Federal government shutdown
During the partial government shutdown, students may experience processing delays and issues with the 2018-19 and 2019-20 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that require certain database matches. Currently, all IRS offices are closed. In addition, the “Get Tax Transcript” website is unavailable through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
At this time, it is not known when the IRS site will be back online; therefore, VCU will be accepting signed IRS 1040 Tax forms -- copies or originals -- in lieu of the Tax Transcript in order to assist students in completing the verification process in a timely manner. Once the partial government shutdown is over, the requirement for the IRS Tax Transcript will resume, and we will no longer be accepting the signed copies of or original 1040 Tax forms.
The shutdown will not affect students with a complete financial aid file. The U.S. Department of Education is fully funded for the 2019 fiscal year.
The Office of Financial Aid will continue to monitor the situation and will pass on any new information as necessary. Please contact our office if you have any questions.
Apply for aid
The financial aid application process for the 2019-20 academic year began Oct. 1, 2018. Most students are eligible for financial aid at Virginia Commonwealth University, regardless of financial circumstances.
Since financial aid is a limited resource and distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis, we encourage students to complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid as soon as possible.
Visit Financial Aid TV to learn more about applying, eligibility and types of aid available.
Gather these items before filling out the FAFSA:
- Federal tax return (include spouse if married)
- Parents’ federal tax return (if a dependent)
- Parents’ W-2s (if a dependent)
- An FSA ID for electronic signature
- Records of any other income received (welfare, Social Security, child support, veteran’s benefits, etc.)
- Current balances of checking and savings accounts and other investments
- Business/farm records, if applicable
- Alien Registration Card if not a U.S. citizen
Students can complete the FAFSA using estimated income. We may request a copy of an IRS tax return transcript and W-2s at a later date.
How to apply
- If new to VCU, apply for admission to a degree or certificate program. An admission decision is not needed before applying for financial aid.
- Complete the FAFSA every year. The online application prompts applicants to enter all required fields and questions any discrepancies. Renewal applicants can access their FAFSA using their FSA ID.
- Review the Student Aid Report (SAR). The Student Aid Report (SAR) is the student’s submitted copy of the FAFSA for their records. When students receive their SAR they should review the information for any inaccuracies. If a student finds inaccuracies on their SAR they should correct the information by submitting a correction via the FAFSA website. If the student is having difficulties making the correction online, they should contact VCU’s Office of Financial Aid for assistance. If all of the information is accurate and VCU is listed as a school to receive the FAFSA results, students should keep the SAR for their records. Students who receive a verification notice on the SAR should log in to VCU eServices for further information.
- Respond promptly to financial aid inquiries. The VCU Office of Financial Aid has contracted with Financial Aid Services to help with FAFSA verification. FAS will contact students directly if additional information is needed to complete the required verification. Students selected for verification should watch for emails from verification@SSCwp.org and respond as quickly as possible to requests. Federal funds cannot be disbursed until this process has been completed. Our office may also request documents via VCU email and eServices.
- Receive a Financial Aid Award Notification from VCU. First-time freshmen who filed their FAFSA by the priority filing date and responded promptly to requests for information should receive their FAAN in April. Other students filing by the priority filing date should receive their FAAN in early summer. Applications submitted after these dates will be processed in the order received.
- Submit required paperwork to avoid financial aid disbursement delays. First-time federal direct loan borrowers are required to complete entrance counseling and sign an electronic Master Promissory Note (MPN). Loans will not be disbursed until these two steps are completed. Students should submit a 2018-19 Financial Aid Award Change Form if they wish to reduce or decline aid offered or if they need to report changes to the eligibility factors listed in the FAAN. Students MUST accept the amount of loans that they wish to borrow in eservices.
- Report changes in enrollment status. Enrollment changes such as dropping a class or withdrawal can result in reduced financial aid for students who were awarded based on full-time enrollment (12 credits undergraduate, nine credits graduate) and drop their hours to part time.
- Sign up for direct deposit. Financial aid is credited to the student’s VCU account. Once all university charges have been deducted, any excess financial aid will be paid through a refund. Direct Deposit bank authorization makes these funds available more quickly.
- Register for classes. New undergraduates register for classes during orientation. Continuing students may register for classes online via eServices.
- If eligible for veterans benefits, submit a Request for Certification to the Office of Military Student Services. For more information, contact Military Student Services at (804) 828-6563.
- Receive a VCU bill in early August. Students will receive a bill if their financial aid does not cover their university charges. Students receiving bills should subtract aid that appears on the bill and pay the difference, or sign up for the Installment Payment Plan.