Georgia Student Access Loan (SAL) Program Overview

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1 Georgia Student Access Loan (SAL) Program Overview Student Eligibility Eligible students must have a graduated from an eligible high school with a 2.5 or 75 grade point average in core subjects. Students must be attending an eligible postsecondary institution. Eligible postsecondary institutions must offer associates or baccalaureate degrees. Students must be Georgia Residents. Borrower must be U.S. citizen, national or permanent resident of U.S. as defined by Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 as amended. Students must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in accordance with the SAP policy at your college or university. Failure to maintain SAP may result in your ineligibility for this loan. Graduate students are ineligible. Loan Characteristics-Terms Low interest student loan program targeted to students who have unmet financial need Fixed interest rate of 1% except in the case of default. Borrowers are charged a 5% origination fee with a maximum of $50 per loan. Fee is deducted from each disbursement. There is no minimum annual loan amount. Maximum annual loan amount of $10,000 or the students cost of attendance minus his or her Expected Family Contribution (EFC), Expected Financial Aid (EFA {and other aid including VA or PLUS Loans}) whichever is less. Maximum aggregate loan limit of $40,000.

2 Application Process Applications are submitted online via the website and are accepted periodically throughout the year. GSFA will begin accepting applications on June 20 th 2011 and stop accepting applications on July 15, Students are randomly selected from each pool of applicants. Borrower must have diligently applied for and exhausted other student aid including federal scholarships, grants and loans. This includes PLUS loans but not private education loans. Students and parents may not use the Student Access Loan as a substitute for another state or federal loan program. Loans must be certified by the postsecondary institution. An institution may refuse to certify the loan or may reduce the amount borrowed on a caseby-case basis. Application status updates are sent to students via at all points throughout the loan application cycle. Loan proceeds are sent to the postsecondary institution via EFT and credited to the students account at the institution. Repayment Process Repayment beings after the student graduates or drops out of their program. However, interest only payments are due monthly while the student is in school. ACH is preferred for monthly payments. Loan term is ten years (120 months) not inclusive of the in school period. No penalty for early repayment. Late fees may apply. Borrowers who become teachers and teach in a Georgia public school in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at the elementary, middle or secondary level may be eligible for cancellation of portions this loan.

3 Georgia Student Access Loan (SAL) Program Frequently Asked Questions 1. If student applies, but is selected for verification, how is the process handled? In order to be eligible for a SAL Program loan, the student must have applied for other aid including federal and state scholarships, grants and loans. Therefore, if the student is selected for verification, then the postsecondary school has not likely yet fully evaluated that student for aid. However, if the postsecondary institution believes it has enough information to award the student, then they should feel free to certify this loan based on other program requirements. Of course, if the student s financial situation changes, then the postsecondary school will have to adjust the student s award package. 2. Will school certification have a timeline? Yes, Postsecondary schools will be allowed a finite amount of time to certify the loan application. 3. How much can a student borrower under the SAL Program. The maximum loan amount is $10,000 or the student s cost of attendance less their Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and Expected Financial Aid (EFA). EFA includes federal and state student loans, scholarships grants, PLUS loans and VA benefits. 4. Truth in lending, will it be handled as an alternative loan? Yes, the Georgia Student Finance Authority (GSFA) will make required disclosures. 5. If an institution does not participate in the Federal Direct Loan program, is the school eligible. Yes 6. Are there limitations for eligibility such as age, timeframe, number or type of degrees held by a student, etc? No, except graduate students are ineligible. 7. Are graduate students eligible? No 8. If the application timeframe is June, when is the enrollment timeframe for students? The program begins with fall Is summer term eligible? Yes, the program begins with fall Couldn't funding be pulled for next fiscal year? Yes, just as with any other state appropriated program which is why it is important to demonstrate use and need. 11. Will students have to be Hope eligible? Pell eligible? Need based? No, neither HOPE nor Pell eligibility is required. Applicants must have an unmet need or a gap in financing, with the exception of private loans, remaining after all other resources have been exhausted. 12. Can a student decline a Stafford Loan and be eligible? No, the Student Access Loan Program is intended to be last resort financing that would come into play once the student has exhausted other forms of aid including federal and state loans, scholarships and grants. The

