Not only is applying for financial aid important, but completing the process is just as vital. Students are awarded based on their eligibility and the availability of funds at the time of awarding. Although a student may have eligibility to receive certain aid types, these monies may be depleted by the time the award process takes place. Accuracy is crucial and correcting financial aid application information delays the process of awarding. It is better to wait until all documents are in the student's possession prior to completing the application.
Forms Review and Requirements: Once the University has electronically received the student's information, submission of certain documents may be necessary in order to complete the process.
The Financial Aid Office literally receives thousands of documents from students and parents, therefore, in order to achieve timely processing of the information:
- Place the student's name and student ID number on each page of the document.
- If more than 1 family member is applying for financial aid, all names and student ID numbers can be placed on each document, and 1 (set of) documents can be submitted for the entire family.
- Documents should be for the correct year as requested.
- Documents should be the correct type as requested. (Do not submit a state tax form when a federal form is requested.)
- All documents must be signed where appropriate.
- All documents should be legible.
Receipt of Your Documents The documentation process is divided according to the alphabet of the student's last name. To check the status of your documents, you may send an e-mail message to the processors or you may contact the Financial Aid Office at 757-823-8381. The telephone lines are available Monday through Friday, from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM.
Student's Last Name Begins:
The Department of Education employs a verification selection process that sometimes makes it necessary for a student's information to be verified. Verification is the same as an audit, and its purpose is to either confirm information on the Student Aid Report (SAR), or to correct data that has been erroneously entered.
Status: Once all documents have been received, necessary corrections to the Student Aid Report are made. These corrections may warrant that the SAR be resubmitted to the Department of Education, which the Financial Aid Office does electronically. When the corrected information is received from the U.S. Department of Education, the student's information can be processed for a Financial Aid Notification Award Letter.
Verification is conducted in the Document Processing unit of Financial Aid. If you desire to inquire about the status of your verification process, you may email the following staff:
Student's Last Name Begins:
Once all documents have been received by the office and corrections (if any) have been made, the student's information is submitted for awarding. A student must be eligible for all types of awards based on criteria set by the federal government (U.S. Department of Education), the State government, and the institution.
Criteria: Criteria that must be established prior to a student receiving a financial aid award letter are:
- Matriculating Status - As per the Office of Admissions
- Residency - As per the Office of Admissions
- Cumulative Grade Point Average - As per the Registrar
- (Anticipated) Enrollment - As per the Registrar
- Grade Classification - As per the Registrar
- Financial Need - As per FAFSA Application
- Satisfactory Standing on Financial Aid Programs - As per the U.S. Department of Education & Lending Institutions
These criteria must be confirmed prior to any student being given an award. While utmost attention is given to ensure that the information is correct at the time of initial award, if the data in which the award is based changes, the award may be adjusted. When this happens, the student will be sent an updated Financial Aid Notification (Award) Letter. Factors that may negatively impact financial aid award are: reduction in enrolled classes; corrections to the financial aid application information due to the Quality Assurance (QA) audit; changing residency information.
Not all factors affecting a student's award may be negative. Sometimes having a grade of "I" (Incomplete) being replaced with a letter grade can make the difference in the type of aid a student receives because the letter can positively affect the grade point average. Residency is another factor that may positively affect financial aid awards in that a student classified as a Virginia resident may now have eligibility for Virginia grants in which a non-resident does not. This also means, however, that the student's overall award package total will be less because the Cost Of Attendance (COA) is less.