Freshmen flock to PSU for ‘4 Years Free’ plan

26.5% jump in full-time freshmen over one year ago at PSU

Portland State University, April 8, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)
Portland State University, April 8, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — There are more freshmen than ever on Portland State University’s campus, and officials believe they know what the major reason is.

PSU’s 4 Years Free initiative.

This plan covers tuition and fees for qualified Oregon high school students entering PSU as a freshman. There are requirements and qualifications, though.

An applicant must live in Oregon and have graduated from an Oregon high school, enter PSU as a freshman in the fall, have a high school unweighted GPA of 3.4 or better, enroll full-time for 12 to 15 credits per term and be eligible to get a Pell grant.

On the campus at Portland State University, Nov. 25, 2015 (KOIN)
On the campus at Portland State University, Nov. 25, 2015 (KOIN)

If an applicant meets those qualifications and gets into the program, it will continue for 12 consecutive terms as long as the student maintains a 2.0 GPA or better and remains eligible for Pell grants.

PSU officiails said this year there were 2015 freshmen (full- and part-time), an 8% increase from the year before. There were 1216 full-time resident freshmen at PSU this year, which is up 26.5% from the previous year. And of those full-time freshmen, PSU officials said 494 were fully covered in the program.

“I think another strength and advantage is it also gave high school guidance counselors and school officials a tool in which to engage and talk to students how to understand the cost of going to college,” said John Friare, VP of enrollment.

Full-time freshmen can also take advantage of the PSU 4-Year Degree Guarantee, which provides students with counseling and classes to get a degree within 4 years. And if a student doesn’t get the degree in that time, PSU will cover tuition for any remaining classes.

Overall there are 27,305 students enrolled at PSU. By contrast, the University of Oregon had 23,364 in 2016, while Oregon State University had an overall fall enrollment in 2016 of 31,303.