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Financial Aid- Types of Aid

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Types of Financial Aid at Germanna

Contact the Financial Aid Office for complete eligibility requirements for all of the financial aid programs listed here.  Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for federal and state financial aid programs.

Federal Programs

Federal Pell Grant:  Federal Pell Grants are awarded to eligible undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor's or a professional degree.  Eligibility is primarily based on the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the Student Aid Report (SAR), but is also affected by enrollment status.  The EFC must be 4995 or less.  The maximum award for the 2012-2013 academic year is $5,550, with a minimum of $287.  A minimum of 12 credit hours each semester is required to receive full eligibility, with pro-rated awards going to students with less than 12 hours.

Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant:  A student who is not eligible for a Pell Grant but whose parent or guardian was a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and died as a result of service performed in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001 may be eligible to receive the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant.

Eligible students must be under 24 years old or enrolled in college at least part-time at the time of the parent’s or guardian’s death.  The grant award is equal to the amount of a maximum Pell Grant for the award year – not to exceed the cost of attendance for that award year.

FSEOG (Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grant):  FSEOG is for undergraduate Federal Pell Grant recipients with exceptional financial need (i.e., students with the lowest EFCs).   Eligible Germanna students receive no less than $100 a year in these funds depending on eligibility, funding level, and the date of application.

Federal Work Study:  Federal Work-Study (FWS) provides part-time jobs for undergraduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses.  The program encourages community service work and work related to the recipient's course of study.  Students are paid by the hour usually twice per month.  Wages for the program must equal at least the current federal minimum wage but might be higher, depending on the type of work and the skills required.  The amount earned cannot exceed the total FWS award.  When assigning work hours, consideration will be given to the student’s award amount, class schedule, and academic progress.

Federal Direct Stafford Loan:  Direct Stafford Loans, from the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, are low-interest loans for eligible students to help cover the cost of higher education.  Eligible students borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education.  A minimum of 6 credit hours per semester is required.  Interest is subsidized while in school and in grace periods for students who demonstrate financial need.  Annual limits are based on class level and dependency status and range from $5,500 to $10,500 per year at community colleges.  Not all VCCS colleges participate in the federal loan programs.

Federal Direct PLUS Loan:  Parents of dependent students may apply for a Federal Direct PLUS Loan to help pay their child's education expenses as long as certain eligibility requirements are met.  The annual limit on a PLUS Loan is equal to the student's cost of attendance minus any other financial aid the student receives.  Not all VCCS colleges participate in the federal loan programs.

On Ramp Grant:  Federal financial assistance from Workforce Investment Act Rapid Responds funds is available to assist students who have lost their jobs to enroll in colleges programs to improve their workforce skills and ability to secure new employment.  Financial need must be demonstrated and the grant cannot exceed tuition, fees, books, and supplies.  The participating colleges currently include Dabney S. Lancaster, Danville, J. Sargeant Reynolds, John Tyler, Lord Fairfax, Mountain Empire, New River, Patrick Henry, Paul D. Camp, Rappahannock, Southside Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Tidewater, Virginia Highlands, Virginia Western, and Wytheville. 

State Programs

COMA (Commonwealth Grant):  COMA is a state-funded grant that provides assistance to undergraduate Virginia residents who demonstrate financial need.  Award amounts cannot exceed tuition and fees per academic year.  A minimum of 6 credit hours is required each semester in order to receive COMA.

VGAP (Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program):  VGAP awards range from $500 up to tuition, fees and books available to undergraduate Virginia residents who graduated from high school with at least a 2.5 grade point average.  VGAP also has specific renewal requirements:

  • Completion of a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and continued demonstration of financial need

  • Continued enrollment in a program leading to a degree

  • Continued domiciliary residency in Virginia

  • Academic achievement of at least 2.0 cumulative grade point average

  • Maintain full-time status (at least 12 hours) each semester of the academic year

  • Maintain continuous enrollment (not counting summer sessions)

  • Remain a dependent student according to current federal regulations.

