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MS - Career & Human Resource Development '94
Dundee NY

Springtime Means Packaging Time for Financial Aid and Scholarships!

(March 16 2009) Written by: Corinne Franklin in Financial Aid, Student Life

The snow has melted, the sky is blue, and the sun is bright (well, brighter than we’ve seen in awhile)! I think anybody who works in a financial aid office would agree that spring is the busiest time of year. At RIT, we have gotten through most of the merit scholarship review for new students, but it is an ongoing process. We just started sending financial aid awards out for new admitted students. The actual preparation of a financial aid award is called “packaging”. And on top of that, we are servicing our current students who just started spring quarter!

 

For anybody who has applied for financial aid, our staff came up with some common questions we get from families after they receive a financial aid award:

 

Q: I have my financial aid award, now what do I do?

A: Review the award and the materials enclosed. If you want to accept all awards listed, you (the student) should sign one copy of the award letter and return it to the address at the top of the award letter. Beginning in June, we will send you reminder letters to let you know what you need to complete for the accepted loans. Students who confirm their admission acceptance with a deposit can log into the portal at www.my.rit.edu

and access “My Financial Aid”. Here you can check the status of your applications, view your financial aid, get detailed explanations of each type of aid offered, check for missing or incomplete documents, and calculate your cost of attendance. We also encourage you to visit us during the Orientation Week to be sure that all required Financial Aid documents have been received.

 

Q: How does RIT bill us for the remaining costs?

A: The bills are sent electronically to the student’s RIT email address. Details on the billing process will be included in the early summer mailing. You will be provided with information regarding the 10 month payment plan and the quarterly payment plan. Your estimated costs reflected on the back of the award can be divided into 10 monthly payments beginning August 1st or the costs can be divided into 3 quarterly payments beginning August 19th.

 

Q: How does the Federal Work-Study Program Work?

A: RIT provides part-time job opportunities throughout the campus. Students are paid bi-weekly through a payroll check and these funds can be used for a student’s personal expenses throughout the year. Available positions are posted through the Student Employment Website at http://www.rit.edu/emcs/seo/. Positions for the fall 2009 quarter will be posted closer to fall. Students who want to work, beginning fall 2009 quarter really can’t commit to a job until after they receive their academic schedule. New students will receive their fall class schedules in August. During the week of Orientation August 30-September 6, there will be a campus-wide job fair where hiring supervisors are available to meet with students.

 

Q: How do I pay for the remaining balance?

A: There are a couple of financing options that are available. The first option is the PLUS loan. This is a federal loan that the parent borrows on the student’s behalf. The interest rate is fixed at 7.9% and there is an origination fee of 2.5% that is assessed on the loan. Parents may defer repayment until after the student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time or graduates with up to a 10 year repayment period on the loan. The application is in the Understanding Your Undergraduate Financial Aid Award or it can be downloaded from our website, www.rit.eu/financialaid. Just click on “Forms” and print the 2009-2010 PLUS application. The second option is alternative (or non-Federal) loans. These are private loans in the student’s name with a co-signer. These loans have a variable interest rate and interest begins accruing once the loan is disbursed. Actual repayment on the loans usually begins 6 months after the student is no longer enrolled. Students may use any lender that they choose for an alternative loan. Advice on how to evaluate alternative loans can be found at www.rit.edu/financialaid/responsible_borrowing.html.

 

Q: When do I move in?

A: New students can move into their dormitory on Sunday, August 30th. There will be a one week Orientation Program for new students. Details will be sent to families during the month of July.

 

Q: My financial situation has changed. What do I do?

A: You should submit a letter to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships describing the change. We will review the new information and recalculate your financial aid eligibility. You should also provide documentation of the change (copy of termination letter or copies of medical bills) as well as specific dollar amounts (amount paid out in medical/dental expenses, projected amount of decrease in annual income). A change in a family’s financial situation can be reviewed at any time during the academic year. Please note that we must receive this information in writing in order to properly document a change in your financial aid situation.

 

Q: Can you explain the loans on the Award Letter?

A: There are full descriptions of the loans in the Understanding your Undergraduate Financial Aid Award booklet, but here is a brief overview.

 

• Subsidized Direct Loan: This is a federal loan and the student is the borrower. Effective July 1st, interest is fixed at 5.6%. There is a 0.50% net origination fee assessed when the loan is disbursed. The government pays the interest while the student is in school and through the 6 month grace period. Repayment begins 6 months after the student leaves school or ceases to be enrolled at least half-time.

 

• Unsubsidized Direct Loan: This is federal loan and the student is the borrower. Effective July 1st, interest is fixed at 6.8% and there is a1.5% origination fee less a 1.0% rebate means only 0.50% will be assessed when the loan is disbursed. The interest begins accruing while the student is in school. Students will have the option to pay the interest now or they may choose to pay it later (capitalize the interest).

