Back to Top
Skip to Site Search Skip to Utility Nav Skip to Top Nav Skip to Left Nav Skip to Content
Close Main Menu

Financial Aid - An Introduction Video Transcript

Hello! Welcome to Financial Aid An Introduction. In this presentation, you will find out how to apply for financial aid, important dates to remember, what aid you may see in your financial aid offer, and how the financial aid process helps you pay for college expenses. The purpose of this presentation is to give you a basic understanding of the financial aid process. Your financial aid office can assist you with questions related to your specific account.

The first step in the process is to apply for financial aid. The primary application for financial aid is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. The important word is "free". You should never pay to complete your application, as we are here to help you with any questions you may have. Studentaid.gov is the official website to apply for the FAFSA. Make sure, when applying the address ends in .gov so that you are certain you are on the official website. To send your application to a specific school you will need to provide the unique school code on the FAFSA. If you do not know their specific school code, you will be able to search by name on the FAFSA application. You may choose up to 10 schools to send the FAFSA to. Many schools have deadlines to ensure that your application has time to process and post the eligible aid to your invoice in time for bill payment. It is important to remember there is not a deadline to apply; you may still apply after the priority deadline however, you may need to be prepared to pay out of pocket and then reimbursed once the application is processed.

The FAFSA is required to be completed each academic year you wish to apply for financial aid. Academic years are from fall semester through the following summer semester. To complete the FAFSA you will need to provide tax information from two years previous for example to complete the 2021-2022 FAFSA you will need to provide 2019 tax information. When you complete the dependency section of the FAFSA, you'll be prompted to enter your parent information if you are determined to be a dependent student. You and your parent can transfer your tax data directly from the IRS using the IRS data retrieval tool. You’ll be prompted to use this option prior to the income section of the FAFSA. Using this process will ensure that you correctly enter your income information and prevent mistakes that may affect your eligibility. If the IRS data retrieval tool is unavailable, you may still enter the information manually. If you need assistance, please contact your financial aid office.

By completing the FAFSA you'll be reviewed for eligibility for the full suite of financial aid options. The FAFSA will determine your eligibility for Pell Grant, Work-Study funding, and Direct Student Loans. By completing the FAFSA you'll also be reviewed for your HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarship eligibility.

Pell Grant is a need-based grant to assist low-income families in paying for college. Eligibility is calculated using the EFC or Estimated Family Contribution from the FAFSA. Once you submit your FAFSA you will receive a confirmation page that will indicate your EFC and your Pell eligibility if you qualify. Your Pell eligibility award is based upon full-time enrollment. If you take less than 12 credit hours, it will be prorated to the appropriate amount. Federal work-study is a program that provides funds for students to obtain an on-campus position or off-campus employment at a local non-profit. The awarded amount is not a lump sum payment but available funds to pay the student for their hours of employment on a bi-weekly basis.

Regardless of the EFC calculation, most students should be eligible to receive an annual amount of student loan eligibility. For a first-year student the total annual amount is $5,500. This will typically be divided over fall spring semesters or $2,750 each semester. Students may have some of their funds scheduled as Subsidized loans. While both Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans require the student to be enrolled a minimum of six or more hours to be eligible; Subsidized loans do not accrue interest while the student is enrolled. Student loans do not have a penalty for early payment and it is in fact encouraged if possible. However, repayment officially begins after a six-month grace period once the student is no longer enrolled or graduated. Remember loans need to be paid back so only borrow the minimum you need to complete your educational goals. You may accept any amount from $100 to the annual amount needed.

At most, institutions the Financial Aid office is also responsible for processing Veteran Educational benefits. The process typically begins with applying for your benefits at va.gov. Once you apply online, you will receive a Certificate of Eligibility. Bring the Certificate of Eligibility and your DD214 to the financial aid office to begin the process. The financial aid office will advise you on the next steps in receiving your benefits.

The major form of state financial aid is the HOPE Scholarship or Zell Miller Scholarship.

HOPE Scholarship provides a per credit hour payment that is approximately 90% of an institution's standard tuition rate. It has no minimum number of hours to qualify if eligible. This means that even if you are enrolled for one credit hour; HOPE will pay the equivalent of one hour of HOPE. HOPE funds may only be applied toward tuition costs and do not help pay for books, fees, or learning support classes. There is a lifetime maximum eligibility of 127 attempted hours or 10 years after the date of high school graduation. While you will be evaluated for eligibility if you complete the FAFSA, you may also apply for HOPE or Zell Miller by completing the GSFAPP on gafutures.org. If you complete the GSFAPP, you will only be evaluated for HOPE or Zell Miller eligibility. The FAFSA is required for federal aid such as Pell Grant and Student Loans.

