Determining Need

Tuition financial need is determined by the student’s cost of attendance minus the Student Aid Index (SAI) that was determined by the information from the FAFSA.

Cost of Attendance - Student Aid Index - External Scholarships or other ResourcesFinancial Need

The Student Aid Index (SAI) is calculated using federal guidelines and Institute policies and is based on information submitted on the FAFSA. 

Please note that the amount of financial aid a student receives, including outside resources such as scholarships, cannot exceed their cost of attending VMI.

It is possible for students' SAI to be greater than their cost of attending VMI; in this case, they do not demonstrate eligibility for need-based financial aid. However, financial aid programs such as the unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan, the Direct (Parent) PLUS Loan, and alternative loans, are available to students regardless of their financial need.

Aid Estimator:

Federal Student Aid provides an aid estimator that will calculate an estimate of how much federal student aid the student may be eligible to receive. These estimates are based on the Student Aid Index (SAI), an index to determine federal student aid eligibility.

Virginia Military Institute offers the best package possible for each of our students. Based on the student’s eligibility and fund availability financial aid may not cover the difference between the SAI and the cost of attendance. 

Special circumstances are financial situations that support a change to the cost of attendance or expected family contribution (EFC) calculation. Examples of special circumstances include, but are not limited to: 

  • Changes in employment status, income, or assets. 
  • Change in where the student is living. 
  • Medical or dental expenses not covered by insurance. 
  • Child or dependent care expenses. 
  • Severe disability of student or another member of student’s household. 
  • Other changes or adjustments that impact the student’s costs or ability to pay for college. 

Unusual circumstances are conditions that support a change to a student’s dependency status based on a unique situation. Examples of unusual circumstances include, but are not limited to:
  • Human trafficking. 
  • Refugee/asylee status. 
  • Parental abandonment, estrangement, or parental incarceration.

Please note that unusual circumstances do not include: 

  • Parents refusal to contribute to student’s education. 
  • Parents refusal to provide information for the FAFSA or verification. 
  • Parents do not claim the student for income tax purposes, or that the student demonstrates total self-sufficiency 

Making VMI affordable, one cadet at a time: In the 2020-21 Academic Year, VMI cadets who demonstrated financial need received over $5 million* in institutional endowed scholarships, annual gifts and tuition funded grants, awarded by the college, excluding athletic aid and tuition waivers.
* Additional information available from the Office of Assessment and Institutional Research.

Explore additional scholarship opportunities beyond need-based aid...



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