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Questions for Parents after school has started

1. Does my student have to attend STORM Day?

Yes, in order for your child to register for Fall classes they will need to attend one of the summer STORM Days.

2. Do I have to attend a STORM Day with my student?

While it is not required, it is highly encouraged that parents attend STORM Day and take part in your child’s transition from high school to college.

3. Will I be with my student throughout STORM Day?

You will see your student throughout STORM Day, but the family member schedule differs from the student schedule. Some of our programs are designed specifically for students and some are specifically for family members. On occasion, you will attend a program together. STORM Day are designed to address the different needs of students and family members - realizing that those are sometimes different; we have planned a program to reflect both. We are not keeping you apart from your student intentionally, but exposing them to their first college experience and hoping they will learn about GSW on their own. We realize the importance of your presence and believe we have designed a family member orientation that will not only provide you with information, but also allow you to spend some time with your student during this exciting time in his/her life!

4. Why do I have to pay $25 to attend with my student?

We kindly ask that each guest pay $25 to attend STORM Day.  This fee covers the cost of continental breakfast, lunch, snack breaks, session costs, and a t-shirt that you will receive at the end of the day.

5. Do I have to pay the $85.00 STORM Day Fee for my student?

No, this fee is paid for during your students first semester at GSW and is included with his/her fees.  Please do not send any money for Orientation fees.

6. Is there walking involved in the STORM Day program?

Yes, Georgia Southwestern is a “walking” campus and the program requires participants to walk during some portions of STORM Day. Efforts will be made to accommodate the needs of family members with mobility issues or health concerns, but because of South Georgia’s mild, summer climate we recommend that you dress for warm weather and wear comfortable walking shoes. Don’t forget your umbrella!!

7. Are children allowed to attend orientation?

Yes, but this will be a personal family decision. Our program may contain some topics which you are not comfortable discussing in the presence of your younger child and because of the length and walking required in the program, we do not recommend bringing young children. Each guest is required to pay the guest fee associated with STORM Day. Children under the age of 3 are not required to pay the $25 per guest fee associated with STORM Day.

8. Will my student and I have the same meal times?

Our program changes some each year. Due to facility space and scheduling to best meet the needs of both students and family members, we can say that some meals and breaks may be together, while some will be separate.

9. Will I be with my student while he/she meets with their advisor and registers for classes?

No, your student will receive academic information from his/her major.  This may be their advisor, or another advisor within the department.  Students will be provided with a more in depth conversation of what is expected as it concerns their particular major.  A schedule will be provided to your student at the end of the day.  Any changes to the schedule will be discussed with the first year advocate.  Should you have any specific question for the major, a meeting should be scheduled for the first year advocate or the student's major advisor.  

10. How long does STORM Day last?

STORM begins at 8:00am and lasts until approximately 5:00pm.

11. Do we have to stay the whole day?

We highly encourage students and parents to attend all sessions in order to receive all of the information being provided for you.

12. How does my son or daughter declare or change his or her major?

A student can declare a major at any time, beginning with the application process. If your student has decided on a major or changes the major, it is important that he or she declare the (new) major immediately with the Registrar’s Office to ensure proper academic advisement toward a timely graduation and to gather degree and career information. Undecided students (students without declared majors) are assigned advisors in the Academic Resource Center.  

13. Will my student leave STORM Day with a class schedule?

Yes, students register for their classes while at STORM Day. Course registration occurs at the end of the day. Registration occurs last so students will have had ample opportunities to learn about academics at GSW. Orientation staff and academic advisors will be present during registration to help with any questions or problems.

14. When does my student pay tuition and fees?

Students should check their R.A.I.N. account for their total amount of charges that need to be paid each semester.  Fees may be paid with cash, credit card, or with financial aid.  Failure to submit payment by the deadline will result in a late payment fee of $50.00. Fees should be paid in full the first day of class to avoid class cancellation.

15. My student receives financial aid that will exceed his/her tuition and fees. How does he/she receive excess financial aid?

