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Financial Aid Tips

How can you help ensure that your financial aid experience goes smoothly and you remain eligible for aid? Following these tips is a great start.

Attend Your Classes

This is a no brainer. Why register for classes and apply for financial aid if you’re not going to come to school?

The federal government, which supplies most financial aid, requires that students attend class to receive aid. Instructors will verify whether you’re attending class. If you’re not, you’ll be dropped and your financial aid may be reduced or canceled.

Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress

If you receive financial aid, the federal government requires that you make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward a certificate, diploma or degree. WGTC’s SAP standard requires that you:

  • Maintain a cumulative and term grade point average of at least 2.0.
  • Maintain a cumulative pace of completion of at least 67 percent. This means you must get a passing grade in at least two thirds of all credit hours you attempt.
  • Complete your certificate, diploma or degree within 150 percent of the credit hours it requires.
  • Repeat Coursework

    The regulatory definition for full-time enrollment status allows a student to retake (one time only per previously passed course), any previously passed course.

    A student may be repeatedly paid for repeatedly failing the same course (normal SAP policy still applies to such cases), and if a student withdraws before completing the course that he or she is being paid Title IV funds for retaking, then that is not counted as his or her one allowed retake for that course.

    Be Careful When Dropping or Withdrawing

    If you receive financial aid, be extremely careful about dropping or withdrawing from a class. The reason is that either action can have serious consequences for your financial aid. For example, withdrawing may make it impossible for you to meet WGTC’s Satisfactory Academic Progress standard, eliminating your eligibility for future aid.

    The consequences can be especially serious if you withdraw from all of your classes, either officially or unofficially. If you receive aid from the federal government, you may have to pay back any aid you failed to “earn” by attending class.

    WTGC is required by Federal regulation to calculate a refund for students who receive Federal aid and do not complete 60% of the semester. This refund process is called Return of Title IV.

    Here’s an example: Say that you stop attending all of your classes after 25 percent of the semester is complete. In this case, the federal government would make you pay back 75 percent of the aid that you’ve received for the semester. WGTC will send you a letter if you’re required to pay back any of your federal aid.

    You don’t have to repay your federal aid if you withdraw from just some of your classes.

    Because of the potential for serious problems, it’s a good idea to talk to the Financial Aid office before you drop or withdraw from a class.

    Check Your Email, Post Mailings and Respond to Messages

    The single most important thing you can do to avoid financial aid problems has two parts:

  • Check your WGTC email account frequently
  • Respond promptly to any messages from the Financial Aid office
  • Typically, the Financial Aid office will send you an email because more information is needed to process your aid. Usually, they need the information because the federal government requires it.

    Ask Questions

    If you don’t understand something about your financial aid, ask questions. The best source for answers is WGTC’s Financial Aid office. You can get help by:

  • Visiting Financial Aid in Student Affairs at any campus
  • Calling the office at 1-855-286-3462
  • Sending an email to financialaid@westgatech.edu
  • Sending a fax to 770-537-7995
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