Financial Aid FAQ

To apply for most types of financial aid complete the free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. This form is also available at each high school guidance office or any post-secondary institution’s financial aid office. The FAFSA cannot be completed until January 1 prior to the upcoming academic year (for example, the earliest you can submit this form for the 2013-2014 academic year is January 1, 2013).

To apply for the HOPE/Zell Miller Scholarship, submit either the GSFAPP through www.gacollege411.org (list Georgia State as the school of choice) and/or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

To apply for other scholarships, please visit http://gsu.edu/scholarships. The Scholarship Resource Center is located in 251 Sparks Hall, in the Student Advisement Center. You may email an Office of Undergraduate Studies scholarship specialist at scholarships@gsu.edu to make an appointment.

  • Once you have completed the FAFSA, additional verification documents may be required. The requirements and most of the specific documents are available in PAWS.
  • If you are a transfer student or are regaining HOPE/Zell Miller Scholarship eligibility and want to be considered for the HOPE/Zell Miller Scholarship, you must submit a HOPE Scholarship Institutional Application (HSIA). This form is available at the One Stop Shop (227 Sparks Hall, 292 Kell Hall).
  • Please monitor your PAWS account periodically. Contact the One Stop Shop if you have questions concerning requested documentation.
To check your financial aid status in PAWS, first click the Finances tab, then go to the Financial Aid information menu (section on the bottom right). Click the Access My Financial Aid Information link. Select Eligibility, and then select Student Requirements and choose the appropriate academic year. This screen will let you know what applications and forms have been received and what other documents are still needed. If your file is selected for verification, in most cases you may print the required form directly from that screen.

Once your file has been completed, you can check the status of your financial aid award offer under the Financial Aid menu by selecting Award Information and then Award by Term.

Most institutions establish a financial aid application priority date. Applying for aid by this date usually assures that you will receive the best package of aid available at that institution. At Georgia State, these are the priority deadlines:

Fall — April 1
Spring — October 1
Summer — March 1

Please note that these deadlines are to have a complete file at Georgia State, not simply to submit the FAFSA. To meet these deadlines it is best to submit the FAFSA six to eight (6 – 8) weeks ahead of the deadline and then monitor your financial aid status in PAWS closely. Please visit the Financial Aid site for more details.

Please allow four to six (4 – 6) weeks for verification documents such as Quality Assurance Verification Worksheets and tax returns to be reviewed.

Please allow up to four (4) weeks for a loan application (such as a student Loan Change Form or a parent PLUS Loan Signature Page) to be processed.

Please allow four to six (4 – 6) weeks processing for a HOPE application (once we have received all required documents) to be reviewed.

Once your file has been completed, you can check the status of financial aid award offer in PAWS under the Financial Aid menu by selecting Award Information and then Award by Term.
Visit the Financial Aid site for details for details on maintaining financial aid and requirements for Satisfactory Academic Progress.
Go to the One Stop Shop tab, select Financial Aid, select Award Information Menu, select Award by Aid Year, select the aid year, and then click on the Accept Award Offer tab for instructions.
You must accept your Work-Study award offer in PAWS in the same manner you would accept a student loan. Go to the One Stop Shop tab, select Financial Aid, select Award Information Menu, select Award by Aid Year, select the aid year, and then click on the Accept Award Offer tab for instructions.

After accepting the Work-Study award offer in PAWS, an information packet will be emailed to your Georgia State email address. Please note that work-study differs from other financial aid in that it does not post as a payment to your student account. You must work to receive a biweekly paycheck.

To find the available positions, you must have an active Panther Career Net account through University Career Services.

Upon being hired for a position, your supervisor will complete a Personnel Action Form (PAF) [available in Word or PDF] and send it to the Office of Student Financial Aid, which will verify your award status and then send the PAF to Human Resources for processing.

A quick and easy way to complete your FAFSA, the IRS Data Retrieval tool will allow students, and parents of dependent students, who have already filed tax returns and who complete their FAFSA on the Web to securely transfer their income and tax data from the IRS to their FAFSA.