Students will be able to pick up their difference checks beginning mid September 2015 in the Business Office.    

16. Can my student check his/her financial aid/scholarship status online?

Yes, students can access their financial aid status on their R.A.I.N. account.

17. If I do not think that my student is eligible for federal aid, should I complete the FAFSA anyway?

Yes. Many families mistakenly think they don’t qualify for federal aid and prevent themselves from receiving financial aid by failing to apply for it. There are sources of aid such as Unsubsidized Stafford and PLUS loans that are available regardless of need. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is available

18. What is a Student Aid Report (SAR)?

If you file your student’s FAFSA on the Web, the U. S. Department of Education will process your FAFSA online with in two to three business days. If you complete the paper application allow five weeks for processing. You will then receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). If you file your FAFSA online and provided an e-mail address on your FAFSA, the Federal Processing Center will send you an e-mail informing you to review the results of your SAR.

The SAR will reflect the information from your application and, if there are no questions or problems with your application, your SAR will provide your expected family contribution (EFC). This is the number used in determining your eligibility for federal student aid. Be sure to list the Georgia Southwestern State University Federal Title IV code (002440) on your FAFSA so that we may electronically receive your SAR.

19. What are Stafford Loans and how do we apply?

Stafford loans—federal loans with fixed interest rate of 6.8 percent—fall into two categories: subsidized and unsubsidized.

Subsidized: The federal government pays the interest on these loans as long as the borrower is enrolled at least half-time in the fall and spring semesters. Subsidized Stafford loans are awarded based upon financial need as determined from the FAFSA.

Unsubsidized: These loans begin to accrue interest as soon as they are paid to the borrower. Borrowers have the option to pay the interest while in school or to defer the interest payments until after graduation. 
Your eligibility is determined by the Office of Financial Aid. You will be notified of the exact amount you can borrow in the Financial Aid Award Notification. You can never borrow more than the cost of education, less other financial aid received. Below are the maximum amounts you may borrow.

New loan borrowing rates listed below are effective beginning fall semester of August 2007.

Annual Stafford Loan Limits

The following below lists annual subsidized Stafford loan limits.  

  • Freshmen: $3,500
  • Sophomore: $4,500
  • Junior: $5,500
  • Senior: $5,500
  • Graduate: $8,500

Additional Unsubsidized Stafford limits to Independent Students.

The following below lists the additional unsubsidized Stafford limits available to independent students, dependent students whose parents were denied a PLUS loan, and graduate students. These additional limits were motivated by the Supplemental Loan to Students (SLS), which was eliminated on July 1, 1994.

  • Freshmen: $4,000
  • Sophomore: $4,000
  • Junior: $5,000
  • Senior: $5,000
  • Graduate: $12,000

Aggregate Stafford Loan Limits

The following below lists historical aggregate Stafford loan limits.

Undergraduate: $23,000
Graduate & Undergraduate: $65,500

From January 1, 1981 to September 30, 1981, independent undergraduate students had a higher aggregate loan limit of $15,000.

From October 17, 1986 to September 30, 1992, SLS aggregate limits were $20,000. They were increased to $23,000 (undergraduate) and $73,000 (graduate plus undergraduate) from October 1, 1992 through June 30, 1994. The SLS program was eliminated on July 1, 1994.

Since July 1, 1994 there have been additional aggregate unsubsidized Stafford loan limits for independent undergraduate students, dependent undergraduate students whose parents were denied a PLUS loan, and graduate students. The additional aggregate limits for unsubsidized Stafford loans were $23,000 for undergraduate students (independent students and dependent students whose parents were denied a PLUS loan) and $73,000 for graduate students, bringing the combined aggregate limits to $46,000 and $138,500.

PLUS Loan Limits

Annual Limit: Cost of Attendance Minus Aid Received
Aggregate Limit: No Limit.  The following table lists historical PLUS loan limits.

Miscellaneous Loan Limits

Prior to 1994, smaller Stafford loan limits were available for programs that were shorter than a year in length.

