Frequently Asked Questions

Current Students

Subsidized loans are for students who have filed the FAFSA and demonstrated financial need. With subsidized loans you are not charged interest while you’re enrolled at least half-time (at least 6 credits) and during periods of deferment. Unsubsidized loans are not based on demonstrated financial need and begin to accrue interest from the time the loan is disbursed to the student’s account.

Yes, reapply for financial aid each year using the FAFSA. The FAFSA application is available beginning October 1st.

As long as you are not living at home with your parent(s), you would receive the same amount of financial aid whether you live in a residence hall or in an off-campus apartment.  Any financial aid in excess of your charges in eServices each term can be refunded to you to assist with off-campus expenses such as rent and/or food.  Students living at home with their parent(s) are considered commuters and have a lower cost of attendance.

Usually the answer is yes, but not in every case. Every effort will be made to continue a similar level of institutional gift aid each year. Students receiving merit scholarships do not need to re-apply to renew those scholarships. Merit scholarships will automatically be renewed at the same level, as long as the renewal requirements are met.  Students must reapply for need-based financial aid each year. Assuming you remain in good academic standing, file a valid FAFSA, and demonstrate a similar level of need, you can expect approximately the same level of institutional gift aid each year.

To be considered independent, you must be one of the following:

  • Age 24 or older by December 31 of the award year
  • Enrolled in a graduate program
  • Married at the time of filing the FAFSA
  • have dependent(s) who receive more than half their support from you
  • An orphan or ward of the court
  • A veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • An emancipated minor
  • In a legal guardianship
  • An unaccompanied youth who is homeless

You are not considered independent if you are estranged from your parents because you do not get along with them, nor if your parents choose not to pay for your education.

Graduate Students

To apply for a federal student loan, you must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). RIT’s FAFSA school code is 002806. You will receive a financial aid award notification that will detail how much federal loan funding you may borrow.

As a graduate students, you can borrow up to $20,500 each year in Direct Unsubsidized Loans. Direct Graduate PLUS Loans can also be used for the remainder of your college costs not covered by other financial aid. The Direct Graduate PLUS Loan requires a separate application available through studentaid.gov.

Before your federal loan(s) can disburse, you will be required to complete Entrance Counseling, a tool to ensure you understand your obligation to repay the loan; and sign a Master Promissory Note, agreeing to the terms.

 

Student loans can be used for living expenses as well as for books and educational-related supplies, in addition to tuition.  If you are unsure as to how much loan funding you need to borrow, please contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships at ritaid@rit.edu or (585)475-2186 for assistance.  We’re here to help!

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. Contact your graduate program coordinator to discuss what Teaching and Research Assistantship opportunities are available.

At RIT, a graduate student must have at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average to be in good academic standing.  Contact your graduate program coordinator to determine if there is any additional criteria for the renewal of your scholarship.

A merit-based scholarship is funding made available to a graduate student for qualified educational expenses (e.g. tuition) awarded on the basis of academic performance.  This type of funding is not contingent upon the graduate student providing a services to the University.

Tuition remission is funding made available to a graduate assistant for qualified educational expenses (e.g. tuition).  In addition to receiving wages or a stipend for assistantship duties, a graduate student typically receives partial tuition remission applied to their tuition charges.

NTID-Supported Students

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is a federal funded, state run program which enables persons with functional, psychological, developmental, cognitive, and emotional disabilities, impairments or health disabilities to overcome barriers to accessing, maintaining, or returning to employment or other useful occupation.

VR may assist with vocational training or college. VR services may include financial assistance, employment planning, counseling, transportation, and job placement assistance. A VR counselor, who determines eligibility for services, is assigned to each individual requesting assistance. States have various names for VR, and services vary depending on need and the state in which a student lives.

VR is a resource that can assist with educational costs. Federal regulations require that any outside award be taken into consideration when determining your overall aid eligibility. The total value of your financial aid and outside resources cannot exceed the cost of education.

Contact the Vocational Rehabilitation Office nearest your permanent home address to apply for VR support.

If you are currently a high school student you can also contact your guidance counselor or other school representative who can provide an application and make a referral.