As you complete your FAFSA online, you will be asked a series of questions regarding your tax filing status. If you are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool you will enter your PIN and click Link to IRS. Your FAFSA information will be saved and you’ll be linked to the IRS website. On the IRS website simply enter the required information to validate your identity. Your tax return information will be displayed and you will be given the option to transfer your tax information into your FAFSA. Once the transfer has been completed you will be taken back to FAFSA on the Web to finalize your FAFSA.

Students and parents of dependent students can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if you

  • Have a valid Social Security Number.
  • Have already filed a tax return.
  • Filed a joint return if married.
  • Have an unchanged marital status since December 31.
  • Did not amend your tax return.

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is designed to provide quick and efficient completion of your FAFSA. You will be able to import tax return data directly into your FAFSA with just a few clicks of your mouse. In most cases, applicants who use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool will not have to supply the Financial Aid office with Tax Return Transcripts from the IRS thereby decreasing the amount of time necessary to process your financial aid award.

The school code to use when submitting your FAFSA is 001574.
The verification process requires that students submit documentation such as IRS tax transcripts and Verification worksheets to be compared to information from the student’s application. You must request a tax return transcript from the Internal Revenue Service at 1-800-908-9946 or www.irs.gov. Other documentation may be required, including but not limited to documentation of federal benefits received or of child support paid ,may also be requested as it applies to the information on the application.
Your financial aid eligibility will be determined by subtracting your family’s ability to pay for your educational expenses for the year (as measured by the FAFSA) from your estimated total costs for the year (including tuition, fees, room, board, books, transportation and miscellaneous/personal expenses). Financial aid eligibility is usually expressed as follows:

Cost of Attendance – Expected Family Contribution = Financial Need

When you submit the FAFSA, you will automatically be considered for all types of need-based aid offered by Georgia State. One or more types of aid are usually awarded in combination to make up your financial aid package. If you receive a scholarship from your academic department or from an outside agency, these funds must be included in your total financial aid package. When combined, all sources of aid must not exceed your cost of attendance.
Eligibility for financial aid is based on federal estimates of your family’s ability to contribute to your educational costs. You must reapply for aid each year by submitting a FAFSA or Renewal FAFSA. As your/your parent’s information changes each year, your family’s expected contribution may change. Thus, your award may change each year for one or more of the following reasons:

  • The cost of education (tuition, fees, room, board, books, supplies, miscellaneous/personal expenses) may increase.
  • Your family’s income may change.
  • Your student loan eligibility may increase as you continue through school.
  • The number of children in college may change.
  • The amount of available funding changes.
  • You may forget to reapply for financial aid and miss the priority deadline date.
YES! You must reapply for financial aid each year by completing the Renewal FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Georgia State does not mail Renewal FAFSAs, nor do we know who receives them. It is your responsibility to remember to reapply for aid each year.
Financial aid is awarded by the Office of Financial Aid, but is disbursed by the Office of Student Accounts. Financial aid funds will not be disbursed until the second week of classes each semester/term. Any aid you are awarded must first be used to offset any charges you owe for the semester, and any amount you receive in excess of your charges will be refunded to you. Most financial aid is disbursed electronically by crediting funds to your billing account in the Student Account’s Office. Once your university charges have been paid in full, any additional money will be refunded to you by check or you may elect to have your refund deposited into your personal checking account by direct deposit.
After you submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the federal processor will send you a Student Aid Report (SAR). If they have a valid email address on file for you, they will send you an email, within 3 to 5 days, with instructions on how to access an online copy of your SAR. Check to make sure Georgia State is one of the institutions listed (001574). If so, Georgia State should receive an electronic record of your FAFSA within days of your receipt of the SAR. Questions about FAFSA processing can be directed to the Federal Student Aid Information Center (1-800-4-FED-AID).
Check your Student Aid Report (SAR) carefully for any incorrect information. If you need to make a correction to your FAFSA, click Make FAFSA Corrections. You must enter your PIN to correct your FAFSA. Once your correction is submitted and you receive a confirmation number, the correction will be processed in 3-5 days. If everything is correct on your FAFSA, keep the SAR for your own records.
This means the Georgia State Financial Aid must verify the information on your SAR by collecting tax returns and other documents to confirm the accuracy of the information you submitted. Georgia State will contact you to tell you the documents you need to provide. You should submit all requested materials promptly to avoid delays in processing your application.
Being considered an independent student is not merely a matter of being responsible for your own educational expenses. You must be able to answer YES to at least one of the following questions to be declared an independent student for the purposes of the FAFSA:
  • Will you be 24 years of age or older by December 31 of the award year?
  • Are you married as of the date you fill out the FAFSA?
  • Will you be working on a master’s or doctorate program (MA, MBA, DVM, PhD, EdD, etc) during the award year?
  • Are you currently serving on active duty in the US Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
  • Are you a veteran of the US Armed Forces?
  • Do you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you during the award year?
  • Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you, now and through the award year?
  • At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care, or were you a dependent or ward of the court?
  • Are you or were you an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
  • Are you or were you in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2008, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2008, did the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2008, did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
Both of these can be completed online. You will need your FAFSA PIN to sign the MPN. Please refer to the following links for detailed information.

