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The University helps many graduate students with limited funds meet their college expenses through a variety of programs. Student Financial Services, under the direction of the Financial Aid Committee, administers only Federal loan and employment programs for graduate students. Student awards, including Federal Family Education Loan Program (Stafford) Loans, Federal Perkins loans, and/or Federal Work-Study funds, are based on a careful assessment of the applicant’s ability to meet educational expenses. Students must apply directly to their academic departments or professional schools for other kinds of financial assistance.
Estimated Costs: The estimated average costs (excluding travel expenses) for a graduate student at the Univeristy of Virginia for the academic year are available at http://www.virginia.edu/financialaid/estimated.php
Financial Need Financial aid funds are limited; therefore, all assistance offered through Student Financial Services is based on an estimate of financial need. Need is determined by comparing the student’s budget with his or her resources from income and savings. If the resources are less than the sum needed to meet academic year expenses, the difference becomes the student’s financial need.
Funds available to applicants from other sources (e.g., veterans benefits, gifts, scholarships, grants, assistantships, graderships, or fellowships from either outside organizations or the student’s academic department) are considered resources in determining financial need. If any such resources become available after an award has been made or received, the student must notify Student Financial Services. Receiving such assistance may necessitate a reduction in the applicant’s University awarded aid so that no applicant receives funds in excess of demonstrated financial need.
Student budgets listed in this section are based on approved allowances for tuition and fees, books, and living expenses for the academic year, with concessions for such factors as child care and medical expenses.
The Aid Package for graduate students is normally a combination of assistance from the graduate school or department (which may include scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship funds) and loan or employment funding administered by Student Financial Services. Department funds are always awarded by the student’s school or department. Funds administered by Student Financial Services are awarded to supplement department assistance or to provide financial support to the extent of student need. Need will be met to the extent of available funds.
Payment and Refund Inquiries For questions or concerns regarding semester bills or expected refunds that have not yet been received, please check your account in SIS or contact us directly at:
Student Financial Services
University of Virginia
P.O. Box 400204
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4204
(phone)434-982-6000 (fax) 434-924-7636
Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday, Wednesday - Friday: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday
Regulations for Title IV Funds Available online at www.virginia.edu/financialaid/withdrawal.php.
Leave of Absence If a student who has received Title IV loans (i.e., Perkins Loans and Federal Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loans) does not return from an approved leave of absence, some or all of the repayment deferral period may be exhausted. For purposes of the Title IV programs, the date of withdrawal is backdated to the first day of the approved leave of absence.
Withdrawal If a student leaves the University prior to completing 60% of a semester, the financial aid office recalculates eligibility for Title IV funds (i.e., Pell Grants, FSEOGs, Perkins Loans, Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, and PLUS Loans). Recalculation is based on the percent of aid earned using the following formula: Percent of aid earned = the number of days completed up to the withdrawal date, divided by the total days in the semester.
Funds are returned to the appropriate federal program based on the percent of unearned aid using the following formula: Aid to be returned = (100% minus the percent earned) multiplied by the amount of aid disbursed toward institutional charges.
When Title IV funds are returned, the borrower may owe a balance to the University. Examples of refund calculations are available at the Student Financial Services office.
U.Va. FAFSA code = 003745
In order to apply for financial assistance through Student Financial Services, graduate students should submit a University Graduate Application for Financial Aid. Students must also complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on-line at www.fafsa.ed.gov by the March 31, priority filing date, indicating the University of Virginia code number (003745). Applicants will be notified of their eligibility for financial assistance in July.
In the case of marriage, where both husband and wife are enrolled in the University, both students must apply separately for financial assistance.
All assistantships, graderships, fellowships, grants, scholarships, or other funds available to graduate students are administered by the various University academic departments or professional schools. Students must apply directly to their departments or schools for financial assistance before applications for federal funds will be considered. It is the applicant’s responsibility to provide the financial aid office with an official department letter indicating the award or denial of funding.
Federal Eligibility Requirements
Enrollment Applicants must be enrolled at least half-time. In addition, they must be in “good standing” and making satisfactory academic progress, as defined by the graduate school in which they are enrolled. Only students registered in formal University graduate degree or certificate programs are eligible to receive financial assistance through Student Financial Services.
Citizenship All citizens and permanent residents of the United States are eligible to apply for financial assistance through Student Financial Services.
Selective Service Students required to register for the draft under the Military Selective Service Act must sign a statement of compliance before they may receive any federal financial assistance.
