Out of Program Course Costs

The HOPE Grant* and Pell Grant** will pay toward tuition and most fees (Pell only) for the coursework required by a student’s currently accepted program of study for the current term. However, students who register for courses not required in their program of study will be responsible for paying with personal funds the tuition and fees charged for the non-required courses. Furthermore, students repeating coursework that’s already satisfied, registered for Learning Support (remedial) Courses, or possible electives that are not currently required for their current program of study, may be responsible for paying with personal funds.

Courses mentioned above, that are not required, are known as “Out of Program”. The Financial Aid Office has to wait until all registration for the term is over (i.e. Drop/Add). Therefore, the 2nd week in the term we will search all student schedules for Out of Program courses and will remove the appropriate financial aid and will follow up with an email to the student’s college email account.

*GSFC Regulations
**US DOE Regulations


Effective Fall Semester 2004, Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC) implemented changes to the HOPE Scholarship* and HOPE Grant* programs. One of the major changes was limiting the number of credit hours for which GSFC will pay. Recipients are eligible for a maximum of 63 HOPE Grant paid semester credit hours, 127 HOPE Scholarship or Zell Miller Scholarship attempted semester credit hours, or 127 Combined HOPE/Zell (grant and scholarships) paid semester credit hours. Effective Fall Semester 2011, Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC) implemented changes to the HOPE Scholarship*, HOPE Grant*, and the new Zell Miller Scholarship programs. The hours caps mentioned above are “firm”. Payments will not be allowed passed the stated caps above. At the beginning of the award year, or term, the Financial Aid Office initially awards students aid on “Good Faith”. However, if the Financial Aid Office at a later date understands that a student was ineligible of a prior award disbursement, the Financial Aid Office is responsible to remove the amount(s), return the funds to GSFC, and inform the student of his or her probable outstanding balance to the institution.

*GSFC Regulations

Satisfactory Progress Policy

The U.S. Department of Education requires institutions of higher learning to establish standards of satisfactory academic progress for students receiving financial aid. The satisfactory progress policy must include both a qualitative measure (cumulative GPA) and a quantitative measure (maximum time frame). Students must declare a major and be working toward the completion of that major in order to receive financial aid. Failure to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) will result in the loss of all aid.

Note: The SAP policy applies to all students regardless of whether he/she has previously received aid.

Students must maintain a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 2.0. The GPA is computed by the Office of Registration & Records on a scale of 4.0. View SAP Calculator. 

Students must successfully complete two-thirds (66.66%) of all hours attempted.

Failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress will result in the loss of federal (Pell) and state (HOPE/Zell) grants and scholarships. The SAP policy applies to all students, regardless of whether they have previously received aid. (Financial aid regulations consider new students and transfer students to be making satisfactory academic progress.)

Successful grades include A, A*, B, B*, C, C*, and D. Unsuccessful grades include D*, F, F*, I, IP, W, W*, WF, WF*, WP, and WP* (see Grading System).

Successful completion of learning support classes requires a C* or better.

Students enrolled in a program of study of more than two academic years must have a GPA of at least a 2.0.

Students must also show a completion rate that will allow the student to complete a program of study in at least 150% of the time it should require (as determined by the college catalog). For example, a student in a program requiring a total of 98 semester credit hours will receive financial aid up to 147 semester credit hours for that program. Transfer credits accepted by ATC as earned hours will be counted in the maximum timeframe.


Students that do not meet the above guidelines will initially be placed on Financial Aid Warning. A student assigned a Warning will be notified by email at their ATC student email account. The student may continue to receive financial aid for one subsequent semester under this status. SAP standards must be met to continue eligibility.


Students who do not meet SAP standards under the Warning status at the end of the subsequent semester will be placed on Financial Aid Exclusion. Students on Exclusion are not eligible to receive financial aid.


Students who were placed on Financial Aid Exclusion may choose to appeal the exclusion. If the appeal is approved, the student is placed on Financial Aid Probation status. A student on Financial Aid Probation may receive financial aid for one subsequent semester. A student on Financial Aid Probation may be placed on an Academic Plan that will require the student to meet certain terms and conditions as determined by the Financial Aid Appeal Committee. At the conclusion of the Financial Aid Probation semester, the student must be meeting SAP standards or meeting the requirements specified in the Academic Plan.


Students placed on Financial Aid Exclusion may appeal the denial of financial aid if extenuating circumstances are present. A Request for Appeal of Financial Aid Exclusion form must be submitted explaining the extenuating circumstances, how these circumstances have changed, and their plan to maintain satisfactory academic progress if the appeal is approved. Supporting documentation is encouraged. Appeals must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office prior to the midpoint of the semester for which students are appealing their exclusion status. Financial aid appeals are reviewed by a committee of faculty and staff. The committee’s decision is final.

Repeat Coursework
Beginning July 1, 2011 students may only receive federal financial aid for one repeat of a previously passed course. Students taking a required repeat of a course should contact the Financial Aid Office to ensure those credits are counted appropriately for financial aid. Please note that the student may need to provide documentation from the academic advisor confirming the requirement to repeat the course.

Academic Plan
Students who file a successful appeal and require more than one term to regain good financial aid standing may have the option to enter into an academic plan. The academic plan consists of four major elements:

  1. A 100% pass rate for the term: Any withdrawals or failing grades will result in suspension of an academic plan.
  2. A grade of D in a class that requires a C will not be considered passing.
  3. A 2.5 term GPA for students who have a cumulative GPA higher than 1.5 and a 2.00 term GPA for students who have a cumulative GPA of less than 1.5.
  4. Advisement and follow-up with the Academic Advisement Center, Academic Support Services, Student Support Services, and/or other on campus services that will ensure students are successful in both following the academic plan and successfully completing their program of study on time.

Each agreement will set the minimum pass rate, GPA, the offices/services to be included in the student’s plan, and the expected time for the student to be back in good standing. Failure to meet the terms of the plan will result in the student being placed on financial aid exclusion until he/she meets SAP standards. Students who fail to meet the terms of their academic plan due to uncontrollable, one-time, documentable circumstances (medical problems, death or illness in the family, etc) will be able to appeal their financial exclusion status for the following term under the existing financial aid exclusion appeal process. Academic plans may include guidance and input from various Student Affairs and Academic Affairs offices. The plans will be maintained and administered each term by the financial aid office.

Return of Title IV Funds Policy

The Higher Education Amendments of 1998 changed the formula for calculating the amount of aid a student and school can retain when the student totally withdraws from all classes. Students who withdraw from all classes prior to completing more than 60% of an enrollment term will have their eligibility for aid recalculated based on the percent of the term completed. For example, a student who withdraws after completing only 30% of the term will have “earned” only 30% of any Title IV aid received. The remaining 70% must be returned by the school and/or the student. The Office of Financial Aid encourages you to read this policy carefully. If you are thinking about withdrawing from all classes PRIOR to completing 60% of the semester, you should contact the Office of Financial Aid to see how your withdrawal will affect your financial aid.

  1. This policy shall apply to all students who withdraw or drop out from Athens Technical College, and receive financial aid from Title IV funds:
    • The term “Title IV Funds” refers to the Federal financial aid programs authorized under the Higher Education Act of 1965 (as amended) and includes the following programs: Federal Pell Grants, Federal SEOG.
    • A student’s withdrawal date is:
      • the date the student began the institution’s withdrawal process (as described in the Athens Technical College catalog) or officially notified the institution of intent to withdraw; or
      • the midpoint of the period for a student who leaves without notifying the institution; or
      • the student’s last date of attendance at a documented academically-related activity.
  2. The percentage of Title IV aid earned shall be calculated as follows:
    • Number of days completed by student/Total number of days in term*
    • The percent of term completed shall be the percentage of Title IV aid earned by the student.
    • Students are responsible for any portion of their institutional charges that are left outstanding after Title IV funds are returned.
    • *The total number of calendar days in a term of enrollment shall exclude any scheduled breaks of more than five days.

Worksheets used to determine the amount of the refund or Return to Title IV aid are available upon request in the Office of Financial Aid.

Financial Aid Fraud Policy

Federal regulations [34 CFR 668.16(g)] require a school to refer to the Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) any credible information indicating that an applicant for Federal Student aid may have engaged in fraud or other criminal misconduct in connection with his or her application. Fraud is the intent to deceive as opposed to a mistake. Commonly falsified items include false claims of independent student status, false claims of citizenship, use of false identities, forgery of signatures of certifications, and false statements of income. If such intent is suspected on the part of a student, employee or third-party servicer, the case will be referred to the Technical College System of Georgia’s legal counsel immediately for initial investigation, followed by a formal report made to the OIG.

Student Loans

Athens Technical College does not participate in the Federal Stafford Student Loan program or the Federal Parent PLUS Loan program. Loans should be used as a last resort to pay for education expenses (tuition, fees and books). Students needing loans to finance their education can consider state and private loan options with a maximum cap of no more than $10,000 borrowed per academic year. If there is no unmet need, you are able to borrow only your actual cost of tuition and fees plus an additional $450 allowance for books. Housing will not be considered in this situation.

Private student loans are different from federal student loans in that they are not guaranteed by the federal government, require a credit check, and often require a co-signer. Terms and conditions vary significantly by the lender. Carefully consider your needs, and then select a loan product that best meets your individual situation.

Loan Counseling

Private Loan Eligibility Requirements

  • Enrollment – You must be accepted for enrollment or enrolled at least half-time (six credit hours).
  • Satisfactory Academic Progress – You must maintain satisfactory academic progress in your course of study. *Complete 66.66% of the overall hours you attempt, maintain a 2.0 GPA, and complete your program within 150% of hours needed as outlined in ATCs standards and statutory requirements.
  • FAFSA Required – You must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine your Financial Need.
  • Non-Default – You must not be in default on an educational loan or owe a refund on an educational grant.
  • Loan Counseling – Required once your student loan has been processed by Athens Technical College. You will be contacted at your Athens Tech email to complete this requirement in person at the Athens Campus. No funding will be credited to your account until this requirement has been satisfied.

Georgia Low-Interest Loans

The state of Georgia offers a low-interest loan program to assist students. The Student Access Loan (SAL). SAL is a 1% loan and technical college students are eligible for up to $3,000 per academic year.

Criteria for the SAL Loan are:

  • Must be a GA resident and/or military personnel or dependent
  • Monthly Keep in Touch payments while in school and grace period
  • FAFSA required
  • Half-time enrollment is required (at least 6 credit hours)
  • Students are selected first-come, first-serve by Georgia Student Finance Commission
  • Application cycle: Early June through September
  • For more information or to apply visit GA Futures .

Private (Alternative) Educational Loans

Currently, students are eligible to apply for and receive loans from private lenders. ATC Financial Aid Office will certify loans up to a student’s financial need or for students without any financial need, loan amounts are limited to the actual costs of tuition, fees, and monetary maximum allowed per semester for books. To determine this, Athens Technical College requires that you have completed FAFSA on file.

Private student loans are different from federal student loans in that they are not guaranteed by the federal government, require a credit check, and often require a co-signer. Terms and conditions vary significantly by lender.

Athens Technical College offers an online loan comparison tool for you to use called FASTChoice. This tool is designed to assist you in making the educational loan choice that is best for you and provides a side-by-side comparison of the lenders, loan terms, interest rates, repayment options, and the ability to apply online. Please keep in mind that you may select any lender of your choice, even if they do not appear on FASTChoice.

Athens Technical College selected FASTChoice as the preferred lender tool for the following reasons:

  • Competitive borrower rates and terms
  • Loans are offered to community college students
  • Funds are sent electronically (EFT) when possible
  • Easy online application process
  • Longevity and stability in private loan lending