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Financial Aid - Columbus State University

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Financial Aid

The Columbus State University Financial Aid Office offers a wide range of student financial assistance. The office provides information and aid to students seeking scholarships, grants, part-time employment and loans. Financial aid may be awarded based on financial need, academic ability, and/or leadership potential.

Students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for consideration of federal, state and institutional aid programs. Many scholarship programs require this application. The 2010-2011 FAFSA applications are available online at beginning January 1, 2010.

Students seeking only the HOPE Scholarship program may apply on-line at

Students are urged to apply early for optimum financial aid benefits. The priority deadline for submission of completed financial aid applications to the CSU Financial Aid Office for Fall Semester 2010 is May 1.

In order to receive financial aid from federal or state financial aid programs, the student must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards as required by federal regulations. This policy is available at

For additional information on financial assistance, review our website at You may contact our office located in University Hall by phone at 706-507-8800 or by fax at 706-568-2230.


A grant is gift aid with no repayment required. The amount awarded is normally based on financial need, school cost and enrollment status.

Federal Academic Competitiveness Grant. A federal grant for undergraduate students in their first-year ($750) or second-year ($1300) of study. Recipients must be a Federal Pell Grant recipient, have completed a rigorous secondary school program of study (as defined by the U. S. Department of Education), be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen and enrolled at least half-time in a certificate, 2 or 4 year degree program. First-year students must have completed the rigorous program after January 1, 2006 and second-year students after January 1, 2005. A second-year student must have a cumulative 3.0 gpa for the first academic year (30 earned hours).

Federal Pell Grant. Awarded to undergraduate students showing financial need as determined by a federal need analysis. Generally, Pell Grants are not awarded to students who have earned a bachelor's or professional degree.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. Awarded to exceptionally needy undergraduates with priority given to students who receive Federal Pell Grants.

Georgia's Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP) Grant. Awarded to Georgia residents receiving the Federal Pell Grant who demonstrate substantial need. The student must enroll at least half-time (6 semester hours). Funds are limited.

National SMART Grant. The National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) Grant of $4000 is available to third and fourth year undergraduate students who are majoring in physical, life, or computer sciences, mathematics, technology, engineering or in a foreign language determined critical to national security. The student must have maintained a cumulative 3.0 gpa in coursework for the major. Students must be a Federal Pell Grant recipient, a U.S. citizen, and enrolled at least half-time in a 4 year degree-granting institution. The 3.0 grade point average is checked each term. SMART recipients must have a minimum of 60 earned semester hours.

Teach Grant. The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant provides up to $4000 per year to full-time undergraduate or graduate students enrolled in eligible CSU programs of study who intend to teach in an approved public or private elementary or secondary school serving low-income students. TEACH Grant recipients attending less than full-time will have their grant reduced. Students must agree to serve four academic years as a full-time teacher in a high-need field at an eligible school. To qualify for a TEACH Grant, students must meet and maintain academic requirements of a 3.25 gpa or score above the 75th percentile on a national college admissions test. The gpa requirements do not apply to graduate students who are current teachers or retirees. Failure to complete the service obligation will result in the TEACH Grant funds converting to a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan with interest charged from the date the grant was disbursed.


Columbus State University offers numerous scholarships. For a current listing please visit

Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally (HOPE). Funded through the Georgia lottery, HOPE is a state-sponsored scholarship program. Freshmen are identified as HOPE recipients by their high schools. The Financial Aid Office evaluates sophomores, juniors and seniors to determine HOPE eligibility. The scholarship covers tuition and most mandatory fees and awards a maximum book allowance of $150 per semester.


The Columbus Rotary Education Foundation. Information and applications may be secured from the secretary, Columbus Rotary Educational Foundation, Box 1138, Columbus, Georgia 31902-1138.

Columbus State University Emergency Loan. This fund was established through the generosity of Dora G. and Jac. H. Rothschild for the benefit of Columbus State University students who are in need of small, short-term loans to help defray college expenses. It is co-sponsored by the CSU Foundation. The loan funds apply toward tuition, fees, room and board, not to exceed the unpaid balance of institutional charges. Undergraduate students must have a co-signer and a cumulative 2.0 gpa. The gpa requirement is waived for entering freshmen without transfer coursework and graduate students. Active military and graduate applications do not require a co-signer. Repayment is in 3 installments, on the 15th of each month.

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan. Graduate students enrolled at least half-time (4 graduate hours or more) may borrow through the Graduate PLUS loan. The student must first apply for the maximum loan eligibility in Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford loans before a Graduate PLUS loan can be processed. Loan eligibility is based upon the cost of attendance minus other aid received. A credit check is required.

Federal Direct Stafford Loan. A federal loan bearing the following loan limits: freshmen - $3,500, sophomores - $4,500, juniors and seniors - $5,500. Graduate students may borrow up to $8,500. Independent students may borrow an additional unsubsidized amount of $6,000 - freshmen and sophomores, $7,000 - juniors and seniors, and $12,000 - graduate students. Dependent students may borrow an additional unsubsidized loan of $2000.

