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Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships

U.S. Citizen and Permanent Resident Graduate Students

We feel strongly that cost should not be an obstacle to considering RIT for your graduate studies. We offer a full range of traditional financial aid programs, such as scholarships, assistantships, and student loans, as well as a number of payment plans. The Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships welcomes the opportunity to work with you to make an RIT graduate education possible.

Graduate Scholarships and Assistantships

Most scholarships and assistantships are awarded by the individual academic departments. In most cases, applicants for admission will be considered for scholarships and assistantships as long as they check the appropriate box on the application for admission. The level and type of support will vary. Students should consult directly with their academic department for information regarding the types of support available and how the department considers students for scholarships and assistantships.

RIT Graduate Scholarships are awarded by academic departments in recognition of students’ academic excellence. The amount of the award varies by student and department. Scholarships do not include a stipend. Scholarships may be awarded for some or all of a student’s tuition in a given year and are credited directly to the student’s account at Student Financial Services. These awards carry with them the expectation that students will maintain a minimum academic standard (3.0 grade point average per term) and make satisfactory progress toward their degrees. Students seeking more information about these awards should contact their graduate department coordinator.

RIT Graduate Assistantships are offered to full-time matriculated graduate students to serve as teaching, research, or administrative assistants. Graduate Assistants receive wages (determined by the department making the appointment) in exchange for work performed. Many graduate assistants also receive tuition remission (i.e. tuition support) in addition to receiving wages for assistantship duties. Students seeking more information about a possible appointment should contact their graduate department coordinator.

If you are interested in an administrative assistantship, it is likely that you will need to conduct your own search for offices on campus that have such opportunities. Some examples are:

  1. Residence Life Assistantships, which include Community Advocates and Graduate Assistantship for Finance: http://reslife.rit.edu/about/employment/
  2. Student Affairs Graduate Assistantships: http://www.rit.edu/studentaffairs/SAGraduateAssistantships.php

If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and are also applying for federal student aid, the receipt of a graduate student scholarship or assistantship may affect your federal aid eligibility. If you receive a scholarship or assistantship after you have received an award letter from the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, we will notify you of any changes to your award. Students who qualify for a full RIT tuition waiver or full reimbursement from an employer are not also eligible for an RIT Institute Graduate Scholarship.

GEM Fellowship

GEM is a program of the National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science, Inc. Through GEM, talented African American, Hispanic American and Native American students compete for portable fellowships to be used for graduate study at member institutions. RIT is a member of the GEM consortium. For more information about the program and application procedures, contact The National GEM Consortium at 1430 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 or www.gemfellowship.org.

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State Grants for Graduate Students

The New York State Veterans Tuition Award (VTA) is for students who are New York State residents discharged under honorable conditions from the U.S. Armed forces and who are:

Eligibility is established by completing the New York State Veterans Tuition Award Supplement at HescWeb.

Apply for payment online each year by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and then linking to the TAP on the Web application.

Students who receive VTA must meet good academic standing requirements.

Vocational Rehabilitation Assistance (also known in some states as: DVR, MRC,VR, VESID, OVR) is provided by state agencies to residents who meet specific requirements. Contact the Vocational Rehabilitation Office near your home to apply for VR support. If you appear to be a candidate for VR support, you will see VR included in your financial aid award. Since there is no national standard for determining VR support, it is difficult for RIT to estimate the amount. Each agency in each state has their own method for determining awards. If the actual amount of VR support you receive is different from the estimated amount in your financial aid award, you are required to provide us with confirmation from your VR counselor, and RIT will make any required adjustments to your award. All NTID students who apply for financial aid are expected to also apply for VR assistance. If a VR amount is included in your financial aid award and you have not applied through your state agency, RIT will not be able to replace the estimated VR amount.

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Loan Resources

Educational loans for graduate students come from several sources: federal programs and alternative (non-federal) programs. Loans are an invaluable resource for students because repayment is traditionally scheduled over a ten-year period beginning 6 months after you leave school, or drop below half-time (6 credits) enrollment. Therefore, you are delaying payment on a portion of your educational costs.

Federal programs may include the William D. Ford Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans, the Federal Direct PLUS Loan for Graduate Students, and the Perkins Loan.

Graduate students must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credits in graduate level coursework to qualify for federal student loan funding.

Private, or alternative (non-federal) may also be available for students who are less than half-time or do not file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

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Student Employment Options

There are a variety of on-campus employment opportunities for RIT students. The hourly rate of pay begins at $7.25 per hour and is dependent upon the skill or experience required for the job. Student employees are paid bi-weekly and these earnings are taxable. Most students use their earnings to pay for books, travel, and personal expenses rather than for tuition and fees.

