1.     What is financial aid?

Financial aid is money awarded to students to help pay educational costs. Most aid programs can be broken down into four basic types:

  • Grants, a type of "gift aid" that usually does not require repayment and which is usually based on financial need;
  • Scholarships, another form of "gift aid" that usually does not require repayment and which can be awarded based on either financial need, or academic or athletic achievement;
  • Loans, which is borrowed money that must be repaid with interest;
  • Employment, part-time work that can be on-campus (through work-study provided by the college) or off campus (a job you found on your own).

The federal government, the state government, and colleges provide financial aid to students. Also, aid is available from many private sources such as civic groups, clubs, religious organizations, and businesses, generally in the form of a limited number or scholarships or loans.

2.    What Federal aid programs are available to students at SGSC?

Federal aid programs available to eligible students at SGSC include:

  •  Federal Pell Grant
  •  Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) 
  •  Federal Work Study
  •  Federal Direct Loan
  •  Federal Direct PLUS Loan

3.    What State aid programs are available to students at SGSC?

State aid programs available to eligible students at SGSC include:

  •  Georgia's HOPE Scholarship
  •  HERO Scholarship
  •  Law Enforcement Personnel Dependents Grant
  •  Georgia Public Safety Memorial Grant
  •  Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship

4.    Does SGSC offer any aid programs to students?

Yes. The South Georgia State College Foundation awards a number of scholarships to eligible students each year. Information regarding these scholarships may be obtained by contacting the Office of College Advancement.

5.    Do any of the Federal or State programs have limited funding?

Yes. The following programs have limited funding each year:

  •  Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  •  Federal Work Study

Due to limited funding, not every eligible student will receive funds from these programs. Students are encouraged to apply early each year in order to improve their chances of receiving funds from these programs.

6.   How is financial need defined?

The U.S. Department of Education defines financial need as the Cost of Attendance (COA) minus the student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The Cost of Attendance is an estimate of the costs to attend a particular school and includes estimates for tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous personal expenses. The student's Expected Family Contribution represents the amount of money a student and his/her family are expected to contribute toward paying those costs and is calculated based on the information provided on the student's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

7.    What is the difference between an "Independent" student and a "Dependent" student?

For the purpose of applying for student aid, a student is considered to be either an "Independent" student or a "Dependent" student. The Department of Education defines an "Independent" student as someone who meets at least one of the following eight criteria: • Is at least 24 years old by December 31st of the first year of the award year covered by the FAFSA;

  •  Already has a Bachelor's degree and is working on a master's or doctorate degree by the beginning of the award year;
  •  Is married;
  •  Has children for whom the student provides more than half of their support;
  •  Has dependents, other than children or a spouse, who receive more than half of their support from the student;
  •  Is an orphan, or is a ward of the court (or was a ward of the court until age 18);
  •  Is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
  •  Currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training
  •  Is an emancipated minor
  •  Is an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or at risk of being homeless.

A student who is determined to be Independent provides information about only himself (and his spouse, if married) when completing the FAFSA. Therefore, only the student's information is used to determine eligibility for financial aid programs. A Dependent student must provide information about himself and his parents when completing the FAFSA. Therefore, eligibility for a Dependent student is based on both the student's and his parents' information.

8.    Can a student to apply as an "Independent" student if they have special circumstances?

It may be possible. Financial aid administrators may approve a dependency override for a student who can document that unusual circumstances exist that should exclude parental information from being provided. The student is required to provide a written explanation for the override in addition to additional information that documents and supports the unusual circumstance. The Department of Education has specifically stated that a parent's refusal to provide information is not considered an unusual circumstance. The Department also does not consider self-supportiveness to be an unusual circumstance. Therefore, an otherwise dependent student who does not live at home with his parents and who has his own job and pays his own bills would still be required to provide information about his parents when completing the FAFSA.

9.    What are the basic eligibility requirements to receive aid from the federal student aid programs?

You must:

  •  Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in an eligible program of study;
  •  Be pursuing a degree or other recognized credential;
  •  Be a U.S. Citizen or an Eligible Non-Citizen;
  •  Be registered with Selective Service (if you are male and are required to be registered);
  •  Not have eligibility suspended or terminated due to being convicted of a drug-related offense;
  •  Have a valid Social Security Number (SSN);
  •  Not be in default on a federal student loan;
  •  Not owe an overpayment of a federal grant or loan funds;
  •  Be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (as defined by the school)

These same eligibility requirements also apply for most state aid programs.

10.   I was considering auditing a class. Will financial aid pay for audits?

No. Students who are considering auditing a class should be aware that audited hours will not count toward enrollment hours for financial aid purposes for either federal or state aid, including HOPE Scholarship.

11.    Are "Institutional Credit" hours eligible for aid?

Institutional credit hours are not eligible for federal student aid, with the exception of Learning Support English, Math, or Reading, and will not be counted in enrollment hours for federal student aid. This exemption also includes the Freshman Orientation Class.

12.    Is there a limit on the number of remedial hours that can be covered by student aid?

Yes. No more than 30 hours of remedial work can be included in enrollment hours for financial aid purposes. At SGSC, remedial work includes Learning Support English, Math, and Reading, courses used to satisfy College Preparatory Curriculum (CPC) deficiencies, and Remedial Test Preparation courses. If you must enroll in remedial hours in excess of the 30 hour limit, those additional hours will not be included in your future enrollment hours for financial aid purposes.

Other Questions:

Frequently Asked Questions about HOPE

Frequently Asked Questions about Financial Aid Programs