Resources For Parents

Financial Assistance

What is Financial Aid?

Financial aid is money provided to students to help pay college expenses. College expenses include direct educational expenses such as tuition, fees, books and supplies; as well as cost of living expenses like food, housing and transportation.

Who is Eligible for Financial Aid?

All financial aid is dependent upon the availability of federal, state, local and institutional resources. To be eligible for financial aid you must:

  1. Be accepted as a degree–seeking student to a B.A., B.S., A.A. or A.S. degree program.
  2. Be accepted as a certificate–seeking student in an eligible vocational program.
  3. Be making satisfactory academic progress for financial aid purposes.
  4. Be a US Citizen, national or permanent resident alien.
  5. Enroll at least half time (6 credit hours) for most programs.
  6. Not be in default on a prior student loan.
  7. Not owe a repayment or overpayment of a federal grant.
  8. Not have an existing financial obligation to VCU.
  9. Be registered for Selective Service if required.
  10. Have a high school diploma or GED certificate, or
  11. Have transferred coursework from another college.

What are the types of Financial Aid Programs Available?

Grants
Grants may be awarded to students who show financial need based on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Grant funds do not need to be repaid to the college provided students follow the Federal Regulations.

Scholarships
Scholarships are awarded based on any number of factors, which may include academic talent, performing talent, participation in certain activities or special interests. Scholarship requirements and application procedures vary depending upon the criteria set by the scholarship provider.

Loans
VCU students are eligible to participate in various student loan programs. Student loans may or may not be based on financial need. Check with the VCU financial aid office or your lending institution for specific requirements for loan programs. All loans require that the student repay the funds in a specified time period.

Disability–Related Expenses
If you have expenses related to your disability, talk with your financial aid administrator about including the cost of these expenses in your financial aid application. The estimated amount that it should cost a student to attend college, including tuition, fees, books, supplies and allowances for living expenses, is called Cost of Attendance (COA). On a case–by–case basis, a student's COA may be adjusted through determination by the Professional Judgment Committee that special conditions exist that differentiate an individual student from a class of students. These special conditions could include disability related expenses. Disability–related expenses include such things as:

  1. The purchase and maintenance of disability–related equipment; including additional equipment for independence at college that was provided by and remains at secondary schools and items that may be or had been covered by your family budget (e.g. food and veterinary care for guide dogs or service animals, batteries for motorized wheelchairs or hearing aids, a TDD/TYY, payment to readers for home use, or personal care attendants). Students may seek assistance from Vocational Rehabilitation agencies and/or Disability Support Services to help determine disability–related expenses.
  2. Payments for readers, tutors or personal care attendants.
  3. Transportation for academic purposes, If REGULAR TRANSPORTATION IS NOT AVAILABLE OR ACCESSIBLE.
  4. Disability–related medical expenses NOT COVERED BY INSURANCE OR OTHER FUNDING (e.g. Vocational Rehabilitation, Veteran's Affairs, Medicaid or Medicare).

If you have special conditions related to your disability that you would like to have considered in you financial aid award, please go to the VCU Financial Aid Website at www.vcu.edu/enroll/finaid/ and download the Financial Aid Cost of Attendance Adjustment Request form. Undergraduate students need to download the non–professional students form and graduate students should download the professional students form.

Social Security–SSI/SSDI
For individuals with qualifying disabilities, the Social Security Administration offers a program called "PLAN for ACHIEVING SELF SUPPORT" or the "PASS Program." This program enables students to initially establish or continue eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. Funds can then be earmarked to help finance a specific vocational goal (e.g. college tuition, disability–related expenses). Plans can be developed by the student, rehabilitation service providers or others. Your local Social Security Administration Office can provide more information or go to the Social Security Administration Web site at www.ssa.gov

Scholarships & Fellowships
There are a limited number of scholarships specifically ear marked for students with disabilities. Students need to research the following scholarship categories to determine if they would qualify.

