OSAC awards more than $17 million in scholarships annually. Awards range from $1,000 to $10,000 or more. You don’t need to be a merit scholar or a student with financial need to apply. OSAC administers more than 600 scholarship programs, and you may qualify, but you won’t know unless you apply!
Are you eligible to apply for OSAC scholarships?
OSAC scholarships may be used only at U.S. institutions eligible to participate in Title IV federal student aid programs (U.S. military academies are not eligible).
Unless otherwise specified in the individual scholarship descriptions, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen in the United States for other than a temporary purpose, and intend to become a permanent resident of the United States.
- Be an Oregon resident. Residency is established when:
- An independent student or the parents of a dependent student have continuously resided in Oregon for 12 months.
- A student is continuously enrolled (completes an academic year within any 12-month period) at an Oregon high school or postsecondary institution.
- An independent student or the parent(s) of a dependent student serving on active duty in the US Armed Forces has Oregon listed as their “home of record”.
- A student is an enrolled member of a federally recognized Native American tribe of Oregon or a Native American tribe which had traditional and customary tribal boundaries that included parts of Oregon.
- Be a graduating high school student during the current academic year, or a GED or home-schooled graduate, or a first-time college freshman, undergraduate, or graduate student.
- Not owe a refund on an educational grant or be in default on any educations loans.
Personal Statements and Scholarship-Specific Essays
- You can either type in the text directly, or cut and paste from a word processing program such as Microsoft Word or Note Pad.
- Use plain text only (no formatting, such as different size fonts, boldface, italics, or underlining).
- Only line-space (use a single ‘Enter’ or ‘Return’) between paragraphs.
- Check the word count. In Microsoft Word, you can check the word and character count by going to Tools on your menu bar and selecting Word Count.
- Use correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
- Don’t repeat information already included in your application, such as that your greatest accomplishment is your GPA.
- Let your Personal Statements tell your story. Donors are looking for reasons why they should choose you for their scholarship award. Focus on something unique about yourself!
- Word Limit: 1,000 character limit for each statement (including spaces). Statements exceeding this limit will be truncated.
Personal Statement questions:
- What are your specific educational plans and career goals and why? What inspires you to achieve them?
- What have you done for your family or community that you care about the most and why?
- Describe a personal accomplishment and the strengths and skills you used to achieve it.
- Describe a significant change or experience that has occurred in your life. How did you respond and what did you learn about yourself?
Other Essays for Individual Scholarship Programs
- Do not include URLs when citing essay sources, as it may cause an error in the application.
- Each scholarship essay has a length requirement that differs from essay to essay. Be sure to comply with this requirement.
Experience in Diverse Environments
Some scholarships which require an extra essay about living or working in diverse environments. Such factors may include:
- socioeconomic or educational disadvantage;
- demonstrated experience with or commitment to serving or working with historically underserved or underprivileged populations, such as members of minority communities;
- being in the first generation of a family to attend college;
- geographic diversity, including students from rural or inner-city areas that might be underrepresented on campus.
Scholarship Application Timeline & Deadlines
- Early fall: Begin searching and selecting scholarship opportunities in the OSAC Scholarship Catalog. Return often, as new scholarships are always being added.
- October: File your FAFSA or ORSAA as soon as possible after October 1. Doing so will ensure you are considered for all scholarships that consider financial need.
- November – February: Start your OSAC scholarship application and submit from November through March 1. You can save and come back to your application before you submit.
- First-time applicants: create an OSAC account and start the OSAC Scholarship Application.
- Returning applicants: refresh and update your application from last year.
- High school juniors may start a “test application”, but cannot submit until their year of graduation.
- February 15*: Early Bird deadline. Complete applications (including transcripts) submitted by this date will be entered into a drawing for one of several $1,000 Early Bird scholarship awards.
- March 1*: Final deadline for all materials to be submitted to OSAC.
- April – August: Track your application status and scholarship awards in the OSAC Student Portal.
* If a deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, it will automatically be extended to 5:00 p.m. (PST) of the following business day.
OSAC Scholarship Application Instructions
Scholarship Application Assistance
Assistance for Award Recipients
What can I do to improve my chances of receiving scholarships?
