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1. What are the aid programs or other financial assistance I can apply for to attend GSW?

a. Grants – funds you do not have to repay (unless, for example, you withdraw from school and owe a refund)
b. Scholarships – funds you do not have to repay (unless, for example, you withdraw from school and owe a refund). Scholarships are based on academic merit, established need, or both.
c. Employment – part-time jobs through which you earn money to help you pay for school. Employment can be need-based or non-need-based.
d. Loans – funds you borrow for college which you must repay with interest.
e. Other – VA Education Benefits; Graduate Student Assistantships; tuition waivers, etc.

2. How do I apply for Federal Student Aid (FSA)?

a. Students and parents of dependent students must complete a new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every Award Year they wish to apply for Federal Student Aid (FSA). The FAFSA also qualifies as the application for the Zell Miller or HOPE Scholarship. However, also see number 4 "How do I apply for the Zell Miller or HOPE Scholarship?" if you are applying for the Zell Miller or HOPE Scholarship.
b. The Award Year begins August. Students and parents of dependent students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon after October 1st as possible.
c. Students and parents must create a FSA ID before they may submit a FAFSA
d. If you are a new student please 'Check your financial aid status' or if continuing you can review RAIN for your outstanding requirements

3. How do I apply for the Zell Miller or HOPE Scholarship?

a. Even if you have completed a FAFSA for the current Award Year, we encourage all Zell Miller and HOPE eligible students to apply for HOPE/ Zell via To apply via this web site, you must complete the Georgia Scholarship/Grant Application (GSFAPPS) which can be accessed by clicking on the "HOPE & State Aid Programs" tab, and then click on "State Aid Applications". Generally, students only need to complete the GSFAPPS one time for the Zell or HOPE Scholarship while students and parents of dependent students must complete a new FAFSA each award year.

4. I electronically submitted my FAFSA to the U.S. Department of Education, now what?

a. Monitor the e-mail account that you provided on your FAFSA. Once the U.S. Department of Education's Central Processing System (CPS) receives and processes your FAFSA, CPS will e-mail you. Approximately seven days later, please 'Check your status' in RAIN to ensure receipt at the school level of the Student Aid Report. If you fail to list the GSW school code 001573, we will be unable to access your Student Aid Report.

5. The FAFSA asks for my parents' prior-prior year income information, but my parents' income is a lot less this year because my father has since retired, and they have been paying off medical bills as well. There is no way to report that information on the FAFSA. What do we do?

a. You and your parents need to go ahead and complete the FAFSA providing all the requested income information. Once you have submitted your FAFSA to the CPS and they have e-mailed your confirmation, please contact OSFA and ask to speak with a counselor about a "Special Consideration" review.

6. I answered "No" to FAFSA questions 46 thru 58 and the FAFSA says my parents' income information must also be provided. I have been living with my grandmother and have not had any contact with either of my parents for a long time. What do I do?

a. Go ahead and complete your FAFSA without providing any parental information and submit it to the CPS. The CPS will not fully process your FAFSA and will instruct you to contact your school's financial aid office. Call OSFA and ask to speak with one of our counselors to discuss your situation. If the counselor determines your situation warrants it, OSFA will consider a formal Dependency Override Request Form-PJ of your individual case. OSFA will inform you regarding the documentation you need to provide us.

7. What is Verification?

a. The U.S. Department of Education created the verification process to confirm the accuracy of the information provided on the FAFSA. By federal regulation, GSW OSFA is responsible for conducting the verification process.
b. If you are selected for verification, please use the IRS DRT in your fafsa, if you are not allowed to use it please call 1-800 – 908-9946 for a (free) mailed copy in 5 to 10 business days. In the case of technical difficulty, please contact the OSFA for assistance
c. See GSW –Financial Aid- Verification for additional information

8. How do I check to see if I have been selected for verification and/or if I need to do anything else to complete my application for financial aid?

a. If you are a new student, please 'Check your financial aid status' or if continuing you can review RAIN for your outstanding requirements.
b. Once you have accessed your financial aid status in RAIN, carefully review the information and provide GSW OSFA all requested documents. If you are selected for verification, you must 'Create a Verify my FAFSA account' . All students receiving financial aid should submit their understanding by accepting the 'Terms and Conditions' for receiving financial aid.

