Manage your aid
Stay up to date with your financial aid throughout the process.
New students admitted for the fall term are offered aid beginning in late March. Returning students are offered aid in mid-June, after the office has checked satisfactory academic progress. Email notifications are sent once aid offers are posted on eServices.
Financial aid amounts may differ from year to year and can be affected by special circumstances. To continue receiving aid, students must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid by March 1 of each year.
Financial aid disbursement
All federal and state financial aid except for federal work-study is applied directly to student accounts at the beginning of each term, along with most VCU scholarships.
After current charges have been paid, any excess financial aid will be mailed as a check, unless a student sets up direct deposit to a bank account.
Unapplied financial aid
There are several reasons financial aid for the current term does not pass to student accounts, including:
- A student has not registered for enough credit hours. Financial aid awards are based on full-time enrollment for the full year (12 credit hours per semester for undergraduates, nine credit hours per semester for graduates).
- Insufficient credit hours were completed or satisfactory academic progress was not maintained for the previous semester.
- Some or all of the paperwork required for the aid to be disbursed is incomplete, or the Office of Financial Aid has not received necessary paperwork or confirmations from other sources.
Students should contact their financial aid counselor for details about their aid.
Unusual enrollment history
Students who received a Pell Grant or direct loan at multiple institutions in the four most recent academic years will have their FAFSA flagged for unusual enrollment history. The financial aid office will be required to review enrollment history to determine whether the student is enrolling only long enough to receive cash refunds of federal student aid.
Students may be asked to provide valid documentation explaining the reason behind their unusual enrollment history. If credit hours were not earned at each institution attended during these award years, students may be ineligible for federal financial aid.
Title IV refund
Students who receive a federal Title IV grant or loan assistance and withdraw from VCU before completing 60 percent of the semester must have their eligibility recalculated based on the Federal Return of Title IV Funds formula.
This formula recalculates a student’s eligibility based on the number of days enrolled/attended prior to withdrawal. Any unearned aid must be returned to the appropriate Title IV programs, and the student must pay all or a portion of the funds that were disbursed to their account. They also may be responsible for all or a portion of the charges that were previously paid by financial aid.
If a student does not officially withdraw from all classes but fails to earn a passing grade in at least one course, federal regulations require that we assume the student has “unofficially withdrawn,” unless it can be documented that the student completed the enrollment period. Unofficial withdrawals require a Title IV refund calculation at the midpoint of the enrollment period.
Repayment of federal Direct and PLUS loans begins six months after graduation or when a student drops below half-time enrollment. The length of repayment and monthly payment amounts depends on the outstanding loan balance, the interest rate and repayment policies.
Perkins loans and alternative loans through private lenders have separate repayment policies. Visit the Loans page for more details.