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Using Your Current Aid & Scholarships


VCU Institutional Scholarships
Students who receive VCU institutional merit scholarships or need based grants, including the Dean, Provost, or Presidential awards, must notify the following offices/contacts to ensure the timely disbursement of institutional scholarships and grants:
  • Self-identify to your Education Abroad adviser as early as possible in the study abroad advising process (abroad@vcu.edu)
  • Notify Kittinun Wongsirikul at the VCU Office of Admissions (wongsirikulk@vcu.edu or phone 804-828-6528 prior to departure
  • Notify your financial counselor (through Navigate or 804-828-1550)
Please note: Should the study abroad experience delay an institutional scholarship recipient's graduation beyond 4 years, students will not be eligible to request additional support from VCU in the form of scholarships beyond 4 years of study. All students are strongly encouraged to take courses abroad that will contribute to timely degree completion; students using state and/or federal loans and grants are not eligible to use aid towards courses that do not count towards the student's degree requirements.  

Effective Fall 2022:
For students who receive VCU's Presidential Scholarship (which covers costs associated with tuition, housing, and a meal plan), awards for study abroad will be based on anticipated costs for tuition, housing, and meals abroad which is determined by the host institution/program provider and documented in GEO through the consortium/contractual agreement process. Awards will cover estimated costs of tuition, housing, and meals abroad, but may not exceed the equivalent dollar amount of VCU full-time tuition, housing, and meals.    
 

VIRGINIA PREPAID TUITION

The Virginia Prepaid Education Program — VPEP — will make payments to foreign schools that meet the federal definition of an eligible educational institution. Contact us toll free at 1-888-567-0540 to determine whether VPEP payments to a specific foreign school qualify under Section 529.
If the student is studying abroad through a program sponsored by an eligible educational institution located in the United States and Virginia College Savings Plan is invoiced from that qualified institution, the payout will be the same dollar amount that VPEP would pay if the student were attending that institution domestically. Any differential in the costs to study abroad will be the student’s responsibility and will not be covered by VPEP. For more information regarding VPEP, please contact the organization directly at 1-888-567-0540.
  • If you have questions about the amount of 529 funds you can take out for study abroad, please have your account owner contact their 529 plan administrator. Additionally, inquire about any tax ramifications with any changes in distributions for study abroad. 
  • In order to use VA 529 funds, you will need to set up Intermediary Billing (see below steps).  
 

Intermediary Billing Conditions: 

If you intend to use a source of funding to cover your study abroad costs that is restricted to disbursement to your VCU account only, like: VA 529 prepaid tuition, $500 GEO scholarship, or other external funding sources, please read below. 
  1. Please complete this Intermediary Billing Request Form at least 2-3 months prior to departure to begin this process. Once you have completed this form, please forward the completed form to abroad@vcu.edu 
  2. Your host institution or study abroad program provider will need to invoice VCU Education Abroad for your study abroad costs.  VCU will then pay the invoice on your behalf and charge you for the invoiced amount through VCU Student Accounting. You will be responsible for having your host institution or study abroad program send VCU Education Abroad the invoice at abroad@vcu.edu by the deadline as follows:
    • Winter or Spring Abroad: Invoice required by December 1
    • Summer Abroad: Invoice required by May 1
    • Fall or Full-Year Abroad: Invoice required by August 1
  3. Once your study abroad invoice is received by VCU Education Abroad: You will be billed by VCU on your VCU student account for the invoice amount and are responsible to pay the balance by the deadline. Please note that aid may disburse before or after your charges appear. 
  4. If you use VA 529 prepaid tuition funds: You will need to contact VCU Student Accounting to have VA 529 prepaid tuition funds disbursed to your VCU account once the charges from the invoice have been posted.
  5. If you use GI Bill funds: You will need to contact VCU Military Support Services to ensure that you are studying with an eligible institution and to have GI Bill funds disbursed to your VCU account once the charges have been posted.


DC TAG

DCTAG can only be used on VCU faculty-led programs that offer VCU credit. DCTAG funds cannot be used for programs that offer transfer credit. Reach out to VCU Student Accounting with any questions. 
 
Federal Financial Aid and Loans
VCU Education Abroad works with the Office of Financial Aid to provide as much financial assistance to you as is allowable by law. All need-based and merit-based aid, with the exception of work study, can be applied towards the cost of your approved study abroad program.

