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Determining Your Eligibility
Most students are eligible for some type of financial aid. Many of the financial aid programs are need-based in nature, meaning that the student's cost of education must exceed the student's expected family contribution, added to any external financial aid resources that will be received (scholarships, veterans' educational benefits, Trade Act support, etc.).
Students who do not demonstrate financial need typically can still receive loan support. This support could be in the form of a loan taken in the student's name, or a loan received by the parents on behalf of the student. In either case, interest on the loan begins to accumulate immediately. Repayment of parent loans typically begins immediately, as well.
The following factor into how your award is determined.
In order to be considered for most financial aid, you must follow a specific application procedure and adhere to processing deadlines as explained in college bulletins and Financial Aid publications.
Eligible Programs of Study
To receive financial aid, you must be admitted to and enrolled in an eligible associate degree or certificate program. Certificate programs requiring fewer than 16 credits do not qualify.
VWCC calculates financial aid eligibility based on the number of credits for which you enroll:
Full-time: 12 or more credit hours
3/4 Time: 9-11 credit hours
1/2 Time: 6-8 credit hours
Less than 1/2 Time: 1-5 credit hours
Credit hours taken for audit do not count in this calculation. You must enroll at least half-time in order to be considered for Federal Work-Study, SEOG, COMA, Federal Stafford Loan, and PLUS support. You must enroll full-time to be considered for VGAP support. You must enroll for 1-8 credits to be considered for PTAP support. The Pell Grant does not have a minimum enrollment requirement, but is prorated based on enrollment level.
A student's financial aid will NOT be increased for classes added after the regular session drop/add period.
Cost of Attendance
When computing financial aid eligibility, the first figure used is the cost of attendance. The Financial Aid Office determines the estimated amount it will cost you to attend the institution.
The cost of attendance consists of both direct and indirect expenses. Direct educational expenses are tuition and fees, books and supplies. Indirect educational expenses are projected transportation and living expenses. Also included, with appropriate documentation, may be dependent care expenses, expenses related to a handicap, and expenses related to the purchase of a computer.
Tuition and fees are based upon the following factors:
- Domicile (in-state or out-of-state)
- Enrollment level (full-time, three-fourths-time, half-time, one-fourth-time)
There are three categories for the living expense allowance:
- Dependent students who live with parents,
- Dependent students who live outside the parental home, or
- Independent students
These allowances include amounts for room and board, personal maintenance, health care, clothing, and other miscellaneous expenses.
The living expenses of your spouse and/or dependents (if applicable) are taken into account on the FAFSA when calculating your expected family contribution, and therefore cannot be included in the determination of cost of attendance.
Expected Family Contribution
A federally-mandated formula calculates the expected family contribution from the information on your FAFSA. Included are such factors as taxed and untaxed income, family size, number in college, savings and investments, and certain other assets. The expected family contribution is computed from two-year prior income tax return information. For example, for the 2018-19 academic year, the 2016 income tax return data is used. If there has been a significant change in your family's income or resources since the applicable income tax year, you may inquire about a financial aid special circumstance appeal.
Reporting Other Financial Aid
You must report all scholarships and financial aid received from sources external to the Financial Aid Office. In addition, you must send outside aid checks and copies of authorization letters to the Financial Aid Office. Scholarships and awards will not be credited to your account until VWCC receives official notification or payment from the third-party sponsor. Receipt of additional scholarships and awards will cause recalculation of your financial aid eligibility, which may result in a reduction of your previously-awarded financial aid.
Right to Refuse a Loan
You have the right to decline all or part of a Direct Student Loan, even after you have signed the promissory note. You will need to complete the Request Adjustment to Direct Student Loan form and submit it to the Financial Aid Office. If there are outstanding charges at the time of refusal, you must pay them in full at that time.