Important Terms

This section contains the definitions of the terms used throughout the OSFA Web site and are linked to from the various OSFA Web pages. 

B  |  C  |  D  |  E  |  F  |  G  |  H  |  I  |  J  |  K  |  L  |  M  |  N  |  O  |  P  |  Q  |  R  |  S  |  T  |  U  |  V  |  W  |  X  |  Y  |  Z

 

A

  • Academic Assistance (a.k.a., Learning Support) is remedial coursework that prepares a student for study at the college/university level.
  • The University of Georgia’s Academic Year for the purposes of administering the Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs is defined as two fifteen (15) week semesters for a total of 30 weeks during which the average undergraduate student is expected to complete a minimum of thirty (30) credit hours.  Also, see Scheduled Academic Year.
  • Athena is the UGA integrated student information system which enables secure web-based access to student information, including the student’s financial aid application status and Award.
  • Click here for instructions regarding how to access and view your financial aid Application Status in Athena.
  • Click here for instructions regarding how to view your financial aid Award in Athena, and how to accept or decline any awarded non-gift aid.
  • The UGA Award Year begins each fall semester and is comprised of that fall semester, the following spring semester and summer sessions.
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B

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C

  • Capitalization of interest is the addition of any unpaid interest to the loan principal which increases the outstanding principal balance due on the loan.  Interest is then charged on the higher principal balance which increases the overall cost of the loan to the borrower.
  • For the above reason, borrowers should make every effort to pay the interest being charged on any disbursed loans rather than electing to capitalize the interest payments.
  • Cost of Attendance (COA) parameters and components are determined by the Higher Education Act, Sec. 472.
  • The COA is the cornerstone of establishing a student’s financial need, as it sets the limits on the total aid that a student may receive from Federal Student Aid (FSA) and all other need-based programs.
  • UGA COAs are calculated by the UGA Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA).
  • Although a student’s assigned COA is an estimate of his or her educational expenses for the period of enrollment during the Award Year, it is a very realistic estimation of those expenses and can be used by the student for personal budgeting purposes.
  • The student’s COA is reflected on his or her UGA financial aid Award in Athena.
  • See Costs for more information.
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D

  • All other deferred federal student loans such as the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, Federal Parent PLUS Loan, and the Graduate PLUS Loan will continue to accrue interest.  Any unpaid interest that accrues during the deferment period will be capitalized.
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E

  • Information about loan terms and conditions, along with debt management strategies, that first-time student borrowers are required to complete before they may receive their first Federal Direct Loan disbursement. For more information, see your student category under Federal Direct Loan (FDL) Application Steps.
  • Generally, a student’s enrollment status for Federal Student Aid (FSA) purposes is based on the number of credit hours in which the student is enrolled at the end of each semester’s drop/add period.
  • The enrollment status of students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process during the semester but following the end of the semester’s drop/add period will be based on the number of hours in which they are enrolled on the date the FAFSA process was completed.
  • The enrollment status of students who complete the FAFSA process after semester final grades are posted will be based on the number of hours they completed.
  • Only courses required for the student’s degree can be counted when determining the student’s enrollment status for Federal Student Aid.
  • See Enrollment Status and Repeated Coursework in Policies for additional information.
  • The EFC does not represent an amount of money the student’s family is expected to contribute to his or her education or pay to UGA.  The EFC is an index number used to determine the types and amounts of financial aid for which the student may qualify.
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F

Federal Campus-Based Programs

Federal Direct Loan (FDL) Interest Rate

  • FDL interest rates are set by Congress.
  • The interest rate for a loan will apply for the life of the loan; thereby, making it a fixed rate.
  • Since interest rates tend to change for new loans first disbursed on or after July 1 of each year, many borrowers will have a set of fixed-rate loans, each with a different interest rate.
  • See the Federal Direct Loan Interest Rates  

Federal Direct Loan (FDL) Origination Fee

  • The origination fee is the amount a borrower is required to pay the U.S. Department of Education to help reduce the cost of supporting FDLs.
  • The origination fee is withheld from each loan disbursement and is calculated by multiplying the semester’s gross loan award amount by the applicable origination fee percentage.
  • See the Federal Direct Loan Origination Fees chart.

Federal Direct Subsidized & Unsubsidized Aggregate Loan Limits

  • Federal Direct Aggregate Loan Limits are the maximum amount of outstanding Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans (excluding any capitalized interest) a student can borrow.
  • A student who has reached his or her aggregate borrowing limit may not receive additional Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized loans.
  • Once the loans are repaid, in full or in part, the student may apply for additional loans.
  • See the Federal Direct Subsidized & Unsubsidized Aggregate Loan Limits chart

Federal Methodology (FM)

  • The statutory formula used to calculate a student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC).  The FM is found in Part F of Title IV of the Higher Education Act, as amended (HEA). 
  • The FM considers the family’s taxable and untaxable income, assets, the number of household members and the number of those members (other than parents) who are attending college on at least a half-time basis.

