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Frequently Asked Questions

What is FERPA (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act)?

FERPA requires that students authorize the university prior to release of any academic record information to a third party. The disclosure will remain valid until the student removes the authorization.  Students create a 8 character "pass code" (alpha numeric) to be shared with their parent and/or guardian. The parent/guardian must disclose the pass code to the appropriate university official prior to receipt of any of the student's academic record information.  This can be done by following the Hokie Spa pathway listed below:

   Hokie Spa-->Hokie Spa Tab-->FERPA(Family Education Rights and Privacy Act Disclosure)

More information on FERPA can be found here.

How do I apply for scholarships?

General Scholarships are awarded through the Office of University Scholarships and Financial Aid. In order to be considered for these scholarships, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student (FAFSA) aid by the January 15th priority deadline.

The Scholarship Gateway has many competitive General Scholarships listed for the 2016-17 academic year.  The deadline to apply for these scholarships is February 15, 2015.  You must also complete the FAFSA by the priority deadline as well.

Departmental Scholarships are awarded by the Virginia Tech colleges and departments.  The application process, deadlines, and eligibility criteria for these types of scholarships will vary.  All students applying for departmental scholarships should also complete the FAFSA in order to be considered for all potential scholarship awards.

Students should also search for scholarships opportunities outside of Virginia Tech.  Tips for finding scholarships can be found here.

Do I need to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year and what is the deadline?

Yes.  Students are required to complete a new  FAFSA each academic year to be considered for financial aid.  Virginia Tech's FAFSA priority deadline is January 15th, and the school code is 003754.  Students who file the FAFSA after the priority deadline may not be considered for financial aid, other than Stafford Loans and Pell Grant.  The last day a student can file a 2016-17 FAFSA is June 30, 2017.

When will I receive my refund?

Financial aid refunds will begin to pay to student accounts on the Thursday before the first day of classes each semester. They will continue to pay each Thursday throughout the semester. 

Your refund may be delayed for the following reasons:

  • Full-time students with actual registration at less than 12 credits (undergraduate) or 9 credits (graduate/professional).
  • Less than full-time students who have not notified our office of the change in your enrollment status.
  • Holds on your account.  Check holds on the Hokie SPA under Financial Aid Information.
  • Requested documents that have not been received and processed. Check Eligibility Requirements on the Hokie SPA under Financial Aid Information.
If I don’t have direct deposit set up, where does my refund money go?

The Office of University Bursar will mail a check to the permanent mailing address on your Hokie SPA.  To enroll in direct deposit, go to your Hokie SPA then click on Student Account Information and then on Enroll in Direct Deposit.

Will I receive less financial aid because I live off campus?

No.  Students receive the same amount of financial aid whether they live on or off campus.  Off campus students are not billed for dormitory fees.  If the student has been awarded funds above the initial charges on their account, the student will receive a student refund which can be used for housing or any educational purpose.  Refunds are normally released on the Thursday before the start of fall and spring semester classes.

Because the refunds are not available until late August, students should not plan to receive a refund prior to September 1st.

Will my financial aid pay to my account if I am less than full time?

Your financial will not automatically pay if you are less than full-time.  If you are are going to register for less than full-time status, please contact our office to let us know.  In order to receive financial aid, students must be enrolled for a minimum of half-time (6 credits for undergraduate or 5 credits for graduate and professional students).  Keep in mind that a reduced enrollment may result in loss of certain types of aid.

How do I apply for student loans?

Upon completion of the FAFSA, we automatically determine your eligibility for the Stafford Loans (Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized loans).  A student is required to be enrolled at least half time (6 credits undergraduate, 5 credits graduate) and admitted into a degree program to receive these loans.

Students may also choose to apply for a Private/Alternative Loan through a private lender.  This loan does not require a student to complete a FAFSA or to be enrolled half-time, however, you must be enrolled for at least 1 credit at VT.  The Stafford Loans usually have better terms of repayment and interest rates, and the Private/Alternative Loan usually has higher maximum limits.  A Private/Alternative loan requires a credit check, and most students need a co-signer. 

Other types of loans include the Parent PLUS Loan for parents of undergraduates and the Graduate PLUS Loan for graduate students.

The Perkins Loan is a loan of limited eligibility, and is not available for application or request.  It is awarded based upon the FAFSA information.

How Do I Report Scholarships?

Q.  I sent in my reporting form and award letter but don’t see the pending credit.  Why hasn’t it been applied?

A.  If you did not attach an official, signed letter from your awarding organization a pending credit will not appear on your student account.   You should allow 7-10 days for processing after you send your form and award letter due to the high volume of scholarship awards being sent to the Office of the University Bursar, especially during peak times such as the summer months before the start of fall semester and during December and January before the start of spring semester.

Students will not receive a pending credit for the following funds until notification is sent directly to the Office of University Scholarships and Financial Aid from the awarding agency:  National Merit Corporate Sponsor awards, Pennsylvania State Grant Program, Vermont Incentive Grant Program, Southwest Virginia Burley Tobacco Scholarships, Southside Tobacco Forgiveness Loan Program, Maryland Senatorial and Delegate Scholarship Awards, Rhode Island State Grants, Gear-Up Awards, Delaware Scholarship Incentive Program and other state awards, Vermont Incentive Grants, D.C. Tuition Assistance Grants and Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP) Grants.