Drug Conviction The 1998 Higher Education Amendment Act states that students who are convicted of violating any federal or state drug possession or sale laws are not eligible to receive financial aid and may be required to repay any aid received prior to their conviction. In completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, students are specifically instructed to contact the U.S. Department of Education at (800) 433-3243, or http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/fotw0809/help/fotw12b.htm for assistance.
Default Status To receive financial assistance through any federal program, students cannot be in default on previous Federal Perkins, Federal Stafford, Federal Supplemental, or Ford Federal Direct Loans. Furthermore, financial aid recipients cannot owe refunds on Pell or Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants received for undergraduate study at any institution.
Entrance Counseling All first-time borrowers of Direct or Perkins Student Loans must be informed of their borrower obligations before their first loan disbursement will be credited.
Exit Counseling All Federal Direct or Perkins Loan recipients are required to complete exit counseling prior to either leaving the University or registering for less than half-time credits. Ordinarily, borrowers of Direct Federal Loans are provided loan repayment information at the end of the semester in which they plan to graduate. If this office fails to contact the borrower, it is his or her responsibility to contact the lender to obtain loan repayment information.
Non-University Awards If a student receives assistance from a non-University source (scholarship or loan), University-awarded financial aid will usually be reduced. It is the student’s responsibility to notify Student Financial Services of any outside award received.
IRS Forms Graduate applicants for financial assistance through Student Financial Services may be asked to provide a copy of their federal income tax return (1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ) and W2 forms for the previous tax year before they will be considered for financial assistance.
Reapplication Requirement Financial assistance is not automatically renewed each year. The amount of financial aid awarded is based on the availability of funds and the evaluation of financial statements submitted each spring by the applicant. Should unusual circumstances occur that necessitate an immediate review, the facts should be brought to the attention of the aid administrator. Necessary adjustments will be made where justified.
Change in Financial Situation Students are encouraged to notify Student Financial Services of any changes in their financial situation during the year.
Summer Financial Aid Consideration for financial aid for Summer session is automatic, based upon full-time enrollment and submission of a FAFSA for that academic year.
Year-Round Support Graduate students requiring Loan support year-round (including summer session) must enroll as full-time students every loan period to avoid jeopardizing maximum loan eligibility. Full-time enrollment is defined as enrolling in at least nine credits per semester (including summer session) or twelve credits per semester with a minimum of six credits in the summer. In short, federal regulation requires that students complete no less than eighteen credits over two consecutive enrollment periods (e.g., two semesters or one semester and one summer session) before obtaining loans in the Federal Stafford Loan Program at the successive annual maximum, which is currently set at $18,500. There are no exceptions to this rule.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards
Maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress is one of many federally mandated criteria viewed in determining a student’s eligibility for continued receipt of financial aid. In order to remain eligible, a student must meet both a quantitative (credit hours) and qualitative (grade point average) standard. Students must also demonstrate a progression toward completion of their degree program within an established timeframe.
Student Financial Services will conduct a review of Satisfactory Academic Progress at the end of each academic year. Graduate students enrolled beginning in the Fall and/or Spring semester will have their academic progress reviewed during the month of May. Some graduate students; however, will begin a Borrower Based Award Year during the Summer; therefore, Summer term will be viewed as a header or the beginning of their academic year. In this instance, a graduate student’s academic progress will be reviewed at the end of a completed Borrower Based award year (Summer and Fall term).
Non-Financial Aid Recipients Students who have not received financial aid in previous years, but are applying for financial assistance for the first time will also be held to the requirement of maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress. Satisfactory Academic Progress is reviewed for all semesters of a student’s enrollment regardless of whether the student was eligible for financial assistance during a term.
Financial Aid Programs Affected Financial Aid programs which are affected by the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy include (but are not limited to) Federal Pell Grant, Federal SEOG, Federal Work Study, Federal Perkins loan, Federal Direct loan, Federal PLUS loan, Alternative loans, State and University Grant Assistance (need-based, merit, or endowed funds).
Graduate students enrolled in a Standard Academic Year (Fall and Spring term) will be required to complete a minimum of 18 credit hours (9 credit hours per term) with a grade point average of 3.0 at the end of an award year. Students enrolled in a Borrower Based Academic Year (Summer and Fall or Spring and Summer) will be required to complete the minimum credit hours required for full-time enrollment per term (ex. summer-6 credits & fall-9 credits = Borrower Based Academic Year-15credits required) with a grade point average of 3.0 at the end of an award year. Graduate students enrolled at half-time status must complete all coursework attempted.
Length of Enrollment
Students are required to complete their program of study within a reasonable timeframe based on the average length of their program. Students who fail to complete their program of study within 150% of the average program length will be ineligible for federal, state and institutional assistance.
