Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 72.47
Liaison Jenny McNamara
Submission Date March 30, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Portland State University
PA-7: Affordability and Access

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.79 / 4.00 Amanda Wolf
Program + Assessment Coordinator
Campus Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have policies and programs to make it accessible and affordable to low-income students?:

A brief description of any policies and programs to minimize the cost of attendance for low-income students:

PSU has many different opportunities for low-income students to minimize the cost of attendance. Together, financial aid and scholarships make it so that 70% of PSU students receive some sort of financial assistance. PSU also does a lot to raise awareness around our various policies and programs to minimize the cost of attendance. We have multiple publications that address financial aid and scholarships. We also offer programs to share information about financial aid and scholarships with prospective students, especially during our Bridges programs-- open houses for students of color, first generation college students, and low-income students.

Jim Sells Childcare Assistance Program: This program, funded by the Student Incidental Fee, provides subsidies to cover up to 50% of the out-of-pocket cost of childcare for financially eligible students.

Diversity Scholarship Programs: The program promotes diversity and student participation in campus life through volunteerism and academic excellence. Scholarship recipients will share their unique strengths and diverse perspectives through their involvement in on-campus activities, in the classroom and through their participation in community service. The Diversity Enrichment Scholarship is a renewable tuition-remission credit in the amount of 12 undergraduate credits at the resident tuition rate excluding fees (actual amount varies).

This scholarship attracts outstanding students from diverse backgrounds, including racial and ethnic backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in higher education and pursuing their first bachelors degree. The Diversity Enrichment Scholarship gives preferences to those who are/have:
-Oregon residents
-Financial need (federally defined)
-First-generation* college students
* First-generation is defined as neither parent has a 4-year college degree from a U.S. university.

The Access Program is designed to help support students during their first year at Portland State University by providing academic advising, help with identifying and setting academic goals, and referrals to campus and community resources. In addition to these support services, students participated in a college success class. In an attempt to alleviate financial deficiencies Access students receive $1000 in tuition remission per quarter during their first year at Portland State University.

The GANAS program is a year-long support/mentor program designed to help new Latino/a students transition to PSU from high school. Students enrolled in this program will become active members of the campus community and will acquire skills and tools that will lead to continuing success beyond the first year at PSU. Students receive a partial tuition remission per term.

This program accepts 20 new students every year and provides some financial assistance for the first year. All enrolled students receive assistance to actively identify additional financial resources to support their education. Overall the GANAS program provides a variety of services intended to help students adjust to the college environment and achieve their academic goals.

TRiO-SSS Mission
The mission of TRIO programs is to expand educational opportunity to persons often underrepresented in higher education; increase the retention and graduation rates of eligible low income, first generation and disabled students, and to foster an institutional climate supportive of the success for those students through comprehensive services and advocacy.

TRiO-SSS assists students to:
Strengthen academic skills necessary for college level course work through classes and workshops
Connect with cultural and social enrichment activities to find a sense of community
Improve and maintain the GPA necessary to achieve academic goals
Graduate with a Bachelor’s degree
TRiO-SSS can provide you the following services:
-Academic and career advising
-Priority class registration for the following term
-Graduate and professional school counseling
-Financial Literacy (such as loan forgiveness, financial aid application, managing personal budgets)
-Access to our Student Lounge and Quiet Study areas
-FREE printing in our computer lab
-Laptop and calculator loaner programs
-Additional tutoring services including individual writing support
-For credit classes to SSS students at no charge. (Ex. writing, Summer Bridge)
-Scholarship resources and assistance
-Make appropriate referrals to campus and community resources

This past year PSU initiated the outreach program, "Four Years Free" where the university covers the base tuition and fees for all new, full time, Pell Eligible freshman students who have earned a 3.4 high school GPA. The program was applied for the first time in Fall 2017 and over 500 students were enrolled under the program. A similar program for resident transfers was created in 2018, "Transfers Finish Free," which guarantees the university will cover the base tuition and fees of all first time, resident, Pell Eligible students who have a 3.0+ GPA.

