UVA Wise Awards Student Financial Aid Packages Despite FAFSA Delay

Campus behind the lake
Photo by Mark Robertson-Baker II

In response to a delay in the federal financial aid process, UVA Wise is clearing a path for students to receive their federal scholarship package and get the extra help they need during the college decision season.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Education notified universities and colleges of a delay in the 2024-2025 Free Application for Federal Student Aid or “FAFSA” because of a major re-design. FAFSA is the method students use to apply for and receive financial aid for college.

“We know that one of the biggest concerns for students and families is how they will pay for college and we know this is the time when students are making their top choice,” UVA Wise Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management Jeffrey Baylor said. 

To keep students and families on track, UVA Wise is not only awarding financial aid packages using an alternative federal indicator, but is also extending financial aid office hours and creating virtual sessions to help students navigate the process.

Prospective college students are already receiving their federal Student Aid Index upon completion of their FAFSA online, which is an evaluation of the financial resources that may be available toward a student's educational expenses.

“The FAFSA data has been delayed to us, but the students are getting their SAI from the federal government. However, they won’t know their scholarship package until we process an award for them,” Baylor said. 

To date, UVA Wise, using that SAI-based approach, has provided financial aid packages to 46 prospective students. Already, the College has sent letters to students and their families notifying them of their financial aid eligibility.

Any student who has received their SAI can bring it to the UVA Wise financial aid office (or forward the FAFSA/SAI confirmation email) and then their financial aid award estimate will be completed for them, Baylor said. 

One of the key factors of the college decision process is when college and school counselors work together to educate families about completing the FAFSA, especially for students who need financial aid to make college a reality, Baylor said.

To better serve students, UVA Wise has expanded its financial aid office hours on Monday evenings.  Team members will be available from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Monday evenings via phone to assist families with any questions they may have.

Students may also schedule a virtual session with UVA Wise’s associate director of financial aid to discuss their financial aid questions.  Appointments may be scheduled here: https://www.uvawise.edu/affordability/information-sessions

Financial aid information is also key for students making college-related decisions including on-campus housing options.

“We don’t want to hold our students up making those key decisions. The sooner they have the information, the better,” he said.

All UVA Wise admissions are on a rolling basis, Baylor said. 

“Because of this unusual situation, we want to do what we can to make it as easy as possible for students and families,” Baylor said. “We hope by providing the financial aid award students can now have those important discussions with their families and hopefully choose UVA Wise.”