Alternative Loan Options
Georgia Student Access Loan (SAL)Information about the Georgia Student Access Loan (SAL)
- What is the Georgia Student Access Loan?
- Who is eligible for the Georgia Student Access Loan?
- How do I apply for the Georgia Student Access Loan?
- What are my next steps after applying?
The Georgia Student Access Loan (SAL) is offered by the Georgia Student Finance Authority (GSFA). The SAL is a 1 percent fixed rate need-based loan, designed to assist undergraduate students who have a gap in meeting their educational costs. This loan is designed to supplement other federal and state aid.
The Georgia Student Access Loan (SAL) is the student's loan, and a co-signer is not required.
Students must meet all of the following requirements:
- Be considered a Georgia resident and United States citizen or eligible non-citizen.
- Be an undergraduate student pursuing their first degree.
- Complete a valid Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- Must be enrolled at least half-time (6 credit hours minimum)
- Must be 18 years or older.
- Previous SAL borrowers must be current on their monthly KIT payments.
- Applicants must have first applied for and exhausted all other student financial aid options including federal student loans (excluding Parent PLUS), scholarships, and grant programs and Veterans Educational Benefits.
- Have demonstrated satisfactory academic performance for the past two years of enrollment. Years in which the student has not been enrolled are not considered. Poor academic performance is being defined as “any academic or financial aid status other than satisfactory”. Note, a granted SAP Appeal does not negate this requirement.
- Not have been flagged by the Department of Education on the FAFSA with an Usual Enrollment History Flag, even if the flags were resolved to receive federal student aid.
- Must not have met their applicable Federal Aggregate Loan Limit (with the exception of previous SAL recipients).
- Must complete the Money 101 CourseDen Module, which includes several Financial Literacy modules and a module specific to student access loan repayment.
- Must not be flagged by the US Department of Education with a “Bankruptcy” flag
Application Available June 15
GSFA Selects Applicants Based on the Steps Below
- The first selection of applications will be current HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarship recipients and prior year SAL borrowers in good standing. The following selection of applications are processed first come, first served and are based on available funds.
- Selection does not guarantee approval and applicants may or may not be selected each application year.
Apply by clicking here: Georgia Student Access Loan Application
Following completion of the GSFA Application Selection, the University of West Georgia will:
- Ensure the student meets all eligibility requirements.
- Ensure the student has demonstrated need, based on a standard calculation.
- Notify the student to complete the additional requirements noted in the "Next Steps for Applicants" section below.
If GSFA selects your application, and we determine you have need, you will receive an additional email from us with your next steps. Notification will be sent to your UWG "my.westga.edu" email address.
Email Subject Line: Attention Required: Georgia Student Access Loan Next Steps
Failure to complete the steps below may result in delay or cancellation of your application. Do not complete these steps until we notify you to do so.
- You must complete the Money 101 Financial Literacy and Student Access Loan Education Module. An email with be sent to you containing instructions for accessing this module.
- Following completion of all sections of the module, you must complete the SAL Student Responsibility Agreement. A link to this agreement will be emailed to you.
- Allow 3-5 business days after completion of all of the steps above for the final certification of your loan and for the loan to be shown on your student account.
- Following notification from GSFA that we have approved your application, you must submit the GA Student Access Loan Master Promissory Note to GSFA. GSFA will email the document to you.
Federal Parent PLUS LoansInformation about Federal Parent PLUS Loans
- What is a Federal Parent PLUS Loan?
- Who is eligible for a Federal Parent PLUS Loan?
- How much Parent PLUS Loan funding can I receive?
- How do my parents apply for the Parent PLUS Loan?
- What options are available if my parents are not approved for the Parent PLUS Loan?
The Federal Parent PLUS loan is a federal loan available to the parents of dependent undergraduate students, regardless of financial need. The loan requires a separate application and is approved based on the parent's credit history. Parent PLUS Loans are considered to be the parent's loan; however, funding is applied to the student's account charges.
The Parent PLUS Loan interest rate varies annually. The current interest rate can be found here: Parent PLUS Loan Interest Rates.
Although your student's financial aid offer letter does not contain Parent PLUS Loan information, the Parent PLUS Loan application is available to the parents of all dependent undergraduate students. Generally speaking, students are considered to be dependent if they were required to include parental data on their FAFSA Application.
The exact amount of Parent PLUS Loan funding you and your student can receive varies. The maximum Parent PLUS loan amount you can borrow is the cost of attendance at the University of West Georgia minus any other financial assistance your child receives.
Although you can elect to receive the maximum amount when you apply for the Parent PLUS Loan, we recommend utilizing your student's charges and bill information to determine how much funding is needed. The steps to view your student's bill are below:
- Advise your student to sign into the UWG OneLogin Portal
- Search for “ My Current Bill” and select the tile that appears.
- Select the semester they're enrolling in.
- Their current balance will be shown on the bottom left of the bill.
As a parent, you could choose to apply for a parent plus loan that covers only your student's balance, or you could apply for more funding. Any amount in excess of the bill will be refunded back to you or your student to fund educationally related expenses.
Note: If you decide to apply for an amount to cover the exact balance, you must account for the federal loan origination fee, which is subtracted from the amount you apply for on studentaid.gov.
Example: Wolfie's parents check his fall bill and determine Wolfie has a balance of $1,555. If Wolfie's parents would like to receive the exact amount, they can utilize the loan origination fee calculator on the bottom of the page linked here: Calculator
Using this calculator, Wolfie's parents determine they must apply for $1,624 on studentaid.gov in order for $1,555 to be applied to his bill. Wolfie's parents could also choose to apply for $1,624 (x2). They would apply for this amount ($3,248) because Wolfie would have a similar balance during his spring semester.