VCU faculty-led programs
If you are participating in VCU summer faculty-led programs you should:
  • File a Free Application for Federal Student Aid for the academic year in which the program falls (note: summer is the last term in the academic year). 
  • Complete VCU Education Abroad online application and indicate that you will be using financial aid.
  • Visit your financial aid counselor, who can be reached through Navigate, to complete the Financing and Payment form (find on application).
  • Please note, in regards to financial aid disbursement:
    • Financial aid will be disbursed 10 days prior to your program start date. You may need to pay program fees prior to departure. Students then have to use financial aid as a reimbursement and be prepared to pay program costs and tuition prior to travel (please note that for most students it is necessary to have available funds to pay for airfare, visa costs and other expenses such as the application fee/deposit months prior to departure).
    • Financial aid does not disburse until you have reached the course start date of at least 6 credits in the summer. If you are enrolling in less than 6 credits on your study abroad program, and in order to reach the 6 credit minimum needed for financial aid, you are taking additional on-campus summer courses at VCU, please note that financial aid will not be disbursed until you have begun your on-campus course.
    • Summer students must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credits for Undergraduate Students, and 5 credits for Graduate students (half-time status) to receive financial aid. (Some alternative lenders will supply funds to students receiving less than 6 credits during the summer. Please contact the lender directly with questions.)
Exchange programs
If you are participating in an Exchange Program (Partnership or Departmental) then you should:
  • File a FAFSA for the academic year in which you will be studying abroad (please note that the FAFSA should be filed according to the cost of study at VCU and not according to the cost of your study abroad program).
  • Apply to your study abroad program through the Education Abroad Office. The office will send a budget to the Financial Aid Office on your behalf that indicates your total estimated expenses (including tuition, housing, meals, international airfare, immigration costs, passport fees, local expenses, etc.)
  • Education Abroad registers you for the study abroad (STUA) placeholder course for the semester in which you will be abroad. This 12-credit placeholder (6 credits in the summer) indicates that you are still a full-time student at VCU who is studying abroad. Enrollment in the placeholder course allows you to meet the requirement to be enrolled full time in order to receive your financial aid funds.
  • Financial aid and institutional aid (i.e. dean’s, provost’s, or presidential scholarships) will be disbursed at the start of the semester and will pay for charges posted to your VCU student account equal to the amount that the scholarship would normally cover if you were studying on-campus (please note that these scholarships are typically unavailable during the summer).
  • If you receive financial aid in excess of your program fee that has been billed to your VCU student account, your financial aid and/or scholarship funds will be sent to you via check or direct deposit (in order to receive direct deposit, you must complete a direct deposit form).
  • Summer students must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credits (full-time status) to receive financial aid. (Some alternative lenders will supply funds to students receiving less than 6 credits during the summer. Please contact the lender directly with questions.)
  • Semester students must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 credits (full-time status) to receive financial aid. For semester study abroad participants, in order to receive financial aid, students must file a FAFSA before the last day of the semester.
  • Summer study abroad participants may be awarded more funds if it is their first time submitting a FASFA for the academic school year. Please contact your financial aid counselor for more information.
  • Some alternative lenders will give funds directly to the student and some disburse payments through the Financial Aid Office. Please contact the lender directly with questions relating to disbursement.
Affiliate and Alternative Programs
If you are participating in an alternative study abroad program, then you should:
  • File a FAFSA for the academic year in which you will be studying abroad (please note that the FAFSA should be filed according to the cost of study at VCU, and not according to the cost of your study abroad program).
  • Complete the Alternative Program Registration Packet and submit to Education Abroad.
  • Education Abroad will draft an agreement between your study abroad program and VCU. Your program provider/host institution will sign the agreement and return it to Education Abroad attached with a budget for your program.
  • Upon receiving the signed agreement and the program budget, Education Abroad will send a budget to the Financial Aid Office that indicates the total estimated expenses of your program (including tuition, housing, meals, international airfare, immigration costs, passport fees, local expenses, etc.)
  • Financial aid will be dispersed at the start of the semester.
  • If you receive financial aid in excess of your program fee that has been billed to your VCU student account, your financial aid and/or scholarship funds will be sent to you via check or direct deposit (in order to receive direct deposit, you must complete a direct deposit form).
  • Summer students must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credits (full-time status) to receive financial aid. (Some alternative lenders will supply funds to students receiving less than 6 credits during the summer. Please contact the lender directly with questions.)
  • Semester students must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 credits (full-time status) to receive financial aid. For semester study abroad participants, in order to receive financial aid, students must file a FAFSA before the last day of the semester.
  • For summer study abroad participants, students must file a FAFSA before June 30.
  • Summer study abroad participants may be awarded more funds if it is their first time submitting a FASFA for the academic school year. Please contact your financial aid counselor for more information.
  • Some alternative lenders will give funds directly to the student and some disburse payments through the Financial Aid Office. Please contact the lender directly with questions relating to disbursement.
Many alternative study abroad programs will require advance payment before departure. Students will then have two options:
1. Pay the program fee up front and use financial aid as a reimbursement to yourself.
2. Find out if your study abroad program will provide you with a financial aid disbursement or certification form that your financial aid counselor can complete stating the amount of funds you will receive for the semester/year.

Please note that the Financial Aid Office will not be able to complete these forms until after the award letter is issued in June. The Financial Aid Office will not be able to complete these forms unless you have properly registered with the Education Abroad office, and the Financial Aid Office has received your budget from Education Abroad.
 
These steps are provided so you can better understand the financial aid process as it relates to study abroad. If you have further questions regarding the financial aid process or your financial aid award, please contact Student Financial Services directly.