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Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships

International Graduate Students

We feel strongly that cost should not be an obstacle to considering RIT for your graduate studies. 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 department 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 a Graduate Assistantship for Finance:
  2. Student Affairs Graduate Assistantships:

International graduate students can accept pay for work related to their program of instruction during their program if such work is approved by RIT. They cannot be employed in jobs away from the RIT campus without permission from RIT.

RIT rarely awards full financial support for graduate students. Some academic departments may require that students provide proof of financial support (see Documenting Financial Support below) before they will review the application. Applicants should be confident of their source of funding for the full length of the academic program before they apply for admission.

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Documenting Financial Support

In order to apply for a student visa, U.S. government regulations require international students to demonstrate that they have sufficient financial resources to meet the costs of tuition, fees, supplies, and living expenses for at least nine months of full-time study.

International students who need to apply for a student visa must submit to RIT an original bank statement showing the amount available for their education. In addition, if the funds are not in the student's name, a letter of support from the person owning the assets is also required. In the case of support by a government agency or other organization, an original letter indicating the amount of funding and the period of time it is available is required.

Once the student is admitted and these documents have been declared acceptable, the appropriate form (I-20 or DS-2019) can be issued by RIT.

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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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Loan Resources

Many private loans are offered through banks to supplement financial aid awards. Many lending institutions will require that an international student apply for a loan with an eligible co-signer who is either a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen. RIT is required to certify these loans to ensure that the loan amount does not exceed the annual cost of attendance less all other financial aid. When choosing a lender for an alternative loan, you may wish to consider the following factors:

When applying for your loan, remember to request the amount of funds for the full academic year. Once your application has been approved with a credit check, we will certify your eligibility and schedule the disbursement of funds directly into your RIT account. The total value of your requested loan amount will be divided equally over each semester you are scheduled to enroll at RIT.

Finaid! The Smart Student Guide to Financial Aid provides additional information on private loans and guidance on selecting a lender. That information can be found at We encourage students to review information on at least the factors listed above when choosing a lender for a private loan. For additional information regarding responsible student loan borrowing and evaluating student loan lenders, visit the responsible student loan borrowing page.

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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 $10.40 per hour and is dependent upon the skill or experience required for the job. International students are limited to a maximum of 20 hours per week. 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.

International graduate students can accept pay for work related to their program of instruction during their program if such work is approved by RIT. On-campus student employment is limited to students who are full-time (minimum 9 graduate credit hours) and matriculated (accepted into a degree program).

International students cannot be employed in jobs away from the RIT campus without permission from RIT. Policies regarding working off-campus can be found on the International Student Services web site, at

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.

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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 eServices. 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 semester 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.

For more information on billing and payment options, please visit the SFS web site. For additional information on studying in the United States and general financing information, please also visit eduPass!: The SmartStudent Guide to Studying in the USA.

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Taxability Issues

A merit-based 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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International Student Services

The International Student Services office serves as a resource for all international students on visas as well as members of the campus community seeking cross-cultural assistance. The staff advises students on immigration issues, helps them adjust to academic and cultural expectations in the United States, and provides cross-cultural programs. In addition, the office coordinates off-campus hospitality through the Rochester International Council. International Student Services offers orientation each semester. In the Fall, the PAL (Peer Advisor Leader) program matches up returning students with new students on a one-to-one basis to help them with their adjustment to RIT and the United States. For more information on the services they provide, please visit the International Student Services website.

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English Language Center

Students whose native language is not English can find assistance at the English Language Center. There is an additional cost for courses taken at the ELC, which is summarized on the ELC website.

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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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