FSA Awarding Process and Disbursement Information

FEDERAL STUDENT AID AWARDING PROCESS

The following steps outline the Federal Student Aid Awarding Process at VIU:

  • Student Completes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
    The FAFSA is processed and the U.S. Department of Education sends an electronic version of the Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) report to VIU.
    Note: Student must list VIU Federal School code: 041440 on the FAFSA in order for VIU to automatically receive the report.
  • Student Submits Additional Documentation
    Financial Aid Office reviews the ISIR for errors and requests any documentation to resolve any conflicting information and/or verification.
    • If errors are found on the FAFSA, a correction is submitted either by the student or by the school (with permission from the student). Common errors on the FAFSA include grade/degree level, incorrect income/taxes reported, selective service registration, housing plan, etc. Students can help minimize the need for FAFSA corrections by reviewing your Student Aid Report (SAR) carefully.
    • If the student is selected for verification, Financial Aid Office sends an electronic notification to the student requesting additional documentation and a completed verification worksheet.
  • Financial Aid Office Reviews the ISIR Report to Determine Your Aid Eligibility
    The Financial Aid Office determines your financial need for federal student financial aid by subtracting the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the Cost of Attendance (COA).  Based on your enrollment status, financial aid eligibility is determined.
  • Financial Aid Eligibility Notification
    Once approved, Financial Aid Office updates the award information in CAMS and sends an award letter notification to students via e-mail. Students are responsible to review the award letter carefully and accept the Terms and Conditions of receiving federal student financial aid.
    Before a student is awarded Federal Student Loans, students must complete entrance counseling (https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/index.action)  and a Master Promissory Note (MPN) (https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/launchMpn.action?mpnType=subUnsubMpn).  Entrance counseling is required for all first-time Direct Loan borrowers.    Students that have previously received student loans are highly encouraged to complete counseling but it is not required.  
    Federal aid is awarded in the following order:
    • Federal Pell Grant
    • FSEOG
    • Subsidized Direct Loan
    • Unsubsidized Direct Loan
    • PLUS Loan
  • Federal Student Aid Disbursement
    Your enrollment status and eligibility will determine your actual aid disbursement. The disbursement takes place twice per a payment period (See Federal Student Aid Disbursement Process for details). For students who are borrowing for the first time through the Direct Stafford loan program, the first disbursement will be 30 days after the first day of the payment period.
    Financial aid funds are applied directly to a student’s school account. If a credit balance is created due to the payment of the federal financial aid, the Accounting Office will process the credit balance and the student will receive a federal financial aid refund for the balance.

Federal Student Aid Disbursement Information

The following steps outline the Federal Student Aid Disbursement Information at VIU:

Federal Student Aid Disbursement Policy:
Two disbursements are required for federal grants and loans per period of enrollment to cover both on-campus and online programs. Prior to disbursement of the federal funds, the Financial Aid Office will verify student eligibility.  Once verified, federal financial aid funds are credited to your student account in the Accounting Office and applied to the institutional charges approximately at the disbursement schedules mentioned below. The Accounting Office will also send an email to students notifying of the disbursements. For federal loans, a 30-Day Delay on First Disbursements for First-time, First-year borrowers is also required after the beginning of the first semester enrolled at least half-time.
Students who do not make satisfactory academic progress or have withdrawn from classes prior to the loan disbursement date will have their federal financial aid cancelled.

Students attending Fall and Spring semesters:

  • The payment period is the entire academic year (August to April).
  • Fall semester: The first disbursement will be at 21 days after the first day of the Fall semester and the second disbursement will be at midpoint of the Fall semester.
  • Spring semester: The first disbursement will be at 21 days after the first day of the Spring semester and the second disbursement will be at midpoint of the Spring semester.
  • For direct loans, the first disbursement for first-time, first-year borrowers will be 30 days after the beginning of the Fall semester

Students attending only Fall or only Spring semester:

  • The payment period is the single semester (August to December or January to April).
  • The first disbursement will be at 21 days after the first day of the semester.
  • The second disbursement will be at the midpoint of the semester.
  • For direct loans, the first disbursement for first-time, first-year borrowers will be 30 days after the beginning of the first semester enrolled at least half-time.

All students attending Summer semester:

  • Summer semester is considered a stand-alone semester. The enrollment period is May to August.
  • The first disbursement will be at 21 days after the first day of the Summer session I and the second disbursement will be at 21 days after the first day of the Summer session II. If students attend only in Summer II semester, the first disbursement will be at 21 days after the first day of the Summer session II and the second disbursement will be at the midpoint of the semester.
  • For direct loans, the first disbursement for first-time, first-year borrowers will be 30 days after the beginning of the first semester enrolled at least half-time.

Credit Balance Policy

Any Title IV federal funds in excess of institutional charges (Tuition and Fees) without a signed Credit Balance Authorization Form on file from the student will result in credit balances being refunded to student no later than 14 calendar days from the date the credit balance is formed on the students’ account. The remaining credit balance after institutional charges are paid will be issued to students as outlined below:

  • The credit balance refund will be issued to students in the form of a check. The Accounting Office will notify students by an e-mail when the check is ready for pick up or if the check is sent to the student by regular mail. Students may select a delivery method.

Housing, Transportation, and Personal Expenses

Housing, transportation, and other personal expenses are considered as indirect costs. Your federal financial aid funds are applied to the tuition and fees (institutional charges) first. VIU currently does not provide on-campus housing option; therefore, tuition and related fees should be the only charge on your student account. If your federal financial aid exceeds the full semester’s institutional charges, you will have a refund due to you that may be used to pay for some or all off-campus housing, transportation, and other personal expenses.
Note: The credit balance refund will be issued to students after the credit balance is formed on the students’ account. Students are strongly encouraged to be prepared with two months of living expense funding after the classes begin in each semester.

Disbursement for Books and Supplies

Based on Title IV regulations, VIU has a provision for books and supplies that is only to Pell eligible students. VIU considers all the Title IV funds a student is eligible to receive at the time we make the determination. Students must meet eligibility requirements 10 days prior to the start of the payment period. 

  1. Financial Aid Office must review all packaged students 10 days prior to the start of the Fall, Spring and Summer semester.
  2. Financial Aid Office must identify whether any packaged student is eligible for Pell Grant and are scheduled to receive a stipend. 
  3. Financial Aid Office should notify the student that they are eligible to receive a book stipend and to contact the Financial Aid Office to request their funds if necessary.