Students accepted into a RIT bachelors program through NTID are NTID supported.  You will be charged the NTID tuition rate. Tuition rates can be found on the Student Financial Services website.

Many NTID merit scholarships require students to live on the RIT campus.  Please refer to the merit scholarship offer you received when you were admitted for specific details.  If you choose other housing options, you may forfeit the scholarship. For additional information or to determine if you’re meeting the housing requirements, please contact NTID Student and Academic Services at ntidsas@rit.edu.

Veterans

You can review benefit information at www.va.gov. You can call the VA at 1-888-442-4551 for questions regarding the status of your benefits or you can use the “Submit a Question” feature on the VA website to submit a written question.

All students applying to use military funding at RIT should already possess the VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE) confirming benefits. If you do not have this form, you will need to complete the VON APP (VA Application for Benefits) found on the VA website.

Veterans Upward Bound can help families navigate the VA application process. They can be reached at 585-475-5495 or rkfsss@rit.edu

The Certificate of Eligibility (COE) and the VA Benefit Worksheet.

Accepted students: ASAP and usually in the April/May timeframe if you are a current student.

You may retain your merit scholarship while using VA benefits and they will be reported to the VA as tuition specific.  GI Bill® benefits vary and can affect your overall need based aid package.

RIT currently funds anyone who is eligible to receive Yellow Ribbon. There is no separate application.  However, you must be utilizing the Post 9/11 GI Bill® at the 100% level in order to receive Yellow Ribbon.

RIT begins sending student registrations (certifications) to the VA about 3-4 weeks before the term begins. You will receive an automated email from the VA to keep for your records, confirming RIT has submitted your certification. The email will include the number of residence and online courses you have been registered for the particular semester. It is important that you notify our office of any changes in your schedule after you have been certified; there may be instances where a change in schedule can create an overpayment and VA debt.

Generally, your stipends will arrive around the first of the month paying for the month prior. Depending on processing volumes in the regional VA office, payments may be delayed. If you do not receive your payment on/around the first of the month, you will receive back-pay for anything that you are owed. Questions regarding payments should be directed to the VA hotline at 1-888-442-4551.

Accepted Students

Review the award(s) and the materials available with your notification.  After you pay your admissions enrollment deposit, you will receive information about how to log on to RIT eServices at www.rit.edu/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, set up direct deposit with a financial institution of your choice, and grant access to a parent or other third party so that they can also view your financial aid award.

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.

There are several financing options available.  More detailed information is on our website.

  1. Review the payment plan options available through Student Financial Services.  Visit www.rit.edu/fa/sfs/ under Billing Dates and Payment Information.
  2. Many families will consider the federal PLUS which is a loan that a parent borrows on the student’s behalf.  To begin the 2021-2022 PLUS loan application process, complete the Parent PLUS Loan application, the separate Promissory Note, and the Department of Education student loan acknowledgement online after April 1st at studentaid.gov/app/launchPLUS.action.

    Because a parent is the borrower under this program, they must have a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID that can be used as their electronic signature. A parent may obtain a FSA ID at fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm.
     
  3. Alternative (or non-Federal) educational 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.  Students may use any lender they choose. 

Please do not hesitate to call our office to discuss any financing questions or concerns you may have.

When your admission application was reviewed, you were evaluated for all RIT merit awards. We encourage students to seek outside scholarships. Consult with your high school counselor office along with reviewing the resources available on our website which provides links to many free, reputable scholarship search engines.  

Please let the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships know if you have obtained additional scholarships or other awards not listed on your current award letter by completing the form in eServices which you will have access to after paying your admissions enrollment deposit and setting up your RIT email account.

Not usually.  RIT has a very generous policy on 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 call our office if you would like to have your award recalculated because of your change in housing status.

RIT merit-based scholarships and need-based grants are generally renewed for up to 8 semesters as long as you are enrolled full-time and meet all eligibility requirements. RIT merit awards amounts do not change.  RIT need-based grants may be adjusted depending on your demonstrated financial need. Federal and state aid programs are determined by the aid source requirements.

Please wait to receive your initial financial aid award letter and then call our office to discuss your situation so next steps may be determined.