Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
5/19/2022

Part III. Undergraduate Financial Assistance

Article 1
General Information

8VAC40-132-40. Priority for awards.

A. Priority for awards will be given to those students who file an application as required by the institution for need-based financial aid by the institutional priority filing date or deadline and completing the verification process, if applicable. Those students who file an application after the institutional priority filing date or deadline may be considered for an award; however, the award will be based on the funds available at the time the award is made and may be based on a new award schedule.

B. Awards shall not be made to students seeking a second or additional baccalaureate degree until the financial aid needs of first degree-seeking students are fully met.

Statutory Authority

§ 23.1-636 of the Code of Virginia.Derived from Virginia Register Volume 34, Issue 5, eff. November 1, 2017.

8VAC40-132-50. Award schedule and award amount restrictions.

A. Institutions shall construct award schedules to determine priority for and amount of awards, ensuring that the schedule conforms to the conditions and restrictions listed in this subsection.

1. The institution:

a. Must define its neediest students;

b. Must use the same award schedule for all students whose awards are packaged at the same time;

c. Shall not include the assessed tuition and fee surcharge at four-year institutions when calculating the remaining need and financial need of students exceeding 125% of their program length, pursuant to § 23.1-509 of the Code of Virginia;

d. For students enrolled at multiple institutions or in study abroad programs, shall include as the tuition and required fee component of the cost of attendance the lesser of the amount that would be charged by the home institution for the student's combined enrollment level and the sum of actual tuition and required fees assessed by each institution;

e. May include minimum award amounts for VGAP and Commonwealth Awards;

f. May construct a new award schedule based on the time of packaging and available funds; however, for students whose awards are packaged at the same time, the same schedule shall be used; and

g. Shall define equivalent need between Commonwealth Award and VGAP students.

2. Award amounts must be:

a. Based on remaining need, and

b. Proportional to remaining need (i.e., students with greater remaining need receive larger award amounts than students with lesser remaining need).

3. VGAP-eligible students:

a. Must receive an award before Commonwealth Award-eligible students with equivalent need.

(1) Administratively, all VGAP and Commonwealth Award students are packaged according to the institution's award schedule in use at the time of the packaging run. The award schedule should provide for larger VGAP awards than Commonwealth Awards at equivalent need and should ensure that the neediest students are prioritized over less needy students.

(2) The practical effect is that at the point at which funds are exhausted, the VGAP students at that last level of need to be funded are awarded before Commonwealth Award students at the equivalent level of need. This process ensures that VGAP students are prioritized over Commonwealth Award students with equivalent need;

b. Must receive award amounts greater than Commonwealth Award-eligible students with equivalent remaining need;

c. Who fall into the neediest category must receive an award amount of at least the tuition charged to the individual student;

d. Who fall into the neediest category may receive an award amount of up to tuition, required fees, and book allowance; and

e. If approved for enrollment of less than 12 hours under an ADA exception, should receive an adjusted award amount, calculated in accordance with institution's awarding policies.

4. Two-year colleges electing to use a modified award schedule must:

a. Define "remaining need" as (i) any positive difference between a student's cost of attendance and the student's EFC or (ii) the financial need determined by the U.S. Department of Education and reflected in its payment schedule of EFC ranges for the Federal Pell Grant program;

b. Construct an award schedule that is based on remaining need and the combination of federal and state grant aid; and

c. Include a minimum award amount for the neediest VGAP-eligible student.

B. The following award amount restrictions apply to awards:

1. Financial need over awards are prohibited.

a. An award under the program, when combined with other gift assistance applied to the student's institutional account, shall not exceed the student's financial need.

b. For purposes of the over financial need calculation, only the tuition and fee portion of veterans education benefits and national service education awards or post-service benefits (e.g., AmeriCorps) shall be included.

2. Tuition over awards are prohibited.

a. An undergraduate Commonwealth Award, when combined with tuition-only assistance such as a tuition waiver, tuition scholarship or grant, or employer tuition reimbursement, shall not exceed the student's actual charges for tuition and required fees;

b. A VGAP award, when combined with tuition-only assistance such as a tuition waiver, tuition scholarship or grant, or employer tuition reimbursement, shall not exceed the student's actual charges for tuition, required fees, and standard book allowance.

Statutory Authority

§ 23.1-636 of the Code of Virginia.Derived from Virginia Register Volume 34, Issue 5, eff. November 1, 2017.

8VAC40-132-60. Summer session awards.

Institutions may elect to award during summer sessions; however, an award made to assist a student in attending an institution's summer session shall be prorated according to the size of comparable awards for students with similar financial needs made in that institution's regular session.

Statutory Authority

§ 23.1-636 of the Code of Virginia.Derived from Virginia Register Volume 34, Issue 5, eff. November 1, 2017.

8VAC40-132-70. Refund of awards.

A student who receives an award and who, during a term, withdraws from the institution that made the award must surrender the balance of the award. In determining the earned portion of the award that the student may retain, the institution shall apply the percentage of earned aid resulting from the federal Return to Title IV formula to the student's award amount.

Statutory Authority

§ 23.1-636 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 34, Issue 5, eff. November 1, 2017.