  • The Barbara A. Roby Scholarship is awarded to an undergraduate student with a disability. The student must be registered with the Disability Support Services office on the Monroe Park Campus or Medical Campus. To be eligible for the award, the student must: be a Virginia resident, be in a degree-seeking program, have been at VCU for at least one semester, and have at least two semesters remaining in their program of study. Obtain additional information from the Disability Support Services Office, University Student Commons, Room 102, 907 Floyd Avenue, Richmond, VA 23284, (804) 828-2253. More
  • The National Clearinghouse on Postsecondary Education for Individuals with Disabilities (formerly Higher Education and the Handicapped or HEATH) is under the auspices of the American Council on Education. HEATH lists national organizations providing scholarships for persons with disabilities (i.e. International Kiwanis Club, Rotary Club, Elks Club, Lions Club International, the National Association of American Business Clubs, Electronic Industries Foundation, Central Intelligence Agency, etc).
  • The HEATH website (www.heath.gwu.edu) also includes search services for Foundation grants and scholarships. A copy of "Vocational Rehabilitation Services: A Postsecondary Student Consumer's Guide" is also available from HEATH at 1–800–544–3284, or (202) 973–0908(fax).
    The President's Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities confers several scholarship awards annually. Contact the Committee at their website or by phone at (202) 376–6200 (voice) or (202) 376–6205 (TDD/TTY).
  • The Nordstrom Scholarship sponsors five awards of $2000 each to current high school seniors or undergraduates with disabilities who are enrolled in or have been accepted into majors in business at four–year higher education institutions.
    The Chairscholars Foundation, Inc. offers awards to high school seniors and college freshmen who are physically challenged. Obtain applications from Doc and Alicia Keim, 16101 Carencia Lane, Odessa, FL. 33556, (813) 920–2737. www.chairscholars.org.
  • National Information Center on Deafness provides fact sheets on sources of financial aid for students who are deaf or hard of hearing and several other topics, for a cost of $1.00 each from: Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Ave., NE, Washington, DC 2002, (202) 651–5051 (voice), (202) 651–5052 (TTY).
  • C.R. Newton Company awards $2000 to a student with a disability whose GPA is at least 3.0. Contact the company at 1575 South Beretania St., Suite 101, Honolulu, Hi 96826, or (808) 949–8389.
  • Foundation for Physical Therapy sponsors the Sunrise Medical Scholarship for Students with Disabilities. Two $1,200 awards for students with disabilities preparing for careers in physical therapy. Contact the foundation at 1055 N. Fairfax St., Suite 350, and Alexandria, VA. 22314 or (703) 684–5984.
  • Venture Clubs of the Americas offers Venture Clubs Student Aid Awards from $100 to $1,500 for persons with physical disabilities. Contact them at 1616 Walnut St., Suite 700, Philadelphia, PA. 19103, or (215) 732–0512.
  • Samuel Lemberg Scholarship Loan Fund, Inc. Awards from $1,000–$5,000 interest–free loans. Open to Jewish men and women. Selection based on academic ability, financial need, family problems, physical and mental disability and potential for leadership in the Jewish Community. Contact: Myron Schoen, Secretary, Lemberg Scholarship Fund 60East 42nd. Street–Suite 1814, New York, NY 10165.
  • Quota International of Anchorage. Awards 1–$500 scholarship. Open to high school seniors or undergraduate students. Award for any field of study for a hearing impaired student or for a student who is planning to work in programs for the hearing impaired. Contact: Quota International of Anchorage, Jerry Fuller, Scholarship Chair, 4751 Sportsman Dr. Anchorage, AK 99502.
  • Schering/Key "Will to Win" Asthma Athletes Scholarship. Awards from $1,000–$10,000. Any field of study. Selection based on asthmatic high school seniors who excel in athletics and are in good academic standing. Contact: Will–to–Win Scholarship Foundation, 7300 Woolworth Ave. Omaha, NE 68124, (800) 558–7305
  • Very Special Art: Playwright Discovery Program. Awards $500–$2,500. Any field of study. Open to people 25 and under with disabilities. Contact: Playwright Discovery Program, Very Special Arts. 1300 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 700, Washington, D.C. 20036, (800) 933–8721, TTY (202) 737–0645, Fax (202) 737–0725.
  • Multiple Sclerosis Association of America. Awards $1,000–$5,000. Any field of study. Open to high school sophomores, juniors, seniors and college freshmen, sophomores and juniors. Contact: Project Learn MS, 706 Haddonfield Rd., Cherry Hill, NJ 08002, (800) Learn MS.
  • Landscape Architecture Foundation. Awards $500–$1,000. Field of study: Landscape Architecture. Open to undergraduate or graduate landscape architecture students. Contact: (202) 331–7070. www.laprofession.org.
