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Types of Financial Aid

The majority of Virginia's financial aid programs are decentralized to the higher education institutions. While the State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV) has administrative and financial oversight over most of these programs, Virginia's participating institutions:
  • Oversee the application process;
  • Allocate awards to students; and
  • Determine final eligibility for federal assistance.

The purpose of SCHEV's website is to provide to students and parents an overview of the different sources of available financial aid. For more specific information about federal, state, and institutional aid, please contact your college financial aid office.

As stated above, financial aid comes from many different sources and, in most cases, requires completion of at least the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Below are more details about each source of aid: Federal, State, Institutional, and Private.

Federal Financial Aid

Types of Programs

  • Grant: The Federal PELL Grant and the Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant, and others;
  • Loans: Student and Parent loans; and
  • Work-study: Opportunities at eligible colleges and universities.

Application Process
Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form is available at any college financial aid office, from most high school guidance counselors, and many public libraries. An electronic version is also linked through our financial aid links page or at FAFSA Information.

Application Deadlines
Deadlines vary by institution. Contact your college financial aid office for details.

State Financial Aid

Major State Programs:

Application Process:

Contact your college financial aid office about application procedures.

Most state programs do not have a separate application. However, the Tuition Assistance Grant does have its own application, which is available at the Financial Aid Office of participating private, non-profit colleges or universities in Virginia or by clicking here.

Application Deadlines:

Deadlines vary by institution. Contact your college financial aid office for details.

Financial Aid Process:

  • The federal government calculates the Estimated Family Contribution(EFC) using the FAFSA.
  • The college obtains the EFC from the federal government.
  • The EFC directly determines eligibility for the federal PELL Grant.
  • The EFC and PELL Grant are subtracted from student Cost of Attendance(COA) to determine financial need.
  • The College obtains other eligibility information from the student’s application for admission. Some colleges will also issue a single application for state aid.
  • The college calculates student eligibility for federal, state, and institutional financial aid and makes awards starting first with students having the highest financial need and continuing until all funds are expended.

For a list of state financial aid programs, including eligibility criteria, award amounts, and application process, visit the pages below:

Undergraduate Financial Aid
Graduate Financial Aid

Institutional Financial Aid

Types of Institution Aid:

  • Need-based or merit-based grants;
  • Scholarships;
  • Loans: Student and Parent loans; and
  • Work-study

Application Process:

The Financial Aid Office at each institution can explain what type of aid is available and the application procedures. Often, this information is available on the institution webpages. Many of the links are on our "Participating Institutions" webpage.

Application Deadlines:

Deadlines vary by institution. Contact your college financial aid office for details.

Private Financial Aid

Financial aid from private resources can be the most elusive of all aid programs.

Available From:

  • Local businesses;
  • Civic groups;
  • Churches;
  • Private benefactors; and
  • National organizations

Where to Look:

  • High school guidance counselors;
  • Write, call, or visit businesses, civic groups, churches, etc.;
  • Public libraries; and
  • The Internet. One great place to start is FinAid!


  • Utilize all free options from local high school, college, and Internet services first.
  • Exercise caution when utilizing professional help and only after exhausting all other free options. There are many organizations and individuals that provide services for a fee. Unfortunately, some of them are not looking out for your best interests.