enrolled in high school are included in the student’s cumulative GPA at the community college, and in the 90 credit limit for Oregon Promise.

If you are not sure of your official high school graduation date, please confirm with your high school registrar.

If a student receives a Modified Diploma, can they be eligible for Oregon Promise?

Yes. Students who receive an Oregon Modified or Extended Diploma are eligible for the Oregon Promise if they meet all other eligibility requirements.

Can Adult High School Completers participate in Oregon Promise?

Yes. Students who receive an Adult High School Diploma are eligible for the Oregon Promise if they meet all other eligibility requirements.

Can current and former foster youth participate in Oregon Promise?

Yes. Current and former foster youth who meet all eligibility requirements can participate in the Oregon Promise program.

Can foster youth access Oregon Promise and the Foster Youth Tuition and Fee Waiver simultaneously?

Yes. 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, the Tuition and Fee Waiver would not apply. They would be eligible to receive $1,000 under Oregon Promise for other educational expenses (if attending full-time, full year).

For students who do not receive sufficient Federal Pell Grant or Oregon Opportunity Grant funds to cover their tuition, the Oregon Promise grant would cover 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 Oregon Promise.

Awarding Update (July 2019)

As of July 2019, there is no Expected Family Contribution (EFC) limit for CLASS OF 2019 applicants.

All eligible students who have applied and will attend an Oregon community college during the 2019-20 year will be awarded the Oregon Promise Grant. 

Class of 2019 applicants who previously had a “Pending” award status due to the tentative EFC limit will now be awarded the grant, as long as they meet all other eligibility criteria. Applicants can view their application and/or award status in the OSAC Student Portal. OSAC will email all applicants who previously had a “Pending” award status. These students must begin attending community college by Fall 2019.

What is the Oregon Promise budget for 2019-2021?

The Oregon Legislature has approved a total budget of $40 million for Oregon Promise for the 2019-2021 period. This funding level is sufficient to remove the previous tentative EFC limit of 18,000 for students attending community college during the 2019-20 year (Class of 2019).

What does this mean for continuing Oregon Promise recipients?

Continuing Oregon Promise students are not subject to any EFC criteria. These students can be eligible for the grant, regardless of their EFC. Students must meet all requirements for renewal of the grant, including filing the FAFSA or ORSAA by June 1. OSAC began emailing students in June 2019 with renewal award information.

What does this mean for future applicants?

For students who will begin attending a community college in Fall 2020 (Class of 2020) or later, OSAC has not yet determined if there will be an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) limit. OSAC typically announces EFC limit information in early spring each year, for that year’s graduating class. All interested students are encouraged to apply for Oregon Promise by their deadline, regardless of their EFC.

Note: For Class of 2019 spring graduates, the Oregon Promise application deadline has passed.

I haven’t applied for Oregon Promise yet. Can I still apply?

If you graduated from high school or obtained your GED® test credential prior to July 1, 2019, then your application deadline has passed. It is too late to apply for Oregon Promise.

You may apply for OSAC Scholarships (not Oregon Promise) during the upcoming season. The Scholarship Application opens November 1 and the annual deadline is March 1.

How can I check my status? I haven’t received any emails from OSAC.

  1. Log in to the OSAC Student Portal to view your Oregon Promise status. In the Portal, click “Messages” to view all emails that OSAC has sent you.
  2. Check your Spam/Junk box in your email account on a regular basis.
  3. TIP: Add OSAC email addresses as contacts, so they don’t go to Spam/Junk in the future. Add these emails: info@oregonpromise.org; oregonpromise@hecc.oregon.gov; and noreply@hecc.oregon.gov. Learn how to add contacts in Gmail.