Q.  I received additional scholarship money and now my financial aid has been reduced.  Why did the scholarship affect my financial aid?

A.  All sources of financial aid must stay within a student’s cost of attendance and a student’s unmet need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  When a student receives an outside scholarship, there are times that other financial aid will have to be reduced.  Virginia Tech will reduce student loans and work study first if at all possible before reducing other scholarships and grants.   Please visit www.finaid.vt.edu  for more information on a student’s cost of attendance.

Q.  My organization doesn’t need to be billed, but they won’t be sending payment until after the August payment deadline for the fall semester.  Do I still need to send the scholarship award letter and reporting form?

A.  Yes.  The award letter and reporting form must be received before the payment deadline in order for pending credit to be applied and possibly prevent a late fee if there is a balance due.

Q.  My scholarship is being sent directly to me.  Do I still need to fill out a scholarship reporting form?

A.  Yes, you should report all scholarships by filling out the reporting form.  If the check is payable to both you and Virginia Tech you will need to send or bring the check to the Office of the University Bursar for endorsement.

Q.  My scholarship is being awarded through Virginia Tech.  Do I still need to fill out the reporting form?

A.   If your scholarship has been awarded through a college, department, or office at Virginia Tech, you do not need to turn in the Scholarship Reporting Form.   University Scholarships and Financial Aid and the Office of University Bursar will be notified directly about these awards and credit your student account.

Q.  How do I know whether to contact the Office of University Scholarships and Financial Aid or the Office of the University Bursar with questions about my scholarships?

A.  If your scholarship is awarded by Virginia Tech, you should contact the Office of University Scholarships and Financial Aid (finaid@vt.edu); if your scholarship is coming from an organization outside of Virginia Tech you should contact that organization or the Third Party Scholarship area of the Office of the University Bursar (bursar@vt.edu) with billing questions.

Q.  Should I wait to pay what I owe until all of my scholarships have paid?

A.  No.  You should pay the amount you owe before the payment deadline (deduct all pending credit and pay the remaining balance due).  Make sure you have turned in all scholarship letters so that the pending credits plus your own payment cover the entire balance due.

Q.  What if my account is paid and then a scholarship is sent to Virginia Tech?  Will I get a refund?

A. The Office of University Scholarships and Financial Aid will determine if this award affects your other financial aid and may have to make changes.  If no change is required, you will receive a refund if your account balance is paid and there are no pending credits at the time the scholarship payment is receive.  Anytime your balance is paid and a new scholarship is received it creates an overpayment and a refund will process, unless the award letter states that the overpayment must be returned to the awarding organization and cannot be refunded to the student.

Q.  When will I get my refund?  

A.   In order for a student to get a refund, the scholarship money must be received by the Bursar’s Office.  The refund will be processed if there is no other balance due on the student account.  Unpaid scholarships which are still in pending status cannot be refunded.

Q.  My scholarship is for books only.  Do I need to report it?

A.    Yes, you should report any scholarships you receive.   If the check for books is made payable to the Bookstore you can take it directly to the Bookstore when you purchase your books.   If the Office of the University Bursar receives a scholarship check with the notation that it is designated for books only or if the check is made payable to the Bookstore, the funds will be sent to the Bookstore.  Scholarship checks received stating that it covers tuition, fees, room, board and books will be deposited to the student account and any remaining funds will be refunded to the student to purchase books, supplies, etc.

Q.  How should the check from my awarding organization be made payable?

A.   All checks (scholarship checks and personal checks) should be made payable to the Treasurer of Virginia Tech.

Q.  Do I need to fill out a reporting form if my tuition and fees are being paid through a 529 plan?

A.  Yes, please complete the form and attach any documentation you have regarding your 529 plan.  A pending credit may or may not be entered, depending on how the funds are coming to the Office of University Bursar.   If you have completed a distribution request form and sent it to your 529 plan, please attach a copy of that form with your reporting form.

Q.  My sponsor has already paid and I still see a pending credit on my student account.  What should I do?

A.  You should contact the Office of the University Bursar to let them know.   The scholarship check may have had the organization name, while the scholarship letter sent to the Office of the University Bursar may have shown the name of the scholarship and that may have caused them both to be showing on your account.

Q.  My scholarship money has already been sent to Virginia Tech but I will not be enrolling this semester.  What happens to the scholarship?

A.   If you are not enrolled, the scholarship money will be returned to the awarding organization. If you don’t enroll in the fall semester but plan to be enrolled spring semester, have your sponsor send us a letter stating that the funds can be used for the spring semester.

Q.  If my scholarship is awarded for four years do I have to report it each year?

A. Yes.   Please complete the form as indicated and check “Yes” on the “Have you received this scholarship in a previous year at Virginia Tech? when submitting the forms in subsequent years and “Yes” to the question “Is this scholarship eligible for renewal?”   That way, we can make sure your pending credit is entered and your sponsor is billed each semester/year.

Q. Will I receive a pending credit on my account, if my scholarship is dependent on my grades for the current semester?

A.   Scholarships which will not be paid until after the semester has ended are considered a reimbursement and no pending credit will be entered on the student account.   When the sponsor sends payment, it will be applied to your student account and refunded to you if your account is paid and no adjustment is needed to your financial aid.