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HOPE (Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally)

HOPE Changes for Fall Semester 2014
*For information on changes to the HOPE programs effective Fall Semester 2014 for all colleges in the Technical College System of Georgia, please click on the link above.

The HOPE Programs, funded by the Georgia Lottery for Education, are unique programs that reward students with financial assistance in degree, diploma, and certificate programs. If eligible, students may receive financial assistance for a percentage of their tuition charges. 

The Financial Aid Office will manage the HOPE Grant, Zell Miller Grant, HOPE Scholarship, Zell Miller Scholarship, HOPE GED Grant, and Student Access Loan-Technical programs in accordance with regulations issued by Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC).  GSFC regulations and guidance will supersede this information.

How to Apply

Submitting a FAFSA each year will apply you for all of the HOPE programs for Georgia residents. 

In order to receive HOPE Scholarship, the student is responsible for requesting a HOPE Scholarship Evaluation. The HOPE Scholarship Evaluation Request Form should be submitted to the Financial Aid Office. Students should request this evaluation several weeks before the start of the term they plan to enroll in order to have HOPE available by the tuition and fees payment deadline.

HOPE/Zell Miller/SALT Residency Requirements

Students who were legal residents of Georgia at the time of graduation from high school or a home study program or on their GED test date must meet the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) residency requirements for at least 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the first day of classes of the term for which the HOPE Grant, Zell Miller Grant, HOPE Scholarship, Zell Miller Scholarship, HOPE GED Grant, and/or Student Access Loan-Technical is sought.

Students who were not legal residents of Georgia at the time of graduation from high school or a home study program or on their GED test date must meet the TCSG residency requirements for at least 24 consecutive months immediately preceding the first day of classes of the term for which the HOPE Grant, Zell Miller Grant, HOPE Scholarship, Zell Miller Scholarship, HOPE GED Grant, and/or Student Access Loan-Technical is sought.

If the student is an active duty military service member or the spouse or dependent child of an active duty military service member and the active duty military service member is stationed in Georgia or lists Georgia as their home of record, then the student meets the residency requirements for HOPE Grant, Zell Miller Grant, HOPE Scholarship, Zell Miller Scholarship, HOPE GED Grant, and Student Access Loan-Technical programs. 
Dual and Joint enrolled students must meet TCSG Georgia residency requirements for 12 months immediately preceding the first day of the term for which the award is sought.

Bachelor’s Degree Recipients

Students who have received a Bachelor’s Degree, its equivalent or higher, from any institution are ineligible for the HOPE Grant, Zell Miller Grant, HOPE Scholarship, Zell Miller Scholarship, and HOPE GED Grant.  Students who have earned a Bachelor’s Degree or higher are eligible to apply for the Student Access Loan – Technical Program.

HOPE Grant for Diploma and Certificate Programs

Credit Hour Checkpoints (Effective Fall Semester 2013)
A student enrolled in a diploma or certificate program and receiving or seeking HOPE Grant must have earned a cumulative GPA of 2.0 at the end of the term in which he or she has attended 30 and 60 semester or 45 and 90 quarter credit hours towards a diploma or certificate for which he or she received HOPE Grant funds. Students who received HOPE Grant prior to Fall Semester 2011 must meet the GPA requirement at the end of the term in which they reach their next credit hour checkpoint.    

Regaining HOPE Grant
Students who have lost their HOPE Grant eligibility at the 30/45 (semester/quarter) credit hour checkpoint may regain it if their cumulative GPA is 2.0 or higher at the 60/90 credit hour checkpoint.  Students may only regain HOPE Grant eligibility one time after losing it. 

Effective Fall Semester 2013
Students who lost their HOPE Grant eligibility at a credit hour checkpoint due to not having a 3.0 GPA when that requirement was in place, but who had at least a 2.0 HOPE Grant GPA at that time, will regain their HOPE Grant eligibility starting Fall semester 2013 or their next term of enrollment.

HOPE Grant GPA Calculation
The Registrar is responsible for calculating students’ GPA for HOPE Grant purposes.  Students must submit official transcripts from all institutions at which they have received HOPE Grant payment in order to be evaluated for continued eligibility at the 30 credit hour checkpoint.  Failure to provide all official transcripts will result in the student not being evaluated for HOPE Grant eligibility beyond 30 credit hours.  The 30/45 credit hour checkpoint GPA will include all diploma or certificate credit courses for which the student received HOPE Grant payment.  Learning Support and dual enrollment coursework while in high school are excluded from the HOPE Grant GPA and checkpoints.  For students who lost HOPE Grant at the 30/45 credit hour checkpoint, the 60/90 credit hour checkpoint GPA will also include all diploma or certificate credit courses for which the student would have received HOPE Grant payment. 