Read and follow all the instructions. Utilize a mentor to review the application for spelling and clerical errors. We wish we could award every student that has need, but only the students that follow the instructions and submit completed applications with all supporting documents are considered for scholarships.
Do you offer financial aid for graduate students?
OSAC offers more than 95 scholarships for graduate-level students. The best way to determine which scholarships you are eligible to apply for is to complete the first 9 sections of the application, the recommended list of scholarships will populate based on your answeres. Graduate students do not qualify for the Oregon Opportunity Grant.
If I am awarded a scholarship, when will I be notified?
Generally, scholarships are awarded in May through August. Check the awarding status of your scholarships by logging in to your Student Profile. You can accept your scholarship award online.
Do you have grants for cosmetology or beauty school?
Yes. See the OSAC Scholarship Catalog for a listing of OSAC Scholarships.
Do you offer financial aid for international students?
The Oregon Opportunity Grant and OSAC Scholarships do not support international students. Contact the college you plan to attend to see if they have aid available for you.
How do I file a FAFSA?
You can file your FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov
What is the FAFSA for?
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) helps determine the amount of student financial aid you are eligible to receive. The information from the FAFSA is used by colleges for determining eligibility for the Pell Grant along with campus-based aid such as work-study and Perkins Loans. The information is also used by OSAC to determine eligibility for the Oregon Opportunity Grant and many of the scholarships administered by OSAC. You should file your FAFSA on October 1 or soon thereafter so that you will receive the maximum student aid that you are eligible for. Campus-based aid and the Oregon Opportunity Grants are limited. Many financially needy students who are otherwise eligible miss out on these funds because they file their FAFSA too late. In addition, OSAC scholarships that are need-based require FAFSAs to be filed and any errors fixed in a timely manner. So don’t wait! File your FAFSA as soon after October 1 as possible. Do not wait until your federal tax form is ready before you complete your FAFSA. Estimate! If necessary, you can correct your FAFSA information when you receive your Student Aid Report (SAR).
FAFSA – When will I find out how much aid I will receive?
When you have a clean FAFSA (no errors) and provided any documentation that the college asks for, you will receive notice from the school telling you what type of financial aid package they have put together for you based on the information from your FAFSA. Usually, you will receive this information in April or May. The package may include grants, loans, and work study funds, provided you indicated you would accept these types of financial aid on your FAFSA. You should always indicate you would accept any type of aid. It doesn’t obligate you to accept them at the time you file your FAFSA. You can tell the school later exactly what you agree to accept by signing their proposed financial aid package notice and returning it to them.
Why should I file the FAFSA so early?
Filing a FAFSA is like getting in line. You want to file early so that you can get in the front of the line. Student aid funds are usually limited, and those who file early have a clear advantage over those who wait. The FAFSA application opens October 1 each year.
How can I find out about the status of my OSAC scholarship application?
You can log in to your Student Profile. If you have forgotten your User Name or Password, click the blue button “Forgot User Name or Password?”.
How do I apply for OSAC scholarships?
How do I know if a scholarship offer is legitimate?
Students and parents can do extensive scholarship searches on the Internet. You can link to free, online databases such as MACH 25, FastWEB, and ExPAN, all of which list thousands of scholarships. Another good web page about student financial aid is Finaid! The SmartStudent Guide to Financial Aid. Oregon high school and community colleges have computer links to the Oregon Career Information System (CIS) database, another good source of information for Oregon residents. WARNING: The Attorney General of the State of Oregon and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission have both issued warnings and taken action against companies that “guarantee” scholarships to families using for-a-fee scholarship search services. State and federal authorities would like to remind families that using the word “guarantee” in promotional materials is a questionable activity of scholarship search businesses. For more scholarship scam information, go to www.ftc.gov/ or www.finaid.org
How do I tell if my application is complete?
Log into your OSAC Scholarship Application using your Scholarship Application user name and password. From the ‘My Dashboard’ page, you can review the information you entered and check the completion status to see whether OSAC considers your application complete (all application information supplied). Sections that are incomplete will give information about missing information in red.
