Category Archives: Financial Aid

EYF offers students something new

Two students doing a lab experiment

Deaf and hard-of-hearing students from all over the country attend Explore Your Furutre each year and enjoy hands-on experiences with various careers. This summer camp also gives participants a taste of college life and the opportunity to make new friends. On the final day of camp, a parent workshop offers families the chance to ask questions about admissions and financial aid as well as take a campus tour. More

New scholarship benefits deaf, hard-of-hearing students at RIT/NTID

Mike Lawson in dark suit and tie standing with mom on left in yellow top and plaid skirt and dad on right in brown suit and tie.

RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf has announced the Michael E. Lawson Endowed Scholarship, which will be implemented for the 2016-17 academic year. Lawson was a former RIT men’s soccer standout and assistant coach who was inducted into the RIT Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012.
The Lawson scholarship will support deaf and hard-of-hearing students in the College of Liberal Arts and in NTID’s Master of Science in Secondary Education program. At minimum, two awards will be made annually, one to a student in each the College of Liberal Arts and the MSSE program. The Lawson family generously gifted the funds to establish the scholarship.
“I am extremely proud to be part of establishing this scholarship for deserving young deaf and hard-of-hearing men and women,” said Lawson, who is a teacher of deaf and hard-of-hearing students at Neptune Middle School in Neptune, NJ. “I hope that the scholarship will provide an opportunity for them to have the same kinds of positive experiences that I had as a student at RIT/NTID.” 
Named the RIT Senior Male Athlete of the Year in 2006, Lawson enjoyed an excellent career with the Tigers, starting all 71 games 2002-05, posting 40 points from his midfield position on 13 goals and 14 assists. Eleven of his 13 career goals were game-winners, fourth all-time at the university.
Lawson was a four-time All-Empire 8 selection, earning Player of the Year honors in 2004 and 2005. He was also league Rookie of the Year in 2002. Lawson helped guide the Tigers to the 2004 Empire 8 Championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. He was also a 2004 National Soccer Coaches Association of America Adidas First Team All-Region selection.
“The importance of scholarship support for deserving deaf and hard-of-hearing students at RIT/NTID cannot be overstated,” said Gerard Buckley, NTID president and RIT vice president and dean. “We are so grateful to the Lawson family for their generous gift in honor of their son, Michael, who continues to serve as a role model to our deaf and hard-of-hearing student-athletes.”
A three-year team captain, Lawson was a two-time NSCAA Scholar All-American in 2004 and 2005. As an undergraduate, Lawson, an NTID student, maintained a 3.64 grade point average as a social work major. In his graduate studies, he had a 3.90 GPA in deaf education.
Lawson served as an assistant coach for the RIT men’s soccer program under head coach Bill Garno 2006-08.
Please contact Bryan Hensel, NTID Development at for information on how you can make a gift to the fund.

Winners of the Next Big Idea 2-16

Winners of The Next Big Idea 2016


On Wednesday, May 4, judges from ZVRS, sponsor of The Next Big Idea Competition, reviewed projects of the six finalists, asked questions and selected the folloing winners:

$5,000  First Place:      Team Ugyo; Ethan Young and Nicole Dugan

$3,000  Second Place   Team Dalmation; Adam Brodak, Keith Delk and Jefrey Spinale

$2,000  Third Place       Team ANOVA; Musab Al-Smadi, Michelle Chi, Steven McClusky, Radhika Mehra



Six teams of deaf and hard-of-hearing students from Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf will go head-to-head May 4 during The Next Big Idea competition.

The contest—6:30 to 10 p.m. in NTID’s Panara Theatre, Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall—is an annual event where teams of students combine skills related to their individual majors to create products, technology or businesses that will be useful to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. Teams work with mentors on their projects and compete before judges for cash prizes. The event is sponsored by ZVRS, a video relay company.

This year marks the fifth anniversary of The Next Big Idea.

Student teams are:

  • Anova— a voice-to-text translation system for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals that uses a mini processor and microphone.
  • Asymtotic—incorporates microphones, tactile feedback, pulsation and sound filters that vibrate to engage the wearer in important situations.
  • Dalmation—a software service that focuses on providing jobs, volunteering opportunities, networking and resources for the American Sign Language community.
  • Douror—a service app for deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons that helps with placing food orders.
  • Echo—a speech-therapy mobile app that allows users to practice speech and give instantaneous feedback to speech therapists.
  • Ugyo—an access-technology prototype for deaf-blind people with Usher Syndrome to improve communication with peers during meetings or other interactive settings.

“Every year the excitement around this competition builds,” said Gerry Buckley, NTID president and RIT vice president and dean. “Amazing projects are presented and some of them move quickly into the marketplace. We thank ZVRS for their support, and are grateful for the belief they have in our students.”

The event—free and open to the public—will be fully accessible for both deaf and hearing audiences. For more information, contact

File Your FAFSA

It’s time to file your FAFSA!!

Returning RIT/NTID students need to file a new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year between January 1 and April 1, 2015 at

Filing the FAFSA each year is the most important step in the financial aid process. By submitting it, your student will automatically be considered for all federal and institutional aid programs. If you need assistance completing the form, go here for a video that leads you through the process. If you would like to complete the FAFSA form in Spanish, go here.

In addition to filing the FAFSA, returning RIT/NTID students need to file an institutional financial aid application.





Financial Aid Information — related to FAFSA and VR

If you haven’t yet completed your Free Application for Federal Student Aid for 2014-2015 and want to apply for financial aid, please go to, complete the FAFSA form and submit it as soon as possible.  

Please remind your student to send spring grades AND fall schedule to his or her VR counselor if your student is receiving VR support. This is important to do even if your student is on a waiting list for financial support.

It’s also important for your student to:

  • Visit his or her VR counselor and get an updated Individual Plan of Employment or have VR email your student the information about how much funding he or she will receive toward educational expenses for next year.
  • Send that information to Barbara Polle at or FAX it to 585-475-7850. If your student can’t email or fax, be sure to have him or her bring that information to campus in the fall and give it to Barb Polle, LBJ, Building 60, Room 2625.

Financial Aid Reminders

If your student receives support from Vocational Rehabilitation in your state, be sure to remind your student to give his or her VR counselor copies of grades and registration schedules at the end of each semester so that VR payment authorizations for your student are not delayed. Your student can give both you and VR access to information that will allow you to view your student’s billing statement, schedule or grades; set up a payment plan; or make online payments.  Your student must grant you access to his/her account, and once access is granted, you will receive an email from RIT to set up an account for this purpose. This access to student grades, schedules and bills is a great resource for VR counselors as they consider support for your student.

Also, when you are completing your 2013 tax forms, please do remember to fill out the FAFSA for 2014-2015 based on your 2013 tax return. You may want to use the data retrieval tool in the FAFSA application to link your IRS tax return right to your son or daughter’s FAFSA forms.

If you have questions, contact us at 585-475-6864 (voice) or email NSASAID@RIT.EDU.