Oregon Opportunity Grant
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 34,000 students received OOG awards totaling almost $55 million in the 2013-14 academic year. In 2014-15, OSAC anticipates disbursing more than $58 million to approximately 35,000 students.
Three Steps to Apply for an Oregon Opportunity Grant
Fill out the FAFSA
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.
Watch for emails from the US Department of Education and OSAC
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 it was submitted correctly. In spring, OSAC sends out emails notifying students of their potential eligibility for an Opportunity Grant.
Fix FAFSA errors right away!
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.
Preliminary Information for 2015-16:
For the 2015-17 biennium, the Governor has proposed a budget of $143.2 million for Oregon Opportunity Grants-an increase of 24.8% over 2013-15. The Legislative Assembly will consider the Governor's proposal and finalize OOG funding during the 2015 legislative session that runs to June 2015. Because the OOG award cycle begins several months before the Legislative Assembly acts on agency budgets, OSAC still will work with co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Ways & Means and the Governor's Office to set a tentative funding level for the first year of the biennium. OSAC will make initial 2015-16 OOG awards after a tentative budget has been approved.
Applications: OSAC encourages applicants to submit their 2015 FAFSAs as soon after January 1st as possible to ensure priority consideration for a grant. OSAC will make awards for 2015-16 until funds are depleted, which has occurred around February 1 the last several years, Instead of waiting until after filing 2014 tax returns to submit a FAFSA, students (and parents) may use 2013 returns to estimate 2014 taxes. They must update their FAFSA information after filing taxes by using the Data Retrieval Tool to import data directly from the IRS or by manually entering data from their tax forms.
Award Notification: OSAC plans to make initial awards in spring 2015 and notify students by email of their potential grant eligibility. OSAC may also make additional awards later in the year if funds remain. To ensure receipt of email notifications from OSAC and from the US Department of Education, students should make sure they provide an active email address on their FAFSA and check for messages regularly.
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.