FAQ

Q: How do I apply for Federal aid at Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW)? 
Q: What is the deadline for submitting my FAFSA? 
Q: What is GSW's school code that is required on the FAFSA? 
Q: I completed my FAFSA in March and received my Student Aid Report in April. Do I wait until I hear from you?
Q: Now that I have completed my FAFSA, what happens? 
Q: What is Verification? 
Q: Who is selected for verification? 
Q: How will I know if I was selected for verification? 
Q: What documents does GSW need to complete verification and what is verified? 
Q: Tips for saving time with the verification processing.
Q: How do I apply for a HOPE Scholarship? 
Q: Who determines HOPE eligibility for new students? 
Q: Why does it take so long to have my academic transcript evaluated for HOPE if I am a transfer student? 
Q: When will you check my GPA for HOPE? 
Q: How much can I borrow on a Stafford Loan? 
Q: My parents did not claim me on their tax returns this year. Can I file my FAFSA as an Independent Student? 
Q: Why wouldn't you tell my parents what kind of aid I had received? 
Q: How can I get a scholarship? 
Q: What records will I need to apply for financial aid? 
Q: Should I send in my tax forms and other paperwork before you ask for it? 
Q: What does it mean when you say I am not making SAP? 
Q: My academic transcript indicates that I am in good standing and I received a letter stating I am not making SAP. How could this be? 
Q: What happens if I receive aid and I later withdraw from school? 
Q: How do I arrange repayment of a loan? 
Q: What will it cost me to attend? 
Q: What kind of changes should I report? 
Q: What if I, my spouse, or my guardians lost my/their job or had a significant decrease in income since last year's taxes? 
Q: Where do I go for more information? 
Q: Why is it when I try calling your office I can never get through? 
Q: Where do I go if I have a complaint?
Q: How do I apply for Summer Financial Aid?
Q: What do I need to do if I have been flagged to sign a Statement of Educational Purpose by the Department of Education? 
Q: What does it mean if I am in Default on a loan?
Q: How can I get a tax return transcript fast?

Q: How do I apply for Federal aid at Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW)? top
A: All it takes at GSW to apply for Federal aid is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA.) Certain types of aid, usually loans, do require additional acceptance AFTER you have been awarded, but only the FAFSA is required to determine eligibility.

Q: What is the deadline for submitting my FAFSA? top
A: priority deadline to have your application RECEIVED BY THE FEDERAL PROCESSOR is April 15th.

Q: What is GSWs school code that is required on the FAFSA? top
A: At one point during your application you will be asked which schools you want your application to be forwarded to. If you do not list Georgia Southwestern State University, we will NOT receive your application and your awarding process may be seriously delayed. Be sure to list Georgia Southwestern State University along with your appropriate housing choice. Our school code is: 001573

Q: I completed my FAFSA in March and received my Student Aid Report in April. Do I wait until I hear from you? top
A: ABSOLUTELY NOT. You should make sure that we have received the electronic version of your Student Aid Report by calling us or coming by. If we don't know you have applied, we will not contact you.

Q: Now that I have completed my FAFSA, what happens? top]
A: Once you have completed your FAFSA and indicated that you want your information to go to Georgia Southwestern State University, we will receive your application information electronically. If we need any additional documentation from you, we will update your RAIN account. Once you have turned in any requested documents, we will offer you an award package. If you are awarded Grants and Scholarships you need do nothing to accept. If you are awarded Wok Study you must visit the Financial Aid Office for an assignment. If you are offered a loan you must accept or decline the loan through your ‘RAIN’ account. Your online acceptance will initiate the financial aid office to process the loan on your behalf. All Direct Loan borrowers must complete a new Master Promissory Note. All first time borrowers are required to complete both Loan Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note.

