Financial Aid Programs Available at Virginia’s Community Colleges
Federal Pell Grant
Federal Pell Grants are awarded to eligible undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor's or a professional degree. Eligibility is primarily based on the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the Student Aid Report (SAR), but is also affected by enrollment status. A minimum of 12 credit hours each semester is required to receive full eligibility, with pro-rated awards going to students with less than 12 credit hours. Eligible students will be awarded once the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and any required documentation have been received.
FSEOG (Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grant)
FSEOG is for undergraduate Federal Pell Grant recipients with exceptional financial need (i.e., students with the lowest EFCs). Eligible students will be awarded once the FAFSA and any required documentation have been received on a first-come, first-served basis until funds have been exhausted.
Federal Work Study
Federal Work-Study (FWS) provides part-time jobs for undergraduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the recipient's course of study. Students are paid by the hour usually twice per month. The amount earned cannot exceed the total FWS award. When assigning work hours, consideration will be given to the student’s award amount, class schedule, and academic progress. Eligible students who have already been awarded other aid and wish to be considered for FWS are advised to contact the College.
Federal Direct Stafford Loan
Direct Stafford Loans, from the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, are low-interest loans for eligible students to help cover the cost of higher education. Eligible students borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education. A minimum of 6 credit hours per semester is required. Interest is subsidized while in school for students who demonstrate financial need and have not exceeded the aggregate limit. Annual limits are based on class level and dependency status and range from $5,500 to $10,500 per year at community colleges. Not all VCCS colleges participate in the federal loan programs.
Federal Direct PLUS Loan
Parents of dependent students may apply for a Federal Direct PLUS Loan to help pay their child's education expenses as long as certain eligibility requirements are met. The annual limit on a PLUS Loan is equal to the student's cost of attendance minus any other financial aid the student receives.
COMA (Commonwealth Grant)
COMA is a state-funded grant that provides assistance to undergraduate Virginia residents who demonstrate financial need. Award amounts cannot exceed tuition and fees per academic year. A minimum of 6 credit hours is required each semester in order to receive COMA.
VGAP (Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program)
VGAP awards range from $500 up to tuition, fees and books available to undergraduate Virginia residents who graduated from high school with at least a 2.5 grade point average.
PTAP (Part-time Tuition Assistance Program)
PTAP is a state-funded grant, which provides assistance to undergraduate Virginia residents who demonstrate financial need. Award amounts cannot exceed tuition and fees per academic year. A minimum of 1 credit hour and a maximum of 8 credit hours are required each semester in order to receive PTAP. This grant may not be awarded as part of the initial aid package. It may be awarded during the repackaging process that takes place after the end of the add/drop period where aid is based on actual enrollment.
The VCCS Grant provides assistance to Virginia residents at Virginia’s Community Colleges who demonstrate financial need. Award amounts cannot exceed tuition, fees, and books per academic year. This grant may not be awarded as part of the initial aid package. It may be awarded during the repackaging process that takes place after the end of the add/drop period where aid is based on actual enrollment.
VCCS Tuition Grant
The Tuition Grant program provides tuition and fees at any Virginia community college for high school graduates or general education development (GED) completers in foster care, in the custody of a social services agency, or considered a special needs adoption. A minimum of 6 credit hours is required and financial need must be demonstrated. The grant covers tuition and fees only for students not already receiving sufficient federal and state grant eligibility to cover those expenses. Students who would like to be considered for this grant should send proof of their foster care or special needs adoptee status to the Financial Aid Office.