Students enrolled in health professions programs that were eligible under the former HEAL program have higher unsubsidized Stafford loan limits since July 1, 1996, per DCL GEN-96-14. Such students are eligible to borrow an additional unsubsidized Stafford of $20,000 per year and have an aggregate Stafford loan limit (combined subsidized plus unsubsidized) of $189,125. This limit was increased to $224,000 effective April 18, 2008 by DCL GEN-08-04.

20. How does my student receive his/her Stafford Loan?

  1. Student must first apply for aid (complete the fafsa)
  2. Be awarded financial aid
  3. Complete loan addendum
  4. Complete Stafford loan entrance counseling & master promissory note
  5. Loan comes in to Student Accounts and is applied to student's account
  6. Any credit balance is given to the student 

21. When and how will my student receive his/her financial aid?

  1. Student must first apply for aid (complete the fafsa)
  2. Be awarded financial aid
  3. Complete any necessary paperwork (loan addendum, loan entrance  counseling & master promissory note)
  4. Aid  comes in to Student Accounts about 10 days before the term begins and is applied to student's account
  5. Any credit balance is given to the student 

22. What expenses can I expect financial aid to cover?

Financial aid is awarded based on an average cost of attendance (COA), which includes appropriate tuition/fees for your educational program, books/supplies and other educational expenses. Other educational expenses consist of living, transportation, personal and miscellaneous expenses during the academic year. In some cases, child-care expenses can also be covered through a process called professional judgment.

23. Do we have to reapply for financial aid every year?

Yes. You must apply for financial aid every academic year. Please note that the FAFSA and the Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid application both must be filed annually. Regarding the FAFSA, you will receive PIN or renewal application from the federal processor. The renewal application contains preprinted information from the previous year’s FAFSA. Note that your eligibility for financial aid may change significantly, especially if you have a different number of family members in college. Renewal of your financial aid package also depends on your making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree, such as earning a minimum number of credits and achieving a minimum GPA.

24. Can my student’s financial aid change?

Yes. As stated in the student award notification, initial financial aid awards are the best estimate of what you are eligible to receive. Your award may be increased, reduced or even canceled if your family financial circumstance changes, causing your need to change. See professional judgment.

  • You receive any additional outside resource, such as a privately awarded scholarship, which was not listed on your award notification.
  • You provided incorrect data on your FAFSA or renewal FAFSA.
  • You do not maintain satisfactory academic progress.
  • You are suspended by the university.
  • You do not enroll for the required number of hours to receive aid through the programs awarded to you.

25. How is my student’s financial need determined?

The federal processor determines your individual family’s ability to contribute to the cost of education. The expected family contribution (EFC) is calculated by using the information you provide on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and a federal formula. The formula considers your parents’ and your income and assets, your family size and the number of family members enrolled in college. The EFC will be the same at any college you attend. After receiving your EFC amount from the federal processor, the Office of Financial Aid then subtracts your EFC from the standard Georgia Southwestern cost of attendance. The formula used to calculate financial need is:
Cost of Attendance - EFC = Student Financial Need.

Click here for a listing of GSW's cost of attendance.

26. When is the FAFSA deadline?

To receive federal aid for the coming fall and spring (2015-16 academic year), you may submit your 2015-16 FAFSA as early as possible, but no earlier than January 1, 2016. The last date to file a 2015 FAFSA is June 30, 2015.

If you are planning to attend summer school during 2015, you must also complete the 2015-16 FAFSA with the federal processor no later than July 2, 2015, listing our school code, 002440, on the application.

27. What is verification?

Verification is a federally mandated quality-control process in which files are selected for review. The school is required by federal regulations to confirm certain data elements on the FAFSA. If your file is selected for verification, the school is required to compare these data elements with the information on your tax returns to verify their accuracy. Your Student Aid Report (SAR) and/or the school will tell you if you have been selected for verification.