You can edit some of your applications sections up to the final deadline.
I am an Oregon resident planning to attend an out-of-state college. Can I still qualify for OSAC scholarships?
Yes, many OSAC scholarships are portable to non-Oregon colleges and universities. When you list your college in section 9 as an out of state college, the recomended list of scholarships will only include scholarships that include out of state colleges.
I am attending a community college and want to transfer to a 4-year school. Do you offer financial aid for transfer students?
Yes, there are several scholarship programs specifically for transfer students. For example, the Oregon Scholarship Fund Transfer Student Award (Scholarship Code 902) is awarded specifically to transfer students who are Oregon residents currently enrolled in their second year at a community college and planning to transfer to a 4-year college in the fall. Also, the Ford Scholars (Scholarship Code 1) program are available to transfer students. See the Scholarship Catalog for a complete listing of our scholarships. Also, the Oregon Opportunity Grant is available for transfer students and non-transfer students alike.
I am home-schooled. Can I still qualify for OSAC scholarships?
Yes. Many OSAC scholarships are open to home-schooled students. These students must submit the following documents with their OSAC scholarship application (requirements may be different if not an Oregon resident): 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 Oregon home-school students who have registered with their ESD. 3. A transcript from your home-school teacher describing your coursework and letter grades assigned.
I am interested in scholarships for correspondence/online courses. Would this be considered a USA college if it is not through a specific university or college?
For OSAC-administered scholarships, a USA college is an institution located in a state and recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as eligible to participate in Title IV student financial aid programs. Ask the school you wish to attend if it meets these requirements.
I am NOT a U.S. citizen. Can I still qualify for OSAC scholarships?
Yes, if you are in the United States for other than a temporary purpose and intend to become a permanent resident of the United States. If you are a foreign student, be aware that all public four-year universities in Oregon offer limited scholarship help through the foreign student fee remission program. Contact the admissions office at the school you plan to attend for more information about this program.
I am NOT an Oregon resident. Can I still qualify for OSAC scholarships?
There are a few, although most OSAC scholarships require that students live in Oregon at least one year prior to September 1 of the school year applied for (e.g., for the 2019-20 school year, students will have had to start living in Oregon no later than September 1, 2020). For dependent students, Oregon residency is determined by the parents’ state of residence. Eligible non-citizens who are Oregon residents are able to apply.
I haven’t lived in Oregon for 12 months; can I still apply for an OSAC scholarship?
You may still be able to apply under certain circumstances. Basic requirements are that, unless otherwise specified in the individual scholarship descriptions, you must: 1) Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen in the United States for other than a temporary purpose, and intend to become a permanent resident of the United States; 2) Be an Oregon resident. There are some exceptions; view the full definition of Oregon residency at:https://oregonstudentaid.gov/scholarships-eligibility.aspx
I’m having problems maneuvering in Scholarship Application (the screens aren’t working right). What’s wrong?
Complete a feedback form for assistance https://oregonstudentaid.gov/contact.aspx.
I’ve forgotten either my Scholarship Application user name or password, so I can’t login to edit my application. The program says there is no match for what I used. What do I do?
If you have created a scholarship application in a previous year OSAC will try to find your application via the OSAC Student Portal. If you can’t remember your Username or Password, go to the OSAC Student Portal, and then click on the ‘Forgot User Name, Password’ button. If you enter the same data as used to create your account, the Student Portal will find your account. If your account is not found, check to make sure you have entered the information correctly, most often, the non-match is from switching first and last names, or entering slightly different birthdates or SSNs. If you have changed your email address and no longer have access to the email address located in your OSAC account or your account cannot be found, you will need to contact OSAC directly to protect your secure information, 541-687-7400 or 800-452-8807. Do not attempt to create multiple accounts, contact OSAC.
If I’m awarded, how do I receive my scholarship funds, and when; are there any other requirements?
OSAC disburses funds directly to your school financial aid office shortly before the beginning of each term/semester. Please note fall term disbursement may be delayed for some scholarships due to annual funds processing requirements. If your award is less than $1,000, it will be a one-time disbursement to your school fall term. If you do not attend school for a term, you will not be eligible to receive that portion of your award. Students must maintain the required enrollment status and satisfactory academic progress to receive disbursements throughout the year.