  • United States Association for Blind Athletes (USABA). Awards two scholarships $500. Any field of study. Open to legally blind individuals who have participated in USABA sports programs and have been current USABA members for the past two years. Contact: United States Association for Blind Athletes. 33 N. Institute St. Colorado Springs, CO. 80903, (719) 630–0422.
  • Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic: Learning. Awards $2,000–$6,000. Any field of study. Open to high school seniors who have a specific learning disability and who has been registered for at least one year with Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic. Must be graduating in the year the award is given with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Contact: Public Affairs Office, Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, 20 Roszel Rd., Princeton, NJ 08540, (800) 221–4792, (609) 452–0606.
  • Pfizer Epilepsy Scholarship Program. Awards $3,000. Any field of study. Open to high school seniors who have applied to a college or university, and college students continuing with college or graduate school. Applicants must be currently under a physician's care for the treatment of epilepsy and must be currently taking anti–epileptic medication. Contact: Pfizer Epilepsy Scholarship Award, c/o IntraMed, 1633 Broadway, 25th Floor, New York, NY 10019, (800) AWARD–PD. www.epilepsy–scholarship.com.
  • Foundation for Exceptional Children Awards. Awards $500. Any field of study. Open to entering freshmen who are persons with a disability. Several scholarships given to persons with disabilities who are also members of a minority group. Contact: Foundation for Exceptional Children. ATTN: Scholarship Award. 1920 Association Dr., Reston, VA. 22091, (703) 264–9450. www.cec.sped.org
  • Christian Record Services Scholarship. Awards $500. Any field of study. Open to legally blind students planning to secure training that will further independence and self–support. Contact: Christian Record Services, P.O. Box 6097, Lincoln, NE 68506, (402) 488–0981.
  • Association for Educ. And Rehab. Of Blind: Ferrell. Awards $500. To study services to blind and visually impaired people. Open to legally blind students. Contact: Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, 1703 N. Beauregard St. Suite 440, Alexandria, VA. 22311, (703) 671–4500.
  • EAR Foundation: Minnie Pearl Scholarship Program. Awards $2,000. Any field of study. Open to high school seniors with severe to profound deafness who are mainstreamed into society. Must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and be US citizens. Contact: The EAR Foundation, 1817 Patterson St., Nashville, TN 37203, (800) 545–4327.
  • Bank of America Foundation. Finance, business or computer systems majors. Open to high school seniors, college or university undergraduates or students attending vocational school. Scholarships will be awarded to students who have permanent residence or attend school in the 22 states and the District of Columbia where Bank of America has retained bank locations. Students must have a documented disability and a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Contact: The Bank of American Abilities Scholarship Program, P.O. Box 1469, Taylors, SC, (864) 268–3363, fax (864) 268–7160, www.scholarshipprograms.org.
  • American Council of the Blind Scholarships. Awards $500–$3,000. Any field of study. Open to legally blind US citizens or resident aliens who have been accepted or have applied to a postsecondary institution. Contact: Scholarship Coordinator, American Council of the Blind, 1155 15th St., NW, Suite 1004, Washington, DC 20005, (202) 467–5081, (800) 424–8666.
  • The Find/SVP Tools for the Future Scholarship Rewards. Find/SVP celebrates 25 years of providing expert problems–solving advice and research. This scholarship rewards eight students with financial awards. Eligibility includes: Applicants must currently be enrolled or anticipate full–or part–time enrollment in an undergraduate or master's degree program in the following areas: Business, Library, Science, Computer Technology, Information Studies, Market Research or Journalism/Communications. Must be a legal resident of the United States. Essays or videotapes will be required as part of the application process. Contact: For information or an application, please contact: Connie Gruber, Director of Human Resources, Find/SVP. Please send all scholarship applications and materials to: Find/SVP Scholarship Committee, Find/SVP, 625 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10011. Deadline: April of each year.
  • Allie Raney Hunt Memorial Scholarship Award. To provide financial assistance for post–secondary education to profoundly deaf and other disabled students: Applicants must be oral deaf students who were born with a profound hearing impairment, or suffered such a loss before language was acquired. Applicants must be speech and residual hearing and/or speech reading as their preferred mode of communication. Must demonstrate a potential for leadership. Must be accepted by or already enrolled in a regular full–time college or university program for hearing students. Applicants with disabilities other than hearing loss are especially encouraged to apply. Contact: Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf 3417 Volta Place, N.W Washington D.C. 2007–2778 Phone: (202) 337–5220. Deadline: April of each year.
