Northern Virginia Community College Student Loans
Boasting an internationally diverse population, Northern Virginia Community College hosts working adults seeking professional development, young adults looking for affordable tuition for their first two years of college, and a wide range of international students. Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) participates in the Guaranteed Admission Agreement program, which partners with four-year degree-granting universities and colleges to ensure that students who earn an associate’s degree at NOVA, and meet other agreement requirements, can seamlessly transfer into a bachelor’s degree program. Support from the Commonwealth of Virginia makes NOVA an affordable option with an open-door policy for all students over the age of 18 seeking an associate’s degree or certificate program.
Northern Virginia Community College is one of the most affordable college options in the Washington, DC area. Tuition rates are set by the State Board for Community Colleges, and NOVA tuition rates for the 2014-2105 are:
- Virginia resident students: $149.65 per credit
- Out-of-state students: $328.90 per credit
- Military contract students: $149.65 per credit
- Business contract students: $209.65 per credit
Military and business contract students may reside out-of-state and receive the contract tuition rates if their Virginia employer agrees to enter into a contract with Northern Virginia Community College. In addition to the base tuition amount, students are charged fees per credit as well that include a technology fee of $8.50, a student activities fee of $3.10, and a parking infrastructure fee of $0.50. Additional fees may apply for specific fields of study or departments as well. Books and supplies are extra as well, which may add up to around $1,700 a year. Buying used textbooks from the NOVA bookstore can save you up to 25 percent, and many times you can sell your books back after you are finished with them for a small fee as well.
Different campuses offer different fields of study, so you will need to decide what your desired program is before determining which NOVA campus is best suited for you. Northern Virginia Community College does not offer resident housing, so students are required to secure their own living arrangements. Living at home is the most cost-effective option as rent in the Virginia area can be expensive. Consider finding a roommate to offset these costs if you do choose to rent.
Transportation costs also need to be considered when determining your total cost of attendance (COA) for NOVA. You can save $10 by buying your parking pass online for $80 instead of $90 on site. Parking costs are $10 a day if you don’t have a pass, which can add up fast. You may also be eligible for a refund on your last semester parking pass upon graduation as well. The Washington, DC area has comprehensive public transportation opportunities that students may take advantage of as well. SmarTrip cards can save you time and money and allow you to use the Metrorail, Metrobus, commuter bus, and local bus systems to get to your destination more affordably.
NOVA’s Payment Plans
For a small enrollment fee, you can elect to spread your payments out and pay your tuition and fees in interest-free installments with NOVA’s Tuition Payment Plan. You will also be charged a 2.5 percent convenience fee. If you choose to break your payments into three installments, you will pay a $40 enrollment fee and a 20 percent down payment. The rest of your fees will be automatically charged on the 20th of each month either through automatic bank payment (ACH) or accepted credit cards. For two payments, you will pay a $45 enrollment fee and 40 percent down.
Employers often pay education benefits for their employees. They can do so directly by entering into a contract with NOVA in which they are billed for your tuition instead of you, or via a company check payable to Northern Virginia Community College. Check with your human resources department to determine if they cover education benefits and what their eligibility requirements may be.
Applying for Financial Aid
In order to be eligible for financial aid at Northern Virginia Community College, you must be enrolled in an qualifying degree program, maintain satisfactory academic progress while in college, and not have any federal loans in default. State and federally funded financial aid requires additionally that you be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen and have residency in the state of Virginia for most state programs. You will need to create a FSA ID online by submitting your name, date of birth, and Social Security number. You will use this every year to reapply for financial aid. The FSA ID allows you to sign electronic documents as well as access your federal financial aid information.
You will then complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In order to complete the FAFSA, you will need your tax records, employment data, and other relevant financial information. If you are a dependent student, meaning you are under 24, are not married, and have no dependents of your own, you will also need your parents’ financial information and Social Security numbers. The FAFSA calculates your expected family contribution (EFC) to determine the type and amount of financial aid you may qualify for. Most programs are based on financial need. It takes between one and four weeks to process your FAFSA so be sure to be aware of any deadlines and file accordingly.
Once your FAFSA has been processed, you will need to look over the generated Student Aid Report (SAR) for veracity and make sure NOVA is listed in the school code to ensure that the school also received a copy. After accepting your aid package, funds are automatically disbursed to the school to pay your tuition and fees as well as books if you have enough aid to cover them. Books can be purchased up to 10 days before the start of classes with financial aid funds. Make sure that NOVA has your most current address on file as any remaining funds will be mailed to you to use for any additional educational expenses.
