EMPOWER is a support program designed for first-generation, Asian and Pacific Islander identifying students 
(both transfer and freshman standing) entering Portland State University for the first time.
Our program is based off the understanding that college can be challenging and sometimes discouraging as 
students transition in their first year, and it can be even harder as students of color and first generation 
students- but don’t worry! EMPOWER has your back!
As a year-long program, EMPOWER seeks to encourage and help its students pursue their education in ways 
that will enable them to feel confident and be successful. Through our program, students are provided with 
opportunities to gain various skills and tools, sources of support, and a sense of community that all contribute 
to the development of successful students and leaders.


In addition to all general services and support offered through API Student Services, participants in the EMPOWER program will particularly receive:
- Tuition Remission
- General Academic Advising & Counseling
- Peer Mentors
- Early Course Registration 
- College Success Course
- Specified and Intentional Orientation Session
- Assistance with Scholarships and finding additional Financial Resources


To be eligible, applicants must:
- Be a new, incoming first year student at Portland State in the fall (this includes transfer students).
- Be admitted to Portland State University or currently be in the process of admission
- Demonstrate financial need (this is determined through FAFSA or a financial need statement)
- Be a First Generation college student (meaning that neither parents have graduated and received a Bachelor’s Degree or higher)


To successfully apply, please submit all of the following together:
- A completed application
- A copy of your required personal responses to the EMPOWER Program essay questions (page 4 of the application)
- A copy of your letter of admission to Portland State University
- A copy of an unofficial high school transcript 
- A copy of your financial aid award (if available) OR a statement of your financial need with a budget of income and expenses (page 5 of the application)

Once you are finished, please submit or send your completed application to:

API Student Services
Diversity and Multicultural Student Services 
Smith Memorial Student Union, Suite 425
Mail Code: DMSS
Portland State University
PO Box 751
Portland, OR 97207-0751


If accepted into the program, all EMPOWER students are required to: 
- Receive and attend an intake appointment to discuss details of the program
- Be a full-time student with a minimum of 12 credit hours each quarter
- Maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5 or higher (Quarterly & Cumulative) 
- Participate in EMPOWER Orientation (taking place 2 weeks before Fall Quarter) in addition to PSU’s New Student Orientation Program (taking place in the summer) 
- Meet on a regular basis with Advisor & designated Mentor
- Seek out and apply to at least 3 scholarships for Fall Quarter
- Enroll in and attend the EMPOWER College Success Course for Fall Quarter (worth 3 credits)
- Attend mandatory programs/events/activities/workshops 
- Submit Mid-quarterly Progress Reports
- Complete select Assignments given by Advisor
All Participants engage in a two-week Connect Program and College Success course prior to starting fall term, gaining a head start to connect with new students, peer mentors, and learn about PSU's resources which are essential to student success. Central themes to this program and course includes exploring cultural identity, establishing community among incoming students, and learning strategies for academic success, such as study skills, time management, money management and effective communication. The college success course is designed specifically to addresses challenges that diverse students sometimes encounter, and will provide an overview of the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully transition to college. Students will: share their educational goals, personal strengths, and cultural perspective; identify areas in which they may need support; and become familiar with support services and resources on campus and within the community.