Financial Aid FAQs

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COVID-19

The best way to contact our office is to email us at ritaid@rit.edu . You can email any questions or request to speak with someone over the phone. Please provide as much information as possible students name, university ID, date of birth, and the best number to reach you.

Due to the office working remotely, the Office of Financial Aid will be temporarily accepting citizenship documents electronically. For our office to accept the electronic copy of citizenship documents, the student must complete the following:

  • Bring their citizenship document(s) to a notary public
  • Complete and sign the Citizenship Affidavit in front of the notary public
  • Have the notary public stamp and, if applicable, provide their seal** on the Citizenship Affidavit and the copy of the citizenship document(s)
  • Upload the documents to the Financial Aid Uploader

 

Once these forms are received, the citizenship representative will ensure that all appropriate documents have been received and will email the student if there is something additional needed. If nothing additional is needed, the citizenship representative will process as normal. If the document is received and additional information is required (ex: notary only provided their seal, not the stamp) then the citizenship representative will email the student to indicate that they must complete one of the following:

  • Paper mail the notarized documents to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships
    • Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships
      56 Lomb Memorial Drive
      Rochester Institute of Technology
      Rochester, New York 14623-5604

  • Bring original documentation to the Office of Financial Aid and scholarships when campus reopens
  • **For New York only the stamp is required; the raised seal is not a requirement of the state.

Please email our office at ritaid@rit.edu if you cannot obtain a notary.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the application the Department of Education uses to determine if you are eligible to receive federal student aid.

The Federal Pell Grant, SEOG, Work-Study, and the Direct Loan programs; Subsidized, Unsubsidized, Parent PLUS, and Graduate PLUS are the federal aid programs you are automatically considered for by filing the FAFSA each year.

The FAFSA is available online at studentaid.gov. The FAFSA is a free application; you will not be asked to pay a fee to apply.  

The RIT FAFSA school code is 002806.

If you are considered a dependent student for FAFSA® purposes, you will need to provide information about your legal parent(s) on the application. A legal parent is your biological or adoptive parent or your legal parent as determined by the state (for example, if the parent is listed on your birth certificate). If you have a stepparent currently married to your legal parent, you generally also must provide information about him or her.

  • You are working on a degree beyond a bachelor's, such as a master's or doctorate
  • You have a child or children, or other legal dependents, who receive more than half their financial support from you
  • You are married (or separated but not divorced)
  • You are at least 24 years old
  • You are a veteran of the United States Armed Forces
  • You are currently serving on active duty in the Armed Forces for other than training purposes
  • If at any time since you turned 13, both your parents were deceased, you were in foster care, or were a ward of the court
  • You are an emancipated child as determined by a court judge
  • You are homeless or at risk of homelessness as determined by the director of a HUD-approved homeless shelter, transitional program, or high school liaison
  • If you do not meet any of those criteria, you are required to report parental information on your FAFSA, meaning you are classified as a dependent student.

Grandparents and other relatives may not substitute their information for the parent's information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) unless they have legally adopted the student. Generally, only biological and adoptive parents are responsible for completing the FAFSA.

Yes. Because eligibility for federal student aid does not carry over from one award year to the next, you will need to complete the FAFSA for each award year for which you are or plan to be a student. The FAFSA is available every October 1st for the upcoming academic year. New students planning to use federal student aid should complete a FAFSA while applying for admission. Continuing students will need to submit a FAFSA each year they plan to receive federal student aid.

In order to check the accuracy of the information reported on the FAFSA, the US Department of Education selects aid applicants to undergo the verification process. Applicants can be selected for Verification when they initially submit a FAFSA, or when corrections are submitted. Students who are selected for Verification will have a message printed on their SAR. Verification Documents can be printed online.

Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and New York State Scholarships

To be eligible for TAP, you must be a New York State resident and attend an eligible school or college located in New York State. You must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and list a New York State school or college on the form. 

More information about TAP

You must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and list a New York State college or school. After you confirm the FAFSA submission, you may file the electronic TAP Application online by clicking on the New York State resident link and completing the TAP on the Web application. After successful completion of the TAP application, you will receive an email message alerting you to check the status of your application. Processing may take up to 10 business days. You will not receive an email message until your electronic application is processed. 

