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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 administers only Federal loan and work-study for graduate students. Student awards, including Federal Direct Loans, Federal Graduate PLUS loans, and/or Federal Work-Study funds, are based on a careful assessment of the applicant’s ability to meet educational expenses. Students must inquire directly with their academic departments or professional schools for other kinds of financial assistance.
The estimated average costs (excluding travel expenses) for a graduate student at the University of Virginia for the academic year are available at http://sfs.virginia.edu/cost/15-16.
The Aid Package
For graduate students, the aid package is normally a combination of loans or work-study administered by Student Financial Services. In some cases, assistance from the graduate school of enrollment or department (which may include scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship funds) may also be available. 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 a student’s cost of attendance. Cost of attendance will be met to the extent of available funds. The student’s Student Information System (SIS) Student Center will reflect all aid, departmental, federal, or other, awarded to the student.
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
Refunds of excess financial aid or other awards are generally processed within 3-5 business days of disbursement at the start of a term. Once processed, the refund should arrive within 7-10 days.
Regulations for Withdrawal and Return of Title IV Funds are available on-line at http://sfs.virginia.edu/changes/withdrawal.
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.
If a student leaves the University prior to completing 60% of a semester, the financial aid office recalculates eligibility for Title IV funds (for graduate students, this would include Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans, and Graduate 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. Your SIS Student Center will reflect balances due to the University as Future Due, if owed.
In order to apply for financial assistance through Student Financial Services, graduate students should submit:
- The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The University’s FAFSA code is 003745
- The University Financial Aid Application. This is found in the student’s SIS Student Center Finances section as the link “Apply for Financial Aid 2015-2016”
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.
Federal Eligibility Requirements
Applicants must be enrolled at least half-time (6 hours). 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.
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.
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/help/drugelig.htm for assistance.
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.
All first-time borrowers of Federal Direct Student Loans must complete entrance counseling at www.studentloans.gov before their first loan disbursement will be credited. Further, if you begin a new program of study, even if you have previously completed entrance counseling, you will be asked to complete entrance counseling for your loans.
All Federal Direct Loan or previous graduate 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 Federal Direct 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.
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.
In rare cases, 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.
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.
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 indicated by the applicant on the University Financial Aid Application and is based upon half-time enrollment (minimum 3 credit hours in the summer) and submission of a FAFSA for that academic year. Once you have enrolled in sufficient hours, your award will be created. If you fall below the minimum hours, your aid will be cancelled, and if it has already disbursed, will be required to be repaid if a balance remains due to the University.
Under certain circumstances, graduate students requiring Loan support year-round (including summer session) may receive more money than is typically awarded in a twelve-month period. In general, graduate students may receive up to $20,500 in Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans for each loan year.
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan Program enables graduate students enrolled at least half-time to borrow up to $20,500 each year. Including previous unsubsidized Stafford, Federal Direct, and SLS loans, graduate students may borrow up to $138,500 total for all academic years. The interest rate for 2015-2016 has not yet been set by the Department of Education, but the rate for 2014-2015 was 6.21% with a 1.073% origination fee. Students may elect to pay as they go the interest that accrues during their time in school.
Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan enables graduate students to borrow up to the difference between the cost of attendance and the amount of other financial aid. The interest rate for 2015-2016 has not yet been set by the Department of Education, but the rate for 2014-2015 was 7.21%, with a 4.292% origination fee. The origination fee is subject to federal review during the year and my rise or decrease for loans originated later in the academic year. Students may elect to pay quarterly the interest that accrues during their time in school.
Master Promissory Note Students must sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) for their Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans at http://studentloans.gov. A separate MPN, also available at http://studentloans.gov, is required for the Graduate PLUS Loan. Once the MPN has been signed and entrance counseling has been completed, the student’s University account will show anticipated aid for the amount noted on the financial aid award letter. Approximately 10 days prior to the start of the term, the credit will be applied to the student’s charges. Students must notify Student Financial Services if they wish to reduce or decline their loan(s) by completing a Financial Aid Change Form - Decrease, available on the Financial Aid web site.
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, one half of the total loan(s) (minus origination fees) being disbursed each semester. Disbursements are credited to the student’s account by Student Financial Services approximately 10 days prior to the start of each term, as long as the master promissory note(s) has been submitted 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, will result 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 during terms in which the student is enrolled. Students may request one Lee loan per term of enrollment, and may not receive a Lee Loan if a prior Lee Loan has not been repaid. Students must apply in person at Student Financial Services and must have their student identification card with them at the time they apply for the loan. Students in the School of Medicine should request Lee Emergency Loans from the Medical School Financial Aid Office located in on the first floor of the Claude Moore Medical Education Building.
Federal Work-Study Program
Student Financial Services will make available to all eligible students all Federal Work-Study (FWS) job listings through University Career Services’ electronic student employment program (CAVLink). 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 needs of the position, skills required and the student’s 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 per year.
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 or visit http://www.virginia.edu/registrar/vabenefits.html.
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 a fee of $35 per semester, University tuition, fees, housing, and dining charges may be paid in five (5) monthly installments each semester. You must sign up for each semester for which you intend to participate. The final date to enroll in the payment plan for the Fall 2015 term is July 26, 2016. For the Spring 2016 term, the last day to sign up is December 23, 2015. For complete details, visit http://sfs.virginia.edu/payplan.
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 term. For more information about Satisfactory Academic Progress, please visit http://sfs.virginia.edu/SAP.
Financial Aid Programs Affected
Graduate Financial Aid programs which are affected by the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy include (but are not limited to) Federal Work Study, Federal Nursing loans, Federal Direct loans, Federal Graduate Plus loans, and private loans.
Please refer to the complete Satisfactory Academic Progress policy which can be accessed from the page at http://sfs.virginia.edu/SAP.
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 for the student 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.
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.