Federal Pell Grant Payment Schedule

Federal Perkins Loan Aggregate Limits

  • Federal Perkins Loan Aggregate Loan Limits are the maximum amount of outstanding Federal Perkins Loan a student can borrow as an undergraduate or graduate/professional student.
  • A student who has reached his or her applicable aggregate borrowing limit may not receive additional Federal Perkins Loans.
  • See the Federal Perkins Loan Aggregate Limits chart

Federal School Code

Federal Student Aid (FSA)

  • Federal Student Aid (FSA) refers to the student aid programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act (as amended) that provide financial assistance to eligible students enrolled in postsecondary education.  The FSA programs currently available to qualifying UGA students are:
    • The Federal Pell Grant Program
    • The Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) Program
    • The Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program
    • The Federal Perkins Loan Program
    • The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (FDL) Program:
      • The Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan
      • The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
      • The Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan
      • The Federal Direct Graduate/Professional PLUS Loan
  • See Types of Aid for more information regarding these programs.

Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID

  • Students (and parents of dependent students) must use their respective Federal Student Aid (FSA) IDs to log on to FAFSA on the Web and the various U.S. Department of Education systems.  Each individual will create an FSA ID consisting of a personal username and password.
  • Click here for a quick guide to the FSA ID from Federal Student Aid.
  • Remember that your FSA ID serves as your electronic signature when completing Department of Education Web-based applications. It also provides access to your personal information on these sites, so do not share your FSA PIN with anyone!

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Process Completion

Financial Aid Process Completion

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G

Georgia Residency for HOPE/Zell Miller Scholarships

  • Students who meet the Georgia Residency requirements of the University System of Georgia (USG) Board of Regents at the time of their high school graduation, Home Study program completion or successful GED test, must also meet those requirements for 12 consecutive months immediately prior to the first day of classes of the school term for which the HOPE/Zell Miller Scholarship is sought.
  • Students not meeting the preceding requirements at the time of high school graduation, Home Study program completion or successful GED test, must meet the requirements for 24 consecutive months immediately prior to the first day of classes of the school term for which the HOPE/Zell Miller Scholarship is sought.
  • The UGA Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) does not determine a student's Georgia residency status.  The Georgia residency determination of incoming undergraduate students is made by Undergraduate Admissions.  The Office of the Registrar determines the Georgia residency for enrolled students and former UGA undergraduates re-admitted as a former UGA undergraduate.

Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC)

  • The Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC) is the name traditionally used to refer to the GSFC and its companion student finance entities – the Georgia Student Finance Authority (GSFA) and the Georgia Higher Education Assistance Corporation (GHEAC).  Although statutorily created in Georgia law as separate entities, these three agencies work closely together to provide integrated state student financial aid services. They have the same mission and vision and share common board members, executive leadership, facilities and administrative support.   The term “Georgia Student Finance Commission” usually denotes the three agencies viewed as a single organization.
  • The GSFC is the State of Georgia entity responsible for regulating the State of Georgia Financial Aid Programs.

Georgia Scholarship/Grant Application (GSFAPPS)

  • The GSFAPPS is the Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC) application for the HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarships .
  • Once a student has submitted a GSFAPPS and it has been accepted on GSFC’s system as a valid application, it will remain on GSFC’s system as a valid application for 84 consecutive months (7 years) following the application’s approval date; therefore, Georgia residents applying only for the HOPE or Zell Miller Scholarship are not required to complete another application as long as they have a valid GSFAPPS.
  • Click here to begin the GSFAPPS. 

Gift Aid

  • Grants and scholarships are often referred to as “gift aid” because they do not have to be earned thru employment or repaid as long as the student fulfills the grant or scholarship eligibility requirements.
  • The Federal Pell Grant and the HOPE Scholarship are examples of gift aid.  When the UGA Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) awards you any gift aid, we pre-accept it on Athena for you.
  • Also see Non-Gift Aid

Grace Period

  • The period of time before a borrower must begin or resume repaying the federal student loan principal.

