Unless you feel like giving money away, it’s important to look closely at programs that can help you pay for college. School is already expensive enough, and there’s no benefit to putting yourself in a big hole of debt before you even start college. Fortunately, most states have programs available specifically for students in that state. One such program is the Student Access Loan, or SAL loan, for students in the state of Georgia.
In particular, the SAL program - along with most financial assistance programs - is a need-based program that you must apply for and qualify for. What makes the SAL loan so unique is its low, fixed interest rate of just 1%. In any form of a loan or debt vehicle, the interest over time can have you paying for more than what you originally received. A fixed, low interest rate is a powerful asset to have if you can get it to make sure you don’t wind up paying far more than you thought you would.
Understanding the eligibility requirements for a SAL Loan
The first requirement of the SAL loan program is that you must be a Georgia resident. Aside from Georgia residency, you also must:
- Attend an eligible Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) program, University System of Georgia (USG) school, or private post-secondary institution in Georgia.
- Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
- Maintain satisfactory academic progress according to school standards.
- Be 18 years of age or older.
Whether you attend a TCSG, a USG, or a private post-secondary institution can impact the amount of aid you will be eligible for. For a TCSG, the maximum term loan is $1,500, with the maximum for a school year being $3,000. Over the life of your college education at a TCSG, the maximum you could borrow is $12,000.
You may borrow more at an eligible USG or private secondary institution in Georgia. For these schools, the maximum loans are $4,000 for a term, $8,000 for a year, and $36,000 throughout a college lifetime.
Prepare for the SAL Loan application process accordingly
Borrowers must recognize that a SAL loan is considered a private education loan, and you cannot consolidate this loan with federal loans at any point. The program is an annual process that includes the application, selection, certification, approval, and disbursement of loans.
Applicants must apply every year, and approval one year does not promise approval in future years. Applicants must always bear in mind the amount of money they need. Disbursements for this loan are sent directly to the institution you indicate should be receiving the funds, and are never transferable.
Before applying for any loan, the most important thing to do is consider your educational options. Ensure you know what you’re going to school for and what you intend to get out of it. Students often go to school without a plan and acquire too much debt for a degree they don’t have an interest in. Have a plan and make your education work for you.
Why do you think loans like a SAL loan are not more common in other areas or institutions?