10 Oregon Scholarships to Save You Thousands on College
The state of Oregon has been a leader on social causes for more than a century—it was the first state to back the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote, the first state to implement a “bottle bill” that charges consumers a deposit on certain beverage purchases, and was the first state to decriminalize marijuana. Helping keep Oregon at the forefront of social thought are the state’s excellent colleges and universities, along with the numerous scholarships providing financial support to the talented students attending them.
10 Oregon Scholarships to Save You Thousands on College
Deadline: March 15
Eligibility: Child or widow of a veteran, or the spouse of a disabled veteran
Application Requirements: Transcript, four letters of recommendation, proof of eligibility, and essay
The American Legion Auxiliary Department of Oregon Scholarship provides a one-time award for use at an accredited two- or four-year college to the child or widow of a veteran, or the spouse of a disabled veteran. Applicants must submit an essay responding to the prompt, “How pride in country, community, school, and family directs my daily life.” Winners are chosen using the following criteria:
- Seriousness of purpose
- Financial need
Deadline: February 22
Eligibility: High school seniors enrolled in a Lane County high school who have succeeded in spite of experiencing hardships like poverty, disability, homelessness, personal tragedy, or systemic inequalities
Application Requirements: Minimum 3.0 GPA
The Beat the Odds Scholarship is intended to help Oregon high schoolers understand the value of a college education as well as meet the financial challenges of obtaining a higher education. One in three Oregon children fail to graduate from high school and nearly 40% of the state’s graduates do not go to college. This scholarship prioritizes students whose potential is often overlooked because of qualities like their skin color, zip code, first language, or disability. The award is renewable for up to four years—provided certain academic benchmarks are met—and recipients agree to create a video sharing their accomplishments and how education played a role in achieving them.
Amount: Up to $13,000
Eligibility: Oregon residents planning to attend an eligible Oregon-based post-secondary institution who are the dependents of Oregon state public safety officers who have died or suffered a permanent total disability while on or off duty
Application Requirements: FAFSA
This award provides financial support to Oregon students who are the dependents of state public safety officers who have passed away or suffered a permanent disability. Eligible public safety officers include:
- Corrections officers
- Fire service professionals
- Parole and probation officers
- Police officers
- Reserve officers
- Youth correction officers
The Oregon Deceased or Disabled Public Safety Officer Grant is renewable for up to four years, so long as the recipient makes suitable academic progress.
Deadline: March 1
Eligibility: Oregon residents who graduated from an Oregon high school enrolling as a freshman full-time at an Oregon trade school, community college, college, or university
Application Requirements: Transcript and three short essays
The Oregon College Savings Plan’s Diversity in Leadership Scholarship aims to support underrepresented and diverse students pursuing higher education in the state. Applicants are required to answer three short essays (150 words each) about their experiences. The award is renewable for up to four years, with $10,000 available the first year and $5,000 available the following three years.
Deadline: March 18
Eligibility: Oregon resident who is a high school junior or senior who qualifies for free lunch or SNAP benefits
Application Requirements: Maximum three-minute-long video of an original poem, song, or rap
The Greenfield Peace Scholarship asks young Oregonians to address some of the most pressing issues facing us and become leaders in creating a more healthy, just, and peaceful world. To win this award, applicants must create a video of themselves performing an original poem, song, or rap in response to a prompt. The 2022 prompt is: Half of the US discretionary budget goes to the military every year. How would you spend it instead? In past years, the scholarship committee has accepted written and visual art submissions.
Deadline: March 15
Eligibility: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, or Washington high school seniors planning to attend college or students currently enrolled at a two-year college in one of those states
Application Requirements: Minimum 3.0 GPA and a one-minute long video
This award from the PNACAC isn’t specifically an Oregon scholarship, but is certainly one young Oregonians will want to explore. The PNACAC Scholarship is a one-time award for use at a regionally accredited college or university, which typically includes public two- and four-year colleges/universities, private non-profit colleges/universities, and tribal colleges. Applicants are required to submit a one-minute-long video response to one of the following prompts.
