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OSAC launches new online application for scholarships


There are more than 450 scholarships available to Oregon students

The Oregon Student Access Commission (OSAC) announces the launch of its new online scholarship application for the 2013-14 academic year, offering the highest number of scholarship funds available in the agency’s history. After months of development, the new version boasts a streamlined process to make it much easier and quicker to apply for any number of the 450-plus scholarships available to Oregon students planning on attending college next fall.

Millions of private scholarship dollars are available to Oregon students. Last academic year (2011-12), OSAC awarded private scholarships of nearly $16 million to more than 3,600 Oregon students.

According to Bob Brew, OSAC’s Interim Executive Director, “The new application includes a brand new user interface that will make applying for scholarships simpler, faster and more accurate for applicants. We’ve introduced a new search-engine and filtering function, which for the first time, matches students to scholarships according to the scholarship’s criteria. This reduces the time students spend searching for appropriate scholarships and also increases the chances that the students may apply for more scholarships than ever before.”

Similar to OSAC’s application last year, students create a “student profile” where they can create a new application or refresh a previous application, save their work, resume working on the application and submit it online once completed. The online student profile also allows applicants to track their application status, accept/decline their awards, and change college choice or major. The final deadline to submit the application is March 1, 2013, by 5 p.m.

Since OSAC retains the application in its database, students can apply for scholarships using the same application created the year before. When refreshing a previous application, OSAC recommends that students update their activities chart and four personal statements because selection committees often monitor the progress of repeat applicants.

“To ensure their application is accepted, students need to make sure they are uploading the correct transcript(s) to their online application,” says Brew. “The number one reason for a rejected application is the submission of incomplete transcripts. It is important that students plan ahead to acquire their transcripts and not wait until the last minute to file their scholarship application, online.”

Detailed transcript instructions are available on the OSAC website at OregonStudentAid.gov/scholarships.aspx and are embedded in the application to help applicants determine which transcripts to submit and what constitutes a “complete” transcript.

One of the newest features is the creation of a “dashboard-style” Student Profile hub, where students store their personal information (contact information, college choice, personal and family details). The dashboard contains links to all aspects of the application, including the scholarship search, activities chart, four personal statements, school history, and scholarship-specific essays. Students will answer a series of questions as they create their “profile,” and those answers will help determine which scholarships will be recommended for them based on eligibility criteria for each scholarship.

Oregon students are also encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA determines eligibility for federal and state aid, including the state’s largest need-based grant, the Oregon Opportunity Grant, which is administered by OSAC. “The FAFSA is also used for many scholarships that consider financial need,” Brew said.

OSAC scholarships are created and privately funded by individuals, financial institutions, employers, membership organizations, professional organizations, and foundations such as The Oregon Community Foundation and The Ford Family Foundation. Scholarships cover a wide range of student needs and criteria such as high school attended, residency, college major, career and special interests, single parent status, first-generation college student, college transfer, and special needs. “OSAC works closely with donors to establish eligibility criteria and increase a student’s chance of accessing a postsecondary education and a better future,” Brew said.

For the 2013-14 academic year, the OSAC scholarship application Early Bird deadline was Feb. 15 at 5 p.m. and the final deadline for all materials to be submitted is March 1 at 5 p.m. In order to compete for scholarships, a student must monitor their applications online to be sure OSAC has accepted it as a valid application, or resolve any errors before the final deadline.