VCCS Programs

PTAP (Part-time Tuition Assistance Program):  The Virginia Part-Time Assistance Program is to assist undergraduate, part-time students with financial need to pay part of their college costs. Funds may be used for need-based grants to Virginia resident undergraduates enrolled part-time. In order for an undergraduate student to be eligible for an award, a student must:

  • Be admitted into a Virginia community college;
  • Be enrolled for one to eight credits in an approved degree, certificate, or diploma program;
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen;
  • Be a domiciliary resident of Virginia as defined by the Code of Virginia ยง23-7.4; and
  • Demonstrate financial need as determined by the institution

VCCS Grant:  The VCCS Grant provides assistance to Virginia residents at Virginia’s Community Colleges who demonstrate financial need.   Award amounts cannot exceed tuition, fees, and books per academic year.


VCCS Tuition Grant:  The Tuition Grant program provides tuition and fees at any Virginia community college for high school graduates or general education development (GED) completers in foster care, in the custody of a social services agency, or considered a special needs adoption.  A minimum of 6 credit hours is required and financial need must be demonstrated.  The grant covers tuition and fees only.


Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility for federal, state, and VCCS programs is based on financial need and several other factors.  The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be filed at  Many financial aid programs are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis so it is important to apply early.  The financial aid administrator at the college will determine eligibility.

Basic eligibility requirements require that students:

  • demonstrate financial need (except for certain loans).

  • have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate, pass an ability-to-benefit (ATB) test approved by the U.S. Department of Education, meet other standards the state establishes that the Department approves, complete a high school education in a home school setting that is treated as such under state law, or have satisfactorily completed six credit hours or the equivalent course work toward a degree or certificate. 

  • be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student working toward a degree or certificate in an eligible program.  

  • be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen.

  • have a valid Social Security Number. 

  • register with the Selective Service (if male and if required).

  • maintain satisfactory academic progress once in school.

  • certify that they are not in default on a federal student loan and do not owe money on a federal student grant.

  • certify that they will use financial aid only for educational purposes.

Germanna Programs

Germanna Work Program: The Germanna Wage Program provides employment opportunities to students who do not qualify for need based work study. Students must meet the same academic standards as Federal work-study students and have special qualifications which may be used to further the aims and philosophy of the institution. Students are paid bi-weekly.

Germanna Guarantee Grant:  The Germanna Guarantee Program is designed to help students "Fill in The Gap" between Federal and State Aid awarded and the cost of attending Germanna.  Click here for more details on this program.

Other Information

Other programs including scholarships exist at each college and can be researched through the individual college websites which can be found using the VCCS College Locator.

Visit the Virginia Education Wizard at to compare college costs, estimate financial aid eligibility at Virginia’s Community Colleges, and learn more about how to apply for financial aid.

**Notice to all eligible students: Grants received under the State's grant program funded under LEAP (CSAP) or SLEAP (HETAP) are, or may be, Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Grants funded by the Federal Government, the State, and, where applicable, other contributing partners.**

Alternative (Private) Student Loans: Germanna Community College does not participate in the Federal Stafford or PLUS loan programs. The college does certify alternative (private) loans for eligible students. Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid before Germanna Community College can certify an alternative loan application. Lenders require that alternative loan borrowers be credit worthy. In many cases a credit worthy co-signer is required by the lender. Different lenders have different definitions of credit worthiness. Please contact your lender for more information.

Borrowers should visit the lender web sites or contact the lenders directly to apply for an alternative loan and for details on the alternative loan programs.  Many lenders allow online applications.  The Financial Aid Office may be required to certify eligibility once your application has been approved by the lender.  The loan amount that Germanna certifies will be the cost of attendance minus other financial aid, not to exceed the requested loan amount.  Loans cannot be certified until the student has registered for classes.

