Georgia’s incoming college students have a hefty price tag ahead of them. The average cost of college in Georgia in 2017 was $18,877, according to College Tuition Compare. Since the state only covers about half of a student’s total costs, paying for college can get expensive.
To pay for college, take advantage of Georgia grants that are available to residents. Here are some to look for.
The difference between grants and scholarships
Grants and scholarships are both gift aid. That means they don’t need to be paid back like loans. Both are available at the local, state, and federal level.
The difference, however, is that grants are based on financial need, such as how much your parents can contribute to your college education. Scholarships are based on merit, such as high academic or athletic achievement.
How to get Georgia grants
Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step in determining how much money you’ll receive for college. If you’re a dependent student, get your parents to help you fill it out. There are a few things you’ll need to qualify for aid, such as having (or on your way to getting) a high school diploma and being a U.S. citizen.
After your FAFSA is completed, you’ll get an award letter detailing your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC), or how much you and your family are expected to pay out of pocket for your school. The letter will also include how much money you’ll be getting from grants, scholarships, and loans.
For some state-sponsored grants, you’ll need to complete the Georgia Student Finance Commission application.
6 Georgia grants for college
There are many grants available. Some of these require applications outside of the FAFSA. Be sure to check how to apply for each one that you’re interested in.
1. HOPE Grant
One of Georgia’s largest programs is HOPE: Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally. There are a few variations of this, including:
- HOPE Grant: This is open to anyone and covers partial tuition, as long as you maintain a 2.0 GPA. The amount varies for full-time and part-time recipients.
- HOPE Career Grant: If you’re eligible for the HOPE Grant, you might also qualify for the HOPE Career Grant.
- HOPE GED Grant: This is a one-time $500 award that covers tuition, books, or any other related costs. The grant must be used within two years of getting your GED.
These are different from the HOPE Scholarship, the largest state merit aid program in the country.
2. Zell Miller Grant
The Zell Miller Grant is a little more stringent than the HOPE Grant in requirements. You must graduate high school with a 3.5 GPA and maintain it every year throughout college to remain eligible. There’s also the Zell Miller Scholarship, which has higher standards than the HOPE Scholarship. It requires a 3.7 GPA and at least a 1200 score on the math and reading portions of the SAT.
3. Dual Enrollment
If you’re a high school student looking to enroll in college-level courses, you could receive money toward tuition, fees, and books through the Dual Enrollment program. Not all colleges take part, so make sure a school is participating before you enroll. This program requires a separate application form from the FAFSA. It’s open to students in public or private schools, or home study programs.
4. Georgia Tuition Equalization Grant Program (GTEG)
The GTEG encourages you to enroll in private colleges and universities in the state. You could get up to $475 a semester to help reduce the higher cost of private colleges. If you’re on track to attend a private college or university, you might qualify for extra money from the GTEG.
5. Public Safety Memorial Grant
If you’re the dependent child of a public safety worker that has died or was disabled in the line of duty, you could be eligible for the Public Safety Memorial Grant. Children of law enforcement officers, EMTs, firefighters, prison guards, and correctional officers qualify.
If awarded, your entire college education could be paid for up to $18,000 per academic year. This requires a separate application from the FAFSA.
6. University of North Georgia ROTC Grant and ROTC Grant for Future Officers
The University of North Georgia ROTC Grant and ROTC Grant for Future Officers are designed for students enrolled or planning to enroll in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at UNG. If you’re headed to UNG as an ROTC student, you’ll need to apply for this separately from the FAFSA.
Other federal grants available
When you complete the FAFSA, you’ll be awarded a mix of federal grants, scholarships, and loans. Here are some that you might be eligible for as a Georgia resident.
The Federal Pell Grant is one of the biggest grants offered in the country. Your award will be based on your financial need and EFC. You’ll need to complete the FAFSA to qualify.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
The FSEOG is administered through the school you’re planning on attending, but you must complete the FAFSA to be eligible. Not all schools participate in this grant, so check with your college’s financial aid office to see if you’re eligible to receive it. Once FSEOG funds run out, no more money can be awarded for the rest of the year. So, apply as early as possible.
Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant
You could be eligible to receive the TEACH Grant if you complete certain classes and agree to be a teacher under certain conditions. This grant is unique because although you’ll receive the money as a grant, if you fail to meet the requirements of the award, it’ll be converted into a Direct Unsubsidized Loan.
Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
If a parent or family member has died due to military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after 9/11, you might be able to receive an Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. If you meet the requirements for a Pell Grant except for the EFC, you may receive this grant instead of the Pell Grant. You can receive the same maximum amount the Pell Grant awards. You can only get one award or the other, though, not both.
To get Georgia college grants, act now
As the cost of college continues to rise, it’s important to take advantage of all the free money available to you as soon as you can. Whether it’s federal, state, or local grants, explore all your financing options. If you’re still coming up short, consider applying for private student loans to make sure all your bases are covered.
Need a student loan?Here are our top student loan lenders of 2018!
|1 Important Disclosures for CollegeAve.
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or Nationwide Bank, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
Information advertised valid as of 11/1/2018. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
2 Important Disclosures for Discover.
3 Important Disclosures for Ascent.
Before taking out private student loans, you should explore and compare all financial aid alternatives, including grants, scholarships, and federal student loans and consider your future monthly payments and income. Applying with a cosigner may improve your chance of getting approved and could help you qualify for a lower interest rate. Ascent Student Loans may be funded by Richland State Bank (RSB). Ascent Student Loan products are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application, verification of application information and certification of loan amount by a participating school. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions, and certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. Ascent is a federally registered trademark of Turnstile Capital Management (TCM) and may be used by RSB under limited license. Richland State Bank is a federally registered service mark of Richland State Bank.
* Application times vary depending on the applicants ability to supply the necessary information for submission.
* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.
4 = Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
5 Important Disclosures for PNC.
PNC Bank is one of the nation’s largest education loan providers. For over 40 years, PNC has been committed to helping students and their families make possible the adventure of college.
6 Important Disclosures for SunTrust.
Before applying for a private student loan, SunTrust recommends comparing all financial aid alternatives including grants, scholarships, and both federal and private student loans. To view and compare the available features of SunTrust private student loans, visit https://www.suntrust.com/loans/student-loans/private.
Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. SunTrust Bank reserves the right to change or discontinue this loan program without notice. Availability of all loan programs is subject to approval under the SunTrust credit policy and other criteria and may not be available in certain jurisdictions.
SunTrust Bank, Member FDIC. ©2018 SunTrust Banks, Inc. SUNTRUST, the SunTrust logo and Custom Choice Loan are trademarks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All rights reserved.
7 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Additional terms and conditions apply. For more details see LendKey
8 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
A government loan is made according to rules set by the U.S. Department of Education. Government loans have fixed interest rates, meaning that the interest rate on a government loan will never go up or down.
Government loans also permit borrowers in financial trouble to use certain options, such as income-based repayment, which may help some borrowers. Depending on the type of loan that you have, the government may discharge your loan if you die or become permanently disabled.
Depending on what type of government loan that you have, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness in exchange for performing certain types of public service. If you are an active-duty service member and you obtained your government loan before you were called to active duty, you are entitled to interest rate and repayment benefits for your loan.
A private student loan is not a government loan and is not regulated by the Department of Education. A private student loan is instead regulated like other consumer loans under both state and federal law and by the terms of the promissory note with your lender.
If your private student loan has a fixed interest rate, then that rate will never go up or down. If your private student loan has a variable interest rate, then that rate will vary depending on an index rate disclosed in your application. If the interest rate on the new private student loan is less than the interest rate on your government loans, your payments will be less if you refinance.
If you don’t pay a private student loan as agreed, the lender can refer your loan to a collection agency or sue you for the unpaid amount.
Remember also that like government loans, most private loans cannot be discharged if you file bankruptcy unless you can demonstrate that repayment of the loan would cause you an undue hardship. In most bankruptcy courts, proving undue hardship is very difficult for most borrowers.
9 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|3.94% – 12.78%1||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.04% – 13.04%3||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.34% – 12.99%2||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.12% – 10.98%*,4||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|5.03% – 11.23%5||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.12% – 13.13%6||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.92% – 10.01%7||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|3.72% – 9.68%8||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.26% – 12.13%9||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|