GGC students can now qualify for federal financial aid

LAWRENCEVILLE – Georgia Gwinnett College President Daniel J. Kaufman announced today that students at Georgia’s newest institution of higher learning will now qualify to receive federal financial aid, including the Pell Grant and the Stafford Loan, among others.

LAWRENCEVILLE – Georgia Gwinnett College President Daniel J. Kaufman announced today that students at Georgia’s newest institution of higher learning will now qualify to receive federal financial aid, including the Pell Grant and the Stafford Loan, among others.

GGC became eligible to apply for federal financial aid from the U.S. Department of Education earlier this year when the college was granted candidacy status toward its accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The two-year old school is seeking its initial accreditation.

“This is going to make a huge difference to many students and their families,” GGC President Daniel J. Kaufman said after he signed the last of the paperwork. “Many of our students are struggling financially – working, going to school and caring for families – and these grants and loans will enable them to concentrate on the tasks at hand, their studies and their grades, so that they can graduate and continue to be the productive citizens they are today.

“Cost should never be a factor when it comes to getting an education,” Dr. Kaufman continued. “Money should never keep a student from getting that degree.”

GGC students will continue to be eligible to receive the HOPE scholarship to assist them in paying for college tuition and fees, but these additional grants and loans also will aid them in paying for living expenses in addition to tuition.

The U.S. Department of Education’s federal student aid programs are the largest source of student aid in the United States. The programs provide more than $80 billion to students each year in grants, loans and work-study assistance.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form used by all two and four-year colleges, universities and career schools. The federal financial aid potentially could assist every student at GGC, even those who qualify for the HOPE Scholarship.

“I’ll be able to go to school next semester,” Brittany Dertz, 23, said. “My education is at a crossroads right now and this financial aid means the world to me. Education is my dream,” the psychology major from Snellville continued. “I want to come back and teach at the college one day.”

Shortly after the college was granted candidacy status, GGC submitted its application for federal financial aid which normally takes about 90 days for approval. Now that the college is eligible for financial aid, all students will have to do is update their application for financial aid and the money will be available within just a few weeks. The Pell Grant can be used for tuition, fees, books and living expenses. The minimum Pell Grant is $890 per year with the maximum at $4,731, but not every student will qualify for the need-based Pell.


Other grants and loans for which GGC students will be eligible include:

Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) – An additional grant available to first and second year Pell Grant recipients who meet certain criteria. Eligible first year students receive $750 per academic year and second year students receive $1,300 if they are eligible.

Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (SMART) – An additional grant available to third and fourth year Pell Grant recipients who meet certain criteria and are majoring in an eligible program. SMART Grant students receive $4,000 per academic year.

Stafford Loans – These loans are guaranteed by the U.S. government, so there is no credit check. They offer fixed interest rates and are deferred until the student is no longer attending college or is going to school less than half-time. The subsidized Stafford Loans are need-based and the government pays the interest while the student is enrolled. The unsubsidized loans are not need-based and the interest accrues while the student is enrolled in college.

Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) – Parents can borrow on behalf of their dependent children. The interest rate is fixed and there is a credit check involved. Parents must begin repayment of the loan either 60 days following the second disbursement or six months after the student is no longer in college or is taking less than a half-load of study.

According to Jared Smith, director of financial aid at the college, GGC had to wait to begin the technical set-up procedure until the college was approved by the U.S. Department of Education, but he wants to begin the process quickly.

“We encourage our students to fill out their FAFSA as soon as possible so we can get the ball rolling,” he said today. Smith added that Georgia Gwinnett also will be able to certify in-school deferments for student loans obtained at prior colleges.

Students can begin filling out their financial aid forms on Tuesday, October 28. GGC’s FAFSA code is 041429 and students can fill out the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov .

“These grants and loans represent millions of dollars in educational opportunities for the students attending GGC,” Dr. Stanley Preczewski, vice president for academic and student affairs said. “This makes college affordable for those who thought they never could go to school and earn a degree. We want our students to worry about their grades – not how they’re going to pay for their education.”

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