Virginia Commonwealth University

Frequently Asked Questions

When is Financial Aid open?
Monroe Park Campus Office
M-F, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Schools of Allied Health Professions, Nursing and Pharmacy Office
M-F, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

School of Dentistry Office
M-F, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

School of Medicine Office
M-F, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
(There may be exceptions to this schedule which will be posted on the office door.)

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Why is it when I try calling I have a hard time getting through?
Our office handles thousands of phone calls during peak times. We have 5 incoming phone lines that usually stay constantly busy. A good strategy if you are in the area is to stop by in person. You may also try other means, such as emailing us: contact us

Do I need to keep copies of paperwork?
Yes! Keep copies of all forms completed and any materials used to prepare the forms, such as tax returns.

How much money do I need for books?
You should always plan to have enough money from your own resources to pay for books, supplies, and other expenses during the first few weeks of each semester. On average, books and supplies cost between $300 and $400 per semester.

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What are some of the mistakes people make when applying for financial aid?
Four of the most common mistakes are:

  • Not filing early enough
  • Not reading the instructions
  • Not fully completing the application
  • Not using the correct Social Security number(s)

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I have a bachelor's degree. Am I completely out of luck?
No. You are not eligible for a Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant, or state aid but you are eligible for Federal Work-Study and Federal Direct Loans.

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What happens when I reach my work-study maximum?
Your department should notify you when you reach your award maximum. The department has the option of continuing your assignment and paying you 100% from their departmental budget or ending your assignment altogether. Requests for an award increase are made with financial aid counselors located in the Office of Financial Aid. While all requests will be reviewed, there is no guarantee that any increase in the FWS award will be made. All decisions are rendered on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration student eligibility, appeal reasons, and the availability of program funds.

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What is the difference between the Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loan?
With the Federal Direct Subsidized Loan, the government pays the interest while you are in school. The interest on the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan is not paid while you are in school, and you have the option of paying the interest or deferring it until after you graduate at which time it will be added to the principal of the loan.

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How is my financial aid disbursed to me?
All federal and state financial aid except for Federal Work-Study, most scholarships awarded through the university, and all fee waivers awarded by university departments are applied directly to your student account at the beginning of each term. After current charges have been paid, any excess financial aid is disbursed to the student in the form of a check sent through the mail unless the student has set up direct deposit to a checking or savings account. You receive money from Federal Work-Study as wages for hours worked during the pay period. Paychecks are generally available each week on Mondays.

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It's the beginning of the term and my financial aid has not been applied to my student account. Why?
There could be several reasons your financial aid for the current term has not passed to your student account:

You have not registered for enough credit hours. Your financial aid awards were made based on full time enrollment for the full year (12 credit hours per semester for undergraduates, 9 credit hours per semester for graduates). "Planning" to enroll in more hours won't work; you must be officially registered for enough credit hours. Only if you have previously arranged with the Office of Financial Aid to receive aid for a semester based on less than full-time enrollment will aid be disbursed for less than full-time enrollment.

You did not complete enough credit hours the previous semester or did not maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress for the previous semester.

You have not completed some or all of the paperwork required for the aid to be disbursed, such as your Award Acceptance Agreement, promissory notes for loans, or other paperwork required by the department issuing a fee waiver or scholarship. Or, the Office of Financial Aid has not received paperwork or confirmations needed from other sources, such as Pell Grant or PLUS Loan confirmations.

Contact your financial aid counselor for more specific information.

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Financial Aid

Harris Hall
1015 Floyd Ave., 1st Floor
P.O. Box 843026
Richmond, VA 23284

Phone: (804) 828-6669
Email: Follow this link for email contacts

Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.