Average Number of Semesters/Credit Hours Enrolled
Maximum Semesters of Enrollment/Credit Hours
At 150% of Completion
Master’s Degree Candidate
6 Semesters / Credit hours requirement established by individual academic program
Up to 9 Semesters / Credit hours requirement established by individual academic program
Doctoral Degree Candidate
14 Semesters / Credit hour requirement established by individual academic program
Up to 21 Semesters / Credit hours requirement established by individual academic program
Summer Session Coursework
Graduate students taking coursework during a Borrower Base Award year that ends or begin with Summer, will count toward the cumulative credit hours and maximum semesters allowed.
Individual Schools’ Academic Progress Standards
In addition to the above Satisfactory Academic Progress standards, each school will have additional conditions (such as area requirements and major requirements) that must be fulfilled to remain “in good standing.” As a result, even though a student may meet the minimum requirements for continued receipt of financial aid, the student may not be permitted to continue enrollment because of failure to remain in good standing in their school.
Financial Aid Probation
Students who, for the first time, have failed to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress will be placed on financial aid probation and allowed an additional year of financial aid eligibility. At the end of the probationary year, the student must meet the minimum credit hour and/or grade point average requirement. Students who fail to meet the minimum requirement at the end of the probationary period will lose their eligibility for future financial aid.
Students who fail to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress may re-establish their eligibility for financial assistance through attendance at Summer session or at their own expense, during the Fall and Spring semester. Neither sitting out a semester nor the student paying for classes will re-establish eligibility. Once the student has earned the required grade point average or completed the required credit hours, they must contact Student Financial Services to request the reinstatement of their financial aid eligibility.
Rights of Financial Aid Appeal
Students who fail to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress will have the right of appeal. A Satisfactory Academic Progress Petition must be submitted to Student Financial Services to request a consideration of unusual or mitigating circumstances (i.e. death of a parent(s) or relative, serious personal illness, emotional stress, etc.). The Satisfactory Academic Progress Petition must be completed by the student and signed by a Dean or Academic Advisor. In all cases, the appeal must be submitted with supporting documentation.
Examples of Supporting Documentation:
- Death of a parent or relative - Copy of Death Certificate or Obituary
- Serious personal illness - Statement from Physician
- Emotional stress - Statement from Academic Advisor, Counselor
or other third party professional
Probationary Students Financial Aid Probationary students are not required to appeal. However, probationary students who fail to make satisfactory progress at the end of a probation period and have lost their eligibility for future financial assistance may submit a Satisfactory Academic Progress Petition to appeal for reconsideration of their eligibility. If the student successfully makes up the deficiency, he or she will automatically be taken off probation.
Financial Aid Appeal Committee The Financial Aid Appeal Committee will review all Satisfactory Academic Progress Petitions and supporting documentation. The outcome of the review will depend upon the nature of the circumstances causing the deficiency, how well it is documented, and how well the student has demonstrated that he or she is making progress toward earning a degree. The Financial Aid Appeal Committee’s decision is final and cannot be appealed.
Financial Aid Programs
Long-term loans are available to graduate students who demonstrate financial need. They are used to supplement department and non-University awards, as well as to provide assistance when employment is neither feasible nor sufficient.
Federal Direct Subsidized Loan The Federal Stafford Subsidized Loan Program enables graduate students to borrow up to $8,500 each year.
For students who demonstrate financial need, the federal government pays the interest while the student is enrolled in college. In some cases, only a portion of the loan may be eligible for the federal interest subsidy. Students who do not demonstrate financial need may still borrow these funds but will be required to pay the interest at a rate not to exceed 6.80 percent. Including previous subsidized Direct or Ford Federal Direct loans, graduate students may borrow up to $65,500 total for all academic years. Ordinarily, repayment begins six months after discontinuing formal education.
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan The Federal Stafford Unsubsidized Loan Program enables graduate students enrolled at least half-time to borrow up to $12,000 each year. Including previous unsubsidized Stafford, Ford Federal Direct, and SLS loans, graduate students may borrow up to $65,500 total for all academic years. The interest rate is variable, but will not exceed 6.80 percent. Repayment ordinarily begins within 60 days after disbursement of the loan, unless the borrower requests capitalization of interest.
Master Promissory Note Students have to sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) at studentloans.gov. Once the MPN has been signed, the student’s University account will be credited the amount noted on the financial aid award letter. Students must contact the financial aid office if they wish to reduce or decline their loan(s).
For each new loan borrowed, students receive disclosure statements from the Lender. Because these statements provide information about the types and amounts of loans borrowed, as well as the loan period and anticipated disbursements, students should be sure to keep them for their personal records.
