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.