Federal and private loans are used to supplement personal and family resources, scholarships, grants and work-study. Loans accrue interest and must be repaid.

To be considered for any federal loan at Virginia Commonwealth University, students must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and have the results sent to the VCU Office of Financial Aid. Information provided on the FAFSA must be complete and accurate. Failure to resolve any problems with the processing of the application, or delays in resolving the problems, may preclude the student from being considered for these loans.

If a student uses loans to pay for university charges and then reduces expected credit hours during the drop period, any refund due from this reduction in charges may go to repay the loans. If a student withdraws from all classes or drops below half time, any refund may also go to repay the loans.

Loans are not automatically renewed. Borrowers must apply annually and continue to meet eligibility requirements, including satisfactory academic progress.

Repaying your loans

Federal direct loans — including subsidized, unsubsidized and PLUS loans — are owed to the federal government and must be repaid upon graduation or dropping below six credit hours per semester. Learn more about loan repayment.

Loan types

Alternative/ Private loans 

Alternative loans are designed to help students and their families cover costs not included in their federal financial aid package. 

If you must borrow a student loan, students are strongly encouraged to first consider borrowing from the federal student loan programs by completing the FAFSA. Federal student loans tend to have lower interest rates and better borrower benefits than what private student loan lenders can offer. Federal student loans also offer repayment plans that private loans tend to not offer, such as Income-Driven Repayment.

All students loans can help you with educational costs, up to your cost of attendance, after all other financial aid resources have been exhausted. 

VCU will not recommend nor endorse any private student loan lender to students. Students are encouraged to compare respective lender borrowing terms and conditions. VCU accepts all non-federal private student loan lenders who will offer you a loan. Most lenders will send the loan proceeds to VCU electronically to disburse to your account. 

FAQ to consider when comparing private student loan lenders online: