Low-income students who live in Oregon and transfer to Portland State may now be able to graduate debt-free, according to an announcement from PSU President Rahmat Shoureshi on Wednesday, Feb. 7.
Beginning Fall 2018, the Transfers Finish Free program will cover tuition and fees for up to 15 credits per term for a maximum of four academic years. Oregon resident students who qualify for the federal Pell Grant and enroll at PSU full-time with a 2.5 or greater unweighted GPA can apply to the program. Students can keep program benefits as long as they enroll full-time at PSU with at least a 2.0 GPA.
“PSU is an [accessible] institution that creates opportunities for students to obtain a valuable college education to open up career opportunities,” Shoureshi said in a statement. “Transfers Finish Free will make it easier for eligible transfer students—who are the majority of PSU’s student body—to attend the university without struggling to find funds to cover tuition.”
The program mirrors PSU’s Four Years Free program, which kicked off in Fall 2017. Roughly 492 in-state PSU freshman enrolled in the program at the beginning of the year, and some of whom may not have considered attending a four-year university without transferring from a community college.
PSU Vice President for enrollment management and student affairs John Fraire said in a statement the success of Four Years Free “has generated demand for additional programs to help increase access for transfer students.” Fraire added, “Transfers Finish Free is our answer to helping [more] low-income community college students attend PSU.”
This year PSU also enrolled a record freshman class, which included an increase in racial diversity. Fraire said this was the result of the admissions department reaching out to more students living in Oregon and the Portland Metro area.
Fraire stated that he hopes Four Years free will draw even more students to PSU by incentivizing Oregonian college students to get good grades so they can qualify to finish their degrees debt-free.
Diana Jimenez Alcala, a new PSU student who recently transferred from Portland Community College said, “with this program I can completely immerse myself in my studies.”
Students will have to accept and use all federal and state grants to pay for tuition before PSU pays for the remainder. Neither program pays for housing or living expenses, so students might still have to work outside of their full-time course load.
Interested transfer students must apply to PSU and submit their Free Application for Federal Student Aid by July 1 and submit their final transcript by Aug. 1.