How to Apply for Financial Aid: Returning Undergraduates

2023-2024 Academic Year

Getting Started

Please read the information on this page carefully. The first place to begin is to review the flow chart below to determine 1) what type of financial aid you are looking for, 2) what you need to do to complete your application, and 3) the deadline date you need to meet.

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See a downloadable version of the below flow chart with clickable links

A flow chart outlining the different types of financial aid and the processes to apply.
What Applications Do I Need to Fill Out?

If you only want federal financial aid, fill out and submit the 2023-2024 FAFSA, also available in Spanish. Use the Federal School Code 003745. That's it! We'll offer your federal aid (Pell Grant, Work Study, Direct Loans, PLUS Loans) based on your eligibility.

The U.S. Department of Education has a helpful checklist of documents and information you should gather when completing the FAFSA. To simplify entering tax-related information on the FAFSA and to reduce the chances of additional verification:

  • Use the FAFSA Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) if you are eligible
  • Do not make any changes to the transferred data from the IRS website

If you want to be considered for all types of need-based financial aid, including state and University grants and scholarships, you must complete and submit both the 2023-2024 FAFSA and the 2023-2024 CSS Profile ("Profile"). Our Profile school code is 5820. For help in completing the Profile, visit our Profile webpage.

Beginning February 24, 2022, College Board is introducing a new sign-in service for College Board accounts through Okta. If you already have a College Board account, you'll need to migrate to Okta. If you have questions about this transition, please contact College Board Customer Service.

If you are an eligible non-citizen, please visit our Financial Resources for Undocumented Students page for more information about how to apply for financial aid. 

Is There an Application Deadline?

To be considered for all forms of need-based financial aid, including state and University grants and scholarships, complete the FAFSA and the Profile, by March 1, 2023.

If you are an eligible applicant and submit your FAFSA and Profile by March 1, 2023, we will meet all of your demonstrated financial need, even if your other application materials arrive after the deadline. If you submit your FAFSA and/or Profile after March 1, 2023, you may still receive some grants, but we cannot guarantee this. In recent years, we have been able to give grants to late applicants, but we can't promise we'll always be able to in future years. Make sure you apply on time each year.

What Else Might SFS Need From Me?

We might need additional items from some students, and we list some examples below. A request might come from SFS or from the College Board's IDOC service. Either way, you'll get clear instructions on what to submit and how and where to send it. Please do not send any of the documents below unless you are specifically asked to do so.

Sometimes, certain students are chosen for a process called verification. It's when the U.S. Department of Education has us check to make sure that the information you provided on the FAFSA form is correct. And SFS sometimes asks for documents to confirm information from the Profile. If you are chosen for verification, we'll inform you about what you need to provide. It’s good to have the documents below available beforehand, preferably in a digital form, so you can quickly submit copies if you need to. The sooner you submit your documents, the sooner you'll receive your financial aid offer. Here are some of the things you might be required to send in, and these will be added to your Student Information System (SIS) To Do List if they are needed:

  • Student Federal Tax Return and all Schedules for 2021
  • Student W2 and/or 1099 and/or K-1 form(s) for 2021
  • Student Tax Return Transcript for 2021 – you can order it now, here, and have it sent to your home, so you’ll be ready to send copies later, if requested.  Paper copies may take longer than 2 weeks to arrive once you order them. If you did not file a tax return in 2021, request a Verification of Non-filing Letter.
  • Student ID documents such as passport, birth certificate, Social Security card, Permanent Resident Card, etc.
  • Parent Federal Tax Return and all Schedules for 2021
  • Parent W2 and/or 1099 and/or K-1 form(s) for 2021
  • Parent Tax Return Transcript for 2021 – you can order it now, here, and have it sent to your home, so you’ll be ready to send copies later, if requested. Paper copies may take longer than 2 weeks to arrive once you order them. If your parent did not file a tax return in 2021, request a Verification of Non-filing Letter.
For Dependent Students Whose Parents Are Divorced or Separated

If your parents are divorced, separated, or were never married to each other, and they don't live together, one of them will be considered the custodial parent and the other the non-custodial parent when you apply for financial aid. The custodial parent is:

  • The parent with whom you lived more than 50% of the 12-month period prior to filing the FAFSA

OR, if you lived equally with both parents:

  • The parent who provided more than 50% of your support during the 12-month period prior to filing the FAFSA

Only the custodial parent needs to be included in the FAFSA information. However, both the custodial and non-custodial parents may be asked to provide information for the Profile application. Please visit the College Board’s website for more information about the Profile application process as it relates to divorced or separated parents.

If the non-custodial parent cannot submit the Profile, you can complete our waiver request form or contact us to discuss your situation. It may take two weeks or more for us to let you know if the waiver can be granted, and based on what you provide on your waiver request, we may follow up with you to ask for more information.

Please note that it is UVA's belief that both biological parents share a responsibility to help pay for the education of their children. A parent’s unwillingness to contribute doesn't automatically qualify you for a waiver of the Profile application. If the custodial parent has remarried, information about the step-parent is also required.

Oops! Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Mistakes on your financial aid applications can happen, but they can also cause delays in your aid. Take your time filling out applications, work carefully, and review this list of errors to avoid. Many of the mistakes mentioned for the FAFSA apply also to the CSS Profile, and vice versa.

For both the FAFSA and CSS Profile, make sure to:

  • Double check your Social Security card to ensure accuracy:
    • Type your Social Security Number (SSN) correctly on the applications;
    • Write your name exactly as it appears on your Social Security card;
    • If a parent is helping you, make sure they list your SSN, not theirs or one of your siblings.
  • Enter the correct birth dates for both you and your parents. Be careful not to mix them up.
  • Pay attention to matching information: Some of the questions on the FAFSA and the Profile may ask for the same details. Make sure your answers are the same on the two forms.

Lastly, after submitting your FAFSA, read your Student Aid Report (SAR) carefully. It will show any errors you made on your FAFSA and provide instructions on how to fix them.

What Happens Next?

We understand that you're excited to get your financial aid offer quickly, and we want that for you too. But reviewing financial aid applications thoroughly and accurately takes time, especially because we get a lot of applications here at UVA. We appreciate your patience as we review applications in the order in which they become complete.

Throughout the spring, check your To Do List in the Student Information System (SIS) regularly to make sure we have everything we need. If there are still items on your list, we really need you "to do" them!

A final note about scholarships: UVA meets student need with scholarships, grants, work-study and need-based loans. Generous donors provide much of the scholarship and grant funding. Your financial aid application submission authorizes the University to show your name, demographic information and relevant offer amount(s) to University Advancement and applicable donors(s). If you receive a donor-funded grant or scholarship, you can ‘opt out’ of this disclosure as required by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) at that time.