Step Two: Federal Aid Application Process

If you do not qualify for enough aid through your department to cover all your costs, you may consider applying for federal aid.  Students in the Darden School of Business, School of Law, or School Medicine should contact their school’s financial aid office for more information. Students in the MS-MIT and Accelerated Engineering programs should click their program link in left-hand menu. For all other graduate programs, please follow the instructions below.

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

For the quickest and most accurate processing, students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov (Follow this link for a Spanish version of the FAFSA). The University of Virginia's school code for the FAFSA is 003745. Graduate students must apply each year for federal aid. Do not complete the CSS Financial Aid Profile as this will delay the processing of your financial aid application.

Your financial aid application submission authorizes the University to disclose your name, demographic information and relevant award amount(s) to University Advancement and applicable donors(s) as appropriate. If you receive a donor-funded grant or scholarship from your department or the University, you will have the opportunity to ‘opt out’ of this disclosure as required by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).

    What’s Next?

    Your FAFSA will be sent to us electronically. We will review it, and if necessary, request additional documentation to verify your information.  Monitor your To Do List in your SIS account and reply promptly to request for additional information. Please do not submit copies of your most recent tax documents unless you are specifically instructed to do so by our office.

    Once we receive and review all of your information, including any departmental awards and your enrollment, we will post your award information in the Finance Center section of your SIS account, detailing your financial aid package.

    See instructions on how to view your award

    In most cases, graduate students are awarded federal aid in the forms of loans and/or work study. Graduate students may receive up to $20,500 in Federal Direct Unsubsidized Student Loans during the award period. Students may also receive a Graduate PLUS loan or a private loan for up to the difference between the student’s budget and any other resources including Direct Student Loans. Please see 2021-2022 Academic Year Loans: Graduate Students for details regarding graduate loans.

    Depending on availability of funds, graduate students may also receive up to $5,000 in a Federal Work-Study award for the academic year.

    Federal Financial Aid & Cost of Attendance Limits

    If you receive federal aid, that the total of all financial assistance, including loans, work study, departmental awards, tuition remission, and health insurance assistance cannot exceed the estimated cost of attendance.

    Exceeding the cost of attendance has several undesirable consequences, including the delay of refunds to students and/or requiring students to repay money that was previously given to them. In an effort to prevent excess funding situations, our office must wait until the departmental awarding is completed before we can award your federal financial aid. 

    Since many departments complete their awarding later in the summer, your federal financial aid award may not be posted until early August. It is in the best interest of all to avoid an excess funding situation, so we appreciate your patience in this process. 

    Important Reminders Regarding Federal Aid

    Graduate students must be enrolled in at least 6 credit and/or research hours to be considered for any Federal assistance for the academic year. Graduate students are encouraged to enroll early for a more accurate Federal financial aid award.

    Graduate students are billed based on the student’s Approved Academic Load, not on the number of hours for which the student is actively registered.  Approved Academic Load (either full time or part time) is determined by your respective graduate department:

    • Full time: based on enrollment of 12 credit hours. A student is charged the full-time rate even if the student chooses to take a reduced course load (less than 12 credit hours).  For example, if a student enrolls in 9 research hours and her Approved Academic Load is full time, the student will be charged for 12 credit hours.
    • Part time: based on enrollment of 6 hours. A student is charged the part-time rate provided the student is enrolled in no more than 6 hours.
    Common Application Errors

    Common Application Errors

    Many mistakes made during the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) occur because students and/or parents do not fully understand the application instructions. While few errors will require you to start all over, most errors can delay the processing of your FAFSA at the federal level, your award at the university level, or both. If you complete the FAFSA online, automatic error checks are run that are not available on the paper form.   Therefore, we highly recommend that you complete your FAFSA on-line at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ (Follow this link for a Spanish version of the FAFSA).

    We have compiled a list of common errors made on the FAFSA to help you through the process. Select the section of the FAFSA that you are reviewing to see what can cause common problems:

    Info about the Student

    Student Status

    Student Income

    Household Size and Number in College

    Releases and Signatures

     

    Info About the Student

    • Although other people (besides the student who is applying for aid) may help fill out this form, it is about the student. On this form, the words "you" and "your" always mean the student. The word "college" means a college, university, graduate or professional school, community college, vocational or technical school, or any other school beyond high school.
    • It is important that you use your proper name as it appears on your Social Security card. 
    • Be sure your Social Security Number is accurate when entering it online. The processing center and UVA use this number as a key in the application process. An error here can cause a substantial delay.
    • If you are applying for financial aid at more than one school, answer enrollment questions according to your plans for your first-choice college.
    • Make sure the question regarding the possession or selling of illegal drugs is answered honestly. FAFSA on the Web will not let you continue with the application process until this question is answered. Having a conviction may or may not hamper your ability to receive federal aid. Visit  https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/eligibility/requirements/criminal-convictions for more information. If you have questions, contact the federal processing center 1-800-433-3243. 

     

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    Student Status

    • If you answered "No" to all questions in  the Dependency Determination section, FAFSA on the Web will direct you to complete both student and parent information. You will be considered "Dependent" for Financial Aid purposes.
    • A dependent is a person for whom you (the student) provide and will continue to provide more than half of his/her total support. If a student has a child and that child is being supported by the student’s parents or someone else, then the student does not have a "dependent."
    • You are a Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces only if you have engaged in active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard) or as a member of the National Guard or Reserves who was called to active duty for purposes other than training, or were a cadet or midshipman at one of service academies AND were released under a condition other than dishonorable.

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    Student Income

    • We recommend that you complete your FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1, 2020.
    • Please note that if the student and parent both file a tax return, the student cannot be claimed as an exemption on both returns.
    • If you or your parents contributed to tax-deferred pensions and savings plans (paid directly or withheld from earnings), contributions should be reported in the Untaxed Income section of the FAFSA. Such contributions arefound on the W-2 form, Box 12a through 12d, codes D,E,F,G,H and S only (do not include code DD). Housing, food, and other living allowances paid to members of the military, clergy, and others are also considered untaxed income.

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    Household Size and Number in College

    • List the number of people in your parent(s)' household including yourself who will attend college between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022. Do not include your parents. Count only the members who will attend at least half-time in a degree or certificate program that leads to a recognized education credential at a college that is eligible to participate in Federal Student Aid programs.
    • Independent students, include in your household: yourself, your spouse if you have one, your children if you provide more than half of their support, and other people if they now live with you, and you provide more than half of their support and will continue to provide more than half of their support from July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022.
    • Also if independent, list the number of people in your household who will attend college between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022. Count only the members who will attend at least half-time in a degree or certificate program that leads to a recognized education credential at a college that is eligible to participate in Federal Student aid programs.

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    Releases and Signatures

    • The University of Virginia’s Title IV Code is 003745. For the processing center this is as important as your social security number. Regardless of how you list our name, we will receive your information if the code is correct. If the code is incorrect, the information will then go to another school and NOT to U.Va. If you do not list our code, we cannot process any financial aid for you.
    • It is imperative that the student sign the FAFSA on the Web electronically using a Federal Student Aid FSA ID, which can be obtained from the U.S. Department of Education at StudentAid.gov. Both student and parent must obtain an FSA ID. If you do not have an FSA ID, you may print and mail the Signature Page from the website. If the FSA ID is not entered, or the Signature Page is not mailed, this can cause a rejection of your application and it cannot be processed until the signature is received. This can cause serious delays in the receipt of your aid. DO NOT close your browser until you reach the page with your confirmation number. Otherwise your application will not be transmitted and processed. We recommend that you print your Confirmation Page for your records.

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