Article 2
Commonwealth Awards

8VAC40-132-80. Undergraduate eligibility criteria for an initial award.

In order to participate, an undergraduate student shall:

1. Be enrolled at least half-time into an eligible program on or after the term's census date;

2. Be a domiciliary resident of Virginia;

3. Demonstrate financial need; and

4. Have complied with federal selective service registration requirements, unless the following apply:

a. The requirement to register has terminated or become inapplicable to the student; and

b. The student shows by preponderance of the evidence that failure to register was not a knowing and willful failure to register.

Statutory Authority

§ 23.1-636 of the Code of Virginia.Derived from Virginia Register Volume 34, Issue 5, eff. November 1, 2017.

8VAC40-132-90. Renewability of awards.

Awards may be renewed provided that the student:

1. Maintains satisfactory academic progress; and

2. Continues to meet all of the requirements of 8VAC40-132-80.

Statutory Authority

§ 23.1-636 of the Code of Virginia.Derived from Virginia Register Volume 34, Issue 5, eff. November 1, 2017.

8VAC40-132-100. Enrollment at multiple institutions and in study abroad programs.

A. A student enrolled concurrently at multiple institutions may receive an award if:

1. The home institution is a VSFAP participating institution;

2. A formal consortium agreement is in place; and

3. The student's combined enrollment is at least half-time.

B. A student enrolled in a study abroad program may receive an award if:

1. The student is enrolled at least half-time;

2. The student remains on record as a student in an eligible program at the home institution for the term in which the award is received;

3. The program funds are disbursed through the home institution; and

4. The study abroad program is a formal agreement arranged by the institution.

Statutory Authority

§ 23.1-636 of the Code of Virginia.Derived from Virginia Register Volume 34, Issue 5, eff. November 1, 2017.

Article 3
Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program Awards

8VAC40-132-110. VGAP eligibility criteria for an initial award.

In order to participate, an undergraduate student shall:

1. Be enrolled full-time into an eligible program on or after the term's census date;

2. Be a domiciliary resident of Virginia;

3. Demonstrate financial need;

4. Be a graduate from a Virginia high school.

a. Students obtaining a General Educational Development (GED) certificate are not eligible.

b. Exceptions to graduating from a Virginia high school are granted for students who:

(1) Are dependent children of active-duty military personnel residing outside the Commonwealth of Virginia pursuant to military orders and claiming Virginia on their State of Legal Residence Certificate and satisfying the domicile requirements for such active duty military personnel pursuant § 23.1-502 of the Code of Virginia;

(2) Have completed a program of home school instruction in accordance with § 22.1-254.1 of the Code of Virginia; or

(3) Have been excused from school attendance pursuant to subsection B of § 22.1-254 of the Code of Virginia;

5. For a high school graduate, have at least a cumulative 2.5 grade point average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale, or its equivalent, at the time of admission to the institution or according to the latest available high school transcript. In the absence of a high school transcript indicating the grade point average, the institution must have on file a letter from the student's high school certifying the student's high school GPA;

6. For a student meeting the high school graduate exception in subdivision 4 b (1) or 4 b (2) of this section, have earned a math and verbal combined scores of at least 900 for SATs taken prior to March 1, 2016, or at least 980 for SATs taken on or after March 1, 2016; or have earned ACT composite scores of 19 or above; and

7. Have complied with federal selective service registration requirements, unless the following apply:

a. The requirement to register has terminated or become inapplicable to the student; and

b. The student shows by preponderance of the evidence that failure to register was not a knowing and willful failure to register.

Statutory Authority

§ 23.1-636 of the Code of Virginia.Derived from Virginia Register Volume 34, Issue 5, eff. November 1, 2017.

8VAC40-132-120. Renewability of awards.

A. Awards for students attending two-year colleges may be renewed for one year while awards for students attending four-year colleges may be renewed for up to three years. Students shall be limited to a cumulative total of four years of eligibility.

Awards may be renewed provided that the undergraduate student, for the term in which an award is provided:

1. Is enrolled full-time in an eligible program on or after the term's census date;

2. Is a domiciliary resident of Virginia;

3. Demonstrates continued financial need;

4. Maintains continuous full-time enrollment unless granted an exception for cause by the council.

a. Continuous enrollment shall be recognized as full-time enrollment in each academic period; lack of enrollment or less than full-time enrollment in the summer session or other special sessions offered by the institution does not disqualify the student.

b. A student participating in a cooperative education program or internship that is part of his academic program and a student whose college education is interrupted by a call to military service shall be deemed to have maintained continuous enrollment if he reenrolls no later than the following fall semester after completion of such employment or military service.

c. If an exception is granted by council, council staff will also determine the student's remaining VGAP eligibility within his current class level as well as toward the student's maximum VGAP usage;

5. Annually, prior to the start of the award year,

a. Maintains at least a 2.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale, or its equivalent; and

b. Maintains satisfactory academic progress;

6. Has complied with federal selective service registration requirements, unless the following apply:

a. The requirement to register has terminated or become inapplicable to the student; and

b. The student shows by preponderance of the evidence that failure to register was not a knowing and willful failure to register.

