Graduate Catalog 2020-2021

Financial Aid For Graduate Students

The Piedmont College financial aid office will assist students who seek financial resources for attendance at this institution. It is strongly recommended Graduate students should apply for financial aid at least 60 days prior to the term seeking aid. Students receiving financial aid must maintain satisfactory academic progress as outlined in the Student Handbook in order to continue to receive financial assistance.

Application Procedures

The Piedmont College Office of Financial Aid is committed to assisting graduate students with applying for and receiving student financial aid. Graduate students are encouraged to contact the Office of Financial Aid by phone or through email to learn how to successfully make application for student financial aid. Information regarding application procedures is also available on the Piedmont College website ( Typically, graduate students will choose to borrow a federal direct loan or arrange payment through the Piedmont College Student Accounts. In either case, it is important that graduate students contact the Office of Financial Aid to learn which financial aid opportunities are available

Federal Assistance

The federal student assistance programs are perhaps the most widely known of all student aid sources. In order to receive federal student aid, a student’s financial need must be established by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form may be completed online at Contact the Piedmont College financial aid office at (706) 776-0114 with questions. For technical help applying online, call the Federal Aid Help Line at 1-800-4-FED-AID. The Piedmont College federal school code is 001588.

Piedmont College participates in the Federal Direct Student Loan program. Graduate students are considered independent for the purposes of federal financial aid. Loans are made directly from the U.S. Department of Education, and funds are credited to the student’s account. Interest rates are variable. Payments begin after the student drops below half time or graduates. For more information, visit

Title IV Federal Aid Policy

Federal financial aid funds are given with the expectation that students will complete the entire period of enrollment. Students “earn” a percentage of the funds with each day of class attendance. When a student receiving federal financial aid funds (Title IV Funds) leaves school before the end of the semester or period of enrollment, federal law may require Piedmont College to return funds. Piedmont College is required to calculate the percentage and amount of “unearned” financial aid funds (including loans) that must be returned to the federal government. Once a student has completed more than 60% of the enrollment period, a student is considered to have earned all funding awarded. This calculation may require the student to repay funds that have already been disbursed. Students are encouraged to meet with the Financial Aid Office and Student Accounts prior to making the decision to withdraw from school.

For more information regarding withdrawals, please see the Academic Programs section of the catalog. For questions regarding the Title IV Federal Aid Policy, please contact the Financial Aid Office.

Satisfactory Academic Progress For Graduate Students

The U. S. Department of Education mandates that institutions of higher education establish minimum standards of “Satisfactory Academic Progress” for students receiving federal financial aid. Piedmont College applies these standards to all applicants for federal financial aid such as TEACH Grant and Federal Direct Loans.


Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is determined by careful evaluation of qualitative and quantitative criteria. Determination of SAP status will be made at the end of each semester.

A. QUALITATIVE CRITERIA (GPA) - To be eligible for federal financial aid, a graduate student must have an institutional grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale.

B. QUANTITATIVE CRITERIA (Pace) – Federal financial aid recipients must show measurable progress toward earning a degree or completing teacher certification by successfully completing at least sixty-seven percent (67%) of all courses required by the program of study. This standard will be applied to current and former students. Semester credit hours completed will be those courses in which a student has received a grade of A, B, C, D or P. Semester credit hours attempted will include all courses for which a student has received a grade of A, B, C, D, F, P, I, IP, NP, W, WF, or NR. Credit hours and grades for repeated courses will be used in this determination. All transfer credit hours will be evaluated towards attempted and completed rate (pace).

For example, a student who has attempted 16 credits must successfully complete at least 12 credits to meet the 67% required minimum completion rate.

C. MAXIMUM LENGTH OF STUDY AT PIEDMONT COLLEGE - A student accepted into a graduate degree program may attempt no more than 150% of the required credit hours in required courses for the degree or teacher certification. All transfer and repeated course credit hours will be included in the total number of attempted credit hours. Once a student exceeds the maximum length of study, they will no longer be considered making satisfactory academic progress and will not be eligible for federal financial aid.

For example, a student pursuing a master’s degree, which requires 36 credit hours to complete, will reach the maximum timeframe after attempting 54 credit hours.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Statuses

  • FINANCIAL AID GOOD STANDING – Student has a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, student is completing sixty-seven percent (67%) of all attempted credit hours, and student is able to graduate within 150% maximum timeframe limit.
  • FINANCIAL AID WARNING – Student’s cumulative GPA dropped below a 3.0, and/or student did not complete sixty-seven percent (67%) of all attempted credit hours, and student is able to graduate within 150% maximum timeframe limit. A student is able to receive federal financial aid while on financial aid warning status, but must meet SAP standards during that term of enrollment to remain eligible for subsequent federal financial aid.
  • FINANCIAL AID SUSPENSION – Student did not meet SAP standards while in Financial Aid Warning or Financial Aid Probation status, or it is determined that the student will not be able to graduate within 150% maximum timeframe limit, or a student with a Financial Aid Academic Plan status fails to follow the plan. Student is not eligible to receive federal financial aid while on Financial Aid Suspension. Classes taken after losing eligibility will be at the student’s expense and will need to use funds other than federal financial aid. The college is responsible for calculating if a student would be meeting SAP after a future term. If it is not mathematically possible for a student to meet SAP standards after an upcoming semester, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension and is not eligible to receive federal aid.
  • FINANCIAL AID PROBATION – This status is only granted upon the approval of a Financial Aid SAP Appeal. Student may receive federal aid for one semester but must meet SAP standards by the end of that term to remain eligible for subsequent federal aid.
  • FINANCIAL AID PROBATION WITH ACADEMIC SUCCESS PLAN - Student fails to meet SAP standards for the term in which the student is on Financial Aid Probation. This status is only granted upon the approval of a Financial Aid SAP Appeal with the condition the student follows stipulations set by the Financial Aid Office and the Academic Success Plan. The student is eligible to receive federal financial aid as long as the student continues to follow the academic plan.
  • ACADEMIC EXCLUSION - If a student is placed on academic exclusion, eligibility for federal financial aid will be terminated. When students are removed from academic exclusion, they must contact the Financial Aid Office to request a review of their SAP.