A brief description of any programs to equip the institution’s faculty and staff to better serve students from low-income backgrounds:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to guide and prepare students and families from low-income backgrounds for higher education:

Upward Bound
Upward Bound, a college preparation program for high school students, is funded by the U.S. Department of Education. It is a year-round program designed to improve students' academic and study skills in high school, to develop their career and educational plans, and to help them enter and succeed in higher education. Upward Bound serves 81 low income, first generation high school students from the following schools or campuses: Franklin High School, Grant High School, Jefferson Campus, Madison High School, and Benson High School. To date, 95% of our students stay in our program through high school graduation and since 2000, 75% of these students have either graduated from college or are still in college.
All students receive:
-Academic guidance and counseling on a year-round basis
-Daily tutoring in high school courses
-Semester-long courses for high school credit
-A 6-week summer academic program
-Assistance with career and college planning and financial aid
-Opportunities for summer work-study positions (up to $900 for the summer)
-Opportunities to visit colleges and explore careers
-Technology skill-building: web design, photo editing, movie editing, Internet research skills
Upward Bound involves parents:
a. Inform parents about Upward Bound events.
b. Communicate with parents about student participation in Upward Bound activities, especially the tutorial program.
c. Invite parents to participate in and assist with events and activities.
d. Encourage parents to continue their education by taking classes.
e. Ask parents for suggestions for improving Upward Bound curriculum and activities.
Educational Talent Search:
ETS serves 685 students in the Portland and Hillsboro School Districts. A large percentage (over 67%) of our student population is comprised of under-represented ethnic minority students. Since 1993, 92% of our annual high school graduates enroll in college immediately after high school.
(Source: http://www.pdx.edu/dmss/pre-college-programs)

McNair Scholars
The Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program at Portland State University (PSU) works with motivated and talented undergraduates who want to pursue PhDs. It introduces juniors and seniors who are first-generation and low-income, and/or members of under-represented groups to academic research and to effective strategies for getting into and graduating from PhD programs.
(Source: http://www.pdx.edu/mcnair-program/)

Admissions: In support of PSU’s commitment to access, the Office of Admissions serves low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students to educate them on the benefits of higher education, and recruit them to Portland State University. The Admissions Office works with high school students, family members, community based organizations, and community leaders on a regular basis to familiarize them with higher education and the steps to enrollment at PSU. The following is a listing of the activities, events and strategies implemented to increase diversity at PSU.
● Planned and executed “Bridges”, PSU’s visit program for students of color
● Held on-site admissions events in Oregon Public Schools, the vast majority held at Portland Public Schools and focused on underrepresented students.
● Participated in events targeting students of color and their family members in PDX Metro Area
● Planned and executed diversity luncheons for admitted students and family members for students of color
● Planned and executed admitted student reception and new student orientation sessions in Hawaii (Attendees are predominantly students of color)
● Partnered with Hillsboro HS to bring high school students to PSU for years beginning in 2010
● Planned and executed group visits for high school who wanted to bring students to PSU’s campus
● Visited diverse Portland Public high schools at least three times during fall recruitment cycle
● Hosted “Paying for PSU & pizza party family members during Roosevelt HS and Grant HS basketball game to discuss paying for college
● Partnered with MECHA for Educate’ conference. PSU was the exclusive University at conference allowing us to talk about PSU admissions/scholarships. This exclusivity was MECHA’s plan.
● Student ambassadors presented with Admissions Counselors at recruitment events in high schools with high populations of underrepresented students
● Executed variable marketing campaign to students of color in OR who took the SAT/ACT in their senior year
● Improved communication plan for students of color to introduce them to campus programs and services

Through admissions, we have a number of opportunities for parents to learn more about the process of admission and the student's first year at PSU. Most notable among them, PSU hosts a fall and spring visit program (including the Bridges programs) and our regular Orientation programs. There is one family program at orientation for bilingual family members (Spanish) where all content is in Spanish. All of these programs have workshops, panels, and receptions specifically geared toward parents of prospective and incoming students.
● Admissions has a family newsletter for parents of current students.
● All admitted student’s family members receive a “Paying for PSU” brochure and a letter from the President discussing the value of a PSU education.

