Georgia Southwestern wipes student debt, distributes over $3 million to enrolled students in response to COVID-19

Published 10:16 pm Thursday, August 5, 2021

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By Chelsea Collins

Director of Marketing and Communications,

Department of University Relations



AMERICUS – Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) utilized Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF III) to discharge over $110,000 in students’ overdue, unpaid balances and will distribute more than $3 million to enrolled students over the coming year.

HEERF III was designed to remedy financial hardships created or made worse by the pandemic. GSW was able to clear the overdue, unpaid account balances of 82 students (those enrolled for the Spring 2020 through Spring 2021 semesters) totaling $110,667.15. Until their balances were paid, these students were unable to obtain official transcripts or complete progress toward their degrees.

An additional $3 million will be allocated to all current GSW students, including those exclusively enrolled in distance education. Based upon a student’s eligibility status as of September 10 for Fall term, GSW will distribute amounts ranging anywhere from $150 – $1,350 per academic semester for Fall 2021 and Spring 2022. Eligibility is based on three factors: full-time or part-time enrollment, Pell eligibility for the term, and on-campus housing or commuter status.

“We are happy to be able to provide this much-needed support for our students,” stated GSW President Neal Weaver, Ph.D. “This debt relief effort will help alleviate some of the financial hardships our students are facing as a result of the pandemic, and it will also allow them to reset after a challenging year and focus on their college education.”

For the upcoming round of distributions, students may choose to have funds credited to their existing balance or to receive their funds through GSW’s standard refund process.

Authorized by the American Rescue Plan, HEERF III was signed into federal law in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to aid higher education institutions’ recovery efforts.

Previous HEERF funds have enabled Georgia Southwestern to provide emergency financial aid grants to students and reimbursements for housing and meals in Spring 2020.

Learn more about these emergency financial grants and student eligibility status at