Student Financial Aid and Scholarships Overview

Student Financial Aid and Scholarships Overview

GIA is pleased to offer a range of financial aid packages to help you financially through your studies. Each program has specific eligibility requirements and not all students are eligible. See below for more information on these funding options.


Federal bursaries are available for eligible students taking the following six-month on-campus programs: Graduate Gemologist (GG), Graduate Jeweler (GJ), and Jewelry Design and Technology (JDT). Federal grants include the US government’s Pell Grant, SEOG Grants, and Direct Student Loans. Full-time enrolled students applying for federal financial aid must be US citizens or have US permanent resident status. Federal financial aid is not available to students in remote instruction or practicum classes. 


To be eligible for federal financial aid, students must meet one of the following criteria:

  • US citizen or possess US citizenship;
  • US permanent residents or other eligible non-citizens; or
  • Citizens of the Free Commonwealth: Citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, and the Marshall Islands. These students receive only partial FSA aid.

If you do not meet the citizenship requirements above, you are not eligible to apply for federal financial aid.


To ensure your materials are processed promptly, it is recommended that you submit all required documents to the GIA Financial Aid Office at least two months before your expected start date. See more details on how to apply for the FSA.

We recommend that you complete steps 1 and 2 to apply for financial aid at least two months before your program begins:

Step 1: Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 

Step 2: Download and complete the GIA Financial Assistance Program Selection Form.

Step 3: Complete additional forms if requested by the GIA Financial Aid Team.


  • Federal Pell Grant – This federal grant is available to eligible students who have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree. Grants are awarded based on need and congressional appropriations.
  • Federal SEOG Grant – This federal grant is available to eligible students who have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree. Grants are awarded based on need and available funds.


Due to limited grant funds, most students in need of financial aid also financially help them complete their GIA education by applying for student loans. Some loan programs can help students pay for GIA on-campus programs. These loans are provided by the US Department of Education. Loan funding is based on financial need, except Direct Unsubsidized Loans or Undergraduate Direct Parent Loans (PLUS). Federal Direct Loans are available to most students regardless of income. If you or your parents have borrowed more than tuition, you will receive the excess of those funds in a paper check three weeks after GIA receives the money. The Student Payments Office will return the excess funds to you or your parents.

Federal student loans offer a range of repayment options, including, but not limited to, income-based repayment and income-proportioned repayment plans. It is important to understand your commitment and responsibility to repay your loan with your stated repayment schedule. Before applying or accepting a loan, you will need to evaluate your current financial aid planning and ability to repay the loan after you complete your studies in the future. While a loan can be a great help in paying for your education, if you are late or late in your payments, it can cause serious problems and consequences. GIA services, including future enrollment, will be denied due to delinquent repayments. Additionally, your loan account is submitted to a collection agency and your information is reported to a credit agency, which can affect your ability to obtain credit in the future. 

Federal Direct Subsidized Loan – This federally subsidized student loan is available to eligible students. The maximum amount for this type of loan is $3,033 (per six-month program), depending on eligibility, education program, grade level, and previous loan debt for the program.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan – This federal unsubsidized student loan is available to eligible students. The maximum amount for this type of loan is $8,233 (per six-month program), depending on eligibility, education program, grade level, and previous loan debt in the program.

Federal Undergraduate Direct Parent Loans (PLUS) – Direct PLUS loans are available to parents of dependent undergraduate students to help them pay for their education up to the difference between the cost of admission and all other financial aid. Interest is charged at all stages. Consult with the GIA Office of Student Financial Aid to learn how to complete applications for Direct PLUS Loans and Master Promissory Notes. Approval is subject to the parent’s credit rating.


The GIA Office of Student Financial Aid develops a student budget that is used to determine your financial need. Depending on your living arrangements, these budgets include a moderate level of living costs (rent, food, utilities, transport, and personal expenses), as well as tuition, fees, and the cost of books and materials for the course you are enrolled in. We calculate your Living Assistance budget based on several sources: Local Housing Conditions Rent Surveys, Student Expenses Surveys, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index. The student budget applicable to your situation will be reflected in the final financial award aid award letter.

The process of determining your eligibility for financial aid (often called a needs analysis) has been legislated by the US Congress based on the information you and/or your parents provide in the FAFSA.

To determine financial aid eligibility, the federal government requires that each student’s financial need be assessed using a needs analysis process called Federal Methodology. This process uses the income and asset information you and/or your parents provide to determine how much you and/or your parents can pay for your education.

There is a basic rule in financial aid that for dependent students, their parents (to the extent they can afford it) are primarily responsible for paying for their education. If it is determined that you are an independent student, only your financial situation (and that of your spouse if married) will be analyzed, not your parents’ financial situation. If you are a dependent student, we calculate the expected family out-of-pocket amount based on the income and asset information you and your parents provide on the FAFSA. This expected family out-of-pocket amount will be deducted from the student budget to determine your financial need.

If you are classified as an independent student, we use the income and asset information you provide on the FAFSA to determine the family out-of-pocket amount. The determined amount will be deducted from the student budget to determine your financial need.


Students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) to receive student financial aid. Generally, Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) will be reviewed at the end of each payment period. A student’s eligibility for continued financial aid in subsequent payment periods will depend on his/her academic performance at the end of the previous payment period. Federal regulations require all institutions participating in Title IV federal student aid programs to developing academic standards that ensure satisfactory student progress. See page 62 of the GIA Education Catalog for GIA’s SAP policy.