Is this website secure?
The OSAC Scholarship Application website is a secure site, protected by an industry standard encryption method, Secure Socket Layers (SSL). All web page addresses on the Scholarship Application website will begin with ‘https://app.oregonstudentaid.gov/’ or ‘https://appuploads.oregonstudentaid.gov/’; the https indicates a secure site. In most internet browsers users can click on the lock icon in the website address bar to read more details on the security certificate of the website you are visiting.
My school did not assign letter grades. What should I put for GPA?
If your high school did not assign letter grades, check the My school did not assign letter gradesbox in the high school section of the application. Also, in addition to your high school transcript showing all work completed through fall term, upload documentation from your high school regarding how students are evaluated.
If your college did not assign letter grades, check the My college did not assign grades box in the college history section of the application and send transcripts of all college work completed through fall term. With the transcript you can include a document regarding how students are evaluated.
What am I applying for when I file a FAFSA?
Oregon residents who complete their FAFSA, automatically apply for the following programs: Oregon Opportunity Grant, Federal Pell Grant, Federal SEOG Grant, Federal Work Study, Perkins Loans, Stafford Loans, PLUS Loans and Certain campus based aid programs (check with your college financial aid office for additional applications).
What do I need to know about borrowing money for college?
As a student or a parent, you may be faced with the prospect of borrowing a loan at some point when considering how to pay for college. The initial step in the financial aid process, even to be awarded a student loan, is to complete the FAFSA on an annual basis. Don’t forget to apply for scholarships and grants, which can be free money that can be applied toward your college expenses.
What federal loan forgiveness programs are available?
For detailed information about loan forgiveness, here is a website you can access: www.ed.gov/offices/OSFAP/Students/repayment/teachers/perkins.html
What happens after I submit my application?
Transcripts are reviewed and processed by OSAC. An applicant pool is developed for each scholarship program based on individual scholarship criteria and information provided by applicants. Recipients are selected by selection committees for each program. Additional information may be requested. You will receive an e-mail notification when your application is submitted, reviewed, and if you are awarded. After submitting your application some fields can be updated, and scholarships can be added until the application deadline. Beginning in late April, you should regularly log in to your Dashboard to check the status of your scholarships.
What if my school wants proof I’ve been awarded?
If you need proof of awarding, print your award acceptance, or if you received a paper award letter, give the school a copy. If that is not sufficient, have your school contact OSAC at 541-687-7400 for scholarship verification.
What information can you provide about the Oregon College Savings Plan?
The official website for information on college savings plans offered through the State of Oregon is www.oregoncollegesavings.com
What is a SAR (Student Aid Report)?
You will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) when your FAFSA has been processed. It will have all the information you reported on your FAFSA. If any of the information is incorrect on the SAR, you can make corrections on the form and resubmit it. The FAFSA processing agency may ask you to make certain corrections, also. You may be able to process changes in 72 hours or less by requesting that the financial aid office at your school submit the changes electronically.
What is my Dashboard page?
Each applicant has a My Dashboard page, created when an applicant first creates an OSAC Scholarship Application. The Dashboard page shows your application status, transcript status, some basic information you provided, scholarships you applied for, and the awarding status of those scholarships. You can also make changes to your name, contact information, college choice, and college major.
What is the application deadline, and what does it mean?
Read the Scholarship deadline information at Scholarship deadlines
Oregon Promise deadline information at Oregon Promise Grant
Chafee deadlines at Chafee Education & Training Scholarship deadlines and Student Child Care Grant deadlines.
Where can I find more information about The Ford Family Foundation scholarships?
Where can I find the OSAC Scholarship Catalog?
Where can I get more information on how to use the OSAC Scholarship Application?
Where do I find more information about available scholarships and their eligibility criteria?
Complete scholarship details and eligibility criteria can be found in the OSAC Scholarship Catalog. You can also complete sections 1-9 of the OSAC Scholarship Application and the application will use this information for scholarship recomendation.