Q: What is verification? top]
A: Verification is the process by which schools review student financial aid applications for accuracy. Institutions that participate in Federal Title IV aid programs are required to perform verification on a selection of students. Verification is done by collecting the documents the student used to complete the FAFSA and comparing them with the information the student provided on the FAFSA. You will not be able to receive financial aid until the verification process is complete. To receive maximum consideration as quickly as possible for aid such as grants, work study, and loans you must turn in all documents. 
Please submit all verification paperwork directly to the Financial Aid Office for processing. If you wish, you may fax information to our office. Fax Number: (229-931-2061).

Q: Who is selected for verification? top
A: Approximately 30% of financial aid applications are selected for verification by the U.S. Department of Education. Georgia Southwestern State University also reserves the right to select a student for verification. Students typically are selected for verification for the following reasons: FAFSA appears to contain inconsistent information, student used estimated tax return information, or the student was randomly selected.

Q: How will I know if I was selected for verification? top]
A: If you are selected for verification, you will find out in a couple of ways:
When you receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) from the Department of Education, you will see a comment stating "Your FAFSA has been selected for a review process called verification. Your school has the authority to collect certain financial documents from you. 
Once our financial aid office receives your processed FAFSA, Unsatisfied Requirements will be updated on your RAIN account indicating what information and documents are needed. After all requested information is submitted to the financial aid office, your file will be reviewed. If you are an independent student, you will need to complete the independent verification form. If you are a dependent student, you will need to complete the dependent verification form. 
If the financial aid office has further questions regarding your file, you will be contacted for additional clarification or document requests. It is your responsibility to respond to these requests. If you do not turn in the required information, your file will be held until all unsatisfied requirements are met and/or the information has been received. You are encouraged to contact the financial aid office at any time. Your RAIN and RADAR accounts are our first line of communication.

Q: What documents does GSW need to complete verification and what is verified? top]
A: Verification Form [must be signed by student and parent (if required)] which verifies: 
Family Size (as defined on the FAFSA) 
Number of College Students (at least half-time pursuing a degree in student's household) 
Untaxed income of student, spouse (if required), parent (if required) 
Untaxed income may include child support received, untaxed interest and dividends, payments to tax deferred savings and pension plans, etc. 
Taxable financial aid received by student 
Child support paid by student, spouse (if required), parent(s) (if required) 

Signed Federal Income Tax Return [for student, spouse (if required), parent(s) (if required)] which verifies: 
Adjusted Gross Income 
Taxes Paid 
Tax-exempt interest 
Untaxed IRA Distributions/Deductions 
Untaxed pensions and annuities 
Keogh retirement plan and self-employed SEP 
Education Tax Credits

Q: Tips for saving time with verification processing? top]
A: During the verification process, the financial aid office compares information you submitted on the FAFSA to information you provided on the verification worksheet and financial documents. It is important to know that if the information you provided on the FAFSA is accurate, you should complete the verification worksheet with the same information. You can view the information you put on the FAFSA by retrieving your Student Aid Report (SAR) from the U.S. Department of Education. You can access your SAR at www.fafsa.ed.gov. If the information on the FAFSA does not match the verification documents, a correction must be processed. This will delay the processing of your financial aid. 

When completing the verification requirements be sure to: 
Complete all sections of the Verification Worksheet 
Sign the Verification Worksheet 
Sign all tax returns being submitted (Student, Spouse, Parent) 
Keep copies of all documents you turn into the financial aid office 
Include your GSW Student ID or social security number on all forms you turn in to the financial aid office

Q: How do I apply for a HOPE Scholarship? top
A: Effective Summer 2013 all students applying for HOPE and/or ZELL must complete the FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov.   Other types of state aid may require a separate application form online at: www.GACollege411.org, in addition to the FAFSA requirement.

Q: Who determines HOPE eligibility for new students? top
A: Effective Summer 2007, for new students just out of high school, the HOPE GPA will be determined by the Georgia Student Finance Commission. The Commission informs the University of your eligibility electronically.