4 13. Should student be full time? No, full time enrollment is not required. However students must be enrolled at least half time. 14. Should a student seek an associate or bachelors degree? No, students are not required to be seeking an associates or baccalaureate degree. However, the student must be attending a postsecondary institution that offers associates or baccalaureate degrees. 15. Should schools certify in August when they may not enroll until October? Schools are encouraged to certify the loan as early as possible. 16. How will the process work if a student enroll below the initial enrollment hours? A certain number of hours enrolled is not required. Schools are expected to reduce student awards if such a change affects the student s overall budget, eligibility or need. 17. Can the student only select one school? Yes, students may only select one school. 18. Could we (GSFC) make it similar to Hope Promise; meaning, students have to select how many hours for which they will enroll? No, the law governing the program does not permit this at this time. 19. What's the minimum a student may borrow? There is no minimum. 20. Does it fall under Title 4 or 10? The program is governed by Georgia law, O.C.G.A. ( ). Portions of Title IV are also applicable to this program. 21. How will GSFC handle promissory notes? Once a student s application has been randomly selected by GSFA and certified by the student s school, a promissory note will be sent to them via secure Will students sign a new promissory note each year? Yes, students must apply annually. 23. How will the process be handled if a student certifies and later the Financial Aid (FA) office finds the student is not Hope eligible? Or, Pell eligible? How does the school get additional money? The student may not be able to increase the loan amount unless there are funds available. Funding is limited. 24. What if the opposite of #22 happens, if the student becomes eligible for Hope, what happens? As with other aid, if the student s financial situation changes then it is expected that the student s aid would be adjusted. This loan program cannot cause a student to exceed cost of attendance. 25. Is GSFA counting VA benefits as part of the student s aid package? Yes 26. Should the student indicate the requested amount on the application? Yes, the student will indicate their requested loan amount on the application. It will be displayed to school the student lists on their application as part of the online certification process. 27. What definition of COA is considered? In accordance with Title IV of the Higher Education Act.

5 28. When will the disbursement happen, before or after GSFA receives the prom note? Disbursements will not be processed until after the completed promissory note is received and verified by GSFA. 29. Can institutions track status on Surfer? Yes, but not initially. 30. Can institutions refuse to participate in the program? Yes 31. Is the application process totally student initiated? Yes 32. Since high school students have been notified, what other marketing will be used to notify other students? GSFA is taking a variety of actions including but not limited to the following: Information has been on our Facebook and Twitter pages, We have updated the GAcollege411.org home page and What s New section of the website, The Atlanta Journal Constitution will be running an article about the program. GSFA has sent direct communications to all high school counselors, Direct s will be sent to students who have requested further information from GSFC. 33. Since the selection process is revolving, how and when will students be notified they have not been selected? GSFA will send students s at each stage of the application cycle. 34. After each cycle, can students apply for other cycles? To be determined. 35. Is GSFA requiring students to apply for PLUS? Grad PLUS? Private loans? Yes to PLUS but no to GRADPLUS (grad students are ineligible) and private loans. 36. Are there any projections on the potential default rate? No 37. How will this process affect future funding? High demand for this program will demonstrate the need for continuation and/or increased future funding. 38. When will training material be ready and available? Training? Postsecondary training materials are under development and will be released by July What fees are charged in connection with this loan? Each loan is charged an origination fee in the amount of 5% of the approved loan amount with a maximum of $50 dollars per loan. The origination fee is deducted from each loan disbursement. 40. What is the interest rate on this loan? The standard interest rate is 1% per year. In the event the borrower defaults on their loan, the loan converts to the reasonable interest rate which is defined as the Wall Street Journal Prime Rate as of July 1 of the year in which the default occurs.

6 41. The law states that students must graduate from an eligible high school. What about GED recipients and students who graduate from unaccredited home Schools. Students who do not graduate from an eligible high school are ineligible for the Student Access Loan. 42. When does repayment of the loan begin? Repayment begins when the student graduates or drops out of their program. However, interest payments are required while the student is enrolled.