Paid-Hours Limit for HOPE Grant
An eligible student may receive HOPE Grant and/or Zell Miller Grant payment for a combined total of 63 semester credit hours at all institutions.

Zell Miller Grant for Diploma and Certificate Programs – NEW

The Zell Miller Grant program is a new program effective Fall Semester 2014 which provides grant assistance to Georgia residents pursuing Diplomas or Certificate programs.  The Zell Miller Grant pays 100% of the tuition charge or $89 per credit hour for the 2014-2015 award year.

GPA Requirements

Students who have received HOPE Grant and have at least a 3.5 HOPE Grant GPA are eligible to receive Zell Miller Grant.  Zell Miller Grant recipients must maintain a minimum cumulative HOPE/Zell Miller Grant GPA of 3.5 at the end of each term. 

Students who have not previously received HOPE Grant (or who only received it while dual or joint enrolled while in high school) may receive Zell Miller Grant retroactively for the first term of enrollment after earning a cumulative 3.5 GPA at the end of the first term. 

Students who do not have a 3.5 GPA will lose eligibility for Zell Miller Grant for the subsequent term.  They may receive HOPE Grant payment if their HOPE/Zell Miller Grant GPA was 2.0 or higher at the last HOPE Grant credit hour checkpoint (see above).

Regaining Zell Miller Grant

Students who have lost Zell Miller Grant due to GPA requirements may regain it when their cumulative HOPE/Zell Miller GPA is at least 3.5.

Paid-Hours Limit for HOPE Grant
An eligible student may receive HOPE Grant and/or Zell Miller Grant payment for a combined total of 63 semester credit hours at all institutions.

HOPE Scholarship for Degree Programs

Time Limit for HOPE Scholarship Eligibility
Students who have received HOPE Scholarship prior to summer term 2011 will continue to be eligible for HOPE Scholarship until June 30, 2015, regardless of their high school graduation date, provided they meet all other eligibility requirements. 

Students who have not received HOPE Scholarship prior to summer term 2011, will be eligible for HOPE Scholarship until June 30 of the seventh academic year following their high school graduation or the equivalent. 

Students who graduated high school more than seven (7) years prior to the term in which they are seeking HOPE Scholarship funds and who have not received HOPE Scholarship prior to summer term 2011 will not be eligible for HOPE Scholarship at any time.

Credit Hour Checkpoints
Students enrolled in a degree program and receiving or seeking HOPE Scholarship must have earned a cumulative GPA of 3.0 at the end of the terms in which they have attempted 30, 60, and 90 college-level semester credit hours in order to receive further HOPE Scholarship funds.

First-Tier Recipient and Three Term Checkpoint
To be considered a First-Tier HOPE Scholar and receive HOPE Scholarship funds with zero credit hours attempted, a student must be a 1993 or later graduate of an eligible high school with a cumulative high school GPA of 3.0 for college preparatory curriculum or a cumulative 3.2 GPA for other curricula.

A first-tier recipient of HOPE Scholarship who is enrolled for less than 12 hours for each of his or her first three school terms must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 at the end of his or her third term in order to continue eligibility for HOPE Scholarship beyond the third term.

End of Spring Checkpoint
Students enrolled in a degree program seeking HOPE Scholarship must have earned a cumulative GPA of 3.0 at the end of each spring term, regardless of enrollment during spring term.

Regaining HOPE Scholarship Eligibility
Students who fail to earn a cumulative 3.0 GPA at any of the above checkpoints will lose their HOPE Scholarship.  Students may regain their HOPE Scholarship if their cumulative GPA is 3.0 or higher at a subsequent credit-hour checkpoint.  Students may only regain HOPE Scholarship eligibility one time after losing it.  Students who lose their HOPE Scholarship at the 90 semester credit hour checkpoint cannot regain the HOPE Scholarship.  No appeals are permitted for HOPE Scholarship GPA requirements.  There is no warning period for HOPE Scholarship GPA requirements.

HOPE Scholarship GPA Calculation
Students are responsible for requesting a HOPE Scholarship Evaluation be conducted in order to receive HOPE Scholarship.  Click on the link to print the Request for

HOPE Scholarship Evaluation form

The Registrar is responsible for calculating students’ GPA for HOPE Scholarship purposes. The HOPE Scholarship GPA is calculated to the hundredth decimal, for example 2.99.

In order for a student’s HOPE Scholarship eligibility to be initially evaluated or to be re-evaluated after re-enrollment, a student must submit to the Registrar’s Office official copies of transcripts from ALL post-secondary institutions ever attended, regardless of the courses taken, grades received, or eligibility for transfer credit for any courses taken at previous institutions.

