General Questions about Eligibility and Applying
1. I probably don't qualify for aid. Should I apply for aid anyway?
Yes. Many families mistakenly think they don't qualify for aid and prevent themselves from receiving financial aid by failing to apply for it. In addition, there are a few sources of aid such as Unsubsidized Stafford and PLUS loans that are available regardless of income and assets. The FAFSA form is free.
2. Do I need to be admitted before I can apply for financial aid at a particular university?
No. You can apply for financial aid any time after October 1. However, you must be admitted before your aid eligibility can be reviewed.
3. When can I complete my FAFSA each year?
Good News! The January 1st application date has changed. In previous years, the need analysis process for financial aid used the family's income and tax information from the most recent tax year (the base year) to judge your eligibility for need-based financial aid during the upcoming academic year (the award year). Since the base year ended December 31, you could not submit a financial aid application until January 1.
Effective for the 2017-2018 academic year and moving forward, the FAFSA application is now available October 1st of each year. Beginning with the 2017-2018 FAFSA, students and parents will use their earlier year tax information. By requiring the use of earlier year tax information, students and parents will no longer need to complete the FAFSA based on estimated tax information to then later return to the FAFSA to enter the actual information. Because the tax filing deadline and tax extension deadline will have passed prior to the FAFSA deadline of July 1, all students and parents will have already filed.
4. Do I have to reapply for financial aid every year?
Yes. Federal regulations require that you apply for financial aid every year. If your financial circumstances change, you may get more or less aid. (After your first year you will receive a "Renewal Application" which contains preprinted information from the previous year's FAFSA). Renewal of your financial aid package also depends on your making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree, such as earning a minimum number of credits and achieving a minimum GPA.
5. How do I apply for a Pell Grant and other Federal and State need-based aid programs?
Submit a FAFSA. (The Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
6. Are my parents responsible for my educational loans?
No. (Parents are, however, responsible for the Federal Plus loans). In general you and you alone are responsible for repaying your educational loans.
You do not need to get your parents to cosign your federal student loans, even if you are under age 18. If your parents (or grandparents) want to help pay off your loan, you can have your billing statements sent to their address. Likewise, if your lender or loan servicer provides an electronic payment service, where the monthly payments are automatically deducted from a bank account, your parents can agree to have the payments deducted from their account. But your parents are under no obligation to repay your loans. If they forget to pay the bill on time or decide to cancel the electronic payment agreement, you will be held responsible for the payments, not them.
7. I got an outside scholarship. Should I report it to the financial aid office?
Yes. If you are receiving any kind of financial aid from the university, government sources, or private, you must report the scholarship to the financial aid office.
If you are receiving Federal Aid (including loans), we are required to adjust your financial aid package to compensate. Nevertheless, the outside scholarship will have some beneficial effects.
8. Will I receive the same amount of financial aid every year?
Financial aid offer amounts may vary from year to year, based on changes in a family's financial circumstances and the Georgia College average cost of attendance.
9. If I am planning to graduate in the Fall semester, can I get all my loans for that year in Fall semester?
No. If the students remaining period of study is shorter than the academic year, their loans must be prorated based on the number of hours the student is enrolled in for that semester.
If you have any additional questions, please contact the Financial Aid Office.