Reestablishing Eligibility of Federal Financial Aid

Financial aid eligibility may be reinstated when the student raises their cumulative GPA to a 3.0 and has achieved a cumulative completion rate of sixty-seven percent (67%) of all credit hours attempted. Reinstatement of financial aid eligibility may also occur upon approval of a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal. A student who exceeds the maximum length of study at Piedmont College (item C) may appeal if student changed program of study. However, an Academic Success Plan is needed.

If there are extenuating circumstances that prevented a student from making SAP resulting in a status of Financial Aid Suspension, it is possible to appeal to the Office of Financial Aid for a review of those circumstances as they relate to the student’s academic standing. An appeal is required for consideration of a student being placed on a probation period of one semester.

Appeals Process

A student may request consideration for reinstatement of financial aid eligibility through a formal appeal process by completing the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal Form with a support staff member in the Piedmont College Student Success Center and submitting appropriate documentation.

Student Success Center:

Athens Campus – Commons 103E 706-548-8505 ext. 8055

Demorest Campus – Lane Hall 706-778-8500 ext. 2826

An appeal must be received within two weeks after the start of the term for which aid is being requested. Aid will not be awarded retroactively for a prior term in which financial aid eligibility was suspended or during which satisfactory progress was not made. Completed forms may be delivered in person at the Financial Aid Office or by email through a Piedmont College email account.

Appeals may result in any one of the following actions:

  • Reinstatement of federal financial aid on probation. Reinstatement of federal financial aid on an academic plan where the student will be held to specific requirements
  • Denial of reinstatement of federal financial aid

The Financial Aid SAP Appeal Form MUST include these two components:

  1. The extenuating circumstances that resulted in the student’s failure to make SAP. Acceptable circumstances on which a student could base an appeal are those that could not have been foreseen at the beginning of the semester or enrollment period, and that were completely beyond the student’s control. They could include serious injury, illness (physical or mental) of the student or an immediate family member, death of an immediate family member, financial difficulties, relationship problems, family responsibilities, or other extenuating circumstances. Appeals should include a detailed description of the applicable circumstances, along with related documentation (i.e., statement from physician or other healthcare provider, report from law enforcement or social services agency, copy of death certificate, etc.) that supports those circumstances.
  2. The positive changes that have occurred that will ensure the student can achieve SAP by the next evaluation. The student must include information regarding extenuating circumstances that will no longer exist or be an issue, as well as any additional measures that will be taken to ensure they will make SAP during the probationary semester or enrollment period, if granted.

The Director of Financial Aid, or another designated senior member of the Financial Aid Office, will review each written appeal, along with relevant academic history. The student will be notified via their Piedmont College email account of the appeal decision. A student whose appeal is approved will be placed on Financial Aid Probation for one semester. While on Financial Aid Probation, a student may receive federal financial aid for one probationary semester or enrollment period, after which another SAP review will be conducted.

A student who fails to meet the academic requirements outlined in the Financial Aid Probation email notification, which may include the Academic Success Plan, will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension. A student may appeal a second time. However, the circumstances must be unforeseen at the beginning of the term.

Maximum Timeframe Extension Appeal Process

Students have the right to request an extension of their financial aid eligibility once per degree objective should they exceed or expect to exceed the maximum credits allowed for their degree or certificate. Students will need to complete an SAP Appeal Form and include an Academic Success Plan. Submission of an appeal does not guarantee approval.

If an appeal is approved, coursework will be limited to courses required for the completion of the degree. In addition, a student must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and successfully complete all courses listed on their Academic Success Plan. Failure to meet the requirements of the approved timeframe appeal will result in suspension of federal financial aid eligibility.

NOTE: If a student has been academically excluded and wishes to appeal that status, the Registrar's Office should be contacted for instructions. There are two separate appeal processes for academic exclusion and financial aid suspension. The financial aid appeal will be held until the academic exclusion is resolved and the student is readmitted to a degree program. The appeal of financial aid suspension will not correct the academic exclusion. Likewise, being academically reinstated will not automatically remedy the financial aid suspension. Students should contact their academic advisor for assistance.

Federal TEACH Grants (Not for Ed.S. and Ed.D. Students)

Piedmont College participates in the Federal TEACH Grant Program. Interested students are encouraged to research the program and submit an application to the Piedmont College Financial Aid Office. For graduate study, the Federal TEACH Grant Program is available to first post-baccalaureate degree students only. At Piedmont College, students enrolled in the Education Specialist or Doctorate Program are ineligible for this program.

  • The TEACH Grant Program was created by Congress in the College Cost Reduction and Access Act. For more information, students may call the Federal Information Student Center: 1-800-4-FEDAID or view the website
  • In exchange for receiving the TEACH Grant, students must be a highly-qualified, full-time teacher in a high-need subject area for at least four years at a school serving low-income students.
  • For a directory of schools serving low-income students, visit: For a definition of highly qualified teacher, students may visit: