Oregon Promise Frequently Asked Questions

Overview Information

What is Oregon Promise?

Oregon Promise is a state grant that covers most tuition at any Oregon community college for recent high school graduates and GED® recipients. 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 funding for the 2017-2018 academic year is subject to Oregon Legislative approval. Oregon Promise is administered by the Higher Education Coordinating Commission Office of Student Access and Completion.

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.

What are the eligibility requirements for Oregon Promise?

In order to be eligible to participate in Oregon Promise, a student must meet the application requirements, including:

  • Complete an Oregon Promise Grant Application by the appropriate deadline.
  • File a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)* or Oregon Student Aid Application (ORSAA) and list at least one Oregon community college.
  • Be a recent Oregon high school graduate or GED recipient.
  • Have a 2.5 cumulative high school GPA or higher.
  • Be an Oregon resident for at least 12 months prior to college attendance.
  • Have no more than 90 college credits completed or attempted.

* 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.

Maintain eligibility by:

  • Maintaining at least half-time continuous enrollment (i.e. 6 or more credits) during fall, winter, and spring terms each year. Oregon Promise does not include summer term and only covers up to 12 credits per term and a maximum of 90 credits attempted.
  • 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. The First-Year Experience will vary depending on the college. If students have questions they should contact their college financial aid office.

How do students apply and when?

  1. Complete the Oregon Promise application at OregonStudentAid.gov. Oregon Promise has rolling deadlines that depend on when the student graduates. The application deadline for students who graduate from high school in spring 2017 and plan to attend community college in fall 2017 is July 3, 2017*.
  2. Ensure their high school has verified their GPA is 2.5 or higher, or provide their GED® Testing Service test scores (see information on GPA verification process below); and
  3. File the FAFSA or ORSAA by July 14, 2017*.

* Updated deadlines as of March 2017.

Term you plan to start at an Oregon community college Winter 2017
DEADLINE PASSED
Spring 2017
DEADLINE PASSED
Fall 2017
Funding subject to legislative approval
Must graduate high school between the following dates July 1, 2016 to December 1, 2016 October 1, 2016 to March 1, 2017 March 1, 2017 to August 1, 2017
Deadline for Application December 1, 2016 March 6, 2017 July 3, 2017 5pm1
April 1:
For early notification2
Deadline to verify your GPA3 December 1, 2016 March 6, 2017 July 3, 20171
Deadline for FAFSA or ORSAA File the 2016-17 FAFSA
December 9, 2016
File the 2016-17 FAFSA
March 13, 2017
File the 2017-18 FAFSA
July 14, 2017

1 Dates were updated in March 2017.
2 Students who submit their application by April 1 will be notified by May 1 if their application is complete.
3 Verify GPA through section 5 of the Oregon Promise application.

How will applicants be notified if they have been awarded Oregon Promise?

The State of Oregon’s Office of Student Access and Completion (OSAC) will notify students of their award via email, and the information will be available in the student's profile in the OSAC Student Portal. OSAC will also notify community college financial aid offices via weekly award lists. Colleges include this award information in students' financial aid award letters.

Eligibility Details

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 will begin community college no more than six months after high school completion or GED completion.

What if a student’s high school GPA is below 2.5 at the time of application, but they expect to have a 2.5 GPA by the time they graduate?

Students should submit their Oregon Promise applications and ensure that their high school verifies their GPA by the appropriate deadline. If the GPA does not meet the 2.5 minimum at the time of application, then OSAC will ask the student and/or high school staff to verify the GPA again at a later date once final grades are available.

Does Oregon Promise consider "weighted" GPA?

No. Oregon Promise uses unweighted GPA to determine qualification for the grant.

Can part-time college students participate in Oregon Promise?

Yes. Students who attend college at least half-time (6 credits or more per term) and meet all other requirements are eligible for the Oregon Promise. See prorated award amount details below.

Application Details

How does GPA verification work?

For most students, their seventh-semester grades will be used to demonstrate a GPA of at least 2.5. There are two ways to verify high school GPA: the student can upload their high school transcript in the Oregon Promise application; or high school staff can verify the student’s GPA via the OSAC High School Portal. If high school staff need access or additional permissions for the OSAC High School Portal, they should contact OSAC at (541) 687-7400 for assistance.

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.

Award Amount Details

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 may not be fully covered by Oregon Promise, such as books, fees, and housing. Additionally, the community college automatically deducts a $50 co-pay from the Oregon Promise award each term.

How are award amounts calculated?

  1. Oregon Promise pays the remaining tuition amount (up to 12 credits per term) after the Federal Pell Grant and Oregon Opportunity Grant are applied. Eligibility for these grants is determined by the Expected Family Contribution, primarily calculated using data from the FAFSA or ORSAA.
  2. The Oregon Promise award covers the average cost of 12 credits per term at an Oregon community college. If the tuition cost at a given community college is above the average cost of tuition, then the student is responsible for paying the difference.
  3. Students whose tuition is fully covered by the Federal Pell Grant and Oregon Opportunity Grant, and who meet Oregon Promise eligibility criteria, are eligible to receive the minimum Oregon Promise award of $1,000 for one year of full-time enrollment (minus a $50 co-pay per term). These funds can help the student pay for fees and other education-related expenses.

What is the maximum number of credits that Oregon Promise covers?

Oregon Promise covers up to 12 credits per term (fall, winter, spring) for a maximum of 90 credits attempted. Oregon Promise does not pay for summer term, but any credits earned during summer term count toward the total 90 maximum credits attempted.

Credits attempted include those that students take for college credit while in high school, as well as those taken once officially enrolled after high school completion. If a student takes a class but does not pass, the credits are still counted toward the 90-credit limit.

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

Yes. The Oregon Promise award amount is prorated based on standard enrollment ranges. Student must attend at least half-time (6 to 8 credits per term) to be awarded. Those who attend 9 to 11 credits are considered 3/4-time, while those who attend for 12 or more credits are considered full time.

Note: Oregon Promise covers up to 12 credits per term. Students are financially responsible for any additional credits above this maximum.

What does "subject to Oregon Legislative approval" mean?

As with other state programs, the Oregon Promise budget is determined every 2 years by the Oregon Legislature. As long as the 2017 Oregon Legislature continues to fund the upcoming budget cycle of the program, the grant will be available to Oregon students for fall 2017. The final decision should be determined by the end of July 2017. Students are encouraged to explore all other financial aid opportunities in addition to Oregon Promise.

Information for Current Recipients

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

Current Oregon Promise recipients must file the 2017-2018 FAFSA* or ORSAA by July 14, 2017 and list your Oregon community college. No additional application is required to apply for funding for next year.

* 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?

  • Complete a First-Year Experience as directed by the community 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.

FAQs for Specific Applicant Types

Undocumented and DACA Students

Can undocumented and DACA students participate in Oregon Promise?

Yes. To be eligible, individuals must graduate from an Oregon high school (see GED details below), live in Oregon for at least 12 months prior to attendance at a community college, and meet all other program eligibility requirements. Undocumented and DACA students must complete the Oregon Student Aid Application (ORSAA) (instead of the FAFSA) and complete the Oregon Promise application.

Dual-Enrollment

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

Yes. The community college must be listed as the student’s home college for financial aid purposes. Oregon Promise will only cover tuition for credits taken at the community college. However, credits completed at both colleges will count toward the 90 credit limit allowed by Oregon Promise.

Home-School Students

Can home-school students participate in Oregon Promise?

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

Which transcripts should home-school students provide?

Home-school students must provide the following documentation:

  • 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 Completers

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

No. The GED® does not need to be awarded through the State of Oregon; however, the student must have been a resident of Oregon for at least 12 months prior to attending community college.

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

A GED® score of 145 is equivalent to a 2.5 cumulative GPA. 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.

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

No. Graduation or GED completion eligibility dates pertain to a student’s first graduation or GED completion.

Accelerated College Credit Program

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.

Expanded Options Programs

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

Yes, as long as they have not already earned or attempted 90 college credits. College credits earned while a student is still enrolled in high school are included in the student’s cumulative GPA at the community college.

Modified Diplomas

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

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

Adult High School Completers

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.

Foster Youth

Can current and former foster youth participate in Oregon Promise?

Yes. All foster youth who meet the eligibility requirements can participate in the Oregon Promise program.

What about the Chafee Education and Training Grant?

The Chafee Education and Training Grant in Oregon provides up to $5,000 annually for qualified foster youth to cover any portion of their total Cost of Attendance not covered by Federal or State Grants or tuition waivers. Unlike the Oregon Promise grant, the Chafee Education and Training Grant can be to applied to room and board, fees, and other non-tuition costs.

Can foster youth access Oregon Promise and the Foster Youth Tuition and Fee Waiver simultaneously? How does it work?

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.