Oregon Opportunity Grant

Portland Community College student studying in the SE Center - courtesy Portland Community College Library, photographer Kristin Beadle

The Oregon Opportunity Grant (OOG) is Oregon's largest state-funded need-based grant program for students planning to go to college. Opportunity Grants are funded primarily by Oregon taxpayers. More than 36,000 students received OOG awards totaling $57.3 million in the 2014-15 academic year. For the 2015-17 biennium, Oregon's Legislative Assembly approved a budget of $140.9 million for Oregon Opportunity Grants, an increase of 23.6% over total funding for 2013-15. OSAC anticipates disbursing nearly $69 million to approximately 40,000 students for the 2015-16 academic year.

Preliminary Information for 2016-17:

Award Priority: Effective for the 2016-17 academic year, Oregon Opportunity Grants will be awarded first to students with the greatest financial need. OSAC will use a student's federally calculated expected family contribution (EFC) to determine financial need. This is a change in policy resulting from the Legislative Assembly's passage of House Bill 2407 during the 2015 regular legislative session.

2016-17 Award Amounts: $2,100. A fixed amount of $2,100 is available for full-time, full-year attendance at any eligible Oregon-based postsecondary institution. Students' financial need must have been at or above $2,100 to be considered. OSAC releases a portion of the award to the student's school account at the start of each academic term (quarter or semester) and prorates awards for students enrolled at least half time.

Three Steps to Apply for an Oregon Opportunity Grant

  1. Fill out the FAFSA

  2. Oregon students apply for the Oregon Opportunity Grant by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is also the application for most federal student aid programs. Students must complete a FAFSA each year to ensure access to both federal programs and the grants and scholarships that OSAC administers.

    OR

    Complete the Oregon Student Aid Application (ORSAA). The fee is waived for Oregon applicants only if they select a school with an ORSAA prefix. We ask that DACA students who have already submitted a FAFSA submit the ORSAA as well so that we can calculate their eligibility for an Oregon Opportunity Grant.

    If you are not sure which application to complete, use this filtering tool to help you decide.

  3. Watch for emails from the US Department of Education and OSAC

  4. Students should watch for an email from the US Department of Education with information about the status of their FAFSA and their Student Aid Report (SAR). The email usually arrives about 3 days after filing the FAFSA. After 5 days, check the FAFSA website to confirm the FAFSA was submitted correctly. In spring, OSAC sends out emails notifying students of their potential eligibility for an Opportunity Grant.

  5. Fix FAFSA errors right away!

  6. If the SAR shows errors or FAFSA information that needs to be corrected, students should resolve those errors right away. Funds are limited, so those who wait too long to resolve errors may not receive a grant. The most common errors are missing signatures and conflicts between a student's name and social security number

NOTE: Simply submitting a FAFSA by the priority deadline does not guarantee an applicant will receive an award. OSAC makes awards only to eligible applicants who apply on or before the published deadline and have problem-free FAFSAs (i.e., had no errors or had resolved all errors and other problems by early March). In addition, in years with limited available funds, students who are awarded but delay enrollment until later in the academic year may lose their grant eligibility. Awards for students who are enrolled half-time in fall term may be limited to half-time amounts for all subsequent terms during the academic year.

Information for 2015-16:

For the 2015-17 biennium, Oregon's Legislative Assembly approved a budget of $140.9 million for Oregon Opportunity Grants, an increase of 23.6% over total funding for 2013-15.

Applications: For 2015-16, OSAC was able to make awards to eligible students who filed FAFSAs between January 1,2015, and March 1, 2015 - a full month beyond the application deadline for 2014-15. To retain OOG eligibility for the academic year, students must enroll at least half time at an eligible Oregon-based college or university and continue to meet all other eligibility criteria.

2015-16 Award Amount: $2,100. A fixed award amount of $2,100 will be available for full-time, full-year attendance at any eligible Oregon-based postsecondary institution. Students' financial need must be at or above $2,100 to be considered for an award. OSAC releases a portion of the award to the student’s school account at the start of each academic term (quarter or semester) and prorates awards for students enrolled at least half time.

FAFSA Tip Sheets:

Check out the links below for tip sheets from The U.S. Department of Education Blog regarding FAFSA:

Oregon Opportunity Grant Award Estimator

Award Estimator This estimator is not yet available for the 2016-17 academic year.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Be an Oregon resident and a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen. Out-of-state students who are members of Native American tribes with traditional ties to Oregon may be considered Oregon residents.
  • Be an undergraduate student with no prior baccalaureate degrees.
  • Be enrolled at least half time (i.e., at least 6 credit-hours) at a participating Oregon-based postsecondary institution.
  • Have financial need, based on the difference between cost of attendance, federal aid, and financial resources of the student and student's family, if applicable.
  • Have no defaults on federal student loans and owe no refunds on federal student grants.
  • Not be incarcerated.

Other Information

Income Limit – Student/family adjusted gross income of $70,000. Only students with incomes at or below the limit are considered for the grant.

Enrollment Status – In years with limited available funds students who are awarded grant funds but delay enrollment until later in the academic year may lose eligibility. Awards for students who are enrolled half-time in fall term may be limited to half-time amounts for all subsequent terms during the academic year.

Reapply Annually – Students must submit a new FAFSA for each academic year they plan to attend college or a postsecondary school.

OSAC awards Opportunity Grants according to a formula that includes the following:

  • Average cost of attendance at an Oregon community college or Oregon public university
  • Student share ($5800 at a community college; $8800 at a public or private nonprofit 4-year institution)
  • Family share (expected family contribution, or EFC)
  • Federal share (Federal Pell Grants and/or assumed higher education tax credits)

Students may receive an Opportunity Grant for up to four years (12 quarters or 8 semesters) of full-time enrollment, providing they maintain satisfactory academic progress and file a new FAFSA each year. Awards are prorated for half-time enrollment. Students enrolled in courses of study leading to degrees in theology, divinity, or religious education are not eligible.

Six Steps to Improve Your Chances of Being Awarded an Oregon Opportunity Grant:

  • File your FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1 and well before the published priority deadline. Estimate your prior-year income and taxes, and update your FAFSA with actual numbers after you file your tax return.
  • If you are a first-time student, be sure you complete the application process for admission to at least one Oregon public or private nonprofit college/university and apply for financial aid.
  • Watch for an email from the US Department of Education about your Student Aid Report (SAR) and fix any errors right away. The email usually arrives about 3 or 4 days after you submit your FAFSA. If you don’t receive an email, check to make sure you completed the FAFSA submission process.
  • Respond right away to any requests for additional information or documents from the financial aid office at your college/university.
  • In the spring, watch for information about your financial aid package from your college.
  • Watch for an email from OSAC about your potential OOG eligibility.