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Paying for College


The most important step in paying for college is to plan ahead. 

You may be eligible to receive federal student aid in the form of grants, scholarships, and educational loans. Applying for Federal Financial Aid is always free, and we encourage you to explore your eligibility and financing options as a resource to help you pay for your continuing education.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, more than half of all undergraduate and postsecondary students receive some type of financial assistance to help them pay for school.

Financial aid is budgeted for three terms of enrollment each academic year. If you plan to attend more than three terms, you must contact the Financial Aid office for further steps.

Applying for Financial Aid

The key to determining eligibility for financial aid is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Follow the steps below to find out what types of educational financial assistance you may qualify for.

Step 1: Gather your personal and financial documents, such as tax forms and returns.

Step 2: If you plan on filing electronically you will need to first sign up for a Personal Identification Number (PIN). This is the recommended method because your PIN will both speed up the application process and allow you to track your FAFSA more easily online.

Step 3: It’s now time to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). When you’re done, use your PIN to electronically sign your FAFSA, or print it out, sign it, and follow the mailing instructions.

Step 4: In a few weeks, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). This is your opportunity to correct any mistakes you might have made and finalize the FAFSA process. You’ll need to use your PIN to electronically sign the Student Aid Report, or print it out, sign it, and follow the mailing instructions.

Step 5: Congratulations, you have completed the FAFSA application process. Your Student Aid Report will automatically be sent to the school, and you will now know how much, and what federal financial aid options are available to you.

If you have further questions about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, obtaining your PIN, or the Student Aid Report, you can contact our Office of Student Financial Aid by email at or by phone at 503-725-3461.

Portland State University School Code: 003216

Transferring to Portland State

If you have received aid at your current school, there are some steps you'll need to take to make sure your financial aid transition goes smoothly.

Step 1: Add Portland State University's school code (003216) to your FAFSA.

Step 2: Contact your current school's financial aid office to clear up any outstanding requirements prior to transfer.

Step 3: Submit verification that the award at your previous school as been canceled for the rest of the aid year. Any aid already disbursed to you must be included in an official award letter.

Step 4: Update your enrollment with your previous lender(s) and Portland State's Office of the Registrar. Lender information can be found on the National Student Loan Database. The PSU Office of the Registrar is located in Neuberger Hall's lobby or can be contacted at 503-725-3511.