To be eligible for HOPE you must have an overall 3.0 GPA as determined by the state upon graduating from a GA high school. If you have lost HOPE or were not eligible out of high school, you may earn HOPE by achieving a 3.0 overall GPA of all attempted college classes after the day of high school graduation at a 30, 60, or 90 attempted hour checkpoint. Students who fall below the 3.0 HOPE GPA at a checkpoint will lose HOPE but may regain it at another checkpoint in the future. Students are evaluated for continuing HOPE eligibility at the 30, 60, and 90 attempted hour checkpoints and at the end of every spring semester. Students may only regain hope at 30, 60, 90 hour checkpoints.

Zell Miller Scholarship pays a 100% of the standard tuition rate. Remember this does not include fees only the tuition costs. Zell Miller operates the same way as HOPE regarding the checkpoints however students must maintain a higher GPA of 3.3 for all post high school college work. In order to qualify for Zell Miller you must graduate from a GA high school, the student must have a 3.7 overall high school GPA as determined by the state and a standardized testing component. They must have a 1200 math/verbal SAT score on a single test or an ACT composite score of 26. A student cannot earn Zell Miller if they did not qualify at time of high school graduation. If an eligible Zell Miller student falls below a 3.3 GPA but is above a 3.0 at a checkpoint, they will be scheduled HOPE instead of Zell Miller.

Qualifying for HOPE as a home study student is a different process. To qualify for HOPE in your first semester you will need to be in the 75th percentile on a nationally administered standardized test. Your test scores will need to be submitted to gafutures.org to determine eligibility. In order to qualify for Zell Miller the test requirement is the 93rd percentile. If you do not meet the testing requirement, you may be able to receive a retroactive payment of your first 30 hours of eligibility once you reach the 30-hour checkpoint. In order to receive the retroactive funds you must meet the 3.0 HOPE GPA at the 30-hour checkpoint. Consult your financial aid office regarding your eligibility if you are a home schooled student.

In order for students to continue to qualify for financial aid they, must meet minimum requirements for GPA and completion rates known as satisfactory academic progress or SAP. An overall GPA of 2.0 of all college level coursework including those earned as a dual enrollment credits must be maintained. You also must earn a grade of D or better in 67% of your attempted classes. If you fall below these levels, you may still receive financial aid if you appeal your eligibility and are approved. Should you not meet the SAP requirement, students at the end of every semester, will receive an email with the appeal process.

HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarships are required to maintain the minimum standards for completion rate, but they have a GPA requirement of 3.0 and 3.3 respectively. HOPE and Zell Miller GPA calculations are a little different in that the calculation only includes classes attempted after high school graduation date. Dual Enrollment classes do not go into GPA calculation for HOPE or Zell Miller GPA. The checkpoints for HOPE and Zell Miller eligibility are at the end of every spring semester and at 30, 60, and 90 attempted hour checkpoints.

While financial aid may call you from time to time, the official means of communication is through your institution's email account. Many emails are auto generated and therefore you should check regularly for notifications from financial aid. Your information is protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act or FERPA. This means that we can only discuss your financial aid with you. In order for us to discuss your financial aid with anyone other than yourself; it is required that you authorize other persons. You will want to contact the financial aid office to inquire on how to set up other authorized persons.

The big question is what happens after I have submitted my FAFSA. Typically in 5-7 business days after a FAFSA is submitted your financial aid office will load it into its system and begin processing. The student should receive notification to their student email once the FAFSA is received and if additional information is needed.

Approximately one in three students are selected for a process known as verification. Your financial aid office will have instructions on how to complete these additional steps. Once the financial aid offer is available, you should review your offer. If you have questions or feel something may be missing, such as HOPE, you will want to contact your financial aid office for more information. After reviewing your offer, the student will accept the aid offer. Typically aid does not need to be paid back such as grants and scholarships are automatically accepted, but student loans will need to be accepted by the student in order to process. Lastly, once your student invoice becomes available for the upcoming semester, you'll want to secure that your aid is posting to the invoice to cover expenses. The financial aid office can provide assistance in every area of the process and will be your main contact.

If you need to speak with financial aid, many options are available. At UNG, we would be happy to answer your questions even if you have yet to be accepted. Most other institutions would be able to assist you as well.

Of course, you may come to our offices at any time during normal hours, but you may also email, call, or even schedule a skype meeting with a financial aid counselor.

At UNG to schedule, a skype meeting simply go to our contact page on the financial aid website and find your counselor by campus. There you will find the link to schedule a meeting.

Remember to contact financial aid with any questions or concerns.

UNG follows Section 508 Standards and WCAG 2.0 for web accessibility. If you require the content on this web page in another format, please contact the ADA Coordinator.
Please note that some of the images and videos on our site may have been taken before social distancing, face coverings and restricted gatherings were required.
Use of military-themed imagery does not constitute endorsement by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Back to Top