Georgia Student Loans

College Student With LaptopAs the eighth most populous state in the U.S., Georgia is growing at a rapid rate. The economy, culture, and educational opportunities in the Peach State rival any of the southeastern states. With nearly 50 private postsecondary institutions and over 70 public colleges and universities, Georgia has a wealth of academic opportunities to offer its students. The state’s flagship school, the University of Georgia (UGA), is the one of the oldest public universities in the country, receiving its charter from the state in 1785. Located in Athens, GA, UGA is still one of the most prominent research universities in the Southeast.

In addition to four-year universities and colleges like Georgia State University in Atlanta and Mercer University in Macon, Georgia has a network of 25 technical colleges called the Technical College System of Georgia, or TCSG. Member schools are located throughout the state, in cities as diverse as Atlanta, Augusta, Albany, Marietta, Rome, and Savannah. From its large state schools to its small private liberal arts colleges and vocational programs, Georgia provides its students with the academic resources they need to build a positive future. Georgia student loans, grants, and scholarships can help you achieve that future at a price you can afford. 

State Loans in Georgia

The state of Georgia has two student loan programs to help students in undergraduate and technical programs fill gaps in their aid. These private educational loans, administered by the Georgia Student Finance Commission, include the Student Access Loan Program (SAL), and the Student Access Loan – Technical (SALT) Program. Eligible students are Georgia state residents enrolled in a participating postsecondary program. Both the SAL and SALT programs have the following terms:

To apply for these loans, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Loans are issued on a first come, first served basis, and funds are limited. Disbursements are sent directly to the borrower’s school to cover the costs of tuition, fees, and other academic expenses.

Before qualifying for a SAL or SALT loan, students must apply for all other forms of federal and state aid for which they are eligible. The SAL and SALT programs are not intended to provide students with a primary source of funding, but to make up for deficits in their financial aid.

Private (Alternative) Loans

Private loans, also known as alternative loans, are issued through many financial institutions in Georgia. While federal loans and SAL/SALT loans have low, fixed interest rates, private loans may have higher, variable rates that can increase over the duration of the repayment period. Private loans, unlike federal loans, are not backed by the U.S. Department of Education, and are not subsidized, or financially supported, by the government.

According to the University of Georgia’s Office of Financial Aid, UGA students have received private loans from institutions such as:

UGA does not recommend or prefer any of these financial institutions for its students. There are numerous banks, credit unions, and other organizations that offer alternative loans to Georgia students. Because interest rates, fees, and eligibility requirements vary from one institution to another, it pays to compare offers from several lenders before accepting a loan.

Federal Student Aid for GA Students

Federal student aid is the financial cornerstone for many Georgia college students. The U.S. Department of Education provides loans and grants through several programs: Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants, and Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants. While federal student loans have to be repaid with interest, grants are considered “gift aid,” meaning that the student does not have to repay them as long as he or she adheres to the terms of the grant.

When you complete the FAFSA, you will be considered for federal loans and grants based on your income, background, history, and future plans. The financial aid package you receive from your Georgia school will include the forms of support for which you are eligible.