A brief description of the institution's scholarships for low-income students:

Portland State has a number of scholarships for low-income students. Beyond our general scholarships that are available for all eligible students, we have some specifically geared toward high need and first generation college students. We currently have seven scholarships for student with high financial need with awards from $1,500 to $3,000. In addition we have ten scholarships for first generation college students that award $2000 to $5000.
Portland State offers a wide variety of scholarships to meet the needs of our diverse student body. Some scholarships are based on:
-Financial need
-Diverse and unique backgrounds
-First generation status
(Source: http://www.pdx.edu/scholarships/home)

A brief description of the institution’s targeted outreach to recruit students from low-income backgrounds:

The Bridges programs would be the most obvious example of targeted outreach. Bridges is Portland State University's annual open house for high school students, who are low income, first generation, or from ethnically diverse backgrounds, who are exploring college opportunities. Admitted Student Programs are held in spring for first year students. At these events, a diversity luncheon is hosted where students are introduced to other newly admitted students of color and current PSU students and staff who work in areas that hold programs and have services important to underrepresented, first generation and low income.

PSU also makes a concerted effort to participate in community events where low-income students will be present, such as college fairs and college nights. We also visit high schools around the country. Our counselors are equipped to answer the questions of low income students and their families when they meet them during recruitment.

Bilingual Family Orientation:
Alongside New student Orientation we partnered with Diversity and Multicultural Student Services, Financial Aid, and various campus academic advisers to offer a Bilingual Spanish Orientation for Latino Families on July 8, 2016. This track allowed parents and family members to receive the same information as our English speaking families on how to support their student(s) through their transition to college and how to be successful during their academic careers.

PSU also collaborates with community organizations and student groups to promote outreach. For example, the Black Student Success Summit (BSSS) is co-sponsored by Portland’s Black United Fund and PSU undergraduate admissions. The all day Saturday conference is attended by over 400 African American high school students who participate in workshops led by community leaders and PSU educators. PSU is also collaborating with the Portland Youth Mariachi Festival which, co-sponsored by PSU undergraduate admissions, involves seven high schools. As well the office of the VP for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs (EMSA) continues to support other student outreach conferences such as “Educate,” an outreach program for Latino high school students.

A brief description of the institution’s other policies or programs to make the institution accessible and affordable to low-income students:

We have an Assistant Director of Compliance and Quality Assurance as well as a compliance committee. Our office also maintains compliance with annual assessments and audits to ensure we are maintaining the highest level of equity.

Does the institution have policies and programs to support non-traditional students?:

A brief description of the institution’s scholarships provided specifically for part-time students:

Currently, there are no scholarships or fee remissions that are specifically designed for part-time students. However, some colleges and departments award scholarships to part time and/or non-traditional students. For the 2016 fall term, the university paid out $393,732 to students whose enrollment indicator was less than full time.

A brief description of the institution’s on-site child care facility, partnership with a local facility, and/or subsidies or financial support to help meet the child care needs of students:

Campus Childcare

Little Vikings Drop-In Childcare Center - Provides drop-in, reserved and occasional care for children of students, staff and faculty ages 6 weeks to 12 years. Pay only for the care you need.

ASPSU Children’s Center - PSU’s short and long hourly care for childen of students, staff and faculty ages 12 months to 9 years.

Helen Gordon Child Development Center- PSU’s full-day infant/toddler, preschool and kindergarten program and laboratory, which serves 200 children, aged 4 months to 6 years.

A brief description of the institution’s other policies and programs to support non-traditional students:

Does the institution wish to pursue Part 2 of this credit (tracking accessibility and affordability)? (If data is not available, select 'No'):

The percentage of entering students that are low-income (0-100):

The graduation/success rate for low-income students (0-100):

On average, the percentage of need that was met for students who were awarded any need-based aid (e.g. as reported to the U.S. Common Data Set initiative, item H2) (0-100):

The percentage of students graduating with no interest-bearing student loan debt or for whom no out-of-pocket tuition is required (i.e. the percentage of graduates who have not taken out interest-bearing loans) (0-100):

Estimated percentage of students that participate in or directly benefit from the institution’s policies and programs to support low-income and non-traditional students (0-100):

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Information provided by John Fraire (VP Enrollment Management and Student Affairs)

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.