Learn All About Grants

Grants for higher education are an excellent option for eligible students. For one thing, they don’t need to be repaid (like a loan) if you comply with the guidelines. And there are also a variety of grants available to students who are willing to do a bit of additional research to finance their education.

What Is a Grant?

Grants are a form of gift aid based on demonstrated financial need.

Grants usually do not have to be repaid as long as you complete the courses for which the grant aid was awarded. You must apply for Financial Aid and submit your FAFSA to NOVA to be considered for grants. Funds are limited, so get your application in early.

Who Is Eligible?

To qualify for financial aid, you must:

  • Be enrolled in an eligible program of study
  • Maintain satisfactory academic standing
  • Not be in default on a federal educational loan or owe a repayment to a federal grant

State and federally-funded aid programs require:

  • U.S. citizenship
  • Permanent residency, Asylee or refugee status
  • Virginia residency (state funds only)
  • Federal school code for NOVA: 003727

How Much Grant Money Can You Receive?

It varies. Federal Pell Grants are the largest federal grants, providing anywhere from $600 - $3,000 per semester. But this is just one of your options. Check the list below to find out what else you might qualify for.

Available Grants

This is the largest federal grant program. The amount awarded is based on your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is calculated when you submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Federal Pell Grants are available year-round (including the summer term), but if you attend full-time in both the fall and spring terms you must take at least six eligible credits to potentially receive a summer Federal Pell Grant.

A lifetime Federal Pell Grant limit that equates to 12 full-time semesters applies. Before the term census (i.e. the last day to drop with a tuition refund for the longest session of the fall, spring, or summer term), Federal Pell Grants are offered based upon anticipated full-time enrollment. Federal Pell awards will be reduced after the term census for less than full-time enrollment and will not be increased if courses are added later in the term.

Federal Pell Grant

This federal program offers grants to eligible students enrolled in at least six eligible credits. You must show exceptional financial need and be pursuing your first baccalaureate degree.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

This grant may be offered to qualified students who are enrolled at least half-time, demonstrate financial need and are domiciled residents of Virginia.

Virginia Commonwealth Award

This program provides awards up to the cost of tuition and fees to eligible students who graduated from a Virginia high school with a 2.5 cumulative GPA and who are residents of Virginia. A cumulative GPA of 2.0 is required for renewal and awards may only be received two times while attending NOVA (once per grade level). To be considered for VGAP, you must submit a final, official high school transcript to the Financial Aid Office in addition to completing the financial aid application.

Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program (VGAP)

These grants are funded by the Virginia Community College System and can be applied toward tuition for qualified students who demonstrate financial need. Recipients must be domiciled residents of Virginia and be enrolled in 1-8 required credits per term.

This program provides assistance to full- and part-time students enrolled in at least six required credits who demonstrate financial need.

If your financial situation has been negatively impacted, you may submit an income appeal.  You may also contact your campus Financial Aid Office to discuss emergency aid options or check with NOVA's Financial Stability and Advocacy Centers about other financial resources that may be available.

The G3 initiative provides an opportunity for any Virginian to earn a college credential that meets critical employer demands. HB 2204 established G3 as a last-dollar grant for eligible students after other grant aid is applied. Funding is available for either credit or non-credit programs. To be eligible for credit programs, applicants must apply for financial aid by filing a FAFSA or VASA application each award year, and submit all required To-Do List items. If household income has declined within the last two years, students are encouraged to submit an income appeal after they apply for financial aid.

G3 is a limited pool of funds for students enrolled at least half-time in one of the eligible G3 credit or non-credit programs and will be awarded on a first-come/first-served basis as eligibility is determined. Awards can cover tuition and mandatory fees, a Student Support Incentive Grant (SSIG) of up to $2,250 per year for eligible students who are enrolled full-time and receive full Federal Pell Grants based on a $0 Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and a textbook stipend of $500 for full-time attendance, $375 for three-quarter-time and $250 for half-time enrollment.

G3 Initiative

The VCCS Grant will be awarded as a last dollar grant. VCCS Grant eligible students must have remaining need, be Virginia residents, enrolled in at least 1 financial aid eligible credit, have EFCs ranging from 0 through 13,000, and have NO bachelor or higher degree. The award amount may cover the remaining tuition balance up to $500 per term.

This grant provides tuition and fees at any Virginia community college for high school graduates or General Education Development (GED) completers who were in foster care, in the custody of a social services agency, or considered a special needs adoption at the time of graduation or completion of their GED. You must be enrolled in at least six required credits.

If you are not eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, but your parent or guardian was a member of the US Armed Forces and died as a result of service performed in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001, you may be eligible to receive this grant. You must be under 24 years of age or enrolled in college at least part-time at the time of your parent’s or guardian’s death.

This program provides eligible students up to $10,000 per academic year (a maximum of $5,000 per semester) toward the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition at public colleges. Awards will be reduced for less than full-time enrollment and canceled if you are enrolled less than half-time.