Students who complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) application will automatically be offered federal student loans as part of their financial aid award package.
Be sure to read the below information carefully before accepting loan offers:
- Check SCORE on the “Check My Financial Aid Status” link to view your financial aid offers. No financial aid will be disbursed to your account until you have been accepted to Georgia Highlands College.
- You may accept full or partial loan amounts but no less than $500 per semester. If you choose to accept a partial loan amount, it is recommended to contact the Office of Financial Aid for assistance at email@example.com.
- The loan amount(s) accepted will be split in half between two semesters unless otherwise noted. The Department of Education charges an origination (processing) fee on each loan disbursement (amount is calculated based on the disbursement amount).
- You must be registered for at least 6 credit hours to receive a student loan. You can check your Schedule/Bill to confirm your enrollment.
- Loans will not be disbursed until ALL three steps are complete (acceptance in SCORE, Entrance Counseling, Master Promissory Note). Once ALL three steps are complete, loans can take up to four business days to process and appear on your Schedule/Bill.
Steps to Accept a Student Loan
- Log into SCORE.
- Click on Financial Aid.
- Click on Award.
- Click on Award for Aid Year
- Select Aid Year from the dropdown menu (choose current aid year).
- Select Continue.
- Click on Accept Award Offer tab found across the top of the page.
- Click Accept to accept your loan offer(s).
- Click Submit Decision.
- Complete Entrance Counseling and sign your Master Promissory Note HERE (log in with your FSA ID/password you used to complete the FAFSA).
Loan Reinstatements and Cancellations
To REINSTATE a loan you have previously declined, fill out the FA Reinstatement Request form (up to two-week processing timeframe). Loans cannot be accepted or reinstated for a previous semester once that semester has ended.
To CANCEL a loan you have previously accepted, fill out the FA Cancellation Request form (up to two-week processing timeframe). Once loan disbursements move onto your account (usually within two weeks after classes start), you can no longer cancel a loan, and you will be responsible for repayment to your lender.
Annual and Aggregate Loan Limits
Based on your status, you can borrow up to a certain amount in federal loan funding.
Annual (Yearly) Loan Limits
All loan amounts will be split in half between two semesters unless otherwise noted.
Dependent Undergraduate Students
- Freshman-less than 30 credits $5,500
- Sophomore-less than 60 credits $6,500
- Junior-less than 90 credits $7,500
- Senior-90 or more credits $7,500
Independent Undergraduate Students
- Freshman-less than 30 credits $9,500
- Sophomore-less than 60 credits $10,500
- Junior-less than 90 credits $12,500
- Senior-90 or more credits $12,500
Aggregate (Lifetime) Loan Limits
Once you have borrowed up to this amount, you can no longer receive federal loan funds until/unless you pay enough on your loan balance to be able to borrow again.
Dependent Undergraduate Students
$31,000 (no more than $23,000 of this amount can be from Subsidized loan funds)
Independent Undergraduate Students
$57,500 (no more than $23,000 of this amount can be from Subsidized loan funds)
Who is my Lender and how much do I owe?
To see who your Lender is and how to contact them, click HERE for details on the amount you owe for the loan(s), the school(s) you borrowed the loan(s) from, and the timeframe(s).
Denial of a Parent PLUS Loan and Dependent Students
If a parent applies for a Parent PLUS loan on behalf of a Dependent student and the application is denied, the student could then receive loan funding at the Independent annual loan limits instead of the Dependent annual loan limits.
A Dependent Student means that you have to provide parent information on the FAFSA and do not meet the criteria to be Independent. Click HERE to learn more.
Federal Direct Loans
Federal Subsidized Loans (based on financial need)
The Subsidized loan is offered to students who demonstrate financial need. Financial need is based on a student’s EFC (Expected Family Contribution) amount as determined by the FAFSA and a school’s cost of attendance. Subsidized loans do not accrue any interest and no payments are due while a student is enrolled in college at least half-time (six or more credit hours). The student is allowed to make payments of any amount on the loan(s) before the actual repayment cycle begins if they wish to do so but it is not required. Once a student is no longer enrolled in college for six consecutive months or they drop below six credit hours for six consecutive months, the lender will expect them to begin repayment on their loan(s). Once repayment begins, the Subsidized loan begins to accrue interest and carries interest for the life of the loan. Interest rates are fixed but subject to change on an annual basis. Click HERE to view the current interest rates on federal loans.
Federal Unsubsidized Loan (not based on financial need)
The Unsubsidized loan is not based on financial need. Financial need is based on a student’s EFC (Expected Family Contribution) amount as determined by the FAFSA and a school’s cost of attendance. The Unsubsidized loan begins to accrue interest immediately after it is disbursed to the student’s account and carries interest for the life of the loan. No payments are due while a student is enrolled in college at least half-time (six or more credit hours). The student is allowed to make payments of any amount on the loan(s) before the actual repayment cycle begins if they wish to do so but it is not required. Once a student is no longer enrolled in college for six consecutive months or they drop below six credit hours for six consecutive months, the lender will expect them to begin repayment on their loan(s). Interest rates are fixed but subject to change on an annual basis. Click HERE to view the current interest rates on federal loans.
Parent PLUS Loan
The Parent PLUS loan is a loan for parents of dependent undergraduate students. PLUS loan eligibility is based on a credit check performed on the parent borrower. PLUS repayment begins within 60 days after all loan funds are disbursed to the student’s account. PLUS borrowers can borrow up to the student’s cost of attendance less any other financial aid the student is receiving. PLUS interest rates vary and are subject to change on an annual basis. Parent borrowers must complete a Parent PLUS application for review. Please make sure that you fill out the Parent PLUS application and not the Graduate PLUS application which is for students pursuing a Graduate degree (Masters or PhD).
Learn more about Federal Student Loans
Review the Federal Student Aid website to learn more about the specifics of federal loans.
Student Access Loan (SAL)
The State of Georgia offers a loan program for students who meet the following criteria:
- Be considered a Georgia resident and United States citizen or eligible non-citizen and complete a FAFSA to apply.
- Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in accordance with the SAP policy at their college or university.
- Must be at least 18 years or older and enrolled in an eligible Georgia postsecondary institution at least half-time (six or more credit hours)
- Students must accept all federal aid options (including federal loans) before being considered for this loan. The SAL loan is to help students fill the gap between all federal aid and Cost of Attendance. Click HERE to learn more about the SAL loan.
External (Outside) Loans
- External (outside) loans are usually credit-based and may need a co-signer. Once approved for the loan by the lender, they will notify the GHC Office of Financial Aid that a certification request is pending for the student.
- Then our office will verify eligible amounts prior to certifying the loan (these amounts may be different than what the student has requested).
- If the loan is certified at GHC and the certified amount covers all charges for the semester, our office will place a hold on the student’s account to secure their schedule through any pending fee payment deadlines.
- After classes start, the lender will send a check to the GHC Business Office, and they will apply it to the student’s account.
The GHC Office of Financial Aid cannot recommend a particular lender. You can search for information online about which lenders certify student loans.