Yes, you may accept or reject all or part of your financial aid award. If you reject aid, however, please understand that you will not be awarded other aid to replace the funds you have rejected.
The Georgia State Office of Financial Aid each year establishes a packaging policy that seeks to assure that all students who apply by the priority filing date receive consideration for need-based scholarships and grants. To provide an equitable distribution of the limited scholarship and grant funds available, the Office generally sets a cap on the amount of such funding a student may receive. If you receive an outside scholarship, or a scholarship from another department within the University, those funds must be considered a part of your total aid package. Depending upon the amount of scholarship assistance you receive, it is possible that your need-based scholarship/grant package from the Office of Financial Aid may have to be reduced and some of your funds given to another needy student.
You are responsible for repaying the principal balance of your student loans after you have completed your degree or cease to be enrolled on at least a half-time basis (half-time enrollment for most undergraduates is defined as 6 credit hours per semester). Most federal loans allow you a six-month grace period after you cease enrollment on at least a half-time basis before you have to begin repayment. Perkins Loans have a nine-month grace period before you have to begin repayment. Your lender will notify you when repayment is scheduled to begin. Be sure you keep your lender informed of any change in your permanent address so you will not miss this important communication.
A Subsidized Stafford Loan is a federal loan awarded to students who demonstrate financial need as a result of filing the FAFSA. Maximum amounts available per student are set by the federal government and are based on the student’s grade level classification at the institution. The government pays the interest on the Subsidized Stafford loan while the student is in school, and the student begins repaying the principal of the loan six (6) months after graduation or ceasing at least half-time enrollment. The Unsubsidized Stafford Loan is identical to the Subsidized Stafford in terms of annual maximum amounts, interest rates and application process. The only difference is that interest on the Unsubsidized Stafford is not paid by the government while the student is enrolled. The student has the choice to either make interest payments while enrolled or defer the interest until repayment of the principal begins.
When you complete a FAFSA, you are automatically considered for a Pell Grant. If you meet eligibility guidelines as established by the federal government, a Pell Grant will be included as part of your total need-based aid package.
Eligible students may continue to receive the HOPE Scholarship if they have a 3.00 or better HOPE GPA at the end of the semesters in which they attempt their 30/60/90th credit hours. In addition, there is an End-of-Spring Semester Checkpoint for all HOPE Scholarship recipients. You must have a cumulative 3.0 GPA at the end of each Spring term in order to continue eligibility, except for Freshman recipients who enrolled in fewer than 12 hours for each of their first three terms.
Eligible students may continue to receive the Zell Miller Scholarship if they have a 3.3 or better GPA at the end of the semesters in which they attempt their 30/60/90th credit hours. In addition, there is an End-of-Spring Semester Checkpoint for all Zell Miller Scholarship recipients. You must have a cumulative 3.3 GPA at the end of each Spring term in order to continue eligibility, except for Freshman recipients who enrolled in fewer than 12 hours for each of their first three terms.