Frequently Asked Questions

What is financial aid?

Financial aid is any grant, part-time employment (workstudy), scholarship or loan offered to you with the purpose of assisting you in the payment of your educational expenses. These aid programs can come from a number of different sources, such as the federal or state government, or an outside agency.

What is the difference between a grant and a loan?

A grant is money received from a federal or state entity that does not have to be paid back. Some grants are based on a student’s financial need and some grants are based on a student’s academic success. Loans MUST be paid back (with interest) beginning 6 months after the student has either withdrawn from school or completed graduation requirements.

What are educational expenses?

Educational expenses are any expenses you incur as a result of attending school, such as tuition, fees, books, etc. In addition to the actual costs of tuition, fees and books, the federal government also includes allowance estimates for room, board, transportation and miscellaneous expenses. This is known as a student’s cost of attendance. These estimated allowances will be different based on the institution that you are attending.

Do I need to be accepted before I can apply for financial aid?

No. As soon as you make the decision to continue your education, you should begin the financial aid application process. However, before you can actually be awarded, you must be enrolled.

Where should I start?

Your first action should be to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid * (FAFSA) and include Central Georgia Technical College’s school code (005763) in it so that we receive your information. Once we receive your FAFSA from the Department of Education, we can begin reviewing your eligibility for financial aid. Additional information may be required.

* Students who are certain they are only interested in applying for Hope Grant or Scholarship may complete the GSFAPPS (Georgia HOPE Application).

What do I need to complete the FAFSA?

You/your parents will need your/their Federal Income Tax return that you/they filed with the IRS. The easiest way to complete or correct the FAFSA with accurate tax information is by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool through www.fafsa.ed.gov. In a few simple steps, you can view tax return information and transfer it directly to your FAFSA.

When will I hear about my financial aid award?

Students will be notified approximately 2 to 3 weeks after the FAFSA has been successfully submitted. The earlier you file your FAFSA the more efficient the process will be as a whole. Our best advice would be to complete your FAFSA as soon as possible so that all your financial arrangements are in place prior to the start of classes. FAFSA corrections and GSFAPPS normal processing is 10-14 days.

I am registered for several courses that are not required for my program of study. Will financial aid pay for these courses?

No; financial aid will only pay for courses that are required to complete your program of study. Students should become familiar with the courses that are required for their program by looking up their program course curriculum in the Academic Section of CGTC’s catalog.

When will I receive a refund?

For students who have completed the financial aid process and financial aid is more than tuition, fees, and books charged refunds will be available through a bank issued debit card. Students that choose to receive the refund by debit card must have a valid address on file. Students may choose to receive refunds by direct deposit upon request. Refer to the Important Dates section of the Financial Aid webpage for scheduled refund dates for each term.

How can I check my status?

Students have access to their information via BannerWeb, the college’s student information system, at bannerweb.centralgatech.edu. To log in you will need your Student Id or Social Security Number and your CGTC PIN (will default to your 6 digit birth date for first time users).

What is an EFC?

The EFC is the Expected Family Contribution, determined by the information that is submitted on the FAFSA. It is a baseline estimate of what the Department of Education feels you should be able to contribute to the cost of your education.

Can someone other than the student (such as a parent, spouse, sister, brother, friend, etc.) check on or obtain information regarding a student?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prevent us from providing any information to anyone other than the student. FERPA is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U. S. Department of Education. It is certainly possible for a student to forward any correspondence to other interested parties but our direct communication will be with the student unless an official Release of Information is on file with the college.

If I made a mistake on my FAFSA, can I fix it?

Yes, adjustments can be made if the FAFSA is completed incorrectly. You can make corrections directly to your application online (the FAFSA PIN is required) or contact the CGTC Financial Aid Office for assistance.

Do I have to renew my FAFSA for financial aid every year?

Yes. Students must renew their FAFSA for each academic year. Students can begin the FAFSA renewal process as soon as they file their taxes. Example: If a student plans to return to school in the Fall of 2013, they should renew their FAFSA as soon as they or their parent has filed taxes for 2012.