Federal Direct PLUS Loan. Parents may borrow for dependent undergraduate students. Loan eligibility is based upon the cost of attendance minus other aid received. A credit check is required.

Federal Perkins Loan. A low interest (5 percent) loan for both undergraduate and graduate students. Recipients must demonstrate financial need for the amounts borrowed. Loan funds are limited.

Greentree-Sevier Educational Loan. A limited number of these loans are awarded annually to students who have demonstrated satisfactory academic ability and are in need of funds to continue their education. These loans have a simple interest rate of 8.5 percent per annum. No interest accrues, nor is any payment due, while the student is enrolled. Repayment and interest begin 90 days after termination of studies.

Master's Programs in Counseling Loan. Students who have been fully admitted to either the MED in school counseling or the MS in community counseling may borrow up to two-thirds of in-state tuition and fees per semester. Contact the Financial Aid Office for more information.

The Pickett and Hatcher Educational Fund. A nonprofit private foundation created to assist entering freshmen students in fields of study other than law, medicine, or the ministry. For more information, review the website at Applications are available in January of each academic year.

Elisabeth D. Pattillo Loan Fund. Provides support to undergraduate students majoring in special education with an emphasis in mental retardation. Students who qualify may borrow up to $800 annually. Borrowers may qualify for service repayment by teaching in the Muscogee County School District in the field of mental retardation.

Part-Time Employment

Federal Work-Study Program. Awarded by the Financial Aid Office to financially needy students interested in part-time employment. The award is made for a specified period and job assignments are based on funding, position availability and an interview with the employer.

Off-Campus Jobs. Listings for many part-time and full-time job opportunities are available in the Career Center. Most employers who call the center regarding job openings are willing to allow a student flexibility in order to work around class schedules.

Student Assistant Program. A limited number of part-time positions are available to students through various campus departments. Opportunities under this program are based on university work needs.

Veterans and Dependents

Eligibility and Entitlements title 38, U.S.C.

VA Educational benefits are provided to the veteran and qualified dependents as follows:

Chapter 30 - Montgomery GI Bill. Service personnel may be eligible to receive benefits if they initially entered active duty on or after July 1, 1985, were discharged from active duty with an "Honorable Discharge," have completed their contractual active duty obligation and have contributed $100.00 a month for 12 months of active duty service.

Chapter 31 - Vocational Rehabilitation. Vocational Rehabilitation is provided for veterans who have a service connected disability and were discharged or released from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable. The Veteran Administration determines eligibility.

Chapter 32 - VEAP (Post Vietnam Era Veterans). Veterans who served and service persons currently serving are eligible if they entered active duty after December 31, 1976 and before June 30 1985, were released under conditions other than dishonorable or continue on active duty but have completed their obligation period of service and have satisfactorily contributed to the program. The contribution account must have been opened prior to April 1, 1987.

Chapter 33 – Post 9/11 GI Bill. The Post 9/11 GI Bill provides financial support for education and housing to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service on or after September 11, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days. You must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Approved training under the Post-9/11 GI Bill includes graduate and undergraduate degrees, and vocational/technical training. All training programs must be offered by an institution of higher learning (IHL) and approved for GI Bill benefits. Additionally, tutorial assistance, and licensing and certification test reimbursement are approved under the Post- 9/11 GI Bill.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill will pay your tuition (based upon the highest in-state tuition charged by an educational institution in the state where the educational institution is located) and fees. For the first time in history, servicemembers enrolled in the Post-9/11 GI Bill program will be able to transfer unused educational benefits to their spouses or children starting Aug. 1, 2009.

Chapter 35 - Dependents. Dependents of veterans with a 100% permanent service-connected disability or service-connected death are eligible for 45 months of educational entitlement.

Chapter 1606 - Selected Reserve. Basic eligibility exists for a person who, after July 1, 1985

  • Enlists, reenlists or extends an enlistment for a period of not less than six years, or
  • Completes IADT (initial active duty for training), participating in Selective Reserve training and remains in good standing. Meets the requirements to receive a high school diploma or equivalency certificate before completing IADT.

Chapter 1607 – Reserve Educational Assistance Program (Reap). REAP was established as a part of the Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005. It is a new Department of Defense education benefit program designed to provide educational assistance to members of the Reserve components called or ordered to active duty in response to a war or national emergency (contingency operation) as declared by the President or Congress. This new program makes certain reservists who were activated for at least 90 days after September 11, 2001 either eligible for education benefits or eligible for increased benefits.

The Veteran Fee Waiver
Effective Fall 2007, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved a waiver for mandatory fees for Georgia residents who have seen combat in recent years as active members of the Georgia National Guard or the U.S. Military Reserves. Please contact the Office of Veterans Affairs at (706) 507-8865 for information on qualifying for this waiver.

For the most current Veterans Affairs information, please refer to the VA website at or visit the Office of Veterans Affairs in University Hall on campus.