Failure to provide the Registrar with ALL official transcripts will result in the student not being evaluated for HOPE Scholarship eligibility. Once a student’s initial HOPE Scholarship eligibility is determined by the Registrar, the Financial Aid Office will track it each term, as long as the student remains enrolled.

If the student changes his/her program of study to a non-degree program, and subsequently changes back to a degree program, he/she should request that his/her HOPE Scholarship Evaluation be updated.

Credit hours attempted as part of a diploma or certificate program of study are not included in the HOPE Scholarship GPA calculation unless those hours are accepted by any institution toward a degree program.

Effective fall semester 2011, Learning Support or remedial courses are not included in the HOPE Scholarship calculation of attempted hours. Learning Support or remedial courses that were previously included in attempted hours will remain in the attempted hours calculation.

Transfer students from any other post secondary institution who wish to receive HOPE Scholarship should submit ALL official transcripts to the Registrar’s Office and request a HOPE Scholarship evaluation from the Financial Aid Office.

Zell Miller Scholarship

The Zell Miller Scholarship is designed to reward the highest achieving high school graduates with financial assistance for their tuition. The Zell Miller Scholarship will pay 100% of the tuition charges at the standard tuition rate, for eligible students. Students enrolled in programs with a non-standard tuition rate will not receive additional funds. No funds will be paid for fees or books.   Georgia Student Finance Commissions (GSFC) will identify students who are eligible for the Zell Miller Scholarship.  To remain eligible, Zell Miller Scholarship recipients must have a cumulative GPA of 3.3 at the end of the term in which they have attempted 30, 60, and 90 college-level semester credit hours.

Three Term Checkpoint
A first-tier recipient of the Zell Miller Scholarship who is enrolled for less than 12 hours for each of his or her first three school terms must have a cumulative GPA of 3.3 at the end of his or her third term in order to continue eligibility for the Zell Miller Scholarship beyond the third term.

End of Spring Checkpoint
Students enrolled in a degree program seeking the Zell Miller Scholarship must have earned a cumulative GPA of 3.3 at the end of each spring term, regardless of enrollment during spring term.

Regaining Zell Miller Scholarship Eligibility
Students who fail to earn a cumulative 3.3 GPA at any of the above checkpoints will lose their Zell Miller Scholarship eligibility.  A student whose GPA is below 3.3 but at least 3.0 will become eligible for the HOPE Scholarship.  Students may regain their Zell Miller Scholarship if their cumulative GPA is 3.3 or higher at a subsequent credit-hour checkpoint.  Students may only regain Zell Miller Scholarship eligibility one time after losing it.  Students who lose their Zell Miller Scholarship at the 90 semester credit hour checkpoint cannot regain it.  No appeals are permitted for Zell Miller Scholarship GPA requirements.  There is no warning period for Zell Miller Scholarship GPA requirements.

Zell Miller Scholarship GPA Calculation
The Registrar is responsible for calculating students’ GPA for Zell Miller Scholarship purposes once they have been identified as eligible by GSFC.  In order for a student’s Zell Miller Scholarship eligibility to be evaluated at a checkpoint, after re-enrollment, or after changing from a non-degree to a degree program, a student must submit official copies of transcripts from all post-secondary institutions ever attended, regardless of the courses taken, grades received, or eligibility for transfer credit for any courses taken at previous institutions.  Failure to provide all official transcripts will result in the student not being evaluated for Zell Miller Scholarship eligibility.  If the student changes his/her program of study to a non-degree program, and subsequently changes back to a degree program, he/she should request that his/her Zell Miller Scholarship Evaluation be updated. 

Combined Paid-Hours Limit for HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarships

An eligible student may receive HOPE Scholarship or the Zell Miller Scholarship until he or she reaches the Combined Paid-Hours Limit of 190 quarter or 127 semester credit hours from any combination of HOPE Scholarship Paid-Hours, plus Zell Miller Scholarship Paid-Hours, plus HOPE Grant Paid-Hours, plus ACCEL Program Paid-Hours for credit hours taken at all institutions.

Once a student has reached the Combined Paid-Hours Limit, they will be ineligible for HOPE Grant payment as well.

Attempted Hours Limit for HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarships

A student is ineligible to receive HOPE Scholarship and Zell Miller Scholarship payment once he or she reaches the Attempted Hours Limit of 127 college level semester credit hours, regardless of how payment was made for those hours.

HOPE GED Grant

The HOPE GED Grant Program provides recipients of GED’s with a one-time award of $500 toward the cost of their postsecondary education.  To be eligible, a student must be enrolled in a program of study and meet the following requirements:

Must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Must not be in default on Federal Title IV or State of Georgia educational loan or owe a refund on Federal Title IV aid or a State of Georgia financial aid program.

