College Takes Innovative Approach to Financial Aid

In keeping with an overall theme of providing innovative education, Georgia Gwinnett College has taken some pioneering steps to provide scholarship funding which helps students cover expenses such as tuition and fees. The college offers a financial aid package that includes a grant of up to $4,050 per eligible student per year. The need-based scholarships are provided by the newly established Georgia Gwinnett College Foundation.

In keeping with an overall theme of providing innovative education, Georgia Gwinnett College has taken some pioneering steps to provide scholarship funding which helps students cover expenses such as tuition and fees. The college offers a financial aid package that includes a grant of up to $4,050 per eligible student per year. The need-based scholarships are provided by the newly established Georgia Gwinnett College Foundation.

“We believe that higher education should be accessible to everyone,” says Philip Hawkins, GGC’s director of enrollment management. “Our financial aid package provides access to students from all economic backgrounds and we are especially appreciative of the funding from the Foundation for students with greater financial need.”

Because of the special circumstances that accompany the creation of a new college, the GGC Foundation is providing grant awards based on need, calculated from financial information provided by the student. The Foundation was established to develop partnerships with area businesses to receive, invest and allocate private funding for projects such as student centers, and to oversee public private real estate investments, construction and land purchases.

The Foundation is headed by Chairman Glenn White. GGC President Dan Kaufman is the vice-chair, and Gordon Harrison, GGC’s vice president for advancement serves as the Foundation’s president.

“We are thankful that Chairman White and other community leaders have so generously agreed to give of their time and talents to help move the college forward,” says Harrison. “Because we are so new and federal needs-based grants were unavailable to us, we felt that we should provide an alternative to our students to ensure that those who wanted to attend the College this semester could.”

Hawkins adds that another component of the financial aid package is low-interest loans. “GGC has established partnerships with several private vendors to provide student loan options with low interest rates and deferred payments. Student loan approval is based on credit history.”

Hawkins’ involvement in the Georgia Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (GASFAA) has been critical to the success of GGC’s developing financial aid program. He was recently appointed co-chair of GASFAA’s professional development committee where he will provide leadership in bringing the nation’s best financial aid practices and training to Georgia.

“Georgia Gwinnett College is dedicated to establishing the nation’s best practices in student services,” says Hawkins.

Hawkins will assist the organization to develop training opportunities for financial aid officers throughout the state. “Financial aid policies and procedures are the central hub connecting all other enrollment functions in an institution. They are essential to maintaining compliance with U.S. Department of Education regulations. I consider this an opportunity to contribute to GASFAA’s training process and to represent Georgia Gwinnett College in an important professional association.”

GASFAA is a nonprofit organization that promotes the effective administration of student financial aid in Georgia. Its volunteer members represent educational institutions, lending institutions, government agencies and others involved in financial aid administration.

Georgia Gwinnett College is the first public four-year college founded in the nation in the 21st century, and the first in Georgia in more than 100 years. The college held its first classes on Friday, August 18, at its Lawrenceville campus.

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