When Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set out from St. Louis to explore the vast western portion of the Louisiana Purchase, neither of them knew exactly what they were getting into. Their objective was simply to map the territory and find a route leading to the Pacific Ocean, but their journey crossing to the West Coast became much more than a simple surveyor’s adventure. Coins, stamps, pages of textbooks, and granite memorials have memorialized this mission, chronicling their path from the midwest to the mouth of the Columbia River, where they built a fort at the farthest northern point of what would later become the state of Oregon.
Oregon has continuously celebrated the expeditions of 1806, establishing a national park at the site of the fort, holding festivals, and hosting archaeological digs. However, most importantly of all, the spirit that first crossed the state boundaries in the seventeenth century has never left. Oregonians pride themselves on their diverse culture, evidenced in cities such as Portland and Eugene, and natural resources, such as the sublime peak of Mount Hood and the Columbia River. Young Oregonians grow up in a land of opportunity founded by Lewis & Clark years ago and continue to chase their spirits when they go off to college.
Here are some scholarships for Oregon students to explore on the route to higher education:
Deadline: TBD for 2021
Commissioned by the Stand For Children organization, the Beat the Odds Scholarship offers an opportunity for students to succeed despite experiencing numerous roadblocks on their path to higher education. The Stand For Children website, under a headline reading “WHY WE STAND,” posits that Oregon has one of the lower high school graduation rates in the country at 72 percent, a number they strive to significantly increase. The organization believes that “all children deserve an equal opportunity to succeed, and education is the key that unlocks the door to success.”
To help provide this key to those in need, the Beat the Odds scholarship is open to Oregon residents who fulfill the following requirements: cumulative GPA of 3.0, participation in community service, demonstration of financial need, and, in keeping with the scholarship’s name, “succeeded in spite of hardships such as poverty, disability, homelessness, or personal tragedy.” For those who overcome the monumental obstacles in their path, the scholarship offers a financial grant of $2,500, renewable for four years providing the student maintains a 3.0 GPA.
Deadline: April 1
According to the Oregon Forest Industries Council, nearly 30 million acres, almost half the state, of Oregon is made up of forestland. These sprawling forests have historically provided one of the nation’s leading resources of timber, something that continues to this day, with 18% of all lumber coming from the Beaver State.
In order to ensure the industry remains popular in the future, Associated Oregon Loggers, Inc., or AOL, a community of Oregon’s foresters and loggers, provides an annual scholarship for young people looking to enter the field of forestry. The scholarship provides $1,500 to students studying a logging-related major, such as Forest Management, and is renewable for four years for a grand total of $6,000.
Eligible students do not have to be related to an AOL member to apply, but they are required to major in one of the AOL’s approved fields and complete an essay with the prompt “What challenges do you see in the field of logging and what are your views on meeting the challenges?”
Education is vital to the state legislature of Oregon, evidenced by the Oregon Office of Student Access and Completion, the state’s federal student aid branch. Known as OSAC, the office strives to help every deserving Oregon student get a chance at a higher education, regardless of personal background.
To this end, OSAC funds several scholarships per year of varying qualifications. Some are limited to high schools, towns, cities, or majors, while others are broader. In total, OSAC doles out nearly $18 million in scholarship opportunities. For more information, students should visit the online OSAC catalog.
In addition to their various scholarships based on specific qualifiers, OSAC also offers the general Opportunity Grants, their iteration of programs offered in many states across the country. Referred to as “OOGs,” the program’s website claims that they estimate awarding nearly 40,000 students every year.
The grants are open to any student who is an Oregon resident, comes from a household earning less than $70,000 a year, and have been accepted (or are currently attending) at an institution of higher learning in Oregon. Students must fill out the FAFSA form or the Oregon Student Aid Application (ORSAA).
Deadline: March 23, 2020
The musical traditions of Oregon do not follow a straight path, rather; they ebb and flow through the lazy forests like the bends of the Columbia River. In the 1950s, surfer group The Kingsmen adapted a classic blues tune called “Louie Louie,” and spun it into a worldwide hit. At the turn of the century, Elliott Smith transfixed audiences with deeply dark and poetic lyrics until his tragic suicide in 2003. Today, the “hipster” music scene in Portland produces genre-bending artists, case in point the folk-indie-pop-baroque-rockers The Decemberists, among others.
Oregon stands proud as a state that takes the musical norms and casts them aside, opting for their own unique sound. The Oregon Music Hall of Fame, which counts The Kingsmen, Smith, and the Decemberists as inductees, was established in 2007 to continue the Oregonian tradition of music and preserve it for later generations. One such way they accomplish this is through their scholarship program, which offers a financial award for students who exhibit musical talent and serious pursuit of a career in music.
The scholarship is open to Oregon graduating seniors who have been accepted to college and declare as music majors. Those who receive the award get not only a generous financial stipend but also get the honor of performing, sponsored by the OMHOF, at various venues around the state.
Deadline: January 15; February 15
The University of Oregon, located in the college city of Eugene, is known nationwide for its arts and science programs, unique culture, sports teams (the Ducks), and scenic campus. The school has produced senators, quarterbacks, journalists, and CEOs, and continues their culture of success to this day.
Most students at the university come from within the state, leading to a very competitive application process involving young Oregonians clamoring towards the road to Eugene. In order to give special consideration to in-state students, the university recently established a scholarship program, called “PathwayOregon,” for in-state students.
To be eligible, students must qualify for the federal Pell Grant (determined by FAFSA) and be Oregon residents who recently graduated from an in-state high school. The scholarship offers a full ride on tuition, renewable for four years. Applicants must have a high school GPA of at least 3.4, as those with outstanding academic success will be more likely to receive the award. The Pathway program combines academic effort, financial need, and state pride into one scholarship to attend one of the most popular universities in the Pacific Northwest.