If you are eligible to receive federal student aid (also known as Title IV aid), you must complete both the FAFSA and the NYS TAP application. If you are not eligible to receive federal student aid (also known as Title IV aid), you must simply complete the NYS TAP application under the provisions of the NYS DREAM Act.

If you are a NYS resident and did not complete the NYS TAP application after filing your FAFSA, you will receive an email from HESC – usually within three to four days of completing the FAFSA – with instructions on how to complete the TAP on the Web application, provided you selected at least one NYS college on the FAFSA.

Your school will give you an estimate of your TAP award. The information you provide is verified, and the TAP award subject to change if there are any discrepancies in income, cost of attendance, family members in school, etc. Use the TAP Estimator to determine an estimate of your award. You will receive an award certificate telling you about your TAP award. Your school will see your information on a roster listing students who have received an award certificate for attendance at that school. The school must verify your eligibility and certify your award. If your school needs confirmation of how much your TAP award will be before the roster is sent, you may provide the school with a copy of your award certificate, or you may print your account information from the HESC Web site. Once the school certifies you are eligible and meeting all of the school requirements, the TAP funds will be sent to the school, usually within two weeks. 

On your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you are asked to list the schools you plan to attend. The FAFSA, in turn, is the source of the school code for the ETA (whether paper or online). If you are completing a paper ETA, HESC prints it with the first New York school you listed on your FAFSA. If you are completing the online ETA, the first New York school you listed will appear online. If the school is not correct, you must change it on the paper or online ETA. After your ETA is processed, you may make school code changes online through your Student Access. If you did not indicate a New York school on your FAFSA, you will not receive an ETA. You must make the correction to the FAFSA indicating the correct school you plan to attend. Once the New York School is added, an Express TAP Application will be sent to you. (You will not receive a link to complete your ETA online.) 

Changes or corrections are made online in your HESC account through Student Access.

The school gives you an estimate of your TAP award, and the estimate is subject to change based upon verification of all of the data. TAP verifies the New York taxable income with the New York State Tax Department, and if there are any differences in what is originally reported, your actual TAP award may change. In addition, your TAP award may be calculated based upon many different factors, such as the family members in college and parents' income, so it is important to make certain that all of the data you have provided is complete and correct, and to be sure to submit all requested documentation.

Your TAP amount is estimated until NY State passes their budget and notifies RIT of your final award. Our estimates are based upon the information submitted on the FAFSA, which may vary from the information required on the TAP application.  

The New York State Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Incentive Program provides tuition scholarship for eligible New York state residents applying to one of the STEM majors. To be eligible, students must be graduating, or have graduated, in the top 10 percent of their class from a high school located in New York State. Note that this scholarship becomes a loan if the student doesn’t meet the service agreement requirements.

More information about STEM

Loans

There are full descriptions of the loans in the Understanding Your Undergraduate Financial Aid Award booklet and online. In the Direct Loan program, the student is the borrower.  Here is a brief overview:

-Federal Subsidized Direct Loan:  A federal loan where the government pays the interest while the student is in school. Repayment begins 6 months after the student leaves school or ceases to be enrolled at least half-time.  

-Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan:  A federal loan where the interest begins accruing while the student is in school. Students will have the option to pay the interest while in school or to defer both interest and principal payments until 6 months after they drop below half-time enrollment (capitalize the interest).  The interest rate and fee are the same as the subsidized version of the program.

The Direct Loan interest rates are determined on an annual basis and go into effect on July 1 each year. Learn more about interest rates on the Federal Student Aid website.

You can adjust the amount you wish to receive at the time you accept your loan funding on eServices.  If you make an error, please contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships for assistance.

  From the self-service portal, you will be able to:

  • Check the status of your Financial Aid applications
  • View your Financial Aid Award Letter
  • Accept the Financial Aid awarded
  • Adjust Financial Aid award amount you wish to accept
  • Get a detailed explanation of each type of award offered
  • Check for missing or incomplete documents
  • Notify Financial Aid of enrollment changes
  • Calculate your Cost of Attendance

Federal Direct Loans can disburse to your student account up to 10 days prior to the start of the semester for which the funds are intended if you are enrolled for at least 12 credits as well as having completed all necessary requirements such as but not limited to:

  • Accept your federal loan(s)
  • Provide your authorization for Title IV funds (Federal Direct Loans, Graduate PLUS Loans)
  • Complete federal requirements such as the Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling online. You can find step by step tutorial for each process online for MPN and Entrance Counseling.

