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Types of Federal Financial Aid


The Federal Pell Grant is an award for undergraduates earning their first bachelor’s degree. Eligibility is determined by your expected family contribution (EFC) and your enrollment status. The maximum award for the 2015-2016 award year is $5,775 and the maximum award for the 2016-2017 award year is $5,815. A minimum of 12 credits each semester is required to receive full eligibility, with pro-rated amounts for less than full-time enrollment. Students may receive a Pell grant for six years or the equivalent.

Undergraduate Full-Time Status: 12 credits (Fall, Spring, & Summer Semesters)
Graduate Full-Time Status: 9 credits (Fall & Spring Semester); 6 credits (Summer Semester)

For more information on eligibility and enrollment status requirements, please see Federal Financial Aid Eligibility and Enrollment Requirements

The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is for undergraduates with exceptional need, i.e., the students with the lowest EFC who are also Federal Pell Grant recipients. Generally, a minimum enrollment of six credit hours per semester is required to receive the limited FSEOG funds. Students who have received a prior bachelor’s degree are not eligible for FSEOG.
***Virginia International University cannot offer The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant to students until the 2017-2018 award year which starts July 1, 2017.
Federal Work-Study (FWS) is a program which provides part-time employment opportunities to eligible students to help meet the costs of post-secondary education. Based on the results of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), eligible students are awarded an allotment which may be earned through part-time employment in FWS approved positions either on or off campus. The program is designed to provide students with an opportunity for employment arranged around class schedules. Students must be enrolled at least half-time (six credit hours per semester) to be eligible for this program.

***Virginia International University cannot offer the Federal Work Study program to students until the 2017-2018 award year which starts July 1, 2017. If you are interested at that time, please indicate on your 2017-2018 FAFSA that you are interested in Federal Work Study. The 2017-2018 FAFSA will be available October of 2016.


The William D. Ford Direct Student Loan Program is the most commonly awarded student loan program offered through the federal government. Direct loans are available to both undergraduate and graduate-level students. If you are not in default on a prior educational loan, are enrolled half-time or more, and meet federal student aid eligibility requirements, you will be approved to borrow in the direct loan program. Types of direct loans shown below:

Subsidized Direct Loans: Interest-free loans, if you are enrolled at least half-time.

Unsubsidized Direct Loans: Loans that accrue interest while you are in school.  You may pay the interest on the loan monthly, or you may opt to let the interest accrue while you are studying.

Direct PLUS Loans: You must be a graduate or professional student enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school in a program leading to a graduate or professional degree or certificate, or be the parent (biological, adoptive, or in some cases, stepparent) of a dependent undergraduate student enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school and do not have an adverse credit history.

Borrowing levels for the direct loan are based on the academic year and class level of the borrower:

  • $5,500.00 (maximum of $3,500 subsidized) – freshmen (0-29 credit hours earned)
  • $6,500.00 (maximum of $4,500 subsidized) – sophomores (30-59 credit hours earned)
  • $7,500.00 (maximum of $5,500 subsidized) – juniors and seniors (60+ credit hours earned)
  • $20,500.00 – graduate-level students, unsubsidized

Interest Rates for the Direct Loan program are as follows:

  • Direct Subsidized: 
    • 0% interest while enrolled half-time and through 6-month grace period
    • 4.29% interest rate during repayment
    • 1.068% origination fee deducted on each disbursement
  • Direct Unsubsidized:
    • 4.29% interest rate for undergraduate students
    • 5.84% interest rate for graduate students
    • 1.068% origination fee deducted on each disbursement
  • Direct PLUS Loan (Dependent and Grad Students):
    • 6.84% interest rate
    • 4.272% origination fee deducted on each disbursement

***Rates above are subject to change. Each year, the rates vary slightly.

Repayment of direct loans begins six months after you graduate or drop below half-time enrollment status. The standard length of repayment is ten years, though you can defer payment by meeting certain criteria, such as: enrolling in school at least half-time, becoming unemployed, or experiencing economic hardship.

Federal Financial Aid Eligibility and Enrollment Requirements


The following are eligibility requirements to participate in the Federal Student Aid Programs:

  1. Students with the following citizenship status are eligible to receive federal student aid:
    • U.S. Citizen or U.S. National
    • U.S. Permanent Resident
    • Refugee, Asylum Granted, Cuban-Haitian Entrant, Conditional Entrant (only if issued before 1980), Parolee
    • Battered Immigrant-qualified alien
    • T-visa or a parent with a T-1 visa
    * F1 student visa holders are not eligible for federal student aid
  2. Students must have a valid Social Security Number
  3. Students must have a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) certificate or a state-recognized equivalent; or complete a high school education in a homeschool setting approved under state law; or enroll in an eligible career pathways program.
  4. Students must be registered with the Selective Service if required by law (male, 18-25 years of age). Those required to register who failed to do so before their 26th birthday may forfeit their eligibility for aid if they cannot demonstrate that their failure to register was not done knowingly and willfully.
  5. Be admitted and enrolled in an eligible program of study
  6. Students must currently not be in default of any federal educational loan or owe a repayment on a Federal Pell Grant, FSEOG, or State Grant.
  7. Demonstrate financial need.
  8. Students must maintain satisfactory academic progress in order to be eligible and remain eligible for federal student aid programs. Please view the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy for more information.


A student must maintain at-least a half-time status to remain eligible for Federal Loans.
Below are enrollment definitions:

Enrollment Status Graduate Students Undergraduate Students
  Fall & Spring Summer Fall, Spring, & Summer
Full-Time 9 credits 6 credits 12 credits
¾ Time 6 credits n/a 9 credits
Half-Time n/a 3 credits 6 credits
Less Than Half Time 3 credits n/a 3 credits