FAFSA no longer required for HOPE

Cydney Long

Georgia college students will no longer be required to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid in order to receive lottery-funded state financial aid.

House Bill 324, the bill proposing the cancelation of the FAFSA requirement, passed and was signed by Governor Nathan Deal on April 24, amending the law.

“This will help the students who only want HOPE,” Elise Boyett, associate director of student affairs, said.

The Hope Scholarship is available to Georgia residents who demonstrate academic achievement and provides money to assist students attending a HOPE-eligible college in Georgia, according to the GACollege411 website.

To qualify for HOPE in college a student must earn a 3.0 cumulative GPA at the end of each spring semester to continue eligibility.

The amount of money the HOPE Scholarship provides to recipients is determined by the number of hours that a student is enrolled in and it covers up to 127 credit hours.

The HOPE application carries over from year-to-year, but you have to complete the FAFSA each year until now, Boyett said.

This helps the financial aid office because it offers loans to students. Upon completion of the FAFSA application, students who qualify are given a federal loan, even if they do not want it. By omitting the FAFSA requirement, the financial aid office will not automatically apply the loans just to remove them if the student opts out, Boyett said.

“It helps the parents too because sometimes they don’t want to disclose their tax information on the FAFSA,” Boyett said.

“The FAFSA is more complicated to fill out than a HOPE application is,” Boyett said.

The financial aid office will be able to award HOPE sooner without FAFSA involved, Boyett said.

If a student chooses not to submit a FAFSA, they can use the Georgia Student Financial Aid Application System to apply for Georgia Student Finance Commission administered aid.

FAFSA was implemented in 2010 by the GSFC because of a state law requesting the verification of the lawful residency of students applying for financial aid.

Students feel the change will be beneficial to their already stressful lives.

“It’s just one less thing for students to worry about,” Tray Yette, sophomore exercise science major, said.

DiArron Morrison, freshman public relations major, said, “This will make entering college and continuing education easier.”