Grade Level

  • A student’s Grade Level is used in determining the annual maximum Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized and/or Federal Perkins Loans limits applicable to the student.
  • A student’s Grade Level is the total number of UGA hours earned at the student’s current degree level plus any accepted transfer hours applicable to the student’s current degree level.
Total Earned Grade Level
0-29 Undergraduate Hours 01
30-59 Undergraduate Hours 02
60-89 Undergraduate Hours 03
90+ Undergraduate Hours 04
2nd Undergraduate Degree 05
0-24 Graduate/Professional Hours 06
25+ Graduate/Professional Hours 07

Graduate Degree

  • A degree program in which the student is awarded a masters, specialist or doctoral (PhD, EdD, DMA, or DrPH) upon completion.
  •  Also see Professional Degree.

Graduate Student

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H

HOPE/Zell Miller Scholarship Attempted Hours

  • All the college credit hours the student has attempted since high school graduation are counted in determining the number of HOPE/Zell Miller Scholarship Attempted Hours regardless of whether or not the student was receiving the HOPE or Zell Miller Scholarship at the time, and whether or not UGA accepted any of the credit hours as transfer credit.
  • UGA uses a Plus/Minus grading system; however, HOPE/Zell Miller Scholarship regulations only permit the use of letter grades of A through F, so pluses and minuses are disregarded in the HOPE/Zell Miller Scholarship GPA calculation.
  • For these reasons, the HOPE/Zell Miller Scholarship Attempted Hours usually do not match the attempted hours reflected on official UGA transcripts/Athena.
  • Students are no longer eligible once they have 127 HOPE/Zell Miller Scholarship Attempted Hours.  This is a "hard cap"; therefore, should a student begin a semester with 126 HOPE/Zell Miller Scholarship Attempted Hours, the HOPE or Zell Miller Scholarship will provide only 1 credit hour of HOPE or Zell Miller Scholarship eligibility.
  • Also see HOPE/Zell Miller Scholarship Paid Hours.
  • See Section 105.14. Attempted-Hours Calculation in the 2016-17 HOPE Scholarship Public Institution Regulations

HOPE/Zell Miller Scholarship Grade Point Average (GPA)

  • The HOPE/Zell Miller Scholarship GPA is calculated using the student’s HOPE/Zell Miller Scholarship Attempted Hours.
  • UGA uses a Plus/Minus grading system; however, HOPE/Zell Miller Scholarship regulations only permit the use of letter grades of A through F, so pluses and minuses are disregarded in the HOPE/Zell Miller Scholarship GPA calculation.
  • For these reasons, the HOPE/Zell Miller Scholarship GPA usually does not match the cumulative GPA reflected on official UGA transcripts/Athena.

HOPE/Zell Miller Scholarship Paid Hours

  • The number of credit hours for which payment was received for any combination of HOPE or Zell Miller Scholarships, HOPE or Zell Miller Grants, and Accel (through Spring term 2011) Program funds.
  • Students are no longer eligible once they have accumulated 127 HOPE/Zell Miller Scholarship Paid Hours.  This is a "hard cap"; therefore, should a student begin a semester with 126 HOPE/Zell Miller Scholarship Paid Hours, the HOPE or Zell Miller Scholarship will provide only 1 credit hour of HOPE or Zell Miller Scholarship eligibility.
  • Also see HOPE/Zell Miller Scholarship Attempted Hours.
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I

Independent Student

  • A student’s responses to a series of questions on the FAFSA determine whether the student meets the statutory criteria to be considered an independent student for Federal Student Aid (FSA) purposes.  Click here to review the FAFSA dependency status questions.
  • When a student meets one or more of the statutory independent criteria then parental information is not required on the FAFSA. 
  • As a review of the FAFSA dependency questions will reveal, a student not living with parents or not being claimed by the parents on tax returns does not make the student independent for financial aid purposes.

Ineligible Non-Citizen

Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR)

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J

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K

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L

Learning Support Courses

Legal Guardian

  • An individual appointed by a court to be a “guardian” of a person and specifically required by the court to use his or her financial resources for the support of that person.

Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU)

  • Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU) is the maximum duration of a student's eligibility to receive a Federal Pell Grant and is equal to 12 full-time semesters, or six (6) Scheduled Awards.
  • The calculation of a student's LEU includes all the years the student received a Pell Grant.  See StudentAid.gov for additional information.

Loan Principal

  • Initially, the loan principal is the amount that was borrowed plus the loan Origination Fee charged at the time the loan was disbursed.
  • Later, the loan principal includes the outstanding (unpaid) amount of the borrowed loan funds plus the loan origination fees charged, and any capitalized interest minus any amount paid by the borrower and credited to the principal.
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M

Master Promissory Note (MPN)

  • A legally binding contract between a lender and borrower that can be used to make one or more loans for one or more academic years (up to 10 years).  An MPN lists the terms and conditions under which the borrower agrees to repay the loan and explains the borrower’s rights and responsibilities.
  • There are specific MPNs for the various types of Federal Direct Loans (FDLs) and the Federal Perkins Loan which borrowers must complete and sign (usually on-line) before receiving their first loan disbursement.

