REDMOND, OR -- It’s the first year for Oregon high school seniors to participate in a new Community College tuition assistance program. Redmond Schools’ Director of Secondary Education David Burke tells KBND News students only have a few more weeks to get applications submitted for next fall. "The deadline to apply for the 'Oregon Promise' is March first. So the process really is for students who would earn a diploma in the spring of 2016, a GED or complete 12th grade in the spring of 2016, to go to their high schools, work with their counselors to fill out the FAFSA." The “FAFSA” is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
The “Oregon Promise” program was established by state lawmakers in 2015, and says many families aren’t aware of the process. "In Redmond, we just sent out a letter to all of our parents of seniors. But, we’d like to get more questions. We’d like to get kids, even if they’re not sure they qualify, we need them to step forward and begin to ask questions, and contact their counselors at the schools and sign up and apply. It’s always a good idea to fill out their FAFSA early anyway, so our goal is to get every senior to complete their FAFSA this spring so they know what their best options are moving forward."
Burke says the FAFSA form helps determine how much money a student is eligible to receive through "Oregon Promise," since all federal financial aid options are utilized first. "Then the Oregon Promise kicks in as a backfill," says Burke. "So, students qualify for Pell Grants and federal dollars, and then the Oregon Promise is a backfill that fills in to cover the rest of students’ needs."
To qualify, students need to complete the 12th grade this spring with at least a 2.5 GPA, and attend a qualifying in-state community college. For more information visit the Oregon Promise website