TYPES OF FINANCIAL AID
There are various types of financial aid available from federal, state, and institutional, and private foundations that are available to assist you in funding your college education. The types of available financial aid are categorized by grants, loans, and work-study.
Grants are generally awarded based on demonstrated financial need, as determined by the result of the FAFSA, and do not have to be repaid. Grants are available at federal and state sources.
Federal Pell Grant is a federal, need-based grant awarded to undergraduate students pursuing their first undergraduate bachelor’s degree. The award amount is based on the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the FAFSA. There is a 6 year lifetime limit on receiving Pell Grant. Students who have previous college attendance can view their remaining Pell Grant eligibility at the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), www.nslds.ed.gov.
Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant is a federal grant awarded to undergraduate students who are not Pell-eligible whose parent or guardian died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after 9/11. Recipients must be under 24 years old or enrolled at least part-time at the time of the parent’s or guardian’s death.
Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is a grant available to Pell eligible students with exceptional financial need. Funding in this program is limited so funds are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The State of Georgia provides grant assistance to its citizens who meet the state residency requirements. For most State programs, recipients must have resided in Georgia for 12 months or more. Some programs may require up to 24 months before qualifying.
HOPE Scholarship is a non-need-based scholarship awarded to Georgia residents who graduated from a Georgia high school with a 3.0 grade point average in specific academic courses—English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Foreign language. Final eligibility is determined by the Georgia Student Finance Commission. HOPE Scholarship recipients are evaluated annually at the end of the spring semester and after the semester in which the student attempts his/her 30th, 60th, and 90th attempted hours. A HOPE Scholar can lose and regain eligibility for the HOPE Scholarship only one time. The HOPE Scholarship Program may be received, if otherwise eligible, for up to a 127 attempted-hour limit or the attainment of a bachelor’s degree, whichever should occur first.
Georgia Tuition Equalization Grant is awarded to Georgia residents who are attending a private college or university in Georgia as a full-time student. The Georgia Tuition Equalization Grant may be received, if otherwise eligible, for up to a 127 attempted-hour limit or the attainment of a bachelor’s degree, whichever should occur first.
Scholarships are available for online students and are based on academic, leadership, and Christian character. Scholarship recipients must maintain good standing with the University and the applicable grade point average to retain their scholarships. Learn more.
Private scholarships are available from organizations and foundations, both corporate and nonprofit. Many are awarded based on a student’s ethnicity, religious background, and career aspirations. There are free scholarship search engines available on the web to aid students in scholarship searches such as www.fastweb.com or www.scholarship.com.
Loans are the only source of financial aid that must be repaid. The U.S. Department of Education provides both need-based and non-need-based loan assistance to students and their parents. The largest loan program is the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, which is composed of a Direct Subsidized Loan, Direct Unsubsidized Loan, and Direct PLUS Loan.
A Direct Subsidized Loan is available to students pursuing an undergraduate degree who demonstrate financial need to help with the cost of higher education. The Department of Education pays the accruing interest on a subsidized loan while the student is enrolled at least half-time, during the six months after leaving school, and during periods of deferment. A Direct Unsubsidized Loan is available to undergraduate students regardless of financial need. Interest does accrue on a Direct Unsubsidized Loan while the student is enrolled in school and during deferments. There is an annual loan limit on a subsidized or unsubsidized loan based on the student’s classification. Freshmen may borrow up to $5,500 with no more than $3,500 in a subsidized loan; sophomores may borrow up to $6,500 with no more than $4,500 in a subsidized loan, and junior and seniors may borrow up to $7,500 with no more than $5,500 in a subsidized loan.
There is a limit on the maximum period of time that you can receive a Direct Subsidized Loan. This limit is 6 years for a student pursuing a bachelor’s degree and 3 years for a student pursuing a two-year associate degree program. In addition to annual loan limits and subsidized loan limits, there are lifetime loan limits under the Federal Direct Loan Program. These limits are $31,000 for dependent students and $57,500 for independent students. Students who have previous college attendance can view their remaining loan eligibility at the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), www.nslds.ed.gov.
A Direct PLUS Loan is available to the parents of a dependent student to help pay for educational expenses not covered by financial aid. Unlike Direct Loans, a Direct PLUS Loan requires a credit check to qualify. If the parent borrower qualifies, he/she can borrow up to the cost of attendance less financial aid. If the borrower doesn’t qualify, a credit-worthy co-signor can be added to the loan for approval, or the borrower’s dependent student may borrow additional Unsubsidized Loan funds up to $4,000-$5 000 annually based on classification.