Grants, Loans, & Where to Start
Where do I start?
Financial aid (loans, scholarships, grants) is available for all Verto Education semester. If you are eligible to receive financial aid, you’ll need to be enrolled at Portland State University. We’ve compiled a few resources here to help guide you through the financial aid process. Below you’ll find information on accessing financial aid, grants, scholarships, loans, and a few other sources of funding.
We know the financial aid process can often feel overwhelming so, please feel free to call our office if you need assistance.
General Overview of FAFSA
Am I eligible for Financial Aid?
You’ll need to submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to find out. The FAFSA instructions will guide you through the process. As you complete the form you’ll determine, for example, whether you need to provide parent information, who counts as a member of your household, and whether you need to report assets. Your information will be used to calculate an Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is an index that schools use to determine your financial aid eligibility. At the end of the FAFSA form, it will ask you which colleges or universities you want it sent to. You will want to have it sent to every school you’re considering attending next year, including PSU. PSU’s Federal School Code is 003216.
How does PSU determine financial aid eligibility?
PSU will subtract your EFC, adjusted for length of the Verto Education semester, from a Cost of Attendance calculated specifically for that program. The difference will be your federally defined ‘need.’ PSU can then award the financial aid for which you qualify based on that level of need.
What types of assistance might I be eligible for?
Federal Pell Grant: Never needs to be paid back, and awarded to students who have the lowest Expected Family Contributions.
Federal Direct Loan: Subsidized (need-based) and unsubsidized (non-need-based) low-interest federal loans. Dependent freshmen can borrow up to $5,500 per year; loan amounts increase during the sophomore and junior years, and independent students can borrow higher amounts. Several repayment plans are available.
Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan: This is a loan that credit-worthy parents can apply for to help pay the cost of education for their dependent undergraduate children. Parents can apply for these loans at www.studentloans.gov. PSU will receive and process applications for eligible applicants. The funds will come to PSU to pay toward the students’ charges. Parents may apply for up to the student’s Cost of Attendance minus the financial aid that the student will receive.
Important Things to Know Before Applying
Portland State University has a minimum GPA requirement of 3.0. Since Verto’s FAFSA is provided through PSU, if you plan to use FAFSA to fund your Verto semester and you are below a 3.0 GPA, PSU will need to holistically review your application.
After you apply, you will receive instructions for additional documents needed for holistic review. This includes prompts for a writing sample and an additional letter of recommendation. We cannot guarantee admission into PSU.
Steps to Apply
- Find out how much aid are you eligible for. Log-in to your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and/or check with your home institution to see how much aid you qualify for. TIME REQUIREMENT: 30 – 60 minutes. PROCESSING TIME: 4-8 weeks
- Apply to Portland State University as a ‘Freshman – Undergraduate’. Request the fee deferral option and Verto Education will cover the application fee once you deposit. TIME REQUIREMENT: 30 minutes. PROCESSING TIME: 3-4 weeks.
- After acceptance to PSU, you must add PSU to your existing FAFSA (Federal School Code 003216) or list PSU on your new FAFSA application. TIME REQUIREMENT: 5 minutes. PROCESSING TIME: 3-4 Weeks.
- Verto Education then submits a budget to PSU Financial Aid for the cost of the program/funds you will need.
- Watch your @pdx.edu email and follow any instructions.
- PSU will notify you of your award. Make sure you log into BanWeb to accept the award(s). Tip: Think about how much you need, and borrow as little as possible to reduce future debt.
- Log into BanWeb and set your “refund preferences” to direct deposit so your aid gets sent to you. You must do this at least two weeks prior to the start of PSU’s term, or the release of your funds will be delayed.
- Once your aid is disbursed (“refunded”) to you, work with Verto Education to pay your account balance.
- Sign a FERPA Waiver through PSU.
- Enjoy an amazing experience on a semester with Verto Education!
*You will more than likely have made the initial enrollment deposit to Verto Education before your confirmation for receiving financial aid. In the event of there being a problem or time complication that results in your not being eligible for financial aid, and we cannot find an alternative financing solution that works for you, the deposit can be refunded up to 45 days before the first day of the term.
– This process means becoming a full-time student at PSU taking at least 12-quarter credits for the term. Once you are formally admitted and have filed the FAFSA listing PSU as one of your schools, PSU will be able to determine your financial aid eligibility. While it can take some work and patience, the funding can be well worth the time spent.
1 semester credit = 1.5 quarter credit. For example: 16 semester credits = 24 quarter credits.
– You will still receive PSU credit for your Verto Education experience without going through this application process. You should only go through the following steps towards Freshman – Undergraduate Admission status if you are a) eligible to receive financial aid; and, b) want to receive it.
– To allow adequate time to review your FAFSA data, the earlier you apply for financial aid, the better. That means getting the process started ASAP once you know that you want to study with Verto! Let us know. We’ll help you.
– Once you use financial aid, your continued eligibility for federal financial aid will be affected. Though each situation is unique, using financial aid towards Verto Education may limit the availability of some types of federal assistance in the future. For example, Federal Pell Grants can only be used for the equivalent of 6 years of full-time enrollment.
– Your level of federally defined need determines the amount of money you receive, and, while we will do everything possible to make your study abroad experience affordable, we do not make the financial aid determination. That means that the Expected Family Contribution largely drives your financial aid eligibility
– Programs: Ideally, if you apply and are admitted to PSU the fall prior to your spring semester, you will be eligible for grants and loans for two-quarters, maximizing your funds. Again, apply early! Note: Financial aid is determined by PSU for the terms you actually enroll.
– Lastly: While you will be admitted to PSU as a degree-seeking student while you are enrolled in Verto Education, this will not affect your standing as a student at your other school. You should let that school know about any financial aid that you received from PSU. If you decide to continue at PSU afterward, we’ll be happy to make the transition easy for you! You don’t even have to transfer your PSU credits to another university.
Still Have Questions?
PSU Office of Admissions
PSU Office of International Affairs