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Planning to attend a private college or university in Virginia? Good news! Virginia residents wishing to attend a private institution within the Commonwealth may be eligible to receive a Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant (VTAG).

In 1972, the Commonwealth of Virginia created VTAG as a way to assist residents who attend accredited private, nonprofit colleges and universities in Virginia. VTAG is a non-need based grant and is available to undergraduate students as well as graduate students enrolled in health-related professional programs.

For a list of participating institutions and program requirements, download the VTAG brochure.  To apply, download the 2014-15 VTAG application.

The annual deadline to apply is July 31st.

Avoid being scammed!

There’s a reason the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has “Free” in its title – you shouldn’t have to pay money to get money! When completing the FAFSA, be sure to go to fafsa.ed.gov and avoid any websites containing “fafsa” and ending in “.com” in its URL.

For information on how to avoid financial aid and scholarship scams, visit the Federal Trade Commission online at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0082-scholarship-and-financial-aid-scams.

From finding the best fit, to meeting application deadlines, to figuring out how to pay for it all—the college process can be daunting and intimidating. There is help! Virginia is offering a series of three collaborative events designed to help guide Virginia students and their families through this process.

Mark your calendars!

  • College Nights in Virginia – November 1-15, 2013.
    For more information, visit www.collegenights.org.
  •  Virginia College Application Week – November 18-22, 2013.
    For more information, email iamtheoneva@gmail.com.
  •  Super FAFSA Week – February 1-8, 2014.
    For more information, visit www.vasfaa.com/super.

See the flyer for more details.

1-2-3 Flyer

Easy as 1-2-3!

Opportunities Await!

Interested in finding out more about the financial aid opportunities available to Virginians? Check out ECMC’s 2013-14 guide (http://www.ecmc.org/details/opportunities.html), which highlights federal financial aid programs and provides guidance about the financial aid process.

Known as the Opportunities Preparing for College Guide and Workbook, this booklet explains the types of financial aid available and eligibility requirements for federal programs. It also includes information about applying for financial aid and estimating college costs as well as a timeline for what students and parents/families should be doing to successfully navigate through the financial aid process.

Both English and Spanish versions are available.

ecmc_placeholder_opps2100

Have you subtracted your financial aid awards from your college tuition bill to find that you still have a remaining balance? If so, don’t panic!

Many colleges offer convenient tuition payment plans to assist you with paying your remaining balance. These plans usually divide your semester costs (tuition, on-campus housing, dining, and fees) into manageable installments throughout the semester.

To find out what payment plan options are available at your college, contact your college’s student accounting or financial aid office. Make sure to ask about requirements and costs for participation as payment plans may require that you apply by a certain deadline and pay a small fee to enroll. When reviewing your options, choose a plan that best fits your needs.

Also, be aware of and prepared to pay for expenses that are most likely not included on your bill, such as books, supplies, and off-campus housing (if applicable). If you need assistance paying these expenses, contact your college’s financial aid office to inquire about alternatives.

Many of you will be heading to college in the fall, and it’s important for you to get to know the financial aid administrators on your campus. Who are these folks and how can they help you?

According to the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), financial aid administrators are professionals whose primary goal is to help students achieve their educational potential by providing appropriate financial resources. The financial aid staff on your campus should be able to provide you with information about:

  • The types of financial aid available at your institution;
  • Financial aid application deadlines;
  • Procedures to help students with unexpected hardships; and
  • How much aid you are qualified to receive and when you can expect to receive it.

To learn more about financial aid administrators and how they can help you, visit the NASFAA web site. Or look up the financial aid office at your college or university, and make an appointment to visit this fall when you arrive on campus. You can even check out the US Department of Education’s blog to find a list of 5 Questions to Ask the Financial Aid Office as You Head Back to School.

VTAG Deadline Is July 31

Have you thought about attending one of Virginia’s outstanding private colleges or universities, but are concerned about the cost of tuition? Well, now is the time to take action because Virginia residents who attend a participating private institution within the Commonwealth are eligible to receive a Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant (VTAG). The maximum annual VTAG award amount for undergraduates will increase to $3,100 for academic year 2013-14.

Applications are available at the financial aid office of the private institution the student plans to attend. Completed VTAG applications should be submitted to the institution’s financial aid office on, or before, July 31. The award amount is based on the number of eligible students and the amount of funds appropriated by the General Assembly.

For more information about VTAG, as well as a list of the 34 accredited, private, non-profit colleges and universities in Virginia that participating in the program, visit the SCHEV website for the VTAG Factsheet.

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