Georgia Student Finance Commission


Administrative Reviews and Exceptions for the Zell Miller Grant

HOPE & Zell Miller Grants

Administrative Reviews and Exceptions for the Zell Miller Grant

Administrative Reviews

If a student believes their eligible college or university incorrectly determined their HOPE Grant or Zell Miller Grant eligibility may submit a request to GSFC for an Administrative Review. Upon request of an Administrative Review, the Program Administration Office will review a student's eligibility determination and decide if the program laws, regulations, policies and rules were applied correctly to a student's specific case.

Students must submit a written letter requesting an Administrative Review and any pertinent and supporting documentation within 45 days of receiving notice of denial of HOPE Grant or Zell Miller Grant eligibility. GSFC will review and decide a case based solely upon the documentation provided by the student, rather than a personal presentation.

To submit a written request for an Administrative Review or for additional assistance/any questions email:  programAdmin@gsfc.org, After a review of the student’s record and request, the Program Administration Office will respond to the student by email within 2 weeks. 

Exceptions

In very limited extenuating circumstances, HOPE or Zell Miller Grant recipients who meet specific criteria and had to withdraw from college for a term due to a serious illness or injury or a death in their immediately family may be eligible for an Exception in which the withdrawn hours are forgiven.

Exception Criteria

Situation 1:  A student who completely withdrew from a term due to eligible extenuating circumstances and lost eligibility at the preceding Checkpoint.

  • Checkpoint calculated GPA is a 0.00 GPA due to the term of withdrawal. Student returns to their eligible college and attempts 12 or more hours and earns a 3.0 or higher calculated term GPA.
  • Student received HOPE or Zell Miller Grant funds during the term which they completely withdrew from all courses.
  • May request an Exception no later than the last day of the term of re-enrollment.

Situation 2: A student who completely withdrew from a term due to eligible extenuating circumstances but did not lose eligibility and is within 15 hours of the Attempted-Hours and/or Paid-Hours Limit. 

  • May request an Exception upon within 15 hours of reaching the maximum number of Attempted and/or Paid hours.
  • Student received HOPE or Zell Miller Grant funds during the term which they completely withdrew from all courses.

Eligible Extenuating Circumstances

The student may be eligible for an Exception if the withdrawal was due to one of the following extenuating circumstances:

  • Serious illness, serious psychiatric disorder, serious injury experienced by the student during the term of withdrawal;
  • Student had to provide temporary care for an immediate family member who experienced a serious illness or serious injury;
  • Death of an Immediate family member and the withdrawal was within six months of the death;
  • Requirement to report for active duty United States military service during the term of withdrawal.

Note: Students are limited to one Exception. Only one term of hours may be considered for an Exception.

Note: Refer to the Exception Request Form for the Exception process and required documentation.

Exception requests of the following situations cannot be considered for approval:

  • If it is mathematically impossible for the student to have the required Postsecondary Cumulative GPA at the new 30, 60, or 90 semester hours (45, 90, or 135 quarter hour) HOPE Grant or Zell Miller Grant Checkpoint after the Attempted-Hours and/or Paid-Hours are forgiven.
  • If the student does not submit the Exception Application in writing no later than the last day of the term of re-enrollment.
  • If the request is based upon the diagnosis or presence of a learning disability.
  • If the request is based upon a situation in which the student was convicted or plead guilty or nolo contendere to a criminal act or charge.
  • If the student is requesting that postsecondary or high school grades be forgiven or altered.
  • If the request is based upon any reason other than those specifically listed in the Guidelines for Approval of an Exception Request section of the program regulations.
  • If the request is seeking an Exception from the laws governing the HOPE Programs.
  • If the request is based upon a Serious Illness, Serious Injury or Psychiatric Disorder that was not sustained, diagnosed, or treated within six months of the student's withdrawal date.
  • If the request is based upon the death of an Immediate Family Member, and/or step-parent, step-child or step-sibling, and the death did not occur within the six months immediately preceding the student's withdrawal date.
  • If the student is still beyond the Attempted-Hours and/or Paid-Hours limit even if the withdrawn hours are forgiven.
  • If the student was not eligible to receive and did not receive Grant or grant funds during the term of withdrawal.

Exception Request Procedure

Students must submit the Exception Request Form and documentation to the Program Administration Office through the GAfutures Student Document Upload. 

If you are the parent of a student that is submitting a request for an administrative review and/or exception, and wish to communicate with GSFC about your student’s request, GSFC will need to receive a signed Authorization to Release Non-Public Information form from the student.

Upon receipt of the completed Exception Request Form and the proper supporting documentation, the request will be reviewed by the Program Administration Office and if it meets the regulatory requirements, the Exception will be prepared to be presented in writing to the GSFC Board of Commissioners.

Below are the submission deadline dates to be presented for consideration at the corresponding Board of Commissioners Meeting.

Board Meeting

Submission Deadline

First Friday in August

First Friday in July

First Friday in November

First Friday in October

First Friday in February

First Friday in January

First Friday in May

First Friday in April

*Note: If the Friday submission deadline falls on a holiday or weekend, the submission deadline is automatically the following Monday, by close of business.

Incomplete submissions cannot be considered.

Approval Procedure

The exception requests are presented in writing for a decision to the Board of Commissioners based on the above board meeting schedule. The Board of Commissioners has the sole discretion to grant an Exception which cannot be appealed. The Board of Commissioners’ decision is final.

Following the Board’s decision, the student is emailed by the Program Administration Office within 5 business days. 

Be Advised

Exceptions approved and granted by the Board of Commissioners shall only provide for the forgiveness of postsecondary Attempted-Hours and/or Paid-Hours, thereby increasing the total number of remaining Attempted-Hours and/or Paid-Hours of eligibility.

In no case or circumstance shall a student's grade(s), as determined by the student's college, be forgiven or altered.

In no case or circumstance there is no exception to the HOPE Calculated GPA.

In no case or circumstance shall a student's high school grade(s), as determined by the student's high school nor the HOPE Calculated GPA from high school be altered or rounded.

If you need additional assistance, email the Program Administration Office at: ProgramAdmin@gsfc.org.

 

*Students must meet all eligibility requirements to qualify for the Grant. 

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