For information regarding credit for military training, refer to the nontraditional sources of credit under the Undergraduate Admissions section of this catalog.

Financial Aid Policies and Conditions of Awards

The following financial aid policies and conditions of award apply to students who are recipients of federal or state financial assistance while attending Columbus State University:

  • Students must apply annually for federal aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Students seeking only the HOPE Scholarship may apply on-line at GACollege411.
  • Students must be regularly admitted to Columbus State University in a degree-seeking status and must be enrolled in an eligible degree-seeking program prior to the first day of the term to participate in federal and state aid programs. Provisionally admitted students are not eligible for financial assistance. Transient students should contact their home institution for financial aid.
  • Students must (1) meet the school's Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards, (2) not owe a refund on any grant or be in default on any educational loan and (3) not have borrowed in excess of the loan limits under the Title IV programs at any institution.
  • Financial aid is limited to coursework required for the declared major as stated in this catalog. Financial aid is not available for audit courses.
  • Students must attend the classes in which they have enrolled to be eligible for aid payment.
  • Financial aid awards are based on full-time enrollment for each term awarded. Less than full-time enrollment may require an adjustment to the aid award. Undergraduate students enrolled in 12 or more semester hours are classified as full-time; 9-11 semester hours as three-quarter-time; 6-8 semester hours as half time; and 1-5 semester hours as less-than-half-time. Graduate students enrolled in 9 or more semester hours are classified as full-time; 4-8 semester hours as half time; and 1-3 semester hours as less than half time.
  • Students needing summer loan assistance indicate their interest through a questionnaire on-line in CougarNet. The summer financial aid priority processing deadline is March 15th.
  • Students awarded an educational student loan must complete loan counseling prior to their first loan disbursement. Counseling is available on-line at
  • Institutional charges (tuition, fees, room and board) will be deducted from the financial aid award each term. Students should be prepared to pay any difference owed by the fee payment deadline. For students with aid greater than the institutional charges, any remaining funds are released no later than 14 calendar days after their first day of class or the balance occurs, whichever is later.
  • Late aid applicants will have their fund balance released no later than 14 calendar days from the date that the aid is credited to the student's account or their first day of class, whichever is later.
  • No student may receive financial aid for more than 30 semester hours of remedial coursework, which includes all College Preparatory Curriculum deficiencies, remedial courses or learning support courses.
  • Students must report any financial aid they receive or expect to receive from an outside source.
  • Employment in the Federal Work-Study program is not guaranteed. Awards are based on funding, position availability and an interview with an employer. Students cannot earn more than their annual award. Students who receive an "unsatisfactory" job performance evaluation will be terminated from the program.
  • Students receiving financial aid who withdraw or who stop attending all classes are subject to regulations regarding the return of funds to the aid programs. Federal aid recipients withdrawing before the 60% point of the term may owe a repayment of federal funds received. Refer to the Refund Section of this catalog.

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress

The Columbus State University Financial Aid Office administers Title IV Federal Student Aid under guidelines from the U. S. Department of Education. The Secretary of Education requires schools to develop and implement policies by which academic progress is evaluated and monitored. In order to receive federal or state financial aid, a student must maintain Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). Students who fail to maintain SAP will be notified in writing by the Financial Aid Office.

A student will be evaluated on both qualitative and quantitative measures. The minimum acceptable standards for receiving federal or state aid are as follows:

Qualitative. All financial aid recipients are expected to earn the minimum required grade point average (gpa) that corresponds with the total number of hours attempted.

Total hours attempted* Minimum overall financial aid grade point average
00 - 29 2.0
30 - 59 2.0
60 - 89 2.0
90 or more 2.0
*includes transfer hours and Columbus State GPA hours

Graduate students must maintain a graduate gpa of 3.0.

Quantitative. Students must not exceed 150% of the normal length of the program. For example, the maximum timeframe of eligibility for an undergraduate student is 185 attempted hours for a 123 hour program. The maximum timeframe of eligibility for a graduate student is 54 attempted hours for a 36 hour program.

Students are expected to successfully complete a minimum of 67% of the total hours attempted (transfer hours included). Successful completion is limited to grades of A, B, C, D, and S. Unsuccessful attempts include grades of F, WF, W, U, I, and IP.

Students who fall below the minimum overall financial aid gpa, fail to successfully complete 67% of the hours attempted or exceed the maximum timeframe for program completion will be in violation of the SAP policy. SAP is measured at the end of each spring semester.

Students notified that they are not making Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress may request their eligibility for assistance be reinstated upon the removal of the deficiencies or submit a written appeal explaining the unusual circumstances regarding the deficiencies to: Financial Aid Appeals Committee, c/o Financial Aid Office, Columbus State University, 4225 University Avenue, Columbus, GA 31907-5645. Students will receive a written response to appeals.

Students placed on financial aid probation may continue to receive aid but must meet the following requirements every semester while in this status: earn a "C" average, and receive only successful grades (A, B, C, D, and S) in all courses taken.

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