On-campus student employment is limited to students who are full-time (minimum 12 credit hours) and matriculated (accepted into a degree program).

New students who wish to work on-campus must first complete the employment eligibility process to receive their Employment Eligibility Card. This process must be completed in person in the Student Employment Office (SEO). The SEO is located in the University Services Center, Room 1350. Office hours are Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 4:30pm.

Once this process has been completed, students will receive their Employment Eligibility Card for the current academic year. Students may then apply for on-campus positions. All on-campus jobs are listed on the Student Employment Office’s website. Just select the job(s) you wish to apply for and contact the employer via email or phone. All contact information regarding the job will be found with the job listing.

Federal Work Study is a government-subsidized financial aid program which provides part-time jobs to assist students in paying for their education. Federal Work Study is offered by RIT to students who meet the eligibility requirements as determined by information reported on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). You are required to report all of your income on the FAFSA, including your total Federal Work Study earnings. However, your Federal Work Study earnings should be reported on Worksheet C of the FAFSA. This value is automatically excluded from your total income when your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is calculated. Federal Work Study awards may be decreased or changed to RIT Campus Employment if you decide to apply for either the Graduate PLUS or a non-federal loan.

RIT Campus Employment offers on-campus job opportunities to all work eligible students. These jobs are offered regardless of a student's financial need (therefore filing a FAFSA is not required) and are similar to Federal Work Study jobs. Wages are paid by RIT, and therefore, income earned from RIT Employment is considered an available resource if you file a FAFSA for the following year.

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Outside Scholarships

Outside Scholarships and Employer Tuition Waivers are awarded by private (non-RIT) organizations. We encourage all students to apply for outside scholarships since these are an excellent source of funding and may reduce the need to borrow loans.

If you are receiving a scholarship or tuition waiver from an outside source, regulations require that you notify the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. In many cases, no adjustments to a student’s financial aid award are necessary. The total value of your reported outside scholarship will be divided equally over each semester you are scheduled to enroll at RIT unless the sponsor specifies otherwise. We provide several helpful outside scholarship search engines to help you identify supplemental sources of funding for your graduate education. In addition to these search engines, the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships has developed another Outside Scholarship Search to assist you as well.

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Other Educational Financing Options

The RIT Student Financial Services Office offers several flexible payment options to meet your financing needs.  For additional information please visit SFS’s Billing and Payment section of their website and click on the “Billing Dates and Payment Options” link or call (585) 475-6186.

RIT’s Employer Sponsored Tuition Plan (ESTP) is a deferment program designed to assist employees who must turn in grade reports to receive full tuition reimbursement from their employers. By deferring the full amount until the reimbursement is received, RIT hopes to ease the financial burden for these students and make it possible for them to continue working toward their degree without interruption.

In order to participate, eligible employees should obtain a deferment application from their company’s Human Resource Office. This card must be completed by the student and the tuition aid or human resource professional. Information requested on the card includes a valid Visa or MasterCard number that will be charged if the student does not meet the payment deadlines outlined on the card. The deadlines are scheduled approximately four weeks after each semester ends to allow sufficient time for grades to be received and reimbursement checks to be processed.

The company portion of the card indicates only that the employee is eligible for a full tuition reimbursement, not that full reimbursement is guaranteed. Students must still meet any grade guidelines established by the employer. Additional information can be obtained by contacting the Office of Part-time and Graduate Enrollment Services at (585) 475-2229 or opes@rit.edu.

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Filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Financial aid for graduate students at RIT comes from two primary sources. Scholarships and Assistantships are awarded through individual academic departments, based upon a review of your academic records and information you provided in your Application for Graduate Study. The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships has the responsibility for determining your eligibility for low-interest educational loans.

At RIT, we believe that the primary responsibility for financing higher education costs belongs with the student. Many of the aid programs administered by the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships require that the student show need for assistance beyond whatever academic scholarships you qualify for and the financial contribution that can be reasonably expected from the student.

U.S. citizens and permanent residents may apply for need-based financial aid by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In order to be eligible to receive federal student aid, you must meet all of the following criteria:

You can file the FAFSA online. You need to release your FAFSA information to RIT by indicating our school code #002806. While not required, students should make every effort to complete their federal tax returns prior to filing their financial aid applications since this will simplify the process. If you are unable to complete your tax return prior to filing the FAFSA, estimated figures can be used; although, you should make any appropriate corrections to your FAFSA if your taxes don't match your estimates.

