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THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) -
College students in Georgia will soon have to prove they are legal citizens before receiving any financial aid.
Beginning June 8th, all students looking for state or federal aid will be required to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
South Georgia financial aid officials say the impacts can only be positive.
Business Management student Carrie Carter says it would have been hard for her to attend Southwest Georgia Tech without financial aid.
"Its given me benefits I didn't realize I was actually able to get. Helps go towards tuition and towards books, money that I didn't have to take out of my own pocket."
Carter is one of thousands of students across the state who already fill out the FAFSA each year.
But starting in about three months, it won't be an option, but a requirement.
"This new change is going to require all students in the state of Georgia who were receiving state aid generally the Hope Grant or Hope Scholarship Program, to now apply for that financial aid using the federal application, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid," said Southwest Georgia Tech Financial Aid Director Amy Scoggins.
Thomas University Financial Aid Director Michael Rayburn says the change will not impact 75 percent of their students who already complete the Federal application.
But the other 25 could end up seeing more money than they thought.
"We do have some of our students who simply complete the state application, but it could be to their benefit to do the federal. They may be eligible to some federal funds they were not aware of."
One main purpose behind the change is to verify that students applying for financial aid are legal citizens.
"When students submit the application it goes through multiple data bases through the Federal Government to check for citizenship, social security number verification, Department of Justice, Homeland Security, those types of things. The Georgia Student Finance Application did not go through those data checks," said Scoggins.
And Carter says while the FAFSA does take a little longer to fill out, she says it helps distribute those funds to those who truly need it.
"It asks for your tax information, all of your personal information, how many dependents you may have in the household. That helps them find out if your eligible for the extra money."
Southwest Georgia Tech Financial Aid Director Amy Scoggins says the change will have the biggest impact on their current dual enrolled high school students.
The Georgia Student Finance Commission says the state could have either collected sworn affidavits and citizenship documents or required students to fill out the federal application.