How to Apply for Financial Aid: Returning Undergraduates

2022-2023 Academic Year

Follow this link for information on how to apply for financial aid for the 2021-2022 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 is displayed containing the information below on how to apply for financial aid at UVA.
What Applications Do I Need to Fill Out?

If you are only interested in federal financial aid, complete and submit the 2022-23 FAFSA, also available in Spanish (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. For help completing the FAFSA, consider reviewing this tutorial video created by the University of California, Santa Barbara.

The U.S. Department of Education has prepared a helpful checklist of documents and information to have available when you’re completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  In particular, to speed up data entry, ensure accuracy of tax-related information on the FAFSA, and to greatly reduce the chances of your application being selected for federal verification:

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

If you want to be considered for all forms of need-based financial aid, including state and University grants and scholarships, you must complete and submit both the 2022-23 FAFSA and the 2022-2023 CSS Profile ("Profile"). Our Profile school code is 5820.  For help in completing the Profile, see our Profile webpage.

Is There an Application Deadline?

Everyone applying for all forms of need-based financial aid, including state and University grants and scholarships, must complete the FAFSA and the Profile, by March 1, 2022.

If you are an eligible applicant for financial aid and submit your FAFSA and Profile by March 1, 2022, we will meet all of your demonstrated need, even if your other application materials arrive after the deadline.  If you submit your FAFSA and/or Profile after March 1, 2022, you may still receive some grants, but we cannot guarantee this will be so.  In recent years, we have been able to give grants to late applicants, but we can't always promise to be able to do so.

What Else Might SFS Need From Me?

We might need additional documents 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.

Some students are chosen for a process called verification.  It's how the U.S. Department of Education makes sure that the information you provided on the FAFSA is correct.  And SFS sometimes asks for documents to verify information from the Profile.  If you are chosen for verification, we'll let you know what you need to provide.  It’s good to have the documents below available ahead of time, preferably in an electronic format, so you’ll be ready to submit copies quickly if you need to.  The sooner you get your documents in, the sooner you'll have your financial aid offer.  The following are some of the items that may be requested of you and added to your Student Information System (SIS) To Do List:

  • Student Federal Tax Return and all Schedules for 2020
  • Student W2 and/or 1099 and/or K-1 form(s) for 2020
  • Student Tax Return Transcript for 2020 – you can order it now, at this link, 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 2020, 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 2020
  • Parent W2 and/or 1099 and/or K-1 form(s) for 2020
  • Parent Tax Return Transcript for 2020 – 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 2020, request a Verification of Non-filing Letter.
For Dependent Students Whose Parents Are Divorced or Separated

If both of your biological or adoptive parents are living, and they are divorced, separated, or were never married to each other, and they do not live together, for the purposes of applying for financial aid one will be considered the custodial and the other will be considered the non-custodial parent.  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.  The Profile is requested of both the custodial and non-custodial parents, if they are living.  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 will not be able to submit the Profile, please either complete our waiver request form or contact us to discuss your situation. Submit the form electronically, using the DocuSign form at the above link, and within approximately two weeks we'll send you an e-mail about whether or not a waiver can be granted.  If you submit a waiver request form, please also be sure to submit the requested third-party documentation described on the form, confirming why the non-custodial parent is unable to submit the Profile.

Please be aware that it is UVA’s philosophy that, to the extent they are able, both parents have primary responsibility to pay for the education of their dependent children.  Thus, a parent’s unwillingness (as opposed to inability) to contribute is not necessarily grounds for a waiver of the Profile application. 

Oops! Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Application mistakes can sometimes cause substantial delays in processing your financial aid offer.  Take your time filling out applications, work carefully, and review this comprehensive list of errors to avoid.  Bear in mind that most errors mentioned for the FAFSA apply also to the CSS Profile and vice versa.

For both the FAFSA and CSS Profile, be especially sure:

  • To double check your Social Security card to ensure that you:
    • Type your SSN accurately into your applications and;
    • List your name exactly as it appears on your Social Security card;
    • If a parent helps fill out the applications, make sure they list your SSN, not their SSN or that of one of your siblings!
  • That you enter the student and parent birth dates accurately. Don't confuse one for the other!
  • The FAFSA and the Profile sometimes ask for the same information.  Make sure your answers match between the two forms!

Finally, be sure to read your Student Aid Report (SAR) carefully once you have submitted your FAFSA.  Many times, errors you may have made on your FAFSA are listed on the SAR along with instructions for how to correct them.

What Happens Next?

We know you are eager to get your financial aid offer as soon as possible, and we want you to have it, too.  But it takes time to do a complete and accurate review of financial aid applications, especially given the volume of applications we receive here at UVA.  We ask for 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) to ensure we have everything we need.  If there are items still on your list, that means that you really have "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.