Four Years Free Policy

Four Years Free (4YF) is an institutional aid program that covers standard tuition and mandatory fees for eligible Oregon high school graduates who enroll full-time. Initial awards are calculated at 15 credit hours per term and the amount is finalized at the end of the second week of the term when registration closes.

Four Years Free covers standard tuition and mandatory fees for the lesser of four academic years or the completion of graduation requirements, and may only be used for standard academic terms (fall, winter, spring) and may NOT be used for housing, meal plans, books or personal expenses.

Certain academic programs have differential costs associated with their programs beyond standard tuition and mandatory fees. This list includes but is not limited to: The School of Business, Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science, College of the Arts, Honors College, online courses and programs such as Criminology and Criminal Justice Online. Student are responsible for paying additional charges.

4YF is only awarded to first-time incoming students and is not awarded to current/continuing PSU students under any circumstance. 4YF is only open to undergraduate students. Postbaccalaureate and graduate students are not eligible to receive 4YF. Four Years Free does not cover the cost of tuition and fees for students who study abroad while enrolled at PSU.


To qualify for Four Years Free, students must meet the deadlines listed below.

June 15:

  • Deadline to submit undergraduate application for fall term
    • There is no separate application for Four Years Free. Eligibility is determined based on information submitted during the undergraduate admission and financial aid application processes.
  • Deadline to submit FAFSA to the U.S. Department of Education

August 1:

  • Deadline to submit final official high school transcripts as well as any other official transcripts reflective of course work taken prior to enrollment at PSU
  • Deadline to add PSU to the FAFSA (PSU school code: 003216)
  • Deadline to submit any outstanding financial aid application documents
  • Accept all state and federal grants*

*Students who can't meet the August 1st deadline for accepting state and federal grants must notify the PSU admissions office by August 1st.


To qualify for Four Years Free, students must meet all the criteria listed below.

  1. Current legal resident of Oregon
    1. Applicants who reside out-of-state must meet university residency requirements by August 1, are still expected to graduate from an Oregon high school, and may be asked to provide documentation of their legal residence in-state to receive Four Years Free.
  2. Graduate from an Oregon high school
  3. Admissible to PSU as a first-year freshmen starting in fall term
    1. Students applying to Portland State to earn a first bachelor’s degree with either no college credit or college credit earned before high school graduation will be reviewed for admission as a freshman student. Students with 29 or fewer transferable college quarter credits earned after high school graduation will be reviewed for admission as a freshman student. Students who accumulate 30 or more transferable quarter credits (20 semester credits) after high school are considered transfer applicants and are not eligible for Four Years Free.
      1. Students who have enrolled in and completed college coursework during high school may be eligible to receive Four Years Free funding.
      2. Students who have earned college credit from PSU to satisfy high school graduation requirements while enrolled in high school may be eligible for 4YF. Official high school transcripts must demonstrate that PSU courses were used to satisfy graduation requirements. 
      3. Students may be eligible Four Years Free if they complete college coursework the summer term following high school graduation and immediately preceding fall term enrollment at PSU. If such coursework is to be completed at PSU it must be on a non-degree-seeking basis and students are encouraged to notify a PSU admissions counselor.
    2. Applicants who initially applied to start in terms other than fall may change their start term to fall on or before the May 1 deadline to be considered for Four Years Free.
    3. Need-based aid such as 4YF is not deferred for students who choose to take a gap year before enrolling at PSU. Students are considered for need-based aid on an annual basis and must meet eligibility criteria for the same aid-year as the year in which they intend to enroll at PSU.
    4. Carpe Diem students may be eligible for 4YF, but must apply for fall term admission to PSU, and meet all other eligibility requirements.
  4. Eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  5. Enroll full-time at PSU (12 to 15 credits per term), including online academic programs
    1. Summer enrollment is not included in this program.
    2. Part-time students are not eligible to receive Four Years Free and must submit a Revision Request Form to Financial Aid if they are interested in enrolling full-time.

This is no longer a requirement effective for fall 2021 applicants and forward: Have a 3.0 cumulative unweighted high school GPA

  1. Applicants must meet the 4YF academic requirements no later than August 1 to receive 4YF. Students are required to submit final, official high school transcripts by August 1 for all courses taken through the spring term preceding their enrollment at Portland State.
  2. Home-schooled students must be enrolled in an accredited program that complies with Oregon Department of Education graduation requirements, and that issues a standard GPA for its graduates.
  3. Applicants who did not graduate from high school, but completed a High School Equivalency exam (GED, HiSET or TASC), are not eligible for 4YF, but may be considered for general admissions to Portland State.
  4. Applicants who have attended an accredited high school that does not confer traditional letter grades may not be eligible for 4YF. To be considered, students must request communication be sent directly from their Registrar to stating an official cumulative GPA. Transcripts containing “keys” to calculate an official GPA are insufficient; the conferring institution must communicate a student’s official GPA directly to PSU. It is the applicant’s responsibility to request this communication. Portland State’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions will review all submitted coursework and notify students of their eligibility for 4YF consideration.

Awarding Process

Eligible applicants are automatically considered for, and awarded, Four Years Free after being admitted to the university. Students are notified of their award by email and/or in their financial aid award. Initial awarding is based on information and documentation provided by the student in the admission process, receipt of the award is based on submission of final financial aid and academic documents.

Accepting and Receiving Four Years Free

Four Years Free eligibility is finalized based on documentation submitted to Financial and Admissions by the August 1 deadline. In order to receive Four Years Free students must do the following could risk forfeiture of Four Years Free but may not affect admission to Portland State:

  • Remain eligible for Four Years Free between initial awarding and submission of final required documentation
  • Submit any outstanding financial aid documents and academic records by August 1
  • Accept all federal and state grants and scholarships by August 1
  • Submit the FAFSA to PSU by August 1
  • Submit tuition deposit or enrollment confirmation form to PSU no later than August 1

Maintaining Four Years Free

Once enrolled, students must:

  • Maintain status as an Oregon resident and undergraduate student
  • Complete the FAFSA each year by February 1 to renew eligibility for the following school year
  • Remain eligible for, and receive, federal Pell Grant funds each year
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 for overall attempted credits and continue to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
    • If a student fails to meet SAP, they will retain the ability to qualify for 4YF in succeeding terms during which they satisfy SAP requirements, however, the 4-year renewal period will not be extended.
  • Enroll full time (12 or more PSU undergraduate credits, courses numbered 100-499) each standard academic term (fall, winter, spring)
    • Students who enroll in less than 12 credits prior to census date (end of week 4 during an academic term) will lose 4YF eligibility for that term and will have their institutional aid adjusted accordingly based on the total number of credits attempted. Students retain the ability to qualify for 4YF in succeeding terms during which they enroll full time.
    • Once students matriculate to PSU, co-enrollment credit hours from other institutions may not be used to satisfy the requirement to enroll full time each term.
    • If circumstances require an enrolled student to be away from PSU for a term or more, and they have previously maintained PSU’s Satisfactory Academic Progress, they will retain their eligibility to receive 4YF funds upon re-enrollment. Students must still meet all 4YF eligibility requirements, however, the 4-year renewal period will not be extended.
  • Keep address current and updated in their student account (Banweb)