7 Nathan Deal GOVERNOR Georgia Student Finance Commission Georgia Student Finance Authority Georgia Higher Education Assistance Corporation GAcollege411 Timothy A. Connell PRESIDENT IMPORTANT SCHOOL UPDATE Student Access Loan Program Implementation June 17, 2011 As you know, the General Assembly appropriated funding for the Student Access Loan program in the amount of $20 million dollars. Loans will be available beginning this fall and GSFC will begin accepting application for the Program on Monday June 20, The program was originally passed into law during the 2008 session of the General Assembly but not implemented because it was not funded until this year. The GAcollege411.org website has been updated with a host of information about the program including program descriptions, frequently asked questions, the ability for students to ask questions via , etc. On June 20 th, this page will be updated with the ability for students to apply right online and view the draft program regulations. Students can access this from the what s new section on the GAcollege411 homepage. You can see the SAL page on GAcollege411.org by clicking here. There are three documents included with this update. First is a description of the program which includes information about student eligibility, interest rates, loan amounts and repayment and service cancellation. Second is a document that shows the general application flow and a timeline of processing dates that show when certain activities are estimated to take place. Third is our current list of frequently asked questions regarding the program. Eligible students are U.S. Citizens or eligible non citizens who are Georgia residents that graduated from an eligible high school before May 1, 2007 with a 75 numeric Grade Point Average (GPA) or on or after May 1, 2007 with a 2.5 GPA. Eligible postsecondary institutions include University System, Technical College System and Private institutions located in Georgia. They must offer associates or baccalaureate degrees and at private institutions, their students must be eligible to participate in the federal Pell Grant Program. However, SAL eligible students do not have to be Pell Grant Program Eligible. Certification of the loan by eligible postsecondary institutions is required. We do not expect to send any records to schools for certification any earlier than August 1, Certifications will be processed via SURFER and related reports will be available to you to assist in the certification process. Expand Your Opportunities 2082 East Exchange Place Tucker, GA Tel: GSFC Fax:

8 Nathan Deal GOVERNOR Georgia Student Finance Commission Georgia Student Finance Authority Georgia Higher Education Assistance Corporation GAcollege411 Timothy A. Connell PRESIDENT Postsecondary institutions may decline to certify the loan for students if, at their sole discretion, the student does not meet any of the program eligibility requirements. Desk top procedures and training materials for postsecondary institutions are under development and will be provided as soon as possible. The application cycle will be open from June 20 th to July 15 th at which time the process will be closed and the random selection of students will be performed. Students will be notified of their application status each time it changes. All notices are sent to students via . This program has been designed to be in compliance with applicable rules and regulations related to private or alternative education loans. Thank you and I hope this information is helpful and in the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me via at or by phone at (770) Expand Your Opportunities 2082 East Exchange Place Tucker, GA Tel: GSFC Fax:

9 Georgia Student Access Loan State Fiscal Year2012 Application Process and Cycle Dates Below you will see the key dates for the Student Access Loan Program. What follows is a brief description of how the loan process works: Loan Application Process Students apply for the loan online at (online applications only). Georgia Student Finance Authority (GSFA performs the random selection process and verifies the application. Postsecondary schools review each application selected and processed by GSFC and certify the applications. GSFA sends the approved applicant the promissory note for completion by the student. The student returns the promissory note to GSFA. GSFA reviews the promissory note, approves the loan, sends the loan disclosure to the student and sets the loan up for disbursement according to the school requested dates. At each step in the process, GSFA will send communications to the applicant advising of the loan application status. (Be sure to provided a valid address when you apply) Key Cycle Dates 1. Open application period June 20 th July 15 th 2. Perform random selection July 15 th 3. Application verification and correction July 18 th July 29 th 4. Certification request to postsecondary schools August 1 st August 31 th 5. Certification by postsecondary schools. August 1 st August 31 th 6. Final approval August 1 st August 31 th 7. Loan disbursement begins (earliest date) August 1 st

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