9. I have been awarded scholarships from someone other than OSFA and the donors said they would send the scholarship checks to GSW. How do I receive those funds?

a. Please provide the scholarship information to the OSFA as they will be added to your award as a resource.
b. Please inform each scholarship donor to mail your scholarship check and any eligibility and disbursement instructions to Georgia Southwestern State University, Office of Student Financial Aid, Americus, Georgia 31709-4379. Make all scholarship checks payable to the Georgia Southwestern State University. If a check is made co-payable to GSW and the student, the student will be required to sign the check which may delay the application of the funds to the student's account.
c. Once we receive the check(s), we will add them to your financial aid award and then forward the checks to GSW Student Accounts to credit them to your GSW RAIN account. GSW Student Accounts Office will then deliver any remaining balance to you. Awards are split evenly between the fall and spring semesters unless the donors specifies a different distribution. See number 15 for more information about the financial aid delivery process.

10. How do I find out how much aid I will receive?

a. Depending on the time of the year, once you complete the financial aid process by providing all requested documentation to the Office of Student Financial Aid, OSFA may create either an Estimated Award or an Official Award which you may view in RAIN.
b. OSFA will e-mail you using your GSW Radar account once you have an Official Award. Official Awards are generated around June 1 of each year once tuition and fees for the upcoming Award Year have been set by the University System of Georgia (USG) Board of Regents (BOR) and the HOPE and Zell Scholarship award amounts have been set by the Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC). Prior to June, you may review "Estimated Awards" on Check your Status or RAIN if registered.

11. If I accepted all or part of the Federal Direct Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized Loan(s) offered on my Official Award, do I need to do anything else to apply for the loans?

a. If you have not previously received a Federal Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loan while attending GSW, you must accept the student loan and
b.Complete both Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note (MPN) online at
c. Once you have submitted the above allow approximately seven days and view your authorized aid in your RAIN account.

12. I am a dependent undergraduate student and my parent wants to apply for the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan. How does he/she apply for the PLUS Loan?

a. Your borrowing parent must use their own FSA ID and apply for a parent loan online . Your borrowing parent must also complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN).

13. Can the parent of a dependent undergraduate student still receive a Direct PLUS Loan if the U.S. Department of Education determines he or she has an adverse credit history?

A credit check is performed during the PLUS Loan application process. If the borrower has an adverse credit history, the borrower has two options:
Option A: The borrower can obtain an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history, or the borrower can document to the satisfaction of the U.S. Department of Education there are extenuating circumstances relating to the adverse credit history: for more information and all credit counseling requirements.
Option B: If a Parent PLUS Loan borrower is still unable to obtain a PLUS Loan, then the undergraduate student may be eligible for an additional unsubsidized assistance by submitting a "PLUS Options Form"

14. I accepted the Federal Work-Study (FWS) offer that is on my Official Award. What do I do now?

a. FWS is experiencing transitional changes.
b. FWS placement begin in Career Services.
c. It is your responsibility to accept an offer in RAIN within 30 days of being offered if you are serious about employment, apply, and be interviewed for a potential placement into a FWS position ASAP.
d. Failure to accept, apply and or interview will result in cancellation of the financial aid offer

15. How and when will the financial aid that I have been awarded be available to me?

a. If there are no institutional holds on your record, the semester's aid that you have been awarded, have accepted, and for which you have completed all additional requirements (such as loans) will be disbursed to your GSW RAIN account once your instructor has verified your attendance and/or participation in the number of credit hours required for each type of financial aid. The estimated first disbursement date is 14 days after classes start in fall and spring. Summer stands alone and requires a separate application and additional rules apply.
b. GSW Student Accounts will then apply your semester charges for tuition and fees; course and lab fees; Residence Hall, Meal Plans and Parking Permits to that semester's aid.
c. If you wish to allow GSW Student Accounts to use your available aid to pay for the "other" charges on your student account (miscellaneous fees, returned checks, parking fees, late fees, health insurance, etc.), you must Login to RAIN ( > click on the "Financial Aid" block > click on "Authorizations" and give Student Accounts the authority to use your aid to pay your "other" charges.
d. Student Accounts cannot deliver any remaining aid funds directly to students earlier than attendance/participation is confirmed each semester. If you still have aid remaining in your RAIN account after your charges have been paid, GSW Student Accounts will deliver those remaining financial aid funds directly to you through your Bankmobile selected preference:

16. I heard that in addition to meeting all the eligibility criteria for the financial aid I have been awarded, I must also maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). What is SAP?

a. The U.S. Department of Education requires all educational institutions to establish a SAP policy for determining if an otherwise eligible student is making satisfactory academic progress in his or her educational program and may therefore receive assistance under the Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs. In addition, all State of Georgia financial assistance program regulations (HOPE, Zell Miller Scholarships, etc.) require students to meet the school's SAP standards.
b. Go to GSW/Financial Aid/and Forms to review the complete GSW SAP Policy.