  • The Auxiliary of the National Rural Letter Carrier's Association provides financial assistance for post secondary education to profoundly deaf students. Eligibility: Applicants must be oral deaf students who were born with a profound hearing impairment, or suffered such a loss before language was acquired. Applicants must use speech and residual hearing and/or speech reading as their preferred mode of communication. Must demonstrate a potential for leadership. Must be accepted by or already enrolled in a regular full–time or university program for hearing students. Applications with disabilities other than a hearing loss are especially encouraged to apply. Contact: Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf. 3417 Volta Place, N.W Washington D.C 20007–2778. Phone: (202) 337–2778. Deadline: April of each year.
  • Herbert P. Fiebelman Jr. Scholarship Award. To provide financial assistance for post–secondary education to profoundly deaf and other disabled students. Eligibility: Applicants must be oral deaf students who were born with a profound hearing impairment, or suffered such a loss before language was acquired. Applicants must use speech and residual hearing and/or speech reading as their preferred mode of communication. Must demonstrate a potential for leadership. Must be accepted by or already enrolled in a regular full–time college or university program for hearing students. Applicants with disabilities other than a hearing loss are especially encouraged to apply. Contact: Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf, 3417 Volta Place, N.W Washington D.C. 20007–5220. Phone: (202) 337–5220. Deadline: April of each year.
  • David Von Hagen Scholarship Award. To provide financial assistance for post–secondary education to profoundly deaf students. Eligibility: Applicants must be oral deaf students who were born with a profound hearing impairment, or suffered such a loss before language was acquired. Applicants must use speech and residual hearing and/or speech reading as their preferred mode of communication. Must demonstrate a potential for leadership. Must be accepted by or already enrolled in a regular full–time college or university program for hearing students. Applicants with disabilities other than a hearing loss are especially encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to science and engineering students. Contact: Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf, 3417 Volta Place, N.W Washington D.C. 20007–5220. Phone: (202) 337–5220. Deadline: April of each year.
  • Lucille A. ABT Scholarship Awards. To provide financial assistance for post–secondary education to profoundly deaf students. Eligibility: Applicants must be oral deaf students who were born with a profound hearing impairment, or suffered such a loss before language was acquired. Applicants must use speech and residual hearing and/or speech reading as their preferred mode of communication. Must demonstrate a potential for leadership. Must be accepted by or already enrolled in a regular full–time college or university program for hearing students. Applicants with disabilities other than a hearing loss are especially encouraged to apply. Contact: Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf, 3417 Volta Place, N.W Washington D.C. 20007–5220. Phone: (202) 337–5220. Deadline: April of each year.
  • Maude Winkler Scholarship Awards. To provide financial assistance for post–secondary education to profoundly deaf students. Eligibility: Applicants must be oral deaf students who were born with a profound hearing impairment, or suffered such a loss before language was acquired. Applicants must use speech and residual hearing and/or speech reading as their preferred mode of communication. Must demonstrate a potential for leadership. Must be accepted by or already enrolled in a regular full–time college or university program for hearing students. Applicants with disabilities other than a hearing loss are especially encouraged to apply. Contact: Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf, 3417 Volta Place, N.W Washington D.C. 20007–5220. Phone: (202) 337–5220. Deadline: April of each year.
  • Robert H. Weitbrecht Scholarship Awards. To provide financial assistance for post–secondary education to profoundly deaf students. Eligibility: Applicants must be oral deaf students who were born with a profound hearing impairment, or suffered such a loss before language was acquired. Applicants must use speech and residual hearing and/or speech reading as their preferred mode of communication. Must demonstrate a potential for leadership. Must be accepted by or already enrolled in a regular full–time college or university program for hearing students. Applicants with disabilities other than a hearing loss are especially encouraged to apply. Contact: Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf, 3417 Volta Place, N.W Washington D.C. 20007–5220. Phone: (202) 337–5220. Deadline: April of each year.
