What is Financial Need?

Financial Need is more appropriately referred to as financial aid eligibility. It is the difference between the contribution that you and/or your family are expected to make toward your college education – called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) – and the amount per academic year that we estimate it will cost you to attend VCU – called Cost of Attendance (COA). Students with an EFC less than their COA have need-based financial aid eligibility. If the EFC exceeds the COA, the student is eligible for financial aid that is not based on need.

If I get a private scholarship, what impact does this have on my eligibility for other financial aid?

If you receive a private scholarship, this may impact the rest of your financial aid award since the combination of all financial aid and scholarships cannot exceed your need or your COA. If we must reduce any of your aid, we will first reduce work-study and loans that are offered to you, then other aid. We will mail you a revised award letter to notify you of the changes. If you know that you will be receiving a private scholarship, please contact our office as soon as possible to prevent receiving an overaward, and having to repay aid you have already received.

Does my GPA affect my eligibility for federal or state financial aid?

While federal and state financial aid is need-based, students must maintain certain Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements to retain financial aid eligibility. Specific requirements have been established and are detailed in the section on Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Does the size of a family or the number of students in college at the same time affect the amount of financial aid eligibility?

When there is more than one child in college (undergraduate) at the same time, your family contribution is generally prorated among the college students. You cannot include parents in the number of students in college.

Can I receive financial aid for study during the summer semester?

We advise students to plan early if they plan to attend for both the academic year and the summer semester. Your award must be budgeted over the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Students must file a Summer Aid Application (available in March).