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State Financial Aid Expanded for Previously Ineligible Non-Citizens

Beginning with the 2022-2023 aid year, students who are unable to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can now be considered for state financial aid by submitting the Virginia Alternative State Aid (VASA) application.

The process for being considered for state financial aid requires two separate steps.

  1. Meet the requirements to be considered a Virginia student.
  2. Demonstrate financial need and meet the requirements for the specific financial aid program.

To be considered a Virginia student, the student must demonstrate to the institution that the student meets at least one of the following three provisions:

  1. Commonwealth's domicile requirements;
  2. Military dependents provision; or
  3. Tuition equity provision.

Students not meeting at least one of these requirements cannot be considered for most state financial aid programs. For example, students currently on an F-student visa, H3-trainee visa, J-exchange visitor visa, or M-vocational visa would not be eligible.

However, other individuals, including students with non-immigrant status, undocumented status or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status could be eligible for state financial aid if they have:

  • Completed at least two years of high school in Virginia or the recognized equivalent,
  • Finished high school in Virginia after July 1, 2008, and if they
  • Filed at least two years of Virginia income tax returns (or if at least one parent/guardian filed Virginia taxes for at least two years in the case of dependent students).

It is important to note that students who are eligible to file a FAFSA should submit the FAFSA and not submit the Virginia Alternative State Aid (VASA) application. Submitting the FAFSA enables students to be considered for both federal and state aid. The VASA application does not provide access to federal student aid.

To learn more about the Virginia Alternative State Aid (VASA) application and to submit the VASA application (if you are eligible to do so), please visit Virginia Alternative State Aid Application.

Interested students can also work with RCC’s admissions advisors to determine whether they meet the Commonwealth’s domicile or tuition equity requirements. Students would then complete the VASA application so that the institution’s financial aid office can determine eligibility for state need-based aid. The VASA application provides access only to state and some institutional financial aid programs. The VASA application does not provide access to federal student aid.