Some lenders send checks directly to the student and some lenders send checks to the college. If the loan check is sent to the college once the loan is approved, the college will apply the loan to the student's tuition statement balance before distributing the loan funds to the student, and after enrollment has been verified.  Any refund due to the student from an alternative student loan will be delivered to the student 5 days prior to the beginning of the semester in order to ensure enrollment for the upcoming semester.  If loan funds are to be used to pay the tuition balance, funds must be received by the college on or before the tuition due date. 

Best Private Student Loans

Borrowers should review this information on Best Private Student Loans found on the web site before selecting a lender.  Please see the information below about questions borrowers may ask when comparing alternative loan lenders.  You should use the lender comparison chart on the web site to compare interest rates and terms from many lenders.   

Tip.  Payment amounts are determined by the borrower's credit score.  Better credit scores equals lower payments.  Payments may be lowered by having a parent with a good credit score co-sign the loan application.

Tip.  Germanna recommends comparing lenders for discovering the most attractive interest rates.   Lenders typically will not disclose your interest rate until you have completed the loan application and your credit score has been reviewed.  If this is the case, contact the lender directly with questions.  Applying for more multiple loans can have a potentially negative impact on your credit score.

Applying for the Loan

In many cases the borrower applies through the lender's web site and the application is certified by the Financial Aid Office.   The loan check is sent to the college once the loan is approved and the college applies the loan to the student's tuition statement balance before distributing the loan funds to the student, and after enrollment has been verified.  Any refund due to the student from an alternative student loan will be delivered to the student no less than 5 days prior to the beginning of the semester.  In some cases the loan check is sent directly from the lender to the student.

Please notify the Financial Aid Office once you have received approval from your lender so that the Financial Aid Office can certify the loan.   If the lender requires a paper (rather than online) certification you must provide the certification form to the Financial Aid Office.  

Students often ask the Financial Aid Office for the names of lenders.  This is an alphabetic list of some lenders that offer alternative loans.  See the section named Best Private Student Loans for a more extensive list.  Germanna does not recommend lenders and does not have a preferred lender list.  The lenders listed here may not be those with the lowest interest rates or the best terms.  Borrowers should check each web site for the most current loan terms.

Wells Fargo

PNC Bank

Lenders that do not require Financial Aid Office certification

The borrower works directly with the lender and in most cases the loan check is sent directly to the borrower.   See the information above about Best Private Student Loans.

Lenders for non-credit courses through the Center for Workforce

Students taking non-credit courses are eligible to borrow  to pay the cost of tuition and books and supplies.  The borrower works directly with the lender and in most cases the loan check is sent directly to the borrower.    There are several lenders who will make loans to students taking non-credit courses.  See the information above about Best Private Student Loans.

Student borrowers under age 18

Most states require student borrowers to be at least 18 years old.  Parents and, in some cases, other credit worthy adults may borrow on behalf of students who are under 18.   See the information above about  Best Private Student Loans.

Questions borrowers may ask when comparing alternative loan lenders

  1. Interest rates: What is the base interest rate? What is the margin over the base interest rate? Is the interest rate variable over the life of the loan? How often does the variable interest rate adjust?
  2. Fees. Does the lender charge up front loan fees? Does the lender charge fees when the loan goes into repayment?
  3. Minimum Loan Amount: Some lenders will not approve small loans less than $2000 or $3000. If you want to borrow less, choose a lender that will make smaller loans.
  4. Interest Capitalization: Can interest be capitalized (added to the loan principal) while the borrower is attending school? What is the interest rate on capitalized interest? Can interest only payments be made during periods while the borrower is attending school?
  5. Repayment: Are there interest rate or principal reductions for on time or electronic payments?  Are there different repayment options? Are there prepayment penalties? What is the projected monthly payment? Do you have the option to extend the repayment period? What is the maximum repayment period? Is there a grace period before repayment begins?
  6. Creditworthiness: What is the lender's credit criteria? Will a co-signer be required?