Merit-Based Aid

  • Financial aid awarded on the basis of specific accomplishments or talents rather than financial need.

Mitigating Circumstances

  • As defined within the UGA Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal Policy, mitigating circumstances are essentially unanticipated and unavoidable circumstances beyond the student’s control which directly affected his or her ability to be academically successful, and which have either been resolved or stabilized so that he or she is now able to be academically successful.  Examples of mitigating circumstances are:
    • serious injury/illness or an acute mental health condition of the student, or of an immediate family member, or
    • death of an immediate family member, or
    • other special circumstances deemed to be sufficiently mitigating by OSFA.
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N

National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)

  • NSLDS is the U.S. Department of Education’s central database for student financial aid.  It contains student-level data received from schools, the Federal Direct Loan Program, the Pell Grant Program, and other Department of Education programs and offices.
  • NLSDS provides a centralized, integrated view of federal student loans and Pell Grants and tracks them through their entire cycle.
  • Students can access NSLDS by clicking here.

Need

Need-Based Aid

Non-Gift Aid

Non-Successfully Completed Hours

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O

Origination Fee

  • The amount a borrower is required to pay the U.S. Department of Education to help defray the cost of a Federal Direct Loan (FDL).
  • The applicable origination fee is withheld from each FDL disbursement.
  • See the chart reflecting the Federal Direct Loan Origination Fees

Outside Scholarships and Other Resources

  • Outside Scholarships are scholarships awarded to the student by individuals, agencies, non-profits, etc. which are sent to UGA or directly to the student.  Other Resources include UGA scholarships, waivers of tuition and fees, employer or other outside agency payments toward a student’s tuition/fees, books, supplies and other educational expenses.
  • Also see Estimated Financial Assistance (EFA)
  • Students must report all outside scholarships and other resources to the UGA Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA).  Log In to the My OSFA Portal here to report all your Outside Scholarships and Other Resources to OSFA.

Overall Grade Point Average (GPA)

Overaward

  • An overaward occurs either when a student’s Need Based Aid exceeds his or her Unmet Need, or when the student’s total amount of awarded aid which includes Federal Student Aid (FSA) exceeds his or her Cost of Attendance (COA).
  • When an overaward situation arises, the UGA Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) is required to review the student’s financial aid Award and determine if any of the Federal Student Aid (FSA) or other need based aid must be reduced in order to eliminate the overaward.
  • Overawards become overpayments if OSFA cannot eliminate the overaward before before funds have been disbursed to the student.
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P

Parent(s)

Private (Alternative) Education Loan

  • A private (alternative) education loan is a non-federal education loan borrowed from a private lender such as a bank, credit union or other financial entity that should be a student’s last resort for educational assistance.
  • Only students who need additional funds beyond what they do qualify for in Federal Student Aid (FSA) and non-federal aid should consider applying for a private education loan.
  • See Private (Alternative) Education Loans under Undergraduate Aid or Graduate/Professional Aid as appropriate.

Professional Degree

  • A degree program that signifies both the completion of the academic requirements for beginning practice in a given profession and a level of professional skill beyond that normally required for a baccalaureate degree.  Professional licensure is generally required.
  • The UGA professional degree programs are:  The School of Law Juris Doctorate (J.D.), the College of Pharmacy Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.), and the College of Veterinary Medicine Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.).
  • Also see Graduate Degree.

Professional Student

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Q

Quality Assurance Program (QAP)

  • The Quality Assurance Program (QAP) was authorized under Section 487A of the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965, as amended in 1998, and is designed to help participating postsecondary institutions improve the delivery of federal student aid. 
  • Postsecondary institutions participating in QAP develop their own Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) verification requirements.
  • UGA OSFA periodically requires randomly selected students and their families to provide documentation verifying the information they provided on their FAFSAs.  Selected students cannot be awarded any federal student aid (including loans) until they provide the requested documentation.
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R

Regular Student

  • A student who is enrolled or accepted for enrollment into an eligible undergraduate, graduate or professional degree program for the purpose of obtaining said degree.

