Understanding Financial Aid

Cost is frequently a major factor in choosing a college.  Virginia private colleges are committed to being affordable for most students through various forms of financial aid. 
Need-based financial assistance is available from a number of sources, and is not limited to families with low incomes.   We strongly encourage all families to apply for financial aid regardless of income. 

Non need-based financial assistance includes institutional grants, academic scholarships, on-campus employment, low-interest loans, and tuition payment plans.  Institutional grants are provided by the individual college at their discretion, and in many cases are not determined by merit or need.
In order to understand financial aid, you must learn the many sources that are available. Financial aid for Virginia private college students and their families comes in these main forms:


Individual colleges provide institutional grants to help make up the difference between college costs and what a family can afford to pay.  While some are based on merit, institutional grants are awarded by the Virginia private colleges to make private education affordable.

Need-based grant amounts are determined when students fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form (FAFSA).

Some grants come with special privileges or obligations. It’s important to find out about the types of grants awarded by each college you are considering.


Scholarships are financial aid that do not have to be repaid.  Typically, they are awarded according to some criteria such as academic or athletic achievement, cultural or religious background, service, etc.


Low-interest educational loans, which must be repaid, are available from government and private lenders.


This form of tuition assistance is aid that you earn.  The federal government and many colleges offer work study programs that provide part-time jobs to help students cover the cost of their education.

Please find additional resources in Understanding Financial Aid here.
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