Enrolling in the student information system (SIS) at NOVA will ensure that you do not miss any communications regarding your financial aid application or award. NOVA Connect allows you to check on your application status, access your records, register for classes, make payments, and manage your personal information. To set up NOVA Connect, you will need your name, date of birth, and Social Security Number to do a search for your username.
Grants and scholarships are free money that doesn’t have to be paid back. Most are based on your EFC calculated from your FAFSA and granted on the basis of financial need. Perhaps the most common is the Federal Pell Grant, which is disbursed by the U.S. Department of Education to all undergraduate students who have not yet earned a degree and demonstrate financial need. The amount of your Pell Grant award is dependent on your enrollment status (full- or part-time), cost of attendance, and your intention to stay at school for the entire academic year. Maximum grant amounts cannot exceed your total COA as estimated by NOVA, and students may be awarded as much as $5,775 for the 2015-2016 academic year. Grant amounts may change every year.Other grants programs that Northern Virginia Community College participates in include:
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): limited funding disbursed to the school by the federal government to distribute to students demonstrating financial need (first-come, first-served basis) with amounts ranging from $100-$4,000 a year
- Virginia Commonwealth Award: residents of Virginia attending a public university and demonstrating financial need; funds may very
- Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program: Virginia residents graduating from high school with at least a 2.5 GPA and demonstrating financial need; award amounts may be up to cost of tuition, fees, and a book allowance
- College Scholarship Assistance Program: state and need-based aid awarding between $400 and $2,000
- District of Columbia Tuition Assistance Grant (DC TAG) Program: residents of the District of Columbia are offered up to $10,000 a year for five years to cover the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition costs
- Virginia Part-Time Assistance Program: Virginia residents taking between one and six credits may receive varying grant award amounts
- Virginia Tuition Grant for Foster Children: Virginia residents graduating from high school (or obtaining a GED) while in the foster care program may receive a grant award up to the full amount of tuition and fees
- Northern Virginia Community College Tuition Assistance Grant: full- and part-time Northern Virginia Community College students meeting satisfactory academic progress in credit-based courses; awards vary
- NOVA Book and Access Grant: students unable to purchase books within the first week of class may qualify for a limited amount of funding provided by the Northern Virginia Community College Board
You are considered for most of these grants merely by submitting your completed FAFSA. A few programs may have additional application requirements or deadlines. In addition to grants, NOVA also provides access to multiple scholarship opportunities based on a variety of different criteria. For the full list, and information on applying, check the NOVA scholarship webpage.
Scholarships and grants may also be available from numerous external sources, such as private and non-profit organizations based on a wide range of qualifications that may include race, ethnicity, gender, academic merit, field of study, club or organization membership, etc.
Your SAR may indicate that you are eligible to participate in the Federal Work-Study Program based on your FAFSA and EFC results as well. If this is the case, you can earn between $10 and $11 an hour working part-time around your school schedule. Employment opportunities are generally on a NOVA campus. These are typically community service type jobs in your area of interest or field of study that help you gain experience while earning money to pay for your tuition and fees. Work-study programs do not affect your student financial aid awards in the future either. Work-study programs are not guaranteed to all who qualify; you will need to apply individually.
Direct Student Loans
NOVA is a 100 percent Direct Lending school meaning that all student loans NOVA currently accepts are through the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program. These are loans disbursed by the federal government, and the U.S. Department of Education is your lender. Once you have received your SAR, look for information detailing the type and amount of funding you can borrow. You may be able to borrow more than you need, but be careful not to do this. You should only borrow what you can afford to repay in order to keep your debt under control.
Once you accept your loan amount, you will need to sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) online with your FSA ID. The MPN details your loan rates and terms, and your signature implies your intention to pay the loan back. NOVA also requires that you complete loan entrance counseling to further ensure that you are aware of all of your rights and responsibilities as a student borrower.
Undergraduate students may borrow between $5,500 to $12,500 a year, depending on year in school, enrollment status, dependent student status, and cost of attendance in both subsidized and unsubsidized student loans combined. Subsidized student loans are financial need-based, and the government covers the interest payments. Parents of undergraduate students may also take out federal student loans in the form of Direct PLUS Loans up to the total cost of attendance minus any financial aid the student is receiving. Federal student loans offer low and fixed-interest rate loans with long and flexible repayment plans.
Types of Student Loans
- Student Loans Home
- Alternative Schools
- Flight School
- For Bad Credit
- For Community College
- For Single Mothers
- Funding Graduate School
- GI Bill
- Interest Free
- Low Interest
- Medical School
- No Co-signer
- No Credit Check
- Obama Loan Forgiveness
- Parent PLUS
- Part-Time Students
- Post 911 GI Bill
- Private Loans with No Co-signer
- Private School
- Subsidized Loans
- Without Co-signer