Remaining Need

Repayment Period

  • The time during which a borrower is obligated to make payments on the federal loan principal according to the terms and conditions of the loan’s promissory note.
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S

Scheduled Academic Year (SAY)

  • The Scheduled Academic Year (SAY) applies to the administration of Federal Direct Loans (FDL) at the University of Georgia (UGA).
  • The SAY begins with the first day of class each fall semester and ends with the last official exam day of the following spring semester.
  • The Federal Direct Subsidized & Unsubsidized Loan Annual Limits apply to the SAY.
  • Summer sessions at UGA are considered a “trailer” to the SAY; therefore, the Federal Direct Subsidized & Unsubsidized Loan Annual Limits apply to the fall, spring and summer sessions.
  • Also see Academic Year.

Scheduled Award

Self-Help Aid

State of Georgia Financial Aid Programs

The following are State of Georgia financial aid programs and are regulated by the Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC):

Student Aid Report (SAR)

  • After the U.S. Department of Education Central Processing System (CPS) processes the student’s FAFSA, they produce a Student Aid Report (SAR) reflecting the information the student and the parent(s) of a dependent student provided on the FAFSA, along with the calculated Expected Family Contribution (EFC), as well as the results of the eligibility matches with other federal agencies, any identified inconsistencies, and messages the student needs to read and possibly act on.
  • If the student provides his/her e-mail address on the FAFSA, the CPS e-mails the student a direct link to the FAFSA login page with instructions to view his/her SAR; otherwise, they will mail the student a paper SAR or SAR Acknowledgement.
  • The student and parent(s) of a dependent student should carefully review the SAR to make sure it is correct and complete.  If there are any errors needing correction, click here for guidance.  If there are no corrections to make to the information, the student just keeps the SAR for his/her records.
  • If the student provided the UGA Federal School Code 001598 on the FAFSA, the UGA Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) will receive the Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) two to three days later.  If the student did not provide the UGA Federal School Code on the FAFSA, he/she needs to login to www.fafsa.gov and add the code.

Successfully Completed Hours

  • Successfully Completed Hours are all completed UGA and transfer course hours with a final grade of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D, K, or S as long as credit is earned.
  • Audited (V) courses are not included in determining the number of successfully completed hours.
  • Also see Non-Successfully Completed Hours.
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T

Total Attempted Hours

As defined for Federal Student Aid (FSA) Grade Level determination and the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy:

For a baccalaureate degree:

  • The total of all undergraduate course hours attempted at UGA (including any repeated courses) and all undergraduate transfer hours (including AP credits) accepted by UGA.
  • Audited (V) course hours are not included in determining the Total Attempted Hours.
  • All undergraduate hours are included in Total Attempted Hours whether or not the student was receiving federal or state aid when they were attempted and regardless of whether or not any of the attempted hours apply toward the student’s current undergraduate degree program.
  • The University’s granting of Academic Renewal does not change or alter in any way the calculation of the student’s Total Attempted Hours.

For a graduate or professional degree:

  • The total of all same degree level graduate and professional course hours attempted at UGA (including any repeated courses) and all the same degree level graduate or professional  transfer hours accepted by UGA.
  • Audited (V) course hours are not included in determining the Total Attempted Hours.
  • All same degree level graduate and professional hours are included in Total Attempted Hours whether or not the student was receiving federal or state aid when they were attempted and regardless of whether or not any of the attempted hours apply toward the student’s current graduate or professional degree program of the same level.

For the HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarships, see HOPE/Zell Miller Scholarship Attempted Hours.

Tuition Assistance Program (TAP)

  • The Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) is a supplemental educational assistance program for employees of the University System of Georgia (USG).
  • Click here for more information on the TAP program.
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U

Unmet Need

Unofficial Withdrawal

  • Federal regulations require students who have been awarded Federal Student Aid (FSA) to fulfill their academic requirements.  An "unofficial withdrawal" occurs when a student stops attending all classes and stops participating in any academic activities beyond the date he/she last attended classes.
  • Occasionally a student will receive all "F" and/or "U" grades for a term and the University is required to determine if the student "unofficially withdrew" from the University.
  • Click here for more information regarding Unofficial Withdrawals.

U.S. Citizen and Eligible Non-Citizen

  • A U.S. citizen or one of the non-citizen statuses designated by law as eligible for Federal Student Aid (FSA) and State of Georgia Financial Aid.
  • The general requirement for eligible non-citizens is that they are in the U.S. for other than a temporary purpose with the intention of becoming a citizen or lawful permanent resident as evidenced by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). To be considered for financial assistance administered by the Office of Student Financial Aid, a student must meet one of the citizenship or eligible resident classifications.
  • Click here for more information regarding U.S. Citizens and Eligible Non-Citizens.
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V

Verification

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W

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X

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Y

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Z

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