What’s the difference between a “dependent” and an “independent” student?

A dependent student is one who is required to use parental information on the FAFSA form. Independent students use only their own financial and personal information.

In order to be considered an independent student, you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Be at least 24 years of age before January 1 of the award year for which you are applying,
  • Be an orphan or ward of the court,
  • Have a child/children for whom you provide more than half their financial support,
  • Be a married student,
  • Be a veteran of the armed forces,
  • Be a graduate student, or
  • Have a legal dependent other than spouse or child.

If you do not meet one of the above criteria and you want to apply for federal aid, the U.S, Department of Education will require you to supply parental information and signatures.

  • Parents refuse to help pay child’s education expenses.
    Parents’ refusal to pay for educational expenses does not automatically make a student eligible for aid as an independent student. Financial choices regarding the payment of educational expenses are a family’s decision. The refusal of the parent to pay does not shift the responsibility of payment to the school or federal government. Parental income and asset information will still be required.
  • Parents have not claimed child on their taxes.
    Exemptions on tax returns do not determine whether a student has access to parental support. Parental income and asset information will still be required.
  • Child lives on his/her own and pays all of his/her own bills.
    Although a student may be self-sufficient, it does not relieve a parent of responsibility for providing support for educational expenses. Parental income and asset information will still be required.

My parents are divorced/separated and I am no longer living with either of them. Which parent’s tax information will I need to supply?

The parent with whom you lived the most during the past 12 months should complete the application. If you lived with each parent for an equal amount of time, you will need the parent who provided you with the most financial support during the last year to complete the application.

Do I report stepparent’s information on the FAFSA?

Your stepparent’s financial information is required on the FAFSA if:

  • the parent you received financial support from was a single parent who is now remarried, or
  • the parent you received support from was divorced or widowed but has now remarried.

This does not mean your stepparent is obligated to give financial assistance to you, but his or her income and assets represent significant information about the family’s or household’s financial resources is required.

What is the verification process and what documents are needed?

Institutions are required to verify all FAFSA applications selected for verification by the U.S. Department of Education. If you have been selected for verification, your eligibility is tentative, pending completion of the verification process. You will be required to complete a Verification Worksheet and provide copies of yours, your parents’ and/or spouse’s Federal Income Tax Transcripts. Upon receipt, this documentation will be reviewed to determine your eligibility. This process can 10-14 days based on completeness of forms, possibility of more documentation needed, and number of students files ahead of you.

I have turned in all my documents to Financial Aid. Why am I receiving a bill from the Business Office requesting payment?

Financial Aid funds have disbursement schedules each semester. These schedules are posted in the Financial Aid section of the website under the heading Important Dates. Students should make themselves familiar with these dates to know when aid is scheduled be posted to their account. If a student has turned in all documents to the Financial Aid Office by the posted document deadline, Financial Aid funds will be posted to their account by the scheduled disbursement dates unless there have been processing or technical issues that delayed the disbursement. Processing delays may include (but may not be limited to) incomplete verification documents, need for more documentation or backlog of verifications to be processed.

Why did I receive less loan funds than I requested?

The amount of aid a student can receive for a semester is based on the cost of attendance for that semester. (The cost of attendance will differ per school that you attend). If you received less loans funds than you requested, it is because the amount of loans you requested did not fit within the cost of attendance for the semester. This means that if you had received the amount of loans that you requested, you would be receiving more aid than your cost of attendance for the semester and you would have to pay back the difference to the federal government.

The first award letter that I received showed that I would receive $1850.00 in Pell funds for fall semester. My student account shows that I only received $925.00. Why is this different?

The first award letter a student receives is based on full time enrollment. Once the student enrolls, the aid will be adjusted based on the enrollment hours. In this example, this student dropped to 6 hours, therefore his/her aid was adjusted to the amount of Pell he/she was eligible to receive for 6 hours of enrollment based on his/her EFC of zero.