Your eligibility for need-based aid programs is based on the difference between the estimated cost of RIT/NTID and your student contribution. Estimated costs include tuition, fees, room, board, books, transportation, supplies, and personal expenses. If you plan to live at home with your parents and commute to RIT, your cost of attendance will not include room and board. Your student contribution is based on information provided on the FAFSA and is the amount you are expected to contribute towards these costs. The specific combination of federal, state, and/or RIT/NTID sponsored financial aid listed on your award letter is based on your financial need and the availability of funds.

Students who complete a FAFSA and provide an e-mail address will receive an e-mail with a link to their Student Aid Report (SAR) on the web. Students who do not provide an e-mail address will be mailed a paper SAR from the federal processor. If RIT is listed on the SAR, we have received the same information electronically. Please review the SAR for accuracy. If corrections are required, follow the instructions and submit the corrections to the processor. Be sure to sign the corrected SAR. As a result of sending corrections to the processor, you will receive a revised SAR.

Financial Aid Checklist

All students should:

All FAFSA filers should follow these instructions if your award includes:

Estimated VR:

Direct Unsubsidized Loans:

Federal Perkins Loan:

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan:

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Reapplying for Financial Aid

You must reapply for financial aid each year. Current RIT/NTID students are required to complete two forms:

Priority deadline for filing the FAFSA is April 1 for the following academic year. Students who apply by the priority deadline and who maintain satisfactory academic progress standards will receive full consideration for available funding. Late applications will be considered as long as funds remain available. In order to continue receiving need-based financial aid you must demonstrate financial need. If your financial need changes, your financial aid may also be adjusted.

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Satisfactory Academic Progress

You must maintain satisfactory academic progress towards the completion of a degree program as defined in the RIT Graduate Bulletin. In general, assistance is available to students who complete 12 credit hours per semester and maintain a 2.0 (C) cumulative grade point average.

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Graduate Student Cost of Attendance

Estimated costs include amounts you will require for tuition, student fees, room, board, books, supplies, transportation, and personal expenses. If you are a Free Application for federal Student Aid (FAFSA) filer, your student contribution is the amount you and your spouse (if married) can reasonably be expected to contribute towards meeting those costs. Your eligibility for need-based financial aid is based on the difference between the estimated annual costs associated with attending RIT and your student contribution. Please visit our Estimated costs section for a break-down of annual charges for your financial planning purposes.

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Financial Aid and Your Billing Statement

The Student Financial Services (SFS) Office sends electronic billing statements prior to the beginning of each semester. The billing statements reflect charges for tuition and fees and can be viewed online at https://eservices.rit.edu. If you are living in RIT housing, your room and meal plan charges will also appear on your statement.

An estimate of your financial aid will be reflected on your bill as anticipated aid. The billing statement will show the anticipated financial aid deducted from your total charges. You will be required to pay any balance due after the financial aid has been deducted from your charges. On occasion, an anticipated award amount from an outside source may be different from the actual amount of funds received. In this case, your bill will be adjusted upon receipt, and your revised balance will be reflected on your next billing statement. Most scholarships and grants awarded by RIT will be credited to your account once we receive all required financial aid documents and after the end of each semester's Add/Drop period, with the exception of Summer. Summer financial aid cannot be disbursed until after July 1. Remember that you will need to financially budget for books, supplies, personal expenses, and transportation. While you are not billed for these expenses, you should anticipate them as part of your overall costs. If your financial aid exceeds your billable charges, you may use the excess funds for your other educational/living expenses.

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Taxability Issues

A merit scholarship is not taxable to the recipient if the student is a degree candidate and uses the funds to pay for qualified educational expenses, including tuition, fees, books, supplies, and equipment. No Form W-2 or Form 1099 is issued. Tuition remission received by graduate assistants is not taxable as long as the wage component of the assistantship represents a fair market value wage for the research or teaching services provided to the University. Again, no Form W-2 or Form 1099 is issued. Regarding Graduate assistantship wages, applicable taxes are withheld at the time the payment is processed. A Form W-2 is issued annually in this case. Fellowship stipends are taxable. A Form 1099 will be issued. No taxes are withheld at the time the payment is made, but the student will be informed of his/her tax obligations by the academic department.

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Your Rights and Responsibilities

Each RIT student is assigned a Financial Aid Counselor based on their academic major. Counselors are committed to working with students to make RIT affordable. Also as a financial aid recipient, you have certain rights and responsibilities, including the following:

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