Applications for Parent PLUS Loan funding should be completed by the student's biological parent, adoptive parent, or a step-parent that is currently married to the biological parent. In some instances, the University of West Georgia may contact the student for confirmation.
The steps for completing a Parent PLUS Loan Application are on the document linked below. Upon completion of the application, you will receive an instant decision.
Please allow 7-10 business days for processing after the application decision.
Note: By completing this application, you will be subject to a credit check by the U.S. Department of Education.
If a Parent PLUS Loan application is not approved, parents will be presented with several alternative options on-screen, following completion of the application on studentaid.gov:
- Seek an Endorser (Co-Signer)
- Parents may choose to obtain a co-signer for the Parent PLUS Loan. If the co-signer's credit is approved, a loan can be provided to the student.
- If you choose this option, you must input your co-signer's email address on-screen. The intended co-signer will receive a link via email containing their next steps.
- Appeal the Decision to Federal Student Aid
- Parents may choose to document extenuating circumstances related to their adverse credit history, to the satisfaction of the U.S. Department of Education.
- If you choose this option, you will receive an email from Federal Student Aid with your next steps.
- Choose "Will Not Pursue"
- Parents may choose this option if they do not want to proceed with options 1 and 2.
- If this option is chosen, the student will be offered an additional unsubsidized loan for the aid year. The amount offered will be based on the student's grade level.
- Freshman & Sophomore = $4,000
- Junior and above = $5,000
*Students approaching aggregate loan limits may receive more or less than the amounts noted here.
Private Student LoansInformation about Private Student Loans
- What is a private student loan?
- How do I know if I am eligible for a private student loan?
- How much private student loan funding can I receive?
- How do I choose a lender and apply for a private student loan?
- Is there anything else I should know?
Private student loans are loans offered by financial institutions, such as banks. In some instances, repayment options are similar to Federal Direct Loans. Private lenders may offer extended repayment terms of up to 15-20 years; however, forgiveness options are rarely offered. Interest rates and guarantee fees for private student loans vary based on the applicant's credit history.
Private loans can be a useful alternative funding option to cover additional educational costs not met by federal student aid. Students and families should carefully research options, including other sources of funding, when considering any type of loan program.
Watch our helpful Private Loans videos!
A private student loan is a loan applied for by the student and typically requires a credit check. In order to qualify, the student may need a co-signer. Some lenders also offer their own Private Parent Loans. These Private Parent Loans are not federal loans; however, they allow the parent to be the primary borrower.
Please be aware of the following:
- Eligibility for private loans varies based on the lender you select. For example, some private lenders require students to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress; however, some lenders do not.
- Some lenders have minimum enrollment requirements and may require you to be enrolled at least half-time to utilize their loans.
- Half-time enrollment for undergraduate-level students is 6 credit hours
- Half-time enrollment for graduate-level students (ex. PhD, Ed.D, MA, etc) is 5 credit hours
- Some lenders have maximum and minimum loan amounts.
- If applying for a private loan, we recommend that you read all terms and conditions or call the lender to ensure you meet all of their requirements.
When certifying and determining your eligibility for a private student loan, any eligibility (offered or accepted) for federal, state, or institutional financial aid is subtracted from your cost of attendance. The private loan amount requested may not exceed the remaining cost of attendance:
Cost of Attendance - Eligibility for Other Financial Aid = Private Loan Eligibility
Example: Student applies for a private student loan for $18,000. Your 'cost of attendance' (determined by UWG) is $21,000. Your eligibility (does not indicate amount accepted) for all other financial aid is $10,000. We can only certify your private student loan for up to $11,000.
You are welcome to utilize either of the lender research tools linked below.
- The ELM select list linked below is a historical list presented in random order. This list is designed to assist students in identifying private student loans that are available to students at UWG and contains lenders UWG students have used in the past.
ELM Select Private Lenders List
- The Credible Comparison tool linked below is an online tool that allows students to compare personalized loans from multiple lenders. Students can analyze pre-qualified rates, terms, and eligibility rules side-by-side in just a matter of minutes. This list is not all-inclusive and may have fewer options than the ELM Select list linked above.
- UWG is required to reject loan requests for students who have not met the academic conditions that are specified by the lender. The acceptance of the application by a lender does not guarantee eligibility for a loan.
- Credible and ELM Select are not lenders, and only offer tools for families to make informed private loan decisions. Students should proceed with caution when accessing private student loan opportunities.
- The lists above are not preferred lender lists and are provided only as a courtesy. You may choose a lender of your choice on or off the lists provided. The University of West Georgia receives no benefits from any lender.
- Each lender has its own methods for determining repayment options and interest rates, but applying for several private loans can also impact your credit score, so it is important to shop responsibly!
- For more information about responsible private loan shopping and how private loan applications can impact your credit, please visit: My FICO: Credit Checks.
- The loan application process (including school certification) can occasionally take up to 7-10 business days, if not longer. Please plan ahead and act early.
- You must be enrolled in courses for us to process your lender’s school certification request.
- We identify the term(s) you would like your loan based on the following loan period dates:
- August-December = Fall Only
- August-May = Fall-Spring
- January-May = Spring Only
- May-July = Summer Only
- We will not certify loans for Fall-Summer (Summer would have to be its own certification)
- We will not certify loans that span multiple financial aid years.