Q: Why does it take so long to have my academic transcript evaluated for HOPE if I am a transfer student? top
A: Maintaining HOPE eligibility is dependent upon the number of hours attempted, not earned. To determine eligibility, each transcript from all other colleges attended must be evaluated and recalculated to determine the "HOPE" GPA.

Q: When will you check my GPA for HOPE? top
A: There are three check points; after 30 attempted hours; 60 attempted hours; and 90 attempted hours. As of Spring 2005, there is an end-of-Spring check point. Whether you have completed 30 hours or not, you will be checked at the mandatory "End of Spring" checkpoint.

Q: How much can I borrow on a Stafford Loan? top
A: NOTE: Federal Stafford loan limits are set by the federal government not Georgia Southwestern State University. 
Undergraduate Student School Year Loan Limits:

AMOUNT PER ACADEMIC YEARFRESHMANSOPHOMOREJUNIORSENIORLIFETIME
Maximum Subsidized$3,500$4,500$5,500$5,500$23,000
Maximum Unsubsidized for dependent students without PLUS denial$2,000$2,000$2,000$2,000$8,000
Maximum Unsubsidized$6,000*$6,000*$7,000*$7,000*$34,500

*Student must be an independent or a dependant student with a Federal Parent Plus loan denial. 
*Lifetime Stafford loan limit for Dependant undergrad student is $31,000 (no more than $23,000 or which can be subsidized.) 
*Lifetime Stafford loan limit for Independent or Dependant with PLUS denial $57,500 (no more than $23,000 of which can be subsidized.)

Q: My parents did not claim me on their tax returns this year. Can I file my FAFSA as an Independent student? top
A: Probably not. To determine dependancy status, first see if you meet any of the automatic criteria on the FAFSA. If you do not meet any of those, but feel that you should be considered an independent student, you may speak with the Financial Aid Counselor to see if it is possible.

Q: Why wouldn't you tell my parents what kind of aid I had received? top
A: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prohibit us from discussing any of your specific financial matters with anyone without your written permission. To sign an authorization form so that we may discuss your financial aid with your parents, download, complete, sign and come by our office to have the form notarized.

Q: How can I get a scholarship? top
A: The majority of the scholarships we deal with are either based on your admissions application (new student applications), the department in which you are a major, or from an outside source. Freshmen applications are mailed to students once they are accepted, if they meet the minimum requirements and it is before the March 1st deadline. The Financial Aid Office has a limited number of general scholarships. You may apply by completing an application by April 1 of any year.

Q: What records will I need to apply for financial aid? top
A: Useful documents include your tax returns from the previous year, as well as your parent's return if dependent, or your spouse's if applicable. Other records such as W-2 forms, business/farm records, and bank statements are also very useful. Please make sure that the school has received all required documents such as the electronic FAFSA and/or your academic transcript (if you are a transfer student).

Q: Should I send in my tax forms and other paperwork before you ask for it? top
A: You should not submit tax forms unless we specifically ask for them. Paperwork that is not required causes us to take time away from tracking information that WAS requested.

Q: What does it mean when you say I am not making SAP? top
A: SAP stands for "Satisfactory Academic Progress." The Federal Government requires a student receiving federal assistance to maintain progress toward a degree or certification. If you are not making SAP, you can file a financial aid appeal form if you have documented mitigating circumstances specific to the time your fell below standards.

Q: My academic transcript indicates that I am in good standing and I received a letter stating I am not making SAP. How could this be? top
A: SAP should not be confused with the academic standards required by the institution for continued enrollment. They are separate calculations. To meet the federal standards for SAP, other criteria are considered in determining progress: (1) you must be passing 67% of the classes for which you have enrolled and (2) you must not exceed 180 attempted hours. If you enroll in 15 hours, withdraw from 9 of them, make an 'A' in the 3 hours you retained, your GPA is 4.00 but you did not pass 67% of the total hours enrolled, thus you are not making satisfactory academic progress (3/15).