 

• Perkins Loan: This is a federal loan and the student is the borrower. Interest is fixed at 5% and the government pays the interest while the student is in school and through the 9 month grace period. Repayment begins 9 months after the student leaves school.

 

Q: Are there any other scholarships that I can apply for through RIT?

A: We encourage students to seek out additional scholarships. Our website www.rit.edu/financialaid provides links to many reputable search engines. Please let the Financial Aid Office know if you have obtained additional scholarships so we may reflect it accurately on your Award Letter.

 

Q: Will my aid change if I lived at home instead of RIT housing?

A: Your award(s) may be adjusted if you live at home and are not charged for housing and meals by RIT. Please contact our office if you would like to have your award calculated differently because of your

change in housing status.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments (11)

  • Catherine Atneosen

    Catherine Atneosen

    16 March 2009 at 18:49 |
    When will we recieve the financial aid information? We received a prelim award back in January but nothing since submitting the FAFSA. I was anticipating having it before we attend accepted student day next week. Thanks!
  • Corinne Franklin

    Corinne Franklin

    17 March 2009 at 08:23 |
    Hi Catherine,

    We are working to get as many awards out before our first admitted student open house on March 27th. Send me an e-mail with the student's name and I'll make sure that we have everything we need corinne.franklin@rit.edu.
  • Sue

    Sue

    17 March 2009 at 11:19 |
    We have received our acceptance but no award notice or financial aid package yet. Is is possible for an award to be transferred from student to student? We have a friend in our school who received an award as a junior last year and is not going to use it at RIT. He has chosen another school. Is it possible for us to use his award? It seems a shame that it goes to waste. We have many students who received multiple awards from different schools and are not using them. Hope this is not a silly question!
  • Corinne Franklin

    Corinne Franklin

    17 March 2009 at 14:44 |
    Hi Sue,

    Your question is not a silly question. Quite honestly we get this question quite often. So, this is a good opportunity to get an answer out there.

    Financial aid is awarded based on our individual review of each family's unique circumstances. Therefore, a financial aid package will be different from one student to the next. Financial aid never goes to waste. We know statistically what portion of our applicant pool will ultimately choose to enroll at RIT. We initially offer more than our available resources knowing that some of the students awarded will not attend.

    We just started sending our financial aid awards out late last week. So, there aren't a lot of awards out yet. The plan is to get the majority of awards out within the next couple of weeks.

    We encourage you to contact our office directly if you have additional questions or would like to discuss your financial circumstances in more depth.
  • Chris

    Chris

    19 March 2009 at 17:30 |
    When I filed my FAFSA I had to use my parents' 2007 tax return, and their income has since increased quite a lot. Will this increase affect my financial aid package drastically? Is this also the reason I need to verify my parents' financial documents (because I put i "will file," instead of the 2008 info or at least estimates)?
  • Bill

    Bill

    19 March 2009 at 19:20 |
    Do you know when incoming freshman are advised if they have been accepted into the honors program?
  • Corinne Franklin

    Corinne Franklin

    20 March 2009 at 10:30 |
    Hi Chris!

    The amount of change in estimated versus actual income determines whether a financial aid award will need to be adjusted. Students who indicate that estimated income was used on the FAFSA are not necessarily always selected for verification. But, when estimated income is used, you are required to update the FAFSA once the actual income information is available. I'm assuming you have already received your financial aid award. So, shoot me an e-mail with your full name and the amount of the change and I'll let you know what impact that has on your award. Corinne.Franklin@RIT.EDU
  • Corinne Franklin

    Corinne Franklin

    20 March 2009 at 10:56 |
    Hi Bill,

    Invitations to participate in the Honors Program will go out in the next week or so to admitted students.

    Early Decision applicants have already received their invitations.
  • suzanne

    suzanne

    23 March 2009 at 11:13 |
    My income has decreased significantly since early 2008 that is not reflective on my 2008 tax return. I understand that I can submit a letter explaining my situation to the financial aid office. Who do I send this to and will this help my financial award situation?
  • Rick

    Rick

    25 March 2009 at 10:01 |
    Thank you for you blog post. I find your posts about financial aid to be very helpful.
  • Corinne Franklin

    Corinne Franklin

    26 March 2009 at 07:55 |
    Hi Suzanne,

    Sorry for the late reply to your question. You can send your letter by e-mail to me at Corinne.Franklin@RIT.EDU, or you can mail or FAX it to our office. You can find out office contact information at http://www.rit.edu/emcs/financialaid/contact.html. It is helpful to have a projection of your 2009 income including any unemployment benefits. We will review the projected change and let you know either way whether the change impacts the financial aid award.

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