GGC students benefit from $11.3 million in federal financial aid

When Georgia Gwinnett College received candidacy for accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) in 2008, it also became eligible to apply to the Department of Education to receive federal financial aid for its students.

When Georgia Gwinnett College received candidacy for accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) in 2008, it also became eligible to apply to the Department of Education to receive federal financial aid for its students.

This academic year, GGC has disbursed $11.3 million in federal financial aid, which has benefitted students by covering the costs of tuition, fees, books and living expenses. About 53.6 percent of the College’s students receive some level of federal financial aid.

“Accreditation meant that many students could benefit from the availability of these funds, in many cases making their education possible,” said Stas Preczewski, vice president for Academic and Student Affairs.

For English major Erin Corrigan-Smith, the funds came at a critical time.

Corrigan-Smith worked for six years as a medical practice administrator before she decided to return to college and get a business degree. However, she discovered a love for English and changed majors, with her sights set on a master’s degree or perhaps even a Ph.D.

While her husband worked, Corrigan-Smith used the couples’ savings to attend Georgia Gwinnett. Even with the College’s reasonable tuition costs, the savings account dwindled. This past fall, she obtained federal financial aid that provided support for school and living expenses.

“I wouldn’t have been able to go to school much longer without taking out student loans,” Corrigan-Smith said. “It made the difference of getting a degree or not.”

Jennifer St. Juste is a rising junior working toward a bachelor’s degree in information technology with a business concentration. She began working in her early teens as a dog grooming assistant and developed a determined work ethic. She also is determined to complete her education, no matter the challenges.

“I work two jobs here at GGC, one in classroom and media support and the other at the fitness center,” she said. A new mother, St. Juste worked and attended classes until her daughter was born in September, and returned soon thereafter.

“I have fought for my education,” she said.

St. Juste was one of several students who participated in a roundtable discussion during the SACS accreditation process, not realizing that she would soon benefit from the federal financial aid that would be available as a result of accreditation. She received financial aid this year.

“I can’t thank the GGC staff enough for helping me get my grant,” she said. “GGC is awesome and the professors are great. I actually enjoy coming to school.”

Return to News and Events

View our News Archive by Year