Disbursement Procedure Federal Direct Loans are payable in two disbursements of one-half each semester. Disbursements are credited to the student’s account by Student Financial Services after the promissory note has been submitted online and entrance counseling has been completed.
Failure to register for the required number of credits, as indicated by full- or half-time enrollment status on the FAFSA, results in cancellation of the loans within thirty days of the date of registration. Full-time students must register for a minimum of 12 credits per semester. Half-time students must register for a minimum of 6 credits.
Short Term Loans Under the terms of the Lee Emergency Loan, a graduate student enrolled in any of the University schools may borrow up to $750 once each semester. Lee Loans are interest free and are available during the academic year through early March. Lee Loans are not available during the summer session. Students must apply in person at Student Financial Services.
Federal Work-Study Program Student Financial Services will make available to all eligible students all Federal Work-Study (FWS) job listings on the Financial aid website through University Career Services’ electronic student employment program. With this electronic process, students can search for their own FWS job based on their own interests and class schedule. Hourly wages and weekly schedules are based on the student’s financial need and work experience.
General Assembly Nursing Program Virginia residents enrolled in the Graduate School of Nursing may apply for this state-funded, need-based program. These funds must be reimbursed either by working as a nurse in Virginia or by repayment with interest. Application deadlines are April 30 for currently enrolled nursing students and June 30 for students who have completed only one semester. Students must allow a minimum of two months for application processing in order to meet the designated deadlines. Award amount: $2,000 maximum.
Veteran’s Educational Benefits Students eligible to receive educational benefits through the G.I. Bill or the V.A. Contributory or Non-Contributory Benefit Programs should contact the Veteran’s Affairs Coordinator, UREG (Office of the University Registrar), Carruthers Hall, (434) 924-4122.
Virginia War Orphans Program Under this program, a child (aged 25 or younger) of either a deceased veteran or a veteran with total disability resulting from wartime service may receive a waiver of tuition and fees to attend a Virginia state-supported institution of higher education. Students who believe they qualify for this program should contact the Division of War Veterans Claims at the Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Law, 210 Franklin Road SW, Roanoke, VA 24011.
University Tuition Payment Plan In conjunction with a private vendor, the University has developed an installment payment plan. For an annual fee of $65, University tuition, fees, housing, and dining charges may be paid in ten monthly installments. The final date to enroll in the payment plan is July 25, 2007. For complete details, contact Tuition Management Systems at (800) 722-4867 or www.afford.com/UVA.
Student Rights and Responsibilities
Students have the right to:
- know what financial aid programs are available (see Financial Aid Programs);
- know the deadlines for submitting financial aid applications (see Application Procedures and General Assembly Nursing Program);
- know how financial aid will be distributed, and on what basis those decisions are made (see General Information);
- know how their financial need was determined, including how costs for tuition and fees, room and board, travel, books and supplies, and personal and miscellaneous expenses are considered in their budgets (see General Information and the student’s award letter);
- know what resources (e.g., parental contribution, other financial aid, and individual assets) were considered in calculating their need (see the student’s award letter);
- know how much of their financial need, as determined by the institution, has been met (see the student’s award letter);
- request an explanation of the various programs in their financial aid package (see Financial Aid Programs);
- know the school’s refund policy (see General Information and the University Regulations section);
- know what portion of financial aid must be repaid and what portion is grant aid. If the aid is a loan, students have the right to know the interest rate, the total repayment amount and procedures, the length of time allotted for repayment, and when repayment is to begin (see the student’s award letter and Financial Aid Programs);
- know how the school determines whether the student is making satisfactory progress, and the consequences of unsatisfactory progress (see General Requirements);
- decline having Title IV aid credited to institutional or prior year charges.
Students are required to:
- complete all application forms accurately and submit them to the appropriate office by the deadline;
- provide correct information. Misreporting information on financial aid application forms is a violation of the law. Such action may be considered a criminal offense and could result in indictment under the U.S. Criminal Code;
- return all additional documentation, verification, corrections, and new information requested by either Student Financial Services or the agency to which the application was submitted;
- read, understand, and maintain copies of all forms requiring their signature;
- accept responsibility for all signed agreements;
- perform the work agreed upon in accepting a federal work-study award;
- be aware of, and comply with, the deadlines for financial assistance application and reapplication;
- be aware of the school’s refund procedures;
- complete an exit interview if they have borrowed loans and are terminating student status or registering for less than half-time credits;
- maintain current and correct addresses with UREG (Office of the University Registrar);
- complete registration at the prescribed time in order to receive disbursements on a timely basis.