Georgia Student Finance Commission

Financial Aid Planning Tips

Financial Aid Basics

Financial Aid Planning Tips

Being accepted into the college of your dreams is one thing. Paying for it is another.

Here are some things you should plan to do each year to help maximize your financial aid opportunities. For more detailed information about what to do each year, view the College Planning Timeline.


  • The FAFSA application for the 2020-2021 school year is available October 1. You can have your information transmitted up to 10 schools when applying online. Any additional schools would need to replace one already listed, so choose wisely.
  • Make sure your parents have completed their income tax forms in anticipation of the financial aid applications. If you have to file taxes this year, do it as soon as possible. You'll need to do this for any financial aid forms.
  • Keep an eye out for financial aid workshops and seminars, for both you and your parents. 
  • Check your selective service status for financial aid purposes.

GSFC-Administered Programs

  • Investigate your options for participating in Dual Enrollment. This allows students to take college level coursework for credit towards both high school and college graduation requirements.
  • Speak with your counselor about AP and honors courses, planning towards completion of the Academic Rigor Requirements needed for eligibility for both the HOPE Scholarship and Zell Miller Scholarship.
  • Here is a list of all the programs administered by GSFC: 
Scholarships Grants Loans
HOPE Scholarship HOPE Grant Student Access Loan
Zell Miller Scholarship Zell Miller Grant Scholarship for Engineering Education Program (SEE)
 REACH Georgia HOPE GED Grant Scholarship for Engineering Education for Minorities Program (MSEE)
  HERO Scholarship HOPE Career Grant University of North Georgia Military Scholarship Loan Program
  Tuition Equalization Grant Georgia Military College State Service Scholarship Loan Program
  University of North Georgia ROTC Grant and ROTC Grant for Future Officers Georgia National Guard Service Cancelable Loan
  Public Safety Memorial Grant  
  Dual Enrollment  

Scholarship Search

  • Research scholarships and start applying.
  • Never pay for anyone to help you search for scholarships or any financial aid services.

Saving for College

Employment Opportunities

  • How are you spending your summer? Volunteering and educational programs can help give you a better idea of what kind of training or career would be right for you.
  • If you have room in your schedule, consider a part-time job or volunteer position during the school year.
  • Consider looking for a summer job or internship. Many employers offer scholarships to their employees and their dependents.
  • If you go on interviews or visits, don't forget to send thank-you notes or emails.