Loans & Grants
There's a wealth of financial aid programs available to our students – and loans and grants are two of those options. Of course, there's a key difference in the two – loans are aid that must be repaid while grants are a form of aid that does not have to be repaid.
Review the list below to become familiar with the loans and grants that are available and learn about their requirements.
FEDERAL DIRECT LOANS
Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans are offered by the Department of Education by completing the FAFSA. First-time borrowers are required to complete their Master Promissory Note and Loan Entrance Counseling at www.studentloans.gov before funds will be released. Exit interviews are also required when the student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time or upon program completion. A certificate program must have a minimum of 16 credit hours to be eligible for federal student aid. You can find more information at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/subsidized-unsubsidized.
FEDERAL SUBSIDIZED STAFFORD LOAN
This program offers long-term, low-interest loans to students who demonstrate financial need. Students are required to repay all student loans. Student’s must be enrolled at least half-time (6 credit hours) to be eligible for this loan. The federal government pays the interest while the student is in school and repayment is deferred while the student is enrolled at least half-time. Students receive a six-month grace period after separation from school or if attending less than half-time before repayments begin. There are limits on the amount in subsidized loans that you may be eligible to receive each academic year (annual loan limits) and the total amounts that you may borrow for undergraduate and graduate study (aggregate loan limits). The actual loan amount you are eligible to receive each academic year may be less than the annual loan limit. These limits vary depending on what year you are in school and whether you are a dependent or independent student.
Effective July 1, 2013
If you are a first-time borrower on or after July 1, 2013, there is a limit on the maximum period of time (measured in academic years) that you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans.
- Students are eligible for a subsidized student loan for up to 150 percent of their program length. This time frame includes any prior course work. For example:
- Students who are enrolled into an eligible certificate and diploma program that is one year in length are eligible to receive Federal Subsidized Stafford loan for a maximum period of 1.5 years, including any prior coursework.
- Students who are enrolled into an associate degree program are eligible to receive Federal Subsidized Stafford loan for a maximum period of 3 years, including any prior coursework.
FEDERAL UNSUBSIDIZED STAFFORD LOAN
This program has the same rules as the Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan except that this loan accrues interest over the life of the loan. In addition, students do not need to demonstrate financial need to receive this loan. Students receive the same deferred payment benefit while maintaining at least half-time enrollment (6 credit hours). Interest compounds each semester and is added to the principal balance. Students may choose to pay the interest each quarter. There are limits on the amount in unsubsidized loans that you may be eligible to receive each academic year (annual loan limits) and the total amounts that you may borrow for undergraduate and graduate study (aggregate loan limits). The actual loan amount you are eligible to receive each academic year may be less than the annual loan limit. These limits vary depending on what year you are in school and whether you are a dependent or independent student.
GEORGIA HOPE GRANT AND SCHOLARSHIP
If you are a Georgia resident, you may be eligible for this program if you meet the educational requirements. Click here for details.
The HOPE Program pays a significant portion of your tuition and does not need to be repaid. Full-time enrollment is not a requirement. This program is not based on financial need. For more information, visit the Georgia Student Finance Commission.
Georgia has funded a new, need-based, low-interest Student Access Loan - Technical (SALT) for technical college students. SALT, which is administered through the Georgia Student Finance Authority, will be awarded in amounts between $500 and $4,000, depending on need. Click here for more information and eligibility information and visit the Georgia Student Finance Commission.
FEDERAL PELL GRANT
The Federal Pell Grant is available to you if you demonstrate financial need according to federal guidelines established by the Department of Education. A full Pell award is $5,775 for the 2015-2016 award year. This amount may change in future academic years. This award does not have to be repaid. The amount you get will depend on:
- Financial need,
- Cost of attendance,
- Status as a full-time or part-time student, and
- Plans to attend school for a full academic year or less.
Some requirements for the Pell Grant are:
- You may not have earned a baccalaureate degree
- You must be accepted into an eligible program (diploma or associates degrees and most certificates)
You may not receive Federal Pell Grant funds from more than one school at a time.
For more information on the Federal Pell Grant, click here.
FEDERAL SUPPLEMENTAL EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY GRANT (SEOG)
You may be eligible for an SEOG in the amount of $250 to $750 per academic year if you can demonstrate exceptional financial need. SEOG funds are extremely limited, so students are strongly encouraged to complete their FAFSA early each year. This award does not have to be repaid. Some requirements for receiving the SEOG are:
- You may not have earned a baccalaureate degree
- You must be enrolled in a diploma or associate's degree program
- You must be attending a minimum of half-time
For more information on the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, click here.
LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL DEPENDENTS GRANT
This grant is available to children of Georgia law enforcement officers, fire fighters and prison guards who have been permanently disabled or killed in the line of duty. This award is $2,000 per academic year and does not need to be repaid. This grant is not based on financial need.