Financial Aid F.A.Q.

Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions

How do I complete a FAFSA?

Complete the entire application as accurately as possible, including all optional information at A “Help and Hints” section is available by each question of the FAFSA. If you have questions, please call 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-4343) or contact your Financial Aid Office. To list Fort Valley State University as a college choice our school code is 001566.

I probably don’t qualify for aid. Should I apply for aid anyway?

Yes. Many families mistakenly think that they don’t qualify for aid and prevent themselves from receiving financial aid by failing to apply for it. In addition, here are a few sources of aid such as Unsubsidized Stafford and PLUS Loans that are available regardless of income and assets.

Can I use my W-2 forms to complete the FAFSA?

No. You should complete your tax forms (1040, 1040a, 1040ez, etc.) and then use that information to complete the FAFSA.

I live on my own and my parents do not help me nor do they claim me on their tax return so, why am I not classified as an independent student?
The US Department of Education asks several questions in Step3 of the FAFSA to determine if a student will be considered independent for federal financial aid purposes. Please refer to the current year FAFSA for a list of these questions. If you cannot answer YES to at least one of these questions according to the instructions provided, you must include your parent’s (including adoptive parents and step-parents, if applicable) information. You cannot use grandparents’ or other relatives’ information. If you have questions about your parent’s information, please contact the Financial Aid Office for assistance.

Do I need to be admitted before I can apply for financial aid at a particular university?

No. You can apply for financial aid any time after January 1. However, you must be admitted before your aid eligibility can be reviewed.

Do I have to reapply for financial aid every year?

Yes. Federal regulations require that you apply for financial aid every year. If your financial circumstances change, you may get more or less aid. (After your first year, you will receive a “Renewal Application” which contains preprinted information from the previous year’s FAFSA). Renewal of your financial aid package also depends on you making Satisfactory Academic Progress toward a degree, such as earning a minimum number of credits and achieving a minimum GPA.

Will I receive the same amount of financial aid every year?

Award amount may vary from year to year, based on changes in a family’s financial circumstances and the average cost of attendance at Fort Valley State University.

What is verification? Why do I have to turn in documents?

Verification is a process mandated by the U.S. Department of Education in an effort to confirm the accuracy of the data provided on the FAFSA. This means that the Office if Financial Aid is required to collect certain documents from students who have been selected by the U.S. Department of Education based on data that is typically entered in error. This Financial Aid Administrator has the right to request any documentation deemed necessary to complete the verification process. Typically, additional documentation is requested in order to clarify information that is unclear. If the family refuses to provide documentation, the Office of Financial Aid is prohibited from providing Financial Aid until the requested documentation is provided.

How can I get a tax return transcript fast?

If you are selected for verification but cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool in your FAFSA, you can get your Tax Return Transcript(s) online at Also, another option is to call 1-800-908-9946 for a mailed copy which will be mailed to you in 5 to 10 business days.

How do I apply for a HOPE Scholarship?

Effective Summer 2013 all students applying for HOPE and/or ZELL must complete the FAFSA at Other types of state aid may require a separate application form online at, in addition to the FAFSA requirement.

Who determines HOPE eligibility for new students?

Effective Summer 2007, for new students just out of high school, the HOPE GPA will be determined by the Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC). The Commission informs the University of your eligibility electronically.

When will you check my GPA for HOPE?

Your HOPE will be checked at the End-of-Spring Checkpoint yearly and as well as three check points; after 30 attempted hours; 60 attempted hours; and 90 yearly and after attempting 30, 60, and 90 attempted hours checkpoint. As of Spring 2005, there is an end-of-Spring checkpoint. Whether you have completed 30 hours or not, you will be checked at the mandatory “End-of-Spring” checkpoint.

How much can I borrow in a Stafford Loan?

NOTE: Federal Stafford Loan Limits are set by the Federal Government not by Fort Valley State University.

Maximum Subsidized $3,500 $4,500 $5,500 $5,500 $23,000
Maximum Unsubsidized for dependent students with PLUS denial $2,000 $2,000 $2,000 $2,000 $8,000
Maximum Unsubsidized Loans with PLUS denial $6,000* $6,000* $6,000* $6,000* $34,500

*Student must be an independent or a dependent student with a Federal Parent PLUS Loan denial.
*Lifetime Stafford Loan Limit for dependent undergraduate student is $31,000 (no more than $23,000 of which can be subsidized).
*Lifetime Stafford Loan Limit for independent or dependent with PLUS denial is $57,500 (no more than $23,000 of which can be subsidized).

What is the difference between the Subsidized and the Unsubsidized Loan?
After you apply for aid, you may be offered either a subsidized or unsubsidized loan, or a combination of both. The primary difference between the two is the interest rate and when the interest begins to accrue.
Subsidized Loans are awarded on the basis of financial need. You will not be charged any interest while the loan is in deferment status, such as while you are enrolled, as the federal government subsidizes or pays the interest.
Unsubsidized Loans charge interest from the time the money is first disbursed until it is paid in full. The interest is capitalized, meaning that you pay interest on any interest that has already accrued. One way to minimize how much interest accrues is to pay the interest as it accumulates.

Do I have to sign a promissory note every year?

No. For federal loans, you will complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) as a first-time borrower. It will be valid from the time you first apply for a federal loan at Fort Valley State University until you graduate.

What is the EFC?

The EFC is the expected family contribution. It is an amount derived from the information you provided on your FAFSA. Based on the federal needs analysis formula, the family contribution is an estimated amount that you and/or your family should be able to provide toward your educational expenses over the course of the academic year.

Your contribution is based on the following information you provided on the FAFSA:

  • Your family’s income and assets
  • The number of people enrolled in college in your household
  • Number of people in household

When will I receive my Award Notification?

If your FAFSA was processed and we have a valid FAFSA on file and all required documentation, then your award should post in BANNER by mid-May.

What is my Financial Aid status?

You can check your status online by logging onto your BANNER account and clicking on your Financial Aid Overall Status.

Why wouldn’t you tell my parents what kind of aid I have received?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prohibit us from discussing any of your specific financial matters with anyone without written permission. However, you may download, complete, and submit a FERPA form from our website.

What does it mean why you say I am not making SAP?

SAP stands for “Satisfactory Academic Progress.” The Federal Government requires a student receiving federal assistance to maintain progress toward a degree or certification. If you are not making SAP, you can file a financial aid appeal form if you have documented mitigating circumstances specific to the time you fell below the required standards.

My academic transcript indicated that I am in good standing, but I received a letter stating that I am not making SAP. How could this be?

SAP should not be confused with the academic standards required by the institution for continued enrollment. They are separate calculations. To meet the federal standards for SAP, other criteria are considered in determining progress: (1) you must be passing 67% of the classes for which you have enrolled, (2) you must meet the minimum required GPA based on the Institution’s catalog, and (3) you must not exceed 187 attempted hours. Example: if you enroll in 15 hours, withdraw from 9 of them, make an ‘A’ in the 3 hours you retained, your GPA is 4.00 but you did not pass 67% of the total hours enrolled, this you are not making satisfactory academic progress (3/15).
I have an outside scholarship. Should I report it to the Financial Aid Office?

Yes. If you are receiving a scholarship or any other form of financial aid from university, private, or government sources, you must report it to the Office of Financial Aid. You will be liable in the event that you receive a refund generated by a financial aid over-award.

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