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NOVA 2009-2010 College Catalog


NOVA strives to assure that no one be denied the opportunity to attend the College for financial reasons. The financial aid program provides a variety of ways for you to get funds for college.

A Financial Aid Information Service at each campus and the College Financial Aid Office provide information about financial aid programs, application procedures, and eligibility. Applications, forms, and information are posted on the office’s Web site at www.nvcc.edu/finance. The College publishes the Student Financial Aid Services Brochure annually. This publication provides detailed information on application procedures and program eligibility criteria.

Part-time employment is available through the College’s work-study programs that include a community service program. If you can show financial need, you may qualify for participation in this program.

Loans are available through the Federal Perkins Student Loan and the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Programs. If you need a loan, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for an eligibility determination and enroll at least half time (6 semester credit hours). Information on loan application procedures is also sent to students with their award letter notifications.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG) are federally funded and available in conjunction with other types of financial aid.
The Federal Pell Grant, which is federally funded, requires demonstrated financial need. This program is available for students who qualify and enroll as full- or part-time students.

The College Scholarship Assistance Programs (CSAP) and Virginia Community College System (VCCS) provide grant awards for students domiciled in Virginia. The Commonwealth Grant program is provided through the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia to students with demonstrated financial need attending Virginia colleges at least half time and who are making satisfactory academic progress as defined by the State Council for Higher Education for Virginia. The Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program (VGAP) is a state-funded program for Virginia residents who have graduated from a Virginia high school with a cumulative GPA of 2.50, are classified as dependent for financial aid purposes, and demonstrate financial need. An official high school transcript must be sent to the College Financial Aid Office for an eligibility determination.

The District of Columbia offers several grant programs that may be used at the College. These programs have varying eligibility criteria. The DC Tuition Assistance Grant is a residency-based program that pays the difference between in- and out-of-state tuition for qualified applicants. The DC LEAP program is for DC residents and awarded on the basis of demonstrated financial need. More information is available from the College Financial Aid Office or its Web page at www.nvcc.edu/finance.

Applications for financial aid are available from the College Financial Aid Office or Counseling Services Center, any campus Financial Aid Information Service, or the College Financial Aid Web site at www.nvcc.edu/finance. Application should be made well in advance of the semester for which assistance is needed. Applicants for all aid programs, including loans, must file an approved need analysis application. Completed applications received by May 1 will receive priority consideration for the following academic year.

The NOVA Student Financial Aid Committee reviews and recommends policy on administering financial aid programs. The Committee is composed of representatives of the administration, student body, Financial Aid Information Service, and faculty as appointed by the president.

Additional information on scholarships, grants, loans, and on-campus employment may be found in the Student Financial Aid Services Brochure, as well as information about financial aid policies pertaining to class attendance, recalculation of awards, and repayment of funds.


Federal regulations require that all student financial aid recipients progress at a reasonable rate or "make satisfactory progress" toward achieving a certificate or degree.  The standard applies to all terms regardless of whether or not the student received financial aid.  Progress is measured by the student's cumulative grade point average and credits earned in relation to those attempted and the length of the academic program.  Satisfactory progress will be evaluated by the College Financial Aid Office after each term.

Note: Some Career Studies Certificate programs are ineligible for student financial aid.

    1. Completion Rate (67% Rule):  Students must receive a satisfactory grade (defined as a grade of A, B, C, D, R, S, or P) in 67% of the credits for which they enrolled. This calculation is performed by dividing the number of credits earned by the number of credits attempted.  For example, for 32 credits attempted, 22 credits must be successfully completed (22÷32=68.75%).  All credits attempted at NOVA are included.  This evaluation will be made when a student has attempted credits that total 50% or more of the program requirements.

      Note:  Federal Stafford Loan borrowers will have satisfactory academic progress reviewed prior to the disbursement of any loan proceeds.

