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Graduate Financial Aid

General Information

RIT offers a full range of financial aid programs to assist graduate students with their educational expenses. The information provided in this section is an overview of the sources of assistance available. Please consult the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships’ website for more detailed information.

Scholarships and assistantships are available in most graduate departments. In addition, some departments offer externally funded tuition remission and stipends from corporate or government sponsors. Please contact the appropriate graduate program director or the Office of Graduate Enrollment Services for additional information.

Financial aid awards are offered only once a student is accepted. Awards are generally given to full-time students, but exceptions are made for qualified part-time students.

International students (F-1 or J-1 visa holders) may generally work on campus for up to 20 hours per week. Special authorization from International Student Services and/or the INS is needed for all other employment, including co-ops and internships. Please consult International Student Services at (585) 475-6943 or www.rit.edu/iss for employment or visa questions.

All federal student aid programs require submission of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA may be completed online at www.fafsa.gov.

Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements

To be eligible for federal financial aid, students who are U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens (i.e. green card) are required by the U.S. Department of Education (34 CFR 668.34) to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward their degree objectives. RIT has established this SAP policy to ensure student success and accountability and to promote timely advancement toward degree objectives. This policy only applies to U.S. citizens or Permanent Resident Aliens seeking federal financial aid.

All students receiving federal assistance (i.e. Direct Loans, Direct Graduate PLUS Loans, Federal Work-Study) must remain admitted in a degree program. Regulations require a maximum timeframe for degree completion, a quantitative measurement (at RIT a student must complete at least 67% of credit hours attempted - no rounding is allowed), and a qualitative measurement (at RIT a student must have at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average).

Credit hours attempted include withdrawals, repeated courses, incompletes, grade exclusions, non-matriculated courses, and credit by exam. Transfer credit count toward both attempted and completed credit hours. Incomplete grades given in Thesis coursework are not considered. 

Students must also complete their program within 150% of the standard time frame it would normally take to attain the degree. Student assessment is based on the number of credits in the program of study required to attain a degree (i.e. Ph.D., MBA, MFA, MArc, or graduate certificate).

For example, a thirty (30) credit hour master’s degree program would allow a student a maximum of forty-five (45) attempted credit hours to degree completion.

Review of academic records occurs at the end of each semester. Any student who has attempted or earned nine (9) or more credit hours but does not have a cumulative GPA of a 3.0 or higher will be considered not to be making SAP for federal financial aid programs (Direct Loans, Direct Graduate PLUS Loans). In addition, a student must have completed at least 67% of the total attempted credit hours. A student who does not meet this pace requirement also will not be making SAP. A student who does not appear to be able to meet degree completion within 150% of the program of study is not making SAP.

With the exception of the 150% degree completion requirements, students who do not make SAP may request Federal Financial Aid Probation by submission of a Request for Federal Financial Aid Probation available from the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. In addition to this form, the student must provide a Federal SAP Action Plan developed by the student’s primary academic unit that demonstrates what the student must accomplish in order to regain federal SAP. The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will notify the student of the results of the request for probation. If approved, a student may continue to receive federal financial aid, as long as the individual meets the goals outlined within the SAP Action Plan. The probation period may not be longer than two semesters in length. A student is only eligible for one Federal Financial Aid Probation for the person’s entire graduate career at RIT. As such, the student should only request Federal Financial Aid Probation if seeking federal financial aid.

In addition, loan eligibility for a student with full-time equivalent status registered for less than six (6) credit hours is limited to a maximum of three (3) semesters unless student provides the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships a detailed academic plan for approval

Financial Aid Refund Policy

Return of federal funds

In accordance with federal regulations, the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships recalculates federal aid eligibility for students who withdraw, drop out, are suspended, or take a leave of absence prior to completing more than 60 percent of a term. “Withdrawal date” is defined as the actual date the student initiated the withdrawal process, the student’s last date of recorded attendance or the midpoint of the term for a student who leaves without notifying the university. Recalculation is based on the percent of earned aid using the following formula: number of days completed up to the withdrawal date/total days in the term. Aid returned to federal programs is then equal to 100 percent minus the percentage earned multiplied by the amount of federal aid disbursed.

Funds are returned to the federal government in the following sequence: Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Federal PLUS Loans, Federal Perkins Loans, other federal aid.

Late disbursement

If the student is otherwise eligible, the first disbursement of Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan proceeds is allowed up to 180 days after the student has ceased to be enrolled. Subsequent disbursements are not allowed.

State scholarships

Regulations vary. Any adjustments are done in accordance with the specific requirements of the sponsoring state.

Privately funded grants and scholarships

In the absence of specific instructions from the sponsor, 100 percent of the semester award will be credited to the student’s account.

RIT grants and scholarships

Institutional funding such as RIT grants and scholarships are prorated based on the tuition refund schedule for withdrawal during a semester. For more information, please contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships or visit their website at www.rit.edu/financialaid.

Financial Aid Programs

Grants/Scholarships Eligibility Amount How to Apply
Graduate Assistantships Graduate student matriculated into an RIT graduate degree program. Amounts vary Complete Graduate Admissions Application and check appropriate box to be considered for graduate assistantships.
Graduate Merit Scholarships Graduate student matriculated into an RIT graduate degree program. Amounts vary Complete Graduate Admissions Application and check appropriate box to be considered for graduate scholarship.
Vietnam Veterans Tuition Award Program Eligible Veterans who are New York state residents. $6,195 per year for full-time study; available for undergraduate or graduate study. File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and TAP Application. Also file the Vietnam Veterans Tuition Award Supplement at www.hesc.com.
Veterans Benefits Eligible veterans and children of deceased veterans, or service-connected disabled veterans. Amounts vary. Contact: Office of Veterans Affairs at (888) 