See below for information specifically about adjustments to aid for the spring 2021 term.
The primary responsibility for financing an undergraduate college education rests with students and their parents. For graduate students, the responsibility rests with students and, if applicable, their spouses. The primary responsibility of our office with respect to financial aid is to determine need. Eligibility for financial aid is based on the following formula:
|Cost of Attendance|
|-||Expected Family Contribution|
|-||Scholarships/Other Resources (includes any awards from agencies other than Student Financial Services)|
|=||Need for financial aid|
The Cost of Attendance (COA), which is determined each year by the University's Board of Visitors and Student Financial Services, represents the estimated total cost of attending the University for one year. COA includes direct charges, such as tuition, room, meal plan, and fees, as well as indirect costs like books and supplies, living expenses, and travel money. A student's specific individual circumstances and alter the amount of one or more of these items. For example, fees differ from one School to another.
SFS calculates the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) using federal guidelines and University policies and is based on information submitted on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the CSS/PROFILE, and additional documents the student submits to UVA. The EFC has both a parent and a student component. The parents' and student's contributions are based on their income and assets, which include cash, checking, savings, and money market accounts; their investments and real estate holdings other than their primary residence; their untaxed income; and their business equity.
The financial aid offer that students receive from UVA lists the types and amounts of grants, work-study, loans, and scholarships offered. UVA will meet 100% of an eligible student's demonstrated need through a combination of grants (from federal, state, and institutional sources), federal need-based loans, and federal work-study. A list of items that may impact a financial aid offer can be found in the 'Items That May Impact/Reduce Your Award' section below.
Two important things to note:
- The total amount of financial aid students receive, including outside resources such as scholarships, cannot exceed their cost of attending the University.
- It is possible for students' EFC to be greater than their cost of attending the University; in this case, they do not demonstrate eligibility for need-based financial aid. However, financial aid programs such as the unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan, the Direct (Parent) PLUS Loan, and alternative loans, are available to students regardless of their financial need.
UVA students are required to complete the Activity Guide about their planned living arrangements for the spring 2021 term. Their options were to indicate they would either be living in Charlottesville/Albemarle County or that they would be living elsewhere. If elsewhere, they were asked to indicate whether or not they would have housing costs. Student answers to this survey allow the University to comply with federal guidelines on determining financial aid eligibility.
The student budget (the cost of attendance) for the spring term must match their current situation. If a student is not here and does not have housing costs (e.g., is living at home), the housing budget must be reduced because the student’s cost for housing is no longer there. The reduced housing budget item amount still includes an amount for assumed increased utilities wherever the student is living, such as at home. The student also would not be traveling to Charlottesville in that situation, so the travel budget item would be reduced; the other fees amount may be reduced as well, as some of the services it includes are not available to students not in Charlottesville/Albemarle County.
The equation to determine a student’s demonstrated need (and therefore financial aid) is:
Cost of attendance (the budget) – expected family contribution = demonstrated financial need
So UVA continues to meet 100% of students’ demonstrated need, but because actual costs are less, the need is less.
Grants from the University are the last form of financial aid that make up filling a student’s need, so it is the first item to be adjusted to remain at 100% of a student’s demonstrated need. For students with significant financial need, grant aid for fall will most likely be less by the amount of your reduced costs for housing, travel, and comprehensive fees.
costs are lower --> need is lower --> aid is adjusted to reflect actual costs
SFS has adjusted aid eligibility based upon their response to the Activity Guide. Our colleagues in UREG have developed a web site where you can go to be reminded of your response to the Guide: https://www.ureg.virginia.edu/validate/my_rtg_status/.
Students who believe they may have answered incorrectly should write to [email protected] to explain the error. All other questions about financial aid eligibility should be referred to our office at [email protected].
In cases where parents are divorced or separated, the University expects both custodial and non-custodial parents to contribute to their children's educational costs based on their financial ability.
The federal financial aid program defines some applicants as self-supporting independent students. Students are considered independent for federal aid purposes when they meet one or more of the following definitions:
|•||they are 24 years of age or older|
|•||they are graduate or professional students|
|•||they are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces|
|•||they are an orphan, foster child or a ward of the court|
|•||they are legally married|
|•||they are currently serving on active duty for purposes other than training|
|•||they are emancipated or under a legal guardianship|
|•||they have legal dependents other than a spouse for whom they provide more than half the support|
|•||they have a child for whom they provide more than half the support|
|•||they are a homeless unaccompanied youth|
Undergraduate students cannot declare themselves independent of their parents due to family disagreement, living arrangements, or parents' unwillingness to contribute to the costs of their education. Find more information about completing the FAFSA as an independent student.
In most cases, independent students for whom the costs of attending the University are high are offered additional federal loan awards.
Student Financial Services wants to be responsive to unique family situations, within the limits of federal regulations and University policies. We will consider an Appeal for Reconsideration when:
|•||A family experiences a change in their financial situation, such as death of a parent or unemployment; or|
|•||A family has an extenuating circumstance or hardship that was not addressed in the initial review.|
If you have circumstances you believe should be evaluated, please review our Appeals for Reconsideration page to determine if you are eligible to file an appeal.
- IRA or pension distributions (excluding rollovers during the base tax year)
- Capital gains
- Business draws not included as taxable income
- Support from family members (untaxed income)
- Parent’s remarriage
- S-Corp, Corp and/or partnership distributions
- Fewer members in the household size from one year to the next
- Fewer students in college from one year to the next
- Students attending graduate or professional school
- Students not attending eligible title IV school
- A sibling turning 24, even if that sibling still receives parental support
Assets and Investments
- Acquisition of assets or investments
- Moving out of primary residence but still owning the home
- Parent’s remarriage