    2. Maximum hours (150% Rule):  Students may only receive financial aid for 150% of the length of an associate degree program or an eligible certificate program. All enrollment periods at NOVA and all applicable transfer credits are counted; even semesters when financial aid was not received. Developmental/ESL course work is excluded in this calculation.
    3. Transfer students: Credits officially accepted in transfer and specifically applied toward a student's certificate or degree program may be counted in determining the maximum number of allowable semester credit hours for financial aid eligibility.  The student must submit a written evaluation by his academic advisor or campus financial aid specialist of transfer courses applicable to his program with the satisfactory academic progress appeal form to the College Financial Aid Office.  If it is approved, the student may continue to receive financial aid.
    4. Students earning a second degree:  If a student who already has earned a degree chooses to earn a subsequent degree that requires the same number or fewer credits, any credits already earned will automatically apply toward the maximum number of allowable semester credits for financial aid eligibility.
    5. ESL/Developmental Studies.  Students may receive financial aid for a maximum of 30 semester hours of Developmental Studies courses, if required as a result of placement testing.  There is no specific limit on the number of credits of ESL classes eligible for financial aid.
    6. Cumulative GPA Minimum Requirements (GPA Rule):  Students must earn at least the minimum cumulative grade point average, as shown below, once they have attempted a specified number of credit hours.  Only courses with grades of A, B, C, D and F are included in this calculation. In order to graduate a minimum of a 2.0 curriculum grade point average is required.
    7. Total Number of Regular Credits Attempted

      GPA Requirement



        0 – 12


      Not applicable


      13 – 23




      24 – 47







      *  Withdrawals (W grades) which are recorded on the student's permanent academic transcript will be included as credits attempted and will have an adverse effect on the student's ability to meet the requirements of the completion rate for financial aid.

      *  Incomplete Grades.  Courses that are assigned an incomplete grade are included in the cumulative credits attempted.  These cannot be used as credits earned in the progress standard until a successful grade is assigned. 

      *  Repeated courses enable the student to achieve a higher cumulative grade point average.  Repeating courses adversely affects the student's ability to meet the requirements of the completion rate requirement.

    1. Students who are identified as having met the college's definition of "Academic Suspension" are immediately disqualified for financial aid eligibility. 
    2. Students who do not meet the credit progression schedule and cumulative grade point average standard will be disqualified from receiving student financial aid.
    3. A student who is removed from financial aid eligibility more than one time for failure to meet these standards and who requests financial aid will be required to meet with the Financial Aid Counselor to discuss plans for re-establishing financial aid eligibility.  Unless there were extenuating circumstances, a student in this category should expect to enroll for at least 12 semester credits without financial aid and successfully pass all courses attempted with a minimum of a 2.00 GPA to be reconsidered for financial aid.
    4. Removal from financial aid eligibility does not prevent students from enrolling without financial aid if they are otherwise eligible to continue their enrollment.

    Students who fail to meet these standards and lose eligibility for financial aid can appeal the decision. The appeal must be prepared in writing and must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documents.  Appeals should be mailed to the NOVA College Financial Aid Office Service Center, Annandale, VA 22003-3796.  The appeals will be evaluated by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee for mitigating circumstances.  Reasons that may be acceptable for the appeal are: (1) serious illness or accident on the part of the student; (2) death, accident or serious illness in the immediate family; (3) change in academic program; and, (4) other extenuating circumstances.  The reasonableness of the student's ability to improve to meet the appropriate standard for the certificate or degree program in which the student is enrolled will be taken into consideration.

    Appeals will be approved, denied or approved for a probationary period not to exceed one academic year.

    Students who failed to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards and who choose to enroll without benefit of student financial aid may request a review of their academic record after any term in which they are enrolled without the receipt of financial aid to determine whether they have met the satisfactory academic progress standards.  If the standards are met, eligibility is regained for subsequent terms of enrollment in the academic year.

    Students should consult with their campus financial aid advisor to determine how to appeal any element of this policy or to determine how to regain eligibility for financial aid.  If resolution cannot be achieved with the College Financial Aid Office, the NOVA student grievance procedures described in the NOVA Student Handbook may be followed.

Private citizens, businesses, non-profit institutions, and associations have generously donated scholarship funds for students, who are selected by the Student Financial Aid Committee, the donor, or the campus. Most scholarships require that you provide a statement of financial need by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form; however, some scholarships are field or career related and do not stipulate financial need as a requirement. The Financial Aid Office can provide information about the current availability of individual scholarships as well as application materials. The NVCC Educational Foundation publishes a list of available scholarships with their general criteria and deadlines. Scholarship information may also be found on the College web site under www.nvcc.edu/future-students/paying-for-college/financial-assistance/scholarships/index.html, or by entering “Scholarships” under the NOVA web site search feature.