Financing College

The SFMC team is readily available to assist VCU students and families with understanding their options for financing college, reviewing bills and payments and planning for current and future expenses.

Financial Aid

Students have many opportunities to apply for and receive financial assistance toward tuition and fees. By connecting students and their families with programs and resources, we help make college affordable. Financial aid eligibility varies -- but the only way to know if you are eligible is to follow these important steps:

Apply for aid

The financial aid application process for the 2020-21 academic year began Oct. 1, 2019. Most students are  at Virginia Commonwealth University, regardless of financial circumstances.

Since financial aid is a limited resource and distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, we encourage students to complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid as soon as possible.

Getting started

Gather these items before filling out the FAFSA:

  • Federal tax return (include spouse if married)
  • W-2s
  • Parents’ federal tax return (if a dependent)
  • Parents’ W-2s (if a dependent)
  • An FSA ID for electronic signature
  • Records of any other income received (welfare, Social Security, child support, veteran’s benefits, etc.)
  • Current balances of checking and savings accounts and other investments
  • Business/farm records, if applicable
  • Alien Registration Card if not a U.S. citizen

Students can complete the FAFSA using estimated income. We may request a copy of an IRS tax return transcript and W-2s at a later date.

Consider the types of available aid

Each year, more than $270 million in financial aid is disbursed to approximately 18,000 students at Virginia Commonwealth University. By completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and having your reselts sent to VCU, you can be considered for federal, state, university and private aid, such as:

  • Grants are need-based federal and state awards that do not require repayment.
  • Federal Work-Study is a need-based program that allows students to earn money for school through part-time employment.
  • Loans are borrowed to supplement personal and family resources and other forms of financial aid. They accrue interest and must be repaid.

Veterans benefits

Veterans and their qualified dependents may be eligible for education benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

AmeriCorps benefits

AmeriCorps helps students earn money for education through volunteer service with nonprofit groups.

Aid for education abroad

Federal financial aid, scholarships and more can be used to pay for study abroad programs.

Research and apply for scholarships

Scholarships are a form of gift aid from families, clubs, corporations, foundations, alumni and other organizations to students in recognition of academic achievements, service and talent. Like grants, scholarships do not have to be repaid. Criteria for receiving scholarships and deadlines for applications vary.

  • Start your search with a general overview of VCU scholarships.
  • Visit VCU's Scholarship Hub for opportunities for enrolled VCU students.
  • Talk with parents, family members, friends, employers, clubs, etc. regarding the availability of scholarships within your community.

Student Accounting

Have questions about your student bill or tuition payments? Need help setting up the Installment Payment Plan? The SFMC staff is here to help. Our staff also processes third-party tuition assistance andscholarships that you may from outside VCU and issue refunds to eligible students. Visit the Student Accounting website for additional information and available services.

Planning for expenses

Aside from tuition, fees and housing costs, students and families should plan for these additional expenses:

  • Books and supplies
  • Personal expenses (parking, transportation, clothes, cell phone bill, laundry, entertainment)
  • Health expenses not covered by insurance (office visits, medications, treatments)

The SFMC financial counselors can work with you to create a budget that will help you avoid overspending and accumulating unnecessary debt. By starting off with a plan to manage your college expenses, you will be laying a foundation for future financial success!