- What would you like to be doing in 10 years, and how does college help you get there?
- How has your college/career counselor, school counselor, or advisor helped you (and/or others) find the right college fit and what would you like to say to them?
Applicants are evaluated on their message, originality, and focus—no fancy cameras, videographers, or editing is necessary.
Deadline: March 18
Eligibility: Oregon high school student committed to attending an Oregon college, university, or trade school
Application Requirements: Essay, two letters of recommendation, and proof of volunteerism
The Oregon Community Leadership Scholarship is provided by the Harrington Family Foundation, an organization established by former University of Oregon and NFL quarterback Joey Harrington in 2002. This need-based scholarship is renewable—provided the applicant meets certain academic criteria—and its total value is $20,000. In addition to financial support, the scholarship also provides mentorship to help guide recipients through their schooling and career.
Amount: $5,000 to $7,500
Deadline: March 23
Eligibility: Graduating seniors from Oregon or Washington planning to enroll full-time at a college or university
Application Requirements: Essay and links to and/or hard copies of creative work
Sub Pop proudly uses the word “loser” to celebrate those who are unabashedly themselves and don’t have any preconceived ideas of “normal.” Through its Loser Scholarship, Sub Pop provides financial support to those it describes as “art-enthused misfits in Pacific Northwest high schools.” Applicants must submit a one-page essay and are strongly encouraged to send in links or hard copies of everything from their community involvement to videos they created to photos they took—the scholarship has never had a winner who did not submit “extras.” Three Loser scholarships are awarded annually—one $7,500 award and two $5,000 awards.
Deadline: March 25
Eligibility: Oregon high school seniors
Application Requirements: One entry of any medium
An awesome scholarship for aspiring artists of any gender, the Oregon Federation of Women’s Clubs Art Scholarship Contest provides $400 for college tuition to its winner. Applicants are required to submit an image of original work in any medium, including oil, watercolor, acrylic, charcoal, pen and ink, pastel, photography, ceramics, pottery, woodwork, or jewelry. Along with their work of art, applicants must also include a short description of their inspiration for the piece. Submissions are judged on their originality, craftsmanship, technique, and presentation.
Deadline: April 15
Eligibility: High school senior enrolled in an OSSA member school district
Application Requirements: Minimum 2.5 GPA, essay, and two letters of recommendation
This scholarship is a great opportunity for Oregon high school seniors attending one of the state’s small schools to earn money for college. As part of the application, students must submit a 300-word essay describing a change they would like to make to the world, how they would plan to make the change, and some of the obstacles they expect to encounter along the way.
Tips on Applying to Scholarships
The cost of college continues to climb—it has increased 169% over the past four decades—which means more and more students are turning to scholarships to help ease the expense of higher education. While increased competition can make winning an award more challenging, there are some steps you can take to improve your odds of earning a scholarship.
Apply for Institutional Aid
Colleges and universities offer significantly more money to students in the form of merit aid—scholarships that are awarded based on academic or extracurricular achievements—than what is granted by other organizations. Colleges grant $175 billion in scholarship money annually compared to just $11 billion in scholarship money granted by other organizations. Before turning your attention to winning an outside scholarship, make sure to maximize the amount of money you can get from the schools themselves.
Because many highly selective schools receive more qualified candidates than they have places for on their campus, they do not offer merit aid (they simply do not have to attract top applicants). However, a large number of great institutions use merit aid to lure desirable students away from other colleges. When building your school list, consider including one or two “safety” schools where your profile is especially strong and you have a good chance of being offered a considerable award.
Ponder a Private School
Private colleges and universities often have more merit aid to award than other types of institutions. Consider that all of the 50 colleges on Collegevine’s list of schools that award the most merit aid in the U.S. are private. There are a handful of reasons why private schools are generous with merit aid, including the need to attract top students, compete on price with public institutions, keep alumni happy, and fill seats that would otherwise be empty.