Free college is an option, here’s how:


Kelly Milford, Jessica Wade, and Winston Rivas standing in front of the college and career center at IBW. Photo by Oscar Jimenez-Cervera

Oscar Jimenez-Cervera (He/Him), Staff Writer

College can be a very stressful topic. Paying for college, however, is even more stressful. With the rising cost of tuition, and essentially everything else, paying for college may seem like an impossible task. Luckily, Oregon has a special grant called the Oregon Promise Grant. 

According to Kelly Milford, a college counselor at Ida B. Wells, the Oregon Promise ensures that “any student who has a 2.0 GPA or higher can utilize community college up to 90 credits for free.” That is the equivalent of two years, for free! Additionally, everyone is eligible for this grant regardless of expected family contribution (EFC).

Along with only needing a 2.0 GPA or higher, you just need to apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the Oregon Student Aid Application (ORSAA) in order to apply for the grant. Both the FAFSA and ORSAA are applications done during senior year to determine the amount of financial aid you are eligible for. You need to have a social security number in order to complete the FAFSA. However, the ORSAA doesn’t require a social security number, spreading the opportunity to non-US citizens living in Oregon. Here is a website that puts these applications and other financial aid resources in an easy to access spot

Once those two applications are complete, you may now apply for the grant itself. The application is fairly easy to complete, it can be done in roughly 20 minutes. Deadlines for the grant varies depending on when you graduate, but you have to start community college within six months of graduating. Additionally, you only have to take at least six credits, which is the equivalent of two classes. This gives the opportunity to students who just want to see what college is like, or find out if they want to continue their education. 

The Oregon Promise is an essential resource for all students who reside in Oregon. “The cost of college has gone up exponentially in the last ten years,” Milford said. “Because of that, something like the Oregon Promise is a win-win situation for everyone.” 

The grant provides students with a free opportunity to figure out what they want to study at a significantly reduced cost. Since the grant only covers for two years, you can transfer to another college or university and still complete your four year degree. Essentially, you’ll only pay for your last two years of college if you’re looking to complete your bachelors degree. 

Overall, this grant is definitely worth applying for, especially since it doesn’t have to be paid back. All students deserve the opportunity for higher education, and this grant provides that opportunity.