  • Volta Scholarship Award. To provide financial assistance for post–secondary education to profoundly deaf students. Eligibility: Applicants must be oral deaf students who were born with a profound hearing impairment, or suffered such a loss before language was acquired. Applicants must use speech and residual hearing and/or speech reading as their preferred mode of communication. Must demonstrate a potential for leadership. Must be accepted by or already enrolled in a regular full–time college or university program for hearing students. Applicants with disabilities other than a hearing loss are especially encouraged to apply. Contact: Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf, 3417 Volta Place, N.W Washington D.C. 20007–5220. Phone: (202) 337–5220. Deadline: April of each year.
  • National Fraternal Society of the Deaf Scholarships. To provide financial assistance for post–secondary education to members of the society. Eligibility: Deaf, Hard of hearing, or hearing person who are enrolled in or accepted to a post–secondary educational institution are eligible to apply, if they have been members of the National Fraternal Society of the Deaf for at least 1 year prior to application. Contact: National Fraternal Society of the Deaf, 1118 S. 6th Street Springfield, IL. 62703. Phone: (217) 789–7429 (voice) (217) 789–7438 (TDD). Call for information. The Delta Gamma Foundation Florence Margaret Harvey Memorial Scholarship provides one (1) $1,000 scholarship to an undergraduate or graduate student who is legally blind, of good character, has exhibited academic excellence, and is studying in the field of rehabilitation and/or education of persons who are blind or visually impaired.
  • The Ferdinand Torres Scholarship provides one (1) grant of $1,000 to a full–time post–secondary student who is legally blind and who presents evidence of economic need. To be eligible the applicant must reside in the United States, but need not be a citizen of the United States. Preference will be given to applicants in the New York City metropolitan area and new immigrants to the United States.
  • The Gladys C. Anderson Memorial Scholarship provides one (1) $1,000 scholarship to a woman who is legally blind studying religious or classical music at the college level.
  • The Karen D. Carsel Memorial Scholarship provides one (1) grant of $500 to a full–time graduate student who is legally blind and who presents evidence of economic need.
  • The R. L. Gillette Scholarship offers two (2) $1,000 scholarships to women who are legally blind and enrolled in a four–year undergraduate degree program in literature or music. The Rudolph Dillman Memorial Scholarship provides four (4) grants of $2,500 each to undergraduate and graduate students who are legally blind and studying in the field of rehabilitation and/or education of persons who are blind or visually impaired. One of these grants is for a student who meets all requirements and submits evidence of economic need. (ONE–TIME AWARD – PREVIOUS APPLICANTS MAY NOT APPLY)
  • For more information on the scholarships awarded by the American Foundation for the Blind please contact: Julie Tucker, American Foundation for the Blind 11 Penn Plaza, Suite 300 New York, NY 10001Telephone: (212) 502–7661 e–mail: juliet@afb.net Fax: (212) 502–7771.
  • Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. College Scholarships Awards are awarded to qualified students with moderate to profound hearing loss to continue their education on undergraduate and graduate levels. Preference is given to undergraduates. Students must demonstrate a serious commitment to academic and career excellence. All fields of study are welcome. The scholarship award is not renewable. It can be awarded twice, but applicants must reapply. ONLY THE FIRST 500 REQUESTS FOR APPLICATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED. For more information about this scholarship, send email to Dhughes@agbell.org ATT: Dana Hughes, Financial Aid Coordinator.
  • The Anne Ford Scholarship. Awards $10, 000 to a high school senior with identified learning disabilities who is pursuing an undergraduate degree. Deadline: Applications postmarked by Dec. 31. Contact: Anne Ford Scholarship, National Center for Learning Disabilities, Inc., 381 Park Ave. South, Suite 1401, New York, NY 10016–8806, (212) 545–7510. www.ld.org.
  • Ethel Louise Armstrong Foundation Scholarships for Female Graduate Students with Disabilities. Awards one or two scholarships per academic year depending on merit. Each scholarship awards are up to $2,000 and will be awarded in August. For more information, go to www.ela.org/ada/frame_ada.html.