If you are enrolled in less than 12 credits, Federal Direct Loan funding will disburse shortly after the semester drop/add period has ended, and we have had the opportunity to confirm your enrollment status.

Yes, we recommend that you contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships to confirm the appropriate amount to apply for based on your needs.

Grants and Scholarships

The Pell Grant is determined from the income, assets, family size, number in college, etc. that you reported on your FAFSA.  

The two awards are not stackable. You are only eligible to receive the higher of the two.  

As long as there is not a major change in your family circumstances, your grant should remain relatively the same. 

Award Receipt and Next Steps

Review the award(s) and the materials enclosed with your notification.  After you pay your enrollment deposit, you will receive information about how to log on to RIT eServices to accept/decline/reduce loans or work-study, if offered to you.

Your access to eServices allows you to read detailed explanations of each type of aid offered, check for outstanding requirements or other actions you may need to do. You can also calculate your anticipated cost of attendance and grant access to a parent or other third party so that they can also view your financial aid award.  

See the How to Afford RIT/Payment Options section below.

New students – You can appeal your award online.

Returning students - You should review the Changed Family Circumstance Form. If anyone of those situations pertains to you, you should complete the form and provide the relevant documentation to our office for review after receiving your initial award letter. RIT will then determine if we are able to adjust your financial aid. A change in a family's financial situation is reviewed at any time during the academic year. Note that we must receive this information in writing along with supporting documentation to revise your financial aid potentially.

Not usually. RIT has a very generous policy on the treatment of outside awards that allows your outside scholarships to reduce loans or work programs before other RIT need-based grants or scholarships. 

Your award(s) may be adjusted if you live at home and are not charged for housing and meals by RIT. Please contact the Assistant Director (give them AD's contact) if you would like to have your award recalculated because of your change in housing status. 

Review your fall class schedule to determine your availability outside of class/lab time for a part-time job. Positions for the fall semester will be posted closer to the start of the semester and are posted through the Student Employment Office (SEO) website.  RIT does not assign or guarantee a part-time job, but the SEO will help facilitate the job search process.  Students are paid bi-weekly through a payroll check, and your earnings can be used for personal expenses throughout the year.

Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships
56 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester, New York 14623-5604

585-475-2186 (phone)
585-475-7270 (fax)
ritaid@rit.edu (email is the best way to contact our office during the COVID-19 pandemic)

Our preferred way to submit all documents is through our Secure Uploader.

Yes, you will be assigned a specific Assistant Director based on your college or program. See the list here.

All documents can be uploaded through our Secure Uploader.

  • Please make sure all documents are complete before uploading
  • Taxes & Verification Documents have a wet signature 
  • The students full name & University ID is listed if possible 

Affording RIT and Payment Options

There are several financing options available. 

 -RIT offers a semester-based payment plan for a $42 fee per term (set up through eServices).
Visit www.rit.edu/fa/sfs/ under Billing Dates and Payment Information.

-The Federal PLUS loan is a loan that a parent borrows on the student's behalf. Additional information about the PLUS loan can be found online at studentaid.gov and the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships website.   

-Alternative (or non-Federal) loans are private loans in the student's name typically with a creditworthy co-signer. We encourage students and families to use alternative loans as a last option after first pursuing all federal loan options. Be aware that the student MUST be at least 18 years old at the time of application to be considered.  Alternative loans may have variable interest rates, 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 they choose for an alternative loan.
Get advice on how to evaluate alternative loans 

When your admission application was reviewed, you were evaluated for all RIT merit awards. However, we encourage students to seek outside scholarships. Our website provides links to many free, reputable scholarship search engines. You are required to let the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships know if you have obtained additional scholarships or other awards not listed on your current award letter so we may count it as a resource. You can communicate these awards by completing an Outside Assistance Scholarship Report, downloadable from our forms page.

The Office of Student Financial Services coordinates with many organizations for our Third-Party Billing programs and deferments.  A sponsored student is one whose education is funded (either in full or part) directly by a third party, called a sponsor.  

In a third-party billing arrangement, the sponsor will provide a written confirmation detailing what charges they will cover, along with the contact information for who is to be invoiced. It is the obligation of the student to pay any charges not covered by the sponsor by the original due date.

