Financial tips for incoming students

Aditi Khazanchi on Saturday, 08 April 2017. Posted in Financial Aid, Student Life

College can be expensive. Costs for tuition, housing, textbooks, food, supplies, clothes, etc. add up. Here are a few things you should know about cutting costs in college.

Merit-based scholarship

The Undergraduate Admissions Office and the Scholarship Selection Committee automatically review your admission application for merit-based scholarship programs. If eligible, you will receive a notification letter from the Scholarship Selection Committee. 

Here is the List of scholarships that RIT offers.

On-campus Employment

There are paid on-campus jobs available for students interested in making a little money and engaging in learning. Most on-campus jobs are posted on the student employment office's website. Some jobs are also announced through emails, posters, and flyers on campus - so, be on the lookout for that! If you are interested in working in a specific department or area on campus, you can always email that department expressing your interest and intent to work. This is how I got my job as an International Student Ambassador at the undergraduate admissions office!

Need-based aid

Students can also apply for need-based aid. For US citizens the form is called FAFSA. If you are an international student, then you fill the form called ISFAA, which is basically like FAFSA for international students.

ISFAA

Maintaining scholarship

A lot of students are worried about the consequences of not being able to maintain their GPA. The cut off is 2.8 and if you do not achieve it 250$ is reduced every term only for the first year. If your GPA still falls below the cutoff for the next year/term your scholarship will remain at the reduced level( ie no further reductions will take place). If you do manage to get your GPA back up your scholarship will be renewed to original amount.

Having said this, work hard to keep your grades up and maintain your scholarship!

Pay less for textbooks

Before you buy your textbooks, here are a few things you should consider:

Consider waiting to buy textbooks until asking your professors: I never buy textbooks until after the first day. Sometimes professors use the textbook for only a couple of chapters, some classes require the book to be followed to the letter and others just suggest you have it as additional reference. I have had classes where professors gave us online PDF links for the book.

Textbooks aren't always required: Even though your schedule may say a textbook is required, the professor may have different intentions. Be sure to email your professor or wait until the first day of class.

Ask professor what version you need before buying: Books can have different versions and editions. I have had classes where the professor told us to buy a different edition than the one listed on the syllabus.

Compare prices of the textbooks: Check online for better prices. Amazon is a good site to start with. You may also find free PDF links for the book online.
If the professor only uses the book as a reference, you can always borrow it from the library.
Inter-Library Loan is also a thing, if you need a book that the library doesn't have, chances are they know a library that does and they can get it for you.
Used/Rent copies: Buying a used textbook or renting one is usually is cheaper than buying a new one. You can rent textbooks from Barnes and Nobles on campus as well.

Ask seniors: Chances are that you would find someone who has already taken the course willing to let you borrow the textbook or sell it at a cheaper price. Always ask around.

Facebook groups : There are facebook groups where students sell used textbooks.

Free amazon prime for 6 months for students

Students get six months free of Amazon Prime. Prime provides free 2-day shipping on many items – including some textbooks. You have to sign up with your RIT email id for the same. It times out perfectly if you wait until August to sign up for this-then you can order textbooks for both the fall and spring semester under a prime account!!Don't forget that you also get a $5 gift card for signing up!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DBYBNEE?_encoding=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Sell your textbooks at the end of the semester

Do you have a stack of textbooks that you have only used for one semester? You can always try to sell your textbooks if do not require them anymore. Barnes and Noble takes used textbooks and there are Facebook groups for the same.

Textbook Exchange
https://www.facebook.com/groups/286895931391526/
Free or for sale
https://www.facebook.com/groups/286895951391524/for_sale_search/?forsalesearchtype=for_sale&availability=available&query=textbook

Ask if there is a student discount before purchasing anything

If you don't ask, you don't get! Many retail stores, restaurants, coffee shops, etc. do not advertise the fact that they offer discounts for students. Always ask!

Take advantage of RIT's bus

RIT has a shuttle schedule that runs seven days a week, that you should definately take advantage of.

You can get free medical eye and ear checkups on campus. There is an 'Eye and Ear clinic' in LBJ Room 3758.
Look here for details - http://www.ntid.rit.edu/css/eye-ear-clinic

These are just a few of my tips to help you cut costs during college, here at RIT. Good luck!