National Federation of the Blind Scholarships

  • Educator of Tomorrow Scholarship. Award $3,000. Any field of study. Must be planning a career in elementary, secondary or postsecondary teaching. Open to legally blind persons. Contact: Peggy Elliott, Chair, National Federation of the Blind Scholarship Committee, 805 Fifth Ave., Grinnell, IA 50112, (641) 236–3366.
  • Calhoun Scholarship. Award $3,000. Any field of study. Open to women undergraduate students who are legally blind. Contact: Peggy Elliott, Chair National Federation of the Blind Scholarship Committee, 805 Fifth Ave., Grinnell, IA 50112, (641) 236–3366.
  • American Action Fund Scholarship. Award $4,000–$10,000. Mozelle and Willard Gold Memorial Scholarship. Award $3,000. Kuchler–Killian Memorial Scholarship. Award $3,000. E.U. Parker Scholarship. Award $3,000. Any field of study. Open to legally blind people pursing postsecondary education. Contact: Peggy Elliott, Chair National Federation of the Blind Scholarship Committee, 805 Fifth Ave., Grinnell, IA 50112, (641) 236–3366.
    Visit www.nfb.org for additional information

Community Sources

  • The International Kiwanis Club recommends checking with local Kiwanis organizations to see if they offer scholarships. To find your local chapter(s) check in the phone book or call (317) 875–8755.
  • For scholarships offered through the ELKS Grand Lodge, 2750 N. Lakeview Ave. Chicago, IL. 60614, (773) 755–4700.
  • Local chapters of the Rotary Club offer scholarships for overseas study. Call (847) 866–3000 for more information.
  • Call the Lions Club International at (630) 571–5466 or check your local phone book for your local chapter(s).
  • The National Association of American Business Clubs may also have information about scholarships. Write them at 3315 N. Main St., High Point, NC 27265; or call (336) 869–2166. www.ambucs.com

Support Students with Disabilities at VCU

We know budgets are tight, but the time is right to support students with disabilities at this web site. Your wonderful donation can provide information, endow student scholarships or fund staff publications. Our students are great and they can’t wait to reach their potential and graduate. Donated dollars will help develop our scholars and provide a platform for the student of tomorrow.

To make your gift to Disability Support Services, please complete and submit this form. You will receive an acknowledgment of your gift by email. If you have any problems or questions, please email giving@vcu.edu. Thank you!


Locations

Disability Support Services
Monroe Park Campus

907 Floyd Ave.
Room 102
Voice/TTY: (804) 828-2253
Email: dss@vcu.edu
Fax: (804) 828-1944

Division for Academic Success - MCV Campus
1000 E. Marshall St.
Suite 231
Phone: (804) 828-9782
TTY: (804) 828-4608
Fax: (804) 828-4609