B. VGAP renewal awards are subject to the following special considerations:

1. Students who transfer to an institution shall be considered renewal students if they received or were eligible for an award during the prior academic period provided they meet renewal criteria in subsection A of this section.

2. Students who do not initially receive a VGAP award may be considered for an award provided that they meet initial eligibility criteria and continue to meet renewal criteria in subsection A of this section.

3. If a student fails to meet one of the renewal criteria found in subsection A of this section, the student cannot reestablish such eligibility. However, the student may be considered for a Commonwealth Award.

C. Conditions and requirements for renewal awards.

1. Beginning with the 2017–2018 award year, a student may not receive more than one year of support before satisfying the requirements to move to the next class level.

a. For purposes of this section, one year shall mean a 12-month timeframe from the beginning of the first term a VGAP award was received at a specific class level.

(1) Students receiving their first term of VGAP at a class level in the fall term must advance class levels by the beginning of the following fall term.

(2) Students receiving their first term of VGAP at a class level in the spring term must advance class levels by the beginning of the following spring term.

(3) Students receiving their first term of VGAP at a class level in the summer term must advance class levels by the beginning of the following summer term.

(4) If an institution determines that the student did not advance class level at the completion of the one year, the student is not eligible for a VGAP award the next term; however, the institution may reconsider providing VGAP for that next term, if:

(a) The student subsequently demonstrates that additional credits were earned prior to the beginning of the term (whether by transfer, adjusted grades, or other); and

(b) The additional credits are accepted by the institution and are sufficient for the student to advance class level.

(c) Example: The student falls three hours short of advancing class level upon completion of the 2017–2018 award year and therefore is not packaged VGAP entering the fall 2018 term. However, if during the fall term the student successfully transfers or secures a grade change for courses that were completed prior to the fall 2018 term, and as a result secures the additional hours needed to advance class level, the institution may award VGAP for fall 2018.

b. The hours required to advance class level may be completed in any combination of terms, transfer of credits, or testing out of courses. Examples include completing:

(1) The minimum hours necessary to advance class level (typically 30) in the combined fall, spring, and summer terms within the one-year timeframe; or

(2) The minimum hours necessary to advance class level (typically 30) by combining credits earned in academic terms during the one year and any other credits earned via transfer or an approved examination, such as a test of The College Board's College Level Examination Program (CLEP), by no later than the completion of the one-year timeframe.

c. Students failing to advance class levels after one year of support:

(1) May be considered for a Commonwealth Award for the next term of enrollment; and

(2) May then be reconsidered for a VGAP award for the term in which they enter at a higher class level if they continue to meet all renewal criteria in subsection A of this section.

d. Students advancing class levels in less than one year are not granted extra terms of support.

2. Beginning with first-time students enrolled in the fall semester in 2018, each eligible student shall receive a grant in an amount greater than the grant of each eligible student with equivalent remaining need in the next lowest class level.

a. The annual award differential between the class levels is determined by the institution. When determining the differential, institutions should weigh the available funding and the needs of the overall student enrollment with the amount of the differential necessary to incentivize students to progress.

b. The award differential between the class levels can vary from year to year.

c. The award differential is not based upon the prior year awards for the individual student or other class levels. Annual awards are based upon the unique circumstances for the individual year, including available funding, student remaining need, and changes in total financial need across all eligible students.

3. Grandfathering:

a. For students enrolled prior to fall 2018, there is no requirement that the awards be differentiated by class level.

b. For students enrolled prior to fall 2017, those students completing full-time equivalent courses per academic year remain eligible for consideration of a VGAP award entering the 2017–2018 award year. The requirement of one year of award per class level is reviewed upon completion of the 2017–2018 award year and then evaluated each term thereafter, as appropriate.

Statutory Authority

§ 23.1-636 of the Code of Virginia.Derived from Virginia Register Volume 34, Issue 5, eff. November 1, 2017.

8VAC40-132-130. Enrollment at multiple institutions and in study abroad programs.

A. A student enrolled concurrently at multiple institutions may receive an award if:

1. The home institution is a VSFAP participating institution;

2. A formal consortium agreement is in place; and

3. The student's combined enrollment meets full-time requirements.

B. A student enrolled in a study abroad program may receive an award if:

1. The student is enrolled full-time;

2. The student remains on record as a student in an eligible program at the home institution for the term in which the award is received;

3. The program funds are disbursed through the home institution; and

4. The study abroad program is a formal agreement arranged by the institution.

Statutory Authority

§ 23.1-636 of the Code of Virginia.Derived from Virginia Register Volume 34, Issue 5, eff. November 1, 2017.

Website addresses provided in the Virginia Administrative Code to documents incorporated by reference are for the reader's convenience only, may not necessarily be active or current, and should not be relied upon. To ensure the information incorporated by reference is accurate, the reader is encouraged to use the source document described in the regulation.

As a service to the public, the Virginia Administrative Code is provided online by the Virginia General Assembly. We are unable to answer legal questions or respond to requests for legal advice, including application of law to specific fact. To understand and protect your legal rights, you should consult an attorney.