Administrative Reviews and Exceptions for the HOPE Scholarship
HOPE Scholarship, Zell Miller Scholarship, HOPE Grant and Zell Miller Grant Administrative Reviews and Exceptions
If a student feels that his or her HOPE Scholarship, HOPE Grant, Zell Miller Scholarship or Zell Miller Grant eligibility was determined incorrectly, he or she may submit a request to GSFC for an Administrative Review. Upon request of an Administrative Review, Commission staff 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, such as all transcripts, within 45 days of receiving notice of denial of HOPE Scholarship, HOPE Grant, Zell Miller Scholarship or Zell Miller Grant eligibility. The Commission will decide a case based solely upon the documentation provided by the student, rather than a personal presentation.
A student who fails to meet the regulatory requirements for the HOPE Scholarship, HOPE Grant, Zell Miller Scholarship or Zell Miller Grant may, in very limited and exceptional cases, be eligible to request an Exception from such regulations, if the student meets specific criteria. All Exception requests must be approved by the GSFC Board of Commissioners, which has sole discretion to grant an Exception. No student has the right to a HOPE Scholarship, HOPE Grant, Zell Miller Scholarship or Zell Miller Grant award based upon the request of an Exception and no student has the right to appeal the denial of an Exception by the Board of Commissioners. The Board of Commissioners' decision is final.
Students seeking an Exception must submit the application and all supporting documentation within 45 days of receiving notice of denial for the HOPE Scholarship, HOPE Grant, Zell Miller Scholarship or Zell Miller Grant. Incomplete submissions will be denied. Applications and documentation must be received by GSFC by the deadline dates below in order to be presented to the Board of Commissioners at the corresponding Board Meeting.
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
Exceptions approved and granted by the Board of Commissioners shall only provide for the forgiveness of post-secondary 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 high school or post-secondary grade(s), as determined by the student's high school and/or post-secondary institution, be forgiven or altered.
Exception requests will automatically be denied for any one of the following reasons:
- If it is mathematically impossible for the student to have the required Postsecondary Cumulative GPA at the new 30, 60, or 90 semester hour (45, 90, or 135 quarter hour) HOPE Scholarship or Zell Miller Scholarship Checkpoint after the Attempted-Hours and/or Paid-Hours are forgiven.
- If the student does not submit the Exception Application in writing within 45 days of receiving notice of ineligibility for the HOPE Scholarship, HOPE Grant, Zell Miller Scholarship or Zell Miller Grant.
- 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 post-secondary 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 scholarship or grant funds during the term of withdrawal.
Georgia Student Finance Commission staff shall classify each request for an Exception based on the information presented. Final approval or denial of an Exception request is subject to the Board's sole discretion. You may be eligible for an Exception if you answer "Yes" to any one of the following questions:
- Did you reach a checkpoint and lose eligibility because you did not yet earn a cumulative postsecondary grade point average?
- Did you completely withdraw from all courses during a term due to a Serious Illness, Psychiatric Disorder, Serious Injury, death in your Immediate Family, or requirement to report for active duty military service, and you lost HOPE or Zell Miller eligibility due to reaching the maximum number of Attempted and/or Paid HOPE hours, though you remain academically eligible?
- Did you completely withdraw from all courses during a term because you were required to provide temporary care for an Immediate Family member, and you lost HOPE or Zell Miller eligibility due to reaching the maximum number of Attempted and/or Paid HOPE hours, though you remain academically eligible? You must be able to document that no one else was able to provide the care for the Immediate Family member.
- Did you partially withdraw from a term due to a Serious Illness, Psychiatric Disorder, Serious Injury, or death in your Immediate Family, but did not fully withdraw because you were allowed to take "incomplete" grades in your other coursework or because the Eligible Postsecondary Institution required you to withdraw from some courses?
If you answered "Yes" to one of the questions above, you may be eligible for an Exception. Please complete the exception request form and submit it with all documentation to:
Georgia Student Finance Commission
Student Aid Services
2082 East Exchange Place
Tucker, GA 30084
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 child's request, the commission will need to receive a signed Authorization to Release Non-Public Information form from the student.
If you did not receive HOPE or Zell Miller funds for the term of withdrawal or did not answer "Yes" to one of the questions above, you are not eligible for an Exception. If you need additional assistance, please send an email to ProgramAdmin@gsfc.org.