17. What is Year Round Pell ?

Please click here to find more information on Year Round Pell.

18. How do I apply for Summer Financial Aid ?

Students will need to complete a summer financial aid application.  To access the application, please click here.  We will begin processing summer applications in March so please apply early.  The priority deadline for summer financial applications is May 1st.

19. Why wouldn't you tell my parent what type of aid I received?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prohibits us from discussing any of your specific financial matters with anyone without your permission. To sign an authorization form so that we may discuss your financial aid with parents, download, complete and sign with a notary or come by the office and we will witness you signing and process on your behalf. This release is for the Office of the Registrar, Student Accounts, Student Conduct, and the Office of Student Financial Aid.

20. What happens if I receive aid and I later withdraw from school?

Federal regulations require schools to determine the earned and unearned portions of federal aid as of the date the student ceased attendance. Attendance is based on the amount of time student has attended classes during each semester.

Up through the 60% point in each semester, a pro-rata schedule is used to determine the amount of Federal aid the student has earned at the time of withdrawal. After the 60% point in the semester, a student has earned 100% of the federal aid awarded.

For a student who withdraws after the 60% point-in-time, there is no unearned aid. However, a school must still determine the student's eligibility for a post-withdrawal disbursement. Georgia Southwestern 'GSW' must comply with refund policies required by a state or other outside agencies. If a federal financial aid recipient of grant or loan funds withdraws (officially – 100% withdrawn or unofficially 100% failure), from a school after beginning attendance, the amount of federal aid (grant or loan) earned by the student must be determined. This is applicable if the amount disbursed to the student is greater than the amount the student earned, unearned funds must be returned or if the amount disbursed to the student is less than the amount the student earned, and he or she is eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement of the earned aid.

Financial aid is awarded to a student under the assumption that the student will attend school for the entire semester for which the assistance is awarded. When a student withdraws, the student may no longer be eligible. That is considered an official return.

GSW has a procedure for determining whether a federal recipient began attendance. If a student earns a passing grade in one or more of his or her classes in a semester GSW presumes that the student completed the course and thus completed the semester.

If a student begins attendance, does not officially withdraw, but fails to earn a passing grade in at least one course offered over an entire semester, GSW for federal financial aid purposes must assume that the student has unofficially withdrawn. This is considered an official return. In such case, GSW may rely on the instructors' reported last date of attendance during the specific semester. If one instructor reports that the student attended past the 60% point of the semester, then the student is not a withdrawal.

If the school has confirmation at the time of withdrawal that the student will attend a future part of term in the same payment period the student is not a withdrawal.

If a 'Return of Title IV' calculation is required GSW will use the institution's reported last date of attendance when returning federal financial aid on the student's behalf. The student who is reported as not attending class, will require a financial aid adjustment.

Repeating Classes: Students may retake a course already passed, only once (and receive Federal financial aid). Federal financial aid will not pay for any course taken more than twice. This rule applies whether or not the student received aid during earlier enrolment in the course and regardless of the minimum grade. Since a 'D' is a passing grade on the academic scale, it is considered passing for federal financial aid purposes.

21. Where do I go if I have a complaint?

The OSFA welcomes feedback from students and parent. Please direct all concerns to the attending Counselor. If the need is not met and/or further counseling is required, please direct your concerns to the Director of Student Financial Aid. GSW desires to resolve all student grievances, complaints, and concerns in an expeditious, fair, and amicable manner. To record your complaint please email the Assistant Vice President of Enrollment Management.

22. What do I need to do if I have been flagged to sign a Statement of Education Purpose for the 2019-2020 Aid Year (Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Summer 2020) or for the 2020-2021 Aid Year (Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Summer 2021).23. Why is the Cost of Attending (COA) so high?

The COA is intended to estimate total direct and indirect cost for awarding purposes only. Please follow the directions in RAIN to view your direct cost.

24. Where can I find the forms required for Independent Determination for 2019-2020 Aid Year (Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Summer 2020) or Independent Determination for 2020-2021 Aid Year (Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Summer 2021) ?

You answered #51 yes and you have children and you provide more than half of their support
You answered #52 yes and you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) and you provide more than half of their support
You answered #55 yes and you are or were in legal guardianship and can provide a copy of the court order with this form

25. How do I contact OSFA?

a. Our Web Site:
b. E-mail us at
c. Visit us Monday – Friday 8am-5pm (no appointments needed)
d. We are located in Sanford Hall, Second Floor, Room 207
e. Our phone number is 229-928-1378
f. Our fax us at 229- 931-2061

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