Q: What happens if I receive aid and I later withdraw from school?  top]  
A: If you leave school before the end of the semester and you received financial aid, you may discover that you owe a refund or a repayment to the various aid programs which helped you. If a student receives any financial assistance from any sources, any refund issued will be returned to the source of financial assistance as dictated by policy. The policy on allocation of refunds and repayments on student financial assistance programs is available in the Student Accounts Office.

Q: How do I arrange repayment of a loan?  top
A: Upon leaving school, whether by withdrawal or graduation, you must have an exit interview. If you do not make arrangements, you may be charged a late payment penalty; a hold may be put on your student records; your enrollment may be cancelled; and you may be denied future aid.

Q: What will it cost me to attend? top]  
A: The GSW website is a good place to find your tuition charges. Choose Student Accounts on the GSW website, Tuition and Fees, for fees according to your residency. Remember to include your housing and boarding charges if you are living on campus. If you are already registered your RAIN account would be the next best source for your specific account detail. Please to the RAIN announcements for Step by Step instructions.

Q: What kind of changes should I report? top
A: Name change, Change of address (or parent's address), Dropping below half-time academic status, changes in family financial situation due to death, divorce, marriage, disability, long-term unemployment, or low income, withdrawal from school , transfer to/from another school, outside awards…

Q: What if I, my spouse, or my guardians lost my/their job or had a significant decrease in income since last year's taxes? top
A: Students whose family experience a significant decrease in income since their last filed taxes may complete the Special Circumstance Request Form and submit to the Financial Aid office for review.

Q: Where do I go for more information? top
A: More information on the University is available in the Georgia Southwestern State University Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog(s), the Student Handbook, and departmental brochures. You have the right to seek and receive full information and counsel in regard to any financial aid matter. Remember that the Financial Aid Office looks forward to having you on campus. Feel free to visit or call the office whenever a question or need arises. The phone number is (229) 928-1378.

Q: Why is it when I try calling your office I can never get through? top
A: Our office handles thousands of phone calls per week during peak times. We have 1 incoming phone line that is constantly busy. During peak times, we need several lines and people to answer them. Unfortunately, this is not our situation at any time of the year.

Q: Where do I go if I have a complaint? top
A: The Office of Student Financial Aid welcomes feedback from the students and parents. Please direct all concerns to the attending Counselor. If the need is not satisfied at this level, direct your concerns to the Director. GSW desires to resolve student grievances, complaints and concerns in an expeditious, fair and amicable manner. To record your complaint, please take a moment to fill out and submit by clicking below and proceeding to Student Affairs’ submission.

Q: How do I apply for Summer Financial Aid? top
A: This application cannot be processed until a student has registered for classes for the summer semester” with “This application will not be available until registration for summer semester begins each year.  Complete this form to initiate a financial aid review for the Summer 2014.

Q: What do I need to do if I have been flagged to sign a Statement of Educational Purpose by the Department of Education?
A: 1415 Educational Purpose Statement Notarized

Q: What does it mean if I am in Default on a loan?

A: If you are in DEFAULT on student loan(s) you may not be eligible for additional aid. If your federal student loan(s) have been paid in full, or if you have made satisfactory payment arrangements that make you eligible for additional Title IV funds, then you MUST obtain a ‘Title IV Eligibility letter’ from the guaranty agencies that hold the defaulted loan(s). Please visit NSLDS at www.nslds.ed.gov to review your loan history. Verbal verification of your loan status is not acceptable for reinstatement of aid. You must submit a letter of the resolved default status from your guaranty agency. We can accept a fax of the ‘Title IV Eligibility letter’ at 229-931-2061.

Q: How can I get a tax return transcript fast?
A: If you are selected for verification but cannot use the IRS DRT in your FAFSA you can Get your Tax Return Transcript(s) online. Please follow the Instructions to an immediate printout. Another option is to call 1-800-908-9946 for a mailed copy which will be mailed to you in 5 to 10 business days.