Financial Assistance Warning Status: FSA and VA beneficiaries who do not meet the above criteria will be placed on Financial Assistance Warning status for the next payment period. Students on financial aid warning status are still eligible for federal student aid and/or veterans benefits. However, if the student does not return to “satisfactory” academic performance (as stated in SAP policy) by the end of the financial aid warning status payment period, then thereafter will be ineligible for federal student aid and/or veterans benefits.

Scholarship recipients disqualified for not meeting SAP criteria are responsible for all unpaid tuition fees after disqualification.


Students eligible for GI Bill educational benefits may use this funding for all on-campus courses, but not for individual distance learning courses or practicum classes. The Post-9.11 GI Bill provides financial support for education and housing expenses for individuals who have served a combined total of at least 90 days after September 10, 2011, or who have been discharged due to disability after 30 days of service. You must have an honorary discharge certificate to be eligible for POST 9/11 GI benefits. Please check your eligibility status and the amount you can claim before enrolling. If you are the spouse or child of an active-duty military member, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the US Department of Defense for education, training, and/or obtaining occupational licenses and certifications required for a flexible job. If you are the spouse or child of an active-duty military member, you may be eligible to transfer their Post-9.11 GI Bill benefits to yourself. 


Vocational rehabilitation assistance programs are administered by the Veterans Administration (VA), and individual state agencies or private agencies allow students to enroll in on-campus or distance-learning courses at GIA.


Private student loans offer variable interest rates that increase or decrease over time, depending on market conditions. Before accepting a private student loan, students should determine the interest rate, fees, and repayment period for any private student loan under consideration. You cannot borrow more than the difference between your educational expenses and any financial aid you receive.


We will email an evaluation grant letter to students who apply for financial aid and submit the required forms and documents. The letter will state the approximate amount of financial aid for which you are eligible for your designated campus education program. It also provides information necessary to help you determine whether the aid provided is sufficient to allow you to study at GIA.


All students receiving federal student aid must attend acquisition and exit counseling. A few days before you begin, you will meet with a Financial Aid Office staff member for a Financial Aid Access Consultation, at which point your formal access to aid will be reviewed. The official award letter lists the types of aid available to you, the student budget and family out-of-pocket amounts used to determine your eligibility, and other relevant information. You must attend financial aid access counseling and must accept or decline any assistance offered at the counseling meeting and sign a notice of award before we disburse any financial assistance.

Getting advice is designed to let you understand your responsibilities, rights, and obligations. You cannot start the course if you do not attend Access Counseling. All students receiving loans are required to participate in exit counseling with the Office of Student Financial Aid staff. Exit counseling is designed to remind you of your loan obligations, repayment schedule, and deferral rights across various loan programs. Failure to attend exit counseling will result in your diploma being withheld.


All financial aid funds are paid electronically directly to your GIA tuition account. Federal regulations require that financial aid be paid at least twice during a student’s enrollment period. Therefore, all aid will be split in half and paid in two installments during your program. Aid funds and the first half of Direct Loan and Parent PLUS Loan funds will be disbursed 30 days after you are enrolled in the program. The other half of the funds will be released during the middle part of your course, usually in the fourth month. If you are enrolled in more than one six-month program, you also receive more than one financial aid. Financial assistance will be disbursed in increments, as described above, for each acquisition period.

Title IV program funding requirements are independent of any refund policies GIA may employ when students withdraw their funds. Students may still owe GIA fees to cover unpaid tuition. For additional details, see Federal Student Aid Refund Policy/Return to Title IV Policy.

If your aid funds are used for living expenses rather than tuition, we will pay you a prorated amount of aid to which you are entitled, based on the percentage of courses you have completed. If you receive more aid than the living cost amount allocated when you completed the program, you will be required to refund the excess. You will not be able to access GIA Academic Services until your account is restored to current availability.


Overpayments occur when your resources or other outside awards (such as scholarships or VA benefits) exceed your financial need. You must notify the Office of Student Financial Aid if you acquire any other resources that were not originally reported on the Financial Aid Application. If your financial aid need is reduced, it may result in a financial aid overpayment. If this happens, we will ask you to refund the financial assistance you are no longer entitled to but received. In some cases, these payments may be debited from your tuition account. In either case, you must complete this financial obligation before you can receive your diploma. To avoid this, please report any changes in financial status immediately to the Office of Student Financial Aid.


During enrollment, while receiving federal aid, a conviction for possession or sale of an illegal drug or drug will result in ineligibility for Title IV, HEA grants, loans, or work-study assistance. If a conviction is withdrawn, set aside, or quashed, it will not be recorded. Minor convictions (except when tried as adults) are also not recorded.


The Net Price Calculator is a tool to help you estimate the cost of enrolling in a course of your choice.


Students receiving on-campus and distance instruction (e-learning and practicum) can apply for scholarships offered by GIA. Applicants will be considered for all applicable scholarships for the course indicated on their application. Applications must be submitted online during the following application periods:

Scholarships applied between August 1st and September 30th can be used to pay new enrollment fees for the following year.

Other scholarships are available to cover course fees for the second half of the year. Scholarships applied between March 1st and April 30th can be used to cover new enrollment fees. 

By Master James

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