28. What are GSW's Verification policies?


After an ISIR (electronic data) is received by the school, a missing document letter will be sent to the student’s permanent resident address listed on the database unless the student has made a written request, for valid reasons, to have mail sent elsewhere. This missing document letter identifies all items needed or visits the student should make to the office before the file is complete. It is the student’s responsibility to see that all requests from the Financial Aid Office are satisfied.

The deadline for submitting documentation for verification purposes is 15 days prior to fee-payment date. If documentation is not received by this time, the student may be required to pay his/her own fees until the process is complete.

If a change is made subsequent to the award, the student will receive a revised award or an adjusted bill via the registration & Academic Information Network (R.A.I.N), depending on the time frame of the adjustment.

Students are responsible for making corrections to their application unless student has been selected for verification. During the verification process, all corrections will be made electronically by the financial aid office, based on the documentation received.

In the event an award must be reduced because of subsequent verification, the student is responsible for repayment of any funds disbursed in error due to incorrect information. If funds are not repaid, the overpayment must be reported to the Department of Education. An overpayment notification mean the student is no longer eligible for aid.

All students receiving financial aid are welcome to review the Policies and Procedures Manual in the Financial Aid Office or on line. Any questions arising from this review should be directed to a financial aid counselor or the director. In their absence, an appointment can be made for a later date.

Deadline for submitting all documents is April 1 to receive PRIORITY AWARDING. Applications completed after April 1, WILL BE AWARDED BASED ON THE AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS.

29. What effect will dropping a class have on my student’s financial aid?

A Dropping a class may affect your financial aid if you drop during a refund period. Refund periods are assigned by the registrar. The refund period will change yearly based on the number of days in a school semester.

Financial aid awards, for example, scholarships, grants and loans, are based on full-time enrollment. Should you drop below full-time enrollment before your aid is released, your aid will have to be recalculated based on your new hours of enrollment. Should you drop a class after all aid has released, the Office of Financial Aid will review your semester eligibility based on the registrar’s refund policy. In some cases, it is required by federal Title IV regulations for a student to repay all or part of his or her financial aid for dropping courses or for nonattendance in registered courses. For best advice, always consult with a financial aid adviser before dropping a class.

30. How do I contact the Office of Financial Aid?

If you have any questions or need assistance with your financial aid, please call our Financial Aid Office at (229) 928-1378. You are welcome to drop by our office and talk with a financial aid advisor in person. We are located Sanford Hall and our offices are open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Fridays.

31. What if my student becomes ill?

If your student becomes ill, he or she can seek treatment at the Student Health Center on campus, which is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For after hour emergencies, students should contact Campus Safety or Sumter Regional Hospital.

32. What type of student health insurance is offered at GA Southwestern?

Student health insurance is offered for any student who is not covered by insurance. The Student Health Center staff strongly advises uninsured students to purchase health insurance from the university. For more information, please contact Student Health Center at (229) 931-2235.

33. Where can I find information about housing?

Information about student housing can be obtained from the Office of Admissions located in the Administration Building or by calling (229) 928-1273 or contact Jamie Lineberry at

34. When is move-in day for Fall semester?

Move-in day for Freshmen for Fall semester 2015 will be Saturday, August 15, 2015 beginning at 8am at Southwestern Oaks.  Information will be mailed to you over the summer from the office of Admissions.

35. What is the IFC? NPHC? Panhellenic?

All three are the governing bodies of the fraternities and sororities at Georgia Southwestern affiliated with the North American Interfraternity Council (NIC), National Panhellenic Council (NPC) and National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC). IFC and Panhellenic participate in Formal Recruitment, while NPHC groups have Intake. The organizations on campus send representatives to these meetings where important issues concerning the Greek community are discussed.

36. What and when is Intake?

Intake is the process of membership selection used by groups belonging to the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC). NPHC at GSW is made up of eight historically and traditionally African-American fraternities and sororities. Those eight groups are Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi, Inc., Omega Psi Phi, Inc., Phi Beta Sigma, Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc., Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., and Sigma Gamma Rho, Inc.

