FAQ for E3 Need-Based Financial Aid Program | E3 Savings - Oregon Alliance
E3 Savings, Education, Saving, College, Financial Aid, student support,
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What is an IDA?

An Individual Development Account (IDA) is a matched savings account that enables families with limited financial resources to save and build assets. IDAs encourage savings by matching participant deposits, which then are invested in one of the following assets (your E3 IDA can only be used for post-secondary education):

  • Homeownership
  • Small business start-up or expansion
  • Post-secondary education or job training
  • Home rehabilitation or repair
  • Employment-related adaptive equipment, technology or specialized training

IDAs are about more than receiving match money. They are about building skills that will help individuals and their families move up the ladder of self-sufficiency.

Is this a scam?

No! The E3 program may sound too good to be true, but E3 is part of a nationwide asset-building strategy and is funded by state, federal and institutional resources. The 1998 Assets for Independence Act funded IDAs nationwide, and the Oregon IDA Initiative has funded IDAs since 2003. E3’s predecessor, the Matched College Savings Program (MCSP) is well-recognized for its success.
This program is a partnership between CASA of Oregon and The Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges and Universities. Check out stories from 2021-22 and 2022-23 E3 student recipients!

How do I find out if I qualify?

To apply, you must be a full-time undergraduate student at a participating Alliance member institution. To get an official eligibility determination from E3, you must submit a complete application form and the additional required documentation.

How do I demonstrate Oregon residency?

If required, the preferred proof of Oregon residency is a valid Oregon ID, the most recent tax return, utility bill, or other documentation showing an Oregon address.

If I’m considering more than one participating school, do I submit just one application?

Yes, only one application is needed. While you can apply before you have committed to an institution, you won’t be able to secure a spot in the program until you are enrolled at an institution.

Is E3 good through my 4 years of college?

You must reapply and qualify each year you wish to enroll in E3. Note that re-enrollment also depends on continued funding availability, which varies by institution.

What if I earn income from odd jobs, such as babysitting or mowing lawns during the summer? Does that count as income?

Yes! All we need from you is a signed statement that includes the following information: the nature and frequency of work, and the rate and frequency of pay.

How does the match work?

For every $1 of personal savings, participants accrue $6 through E3 funds.

How much money can I deposit in my savings account?

Participants may deposit up to $500 per enrollment year. The frequency and amount of deposits will vary by participant, and will be outlined in the participant’s personalized Savings Plan Agreement. You get to choose the deposit frequency and amount that fits into your household budget. If you save more than $500, the remaining balance will not be matched and you will have to communicate with the bank about withdrawing that.

Do I have to deposit the same amount each month?

No, you are not required to deposit the same amount each month. In fact, you might not deposit on a monthly basis if you choose to make lump sum deposits. However, participants must make sure they are following the plan indicated in the Savings Plan Agreement.

How can E3 funds be used?

Your savings and match may only be used for tuition and approved educational related expenses, and are paid to the participating Alliance member institution you attend.

Do I have to pay taxes on my savings account?

You may need to report interest you earn from your savings. Keep in mind that the financial institution will report the interest you earned.

How does E3 impact my financial aid?

Everyone’s financial aid award is different, and so it is important that you talk to your financial aid office if you have any questions. If it does impact your financial aid, it is likely to lower the amount of loans that you would receive, but will not reduce your Pell Grant or other entitlement grants. Please talk to your financial aid office for more information about your individual case.

If my income goes up, will I be disqualified from the program?

If your income goes up after you’ve already enrolled in the program, you will not be disqualified. However, if you reapply to participate in E3 for an additional year, and this income increase places you over eligibility limits, this will affect your participation.

So, who really controls the money I deposit?

You do. E3 cannot refuse to sign a withdrawal request. However, E3 does decide if your withdrawal is unauthorized, an official emergency withdrawal, or a withdrawal for your savings goal. E3’s decision will affect whether you can receive match funds.

Do I have to go to a designated financial institution to do my banking with E3?

You must open your E3 IDA account with Beneficial State Bank. Conveniently, this account can be primarily managed online. You will be able to open your E3 IDA account only after you have been determined eligible and have submitted a Savings Plan Agreement.

How does the money get withdrawn?

Once you have reached your savings goal ($500), your institution will communicate with E3 to access your IDA funds and apply them towards your student account. You will be eligible to withdraw once you have met the following: it has been 6 months since your first deposit, you have completed your financial education requirements, and you have reached your savings goal.

I’m already enrolled in E3. When and how can I reapply?

If you are interested in re-enrolling in E3 for another year, please check in with your institution about availability. You will be required to re-submit income documentation, and, when applicable, a new application form.