Understanding Your Financial Aid Award

You’ve been admitted, you’ve filled out your FAFSA, you’ve received your financial aid award letter. Here are a few tips to help you understand your financial aid award.

Start by Looking at the Total Cost of Attendance

We encourage you to hit the books, do your research! Even though schools will typically only bill you for direct costs (tuition bill), it’s important to estimate your additional expenses such as housing, food, books and transportation in order to budget accurately.

Next, learn about the types of financial aid that you are eligible for

Your Financial Aid is based on many factors unique to you. (Don’t worry,  it’s all calculated  for you) here are the major ones:

Your academic record, family and finances:

  • Your financial strength (Estimated Family Contribution or EFC from FAFSA)
  • Your high school or college transfer GPA

Your college program and enrollment

  • Your admission level (undergraduate, graduate etc)
  • Your academic level (freshman, sophomore, junior etc)
  • Your enrollment level (full time, part time etc)

Your state of residence

  • In state Oregon resident
  • Out of state (not an Oregon resident)

Your financial aid package will help you make clear comparisons among the other financial aid offers you may have received.

Then, map out your degree path. Save time and money!

We are committed to helping you graduate in four years, saving you thousands of dollars in tuition and college costs. Check out this snapshot of how PSU compares to other universities in the area:

psucostcomparison

Kick the tires, crunch the numbers and get an estimate of what you’ll pay while at PSU. The bottom line is that you should know the value of your investment and shouldn’t feel like you’re throwing your money away.

Money-out-the-window

College is an investment and we want you to be successful which is why we’ve worked to ease the cost of college by offering more financial aid opportunities.

Fill in the Gaps

For some students, the financial aid programs may not cover all their costs, which means students need to find alternative options to decrease bills and increase financial aid. For other options, check out the Financial Aid Resources page at www.pdx.edu/finaid/resources

If your parents plan on helping you out, make sure you talk to them and know the difference between borrowing money in their name and your name. Paying for college can seem overwhelming but know there are lots of options so be smart, plan ahead, and only borrow what you really need so you can set yourself up for success down the road.

As always, contact the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships for assistance with award letters or to answer any questions regarding financial aid.

Looking Back to Last Year: Why I Chose PSU

I’m a Portland native and am very close to my family, so my decision to attend PSU was driven by my personal connections to my city and the people I love. I know many of you are going through the process of deciding on your college, which means you’re making a decision that will impact your next four years and the rest of your life. I’m sharing with you the reasons I chose Portland State University and looking back to last year when I was making my decision.

Reasons:

  • I knew that I wanted to go to college close to home so I could be around to watch my younger sister grow up. PSU makes it easy for me because I can immerse myself in campus life while still being able to connect with my family.
  • As a business major, being in a city is vital. I wanted to be close to organizations where I could network and maintain connections that I’d established in high school. Portland is home to companies like Daimler, Adidas, Nike, Intel and Weiden + Kennedy (ad agency best known for its work with Nike), to name a few.
  • Cost and tuition fees were also a factor in my decision. I wanted to attend a school that would give me the best education with the smallest amount of debt; allowing me to launch into my post-graduation life with as little financial burden as possible.
  • Being in Portland means I’m surrounded by people other than college students and able to experience the food, galleries, concerts and other cultural events not available at suburban and rural colleges.

Looking Back:

Now that I’m here, I have even more examples of what makes PSU great. In my freshman year I lived in Epler Hall and had the most fantastic roommate! We were different people which made the friendship work so well. We complimented each other and were able to grow and decompress together and when to give each other space. I loved having someone to go with to midnight breakfasts, dances, cultural nights and other on-campus events.

I am so excited to see where my education takes me and what career experiences I will acquire throughout my time here. It energizes me to see the recognition Portland State gets and I cannot wait to see how we grow as a University in the coming years.

I love Portland State University and couldn’t see myself anywhere else. It is everything I could ask for; opportunistic, supportive and filled with palpable energy. I do not feel the financial stress that some of my friends at other universities feel. I know I am being educated to make wise decisions and to succeed in my career path.

Good luck on your search and don’t forget to reach out to your admissions counselor, they are ready and waiting to answer all your questions!