Rochester Institute of Technology's Employer-Sponsored Tuition Plan (ESTP) provides qualified students the option of deferring tuition payment until after the end of the semester, and grades have been issued.  

The program is available to participating companies and their employees attending both on-campus and online.  RIT extends a full-semester deferment to students from participating companies. Click here for a current list of RIT ESTP companies and their code numbers, which will be needed to complete the Application for Payment Deferment.    

Student Accounts can be paid by:

  • Check*
  • eCheck (no fee)
  • Wire transfer – international payments only. RIT partners with Flywire for international payments 

RIT does not accept credit card payments for payment on student's accounts. However, credit cards can be used to pay online through Nelnet Business Solutions. Students can access the Nelnet system directly from eServices to pay via Visa, Discover, or MasterCard. If you use a credit card to pay your bill, you will be charged a 2.55% service fee by the vendor.

*There is a $20.00 fee for any check returned to RIT by our depositing bank.

All billings are generated on or about the first of the month, due the 15th of the month. Email notifications are sent to students and authorized payers when bills are available.  Students can access statements and add authorized payers through eServices at any time. You will receive access to eServices once you have paid your enrollment deposit.

Early refunds, limit $1,000, maybe requested one week prior to the start of each term if all financial aid requirements have been completed and Federal loan(s) have paid to the student account. Any remaining credit may be requested at the end of the second week of class each term when all anticipated aid has paid to the student account.

Students have the option of the refund being processed through direct deposit (set up through eServices) or a check mailed to the permanent address. 

Refund or transfer requests are submitted online through eServices.  Excess funds from wire transfers will be returned to the original wire account.  If a credit card payment has been made to the student account, we are required to credit any refund back to the credit card within 90 days of the original payment.  If a check created the credit balance on the student account, refunds to the student will be processed after 10 business days.

You can email Student Financial Services at asksfs@rit.edu 

The mailing address is:
Student Financial Services
Rochester Institute of Technology
25 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623-5603

Repayment

You can defer payment on your federal student loans if you are enrolled at least half-time. You should be aware that although you can defer payments while you are in school, interest will still accrue on your loan(s).

Your Unsubsidized Loan will go into repayment six months after you graduate, fall below half-time status, take a leave of absence or withdraw from the program. Most alternative loans also have deferred payment options while you are in school; however, you will need to check with your lender.

After you graduate, leave school or drop below half-time enrollment, you will have a six-month grace period before you are required to begin repayment. During this period, you'll receive repayment information from your loan servicer.

The Department of Education (DOE) offers multiple options for repayment. You may visit the DOE website for more information on loan repayment plans.

International students who are not US Citizens or eligible non-citizens are not eligible to apply for the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan and the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan. However, international students are eligible to apply for alternative educational loans. 

Alternative educational loans are private loans (non-federal) offered through banks.  You may borrow through any lender of your choice as RIT does not maintain a preferred lender list. It is highly recommended to take time to research all alternative loan options and determine which one will best meet your needs. However, we realize that finding a lender may seem overwhelming, so in addition to using general internet search engines, RIT provides a list of some of the lenders that we have used in prior aid years, based on the highest dollar volume and number of loans certified by RIT. Review this list and for more information about points to consider as you investigate loan options. 

RIT Account and Email Set-up

Your RIT Computer Account and RIT Email address will be set up once you confirm your enrollment. Full-time online students will be required to pay their deposit during enrollment confirmation. You will receive an account activation email from RIT; the account activation email will go to the email address supplied on your admissions application. More information about your RIT Computer Account can be found online

RIT has partnered with Google to provide RIT Gmail accounts to all students. To access your RIT Gmail account, visit the home for Google Apps at RIT, google.rit.edu. All email communication from RIT will be sent to your RIT student email address. Additionally, you can set email preferences by visiting the RIT Computer Accounts page.

You will receive an account activation email after you confirm your enrollment. If you have not received the account activation email, please contact the ITS Service Desk for further help by emailing servicedesk@rit.edu or calling 585-475-4357. RIT provides Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) as an extra layer of security for systems that store sensitive data. MFA is a way of ensuring that only you are able to access your accounts in these applications. In addition to your username and password, MFA requires you to provide an additional verification step to prove it is really you accessing your account. All RIT students need to enroll in MFA. Steps on how to enroll or to learn more about how MFA works, visit Information & Technology Services.