Must be registered with the Selective Service Board (males only).

Must meet TCSG Georgia Residency Requirements.

Must submit HOPE GED Voucher to Financial Aid Office.

The HOPE GED Voucher is a one-time award of $500 and must be used within 24 months of issuance.

Strategic Industries Workforce Development Grant

Students who are receiving HOPE or Zell Miller Grant may also be eligible for the Strategic Industries Workforce Development Grant (SIWDG).  Students must be enrolled in the following programs of study at SWGTC for the 2014-2015 award year:

          Early Childhood Care and Education, Diploma only

          Practical Nursing (clinical portion of program only), Diploma

          Network Specialist, Diploma

          PC Repair and Network Technician, TCC

Health Information Coding, Diploma 

Surgical Technology, Diploma only

Basic Shielded Metal Arc Welder, TCC

Gas Metal Arc Welder, TCC

Vertical Shielded Metal Arc Welder, TCC

Welding and Joining Technology, Diploma

Georgia Student Finance Commission issues a list of approved programs for the SIWDG each award year.

Students must be receiving HOPE or Zell Miller Grant for the semester in order to receive SIWDG payment.  Students do not need to specifically request this additional Grant. 

The amount of the SIWDG award is a fixed amount for each term of enrollment:

          Enrolled Hours        Award Amount per Semester

          9+ hours                $500.00

          3-8 hours               $250.00

          1-2 hours               $125.00

Students must meet all other HOPE/Zell Miller Grant eligibility criteria to receive SIWDG.

Student Access Loan for Technical Colleges

The Student Access Loan – Technical (SALT) Program is a need-based, low interest loan program administered by the Georgia Student Finance Authority (GSFA).  The purpose of the SALT program is to assist with the affordability of a college education at Georgia’s public technical colleges and to encourage timely persistence to the achievement of postsecondary credentials.

IMPORTANT REMINDERS

Student Access Loan-Technical (SALT) funds are a LOAN.  This money has to be repaid to Georgia Student Finance Authority, unless the student is eligible for loan discharge (see below).  SALT loans are private loans and can NOT be consolidated with any federal student loans the student may have. 

ELIGIBILITY

SALT funds can be used to pay college-related expenses, including tuition, fees, and books.  The minimum loan amount for 2014-2015 is $300.  The maximum loan amount is $3,000, depending on need.  Students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress, as detailed in the SWGTC SAP Policy.  (please link to Eligibility page) 

In order to be considered for the SALT, applicants must be enrolled and maintain at least half-time enrollment (6 credit hours) in order to receive loan funds. 

Applicants must not be in default on a Federal Title IV Program or State of Georgia educational loan or owe a refund on a Federal Title IV or State of Georgia student financial aid program. 

Applicants must meet Georgia residency requirements, as outlined above for all HOPE/Zell Miller programs. 

In order to apply for the SALT, a student must have a 2014-2015 FAFSA on file with Georgia Student Finance Commission.  Students may access the SALT application at www.gacollege411.org

INTEREST RATE INFORMATION

Interest rate for the SALT program will be 1% while in school and out of school as long as the loan remains in good standing.  If the loan goes into default, the interest rate will become 5% for the life of the loan and the student will be reported to a collection agency.

A monthly Keep In Touch (KIT) payment is required while in school and while in the grace period. 

A non-refundable origination fee of 5% of the loan amount, but not more than $50.00 is deducted from the first disbursement of the loan. 

SALT is an annual process, which includes application, selection, certification, approval, and disbursement.  SALT funds are first come, first served based on the funds available each award year. 

Once a student submits their application, GSFA selects the application for processing.  SWGTC will certify students for the SALT based on their financial need and other eligibility requirements.  GSFA will send the student important information and forms to be completed in order for the loan to be approved.  Once GSFA receives those documents from the student, they will determine if the loan can be approved.  Once approved, the loan funds will be disbursed to SWGTC, based on the pre-determined disbursement date.  Loan funds will first be applied to a student’s balance to cover any tuition, fees, or other SWGTC expenses.  Remaining funds will be refunded to the student. 

LOAN DISCHARGE ELIGIBILITY

Borrowers may request a discharge of a portion of a loan or loans based on academic performance.  If approved the discharge would release the borrower from the obligation to repay the remaining balance of the loan.  In order to be eligible for a loan discharge, a borrower must:

          Graduate from the program of study for which the SALT was received; and

          Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 at the time of graduation; and

Submit proper documentation of graduation and GPA, as specified in the SALT promissory note.

 

 

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