A student does not have to register with the Greek life office to participate. While the process is different for each organization, all groups do require that students selected for membership have a certain number of academic and community service hours and certain grade-point averages. For more information on when each group will be holding its Intake or what the specific criteria to join are, contact the Director of Campus Life at 229-931-2377

37. What and when is Formal Recruitment?

Formal Recruitment is the official process to get into a fraternity or sorority affiliated with the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) or the North American Inter-fraternity Council (NIC).

Sororities affiliated with the NPC are Kappa Delta and Zeta Tau Alpha.  You must be registered with the Division of Student Affairs to participate in recruitment. Applications are given out during orientation and the first week of school. If you do not receive one, call the Director of Campus Life at (229) 931-2377.

38. What kinds of student activities are available for students?

Students can become involved in myriad activities while attending GSW. The Division of Student Affairs oversees all student activities registered on campus. The Undergraduate Catalog and online Weathervane contain lists of all student activities. For more information, contact the Director of Campus Life at 229-931-2377.  A listing of all campus events can be found at

39. Where can we get information about social sorority and fraternity organizations?

There are 16 inter/national fraternities and 13 inter/national sororities on the Ole Miss campus. The National Pan-Hellenic Council governs fraternities and sororities that historically and traditionally comprise African-American students. The Interfraternity Council governs the other fraternities, and the National Panhellenic Conference governs the other sororities. For more information about Greek life, go to or call 229-931-2377

40. Does my student have to register his vehicle?

Yes. If your student intends to park his or her vehicle on the university campus, it must be registered. Parking decals are available at the Campus Safety Office located in Sanford Hall.

41. Is there shuttle service to and from the Albany or Columbus Airports?

Yes, there is a fee associated with the shuttle service.  For more information please contact the Director of Campus Life for more information.

Parent Questions for after school has started….

42. What if my child is sick?

If your son or daughter is feeling ill, GA Southwestern has the remedy. Please visit the Health Center website for information on hours and services. If you have any questions, call the Health Center at (229) 931-2235. You may also call Campus Safety at (229) 928-2245 after hours and on weekends (24-hour service).

43. What if my child needs to see a counselor during the school year?

Counseling Services, located in the Student Success Center, offers group and individual counseling to students. Please visit the Counseling Services website for details.

44. What is the break schedule?

The Academic Calendar can be found on the front page of the GSW website at academic calendar.

45. What can I do for my student from home?

Birthdays: The Campus Bookstore at GSW offers birthday packages for students. These packages contain an assortment of options to choose from, including balloons, mugs and gift certificates. For more information on these packages, contact the Campus Bookstore at (229) 931-2366.

Exam Packs: The Residence Hall Association sponsors exam packs for students. These are offered twice times a year: welcome packs, fall exam packs and spring exam packs. For more information on these packages, call Residence Life at (229) 931-2375.

46. Do I have access to my child's educational records?

GSW complies with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. This act protects the privacy of educational records, establishes the right of students to inspect and review their educational records, and provides guidelines for the correction of inaccurate or misleading data through informal and formal hearings. Students also have the right to file complaints with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Office concerning alleged failures by the institution to comply with the act.

Please contact the Registrar’s Office with questions concerning the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

47. Does my student need to purchase a computer?

It is not required that your student purchase his/her own computer, there are numerous computer labs on campus free of charge to the student with their GSW ID Card. However, most students prefer to have their own computer. 

48. When is move-in day for Fall semester?

Information will be mailed to you over the summer from the Admissions Office.

49. How do I stay involved with my child's college career and not come across as a helicopter parent?

We realize it's difficult letting go, especially if this is your first son or daughter to attend college.  The important thing is to discuss college openly and honestly and understand that they are going to make mistakes.  GSW is really good at getting your son or daughter acclimated and prepared for college success.  You can easily stay involved by joining the Parent Association and receive e-mail updates, ask questions and voice your concerns to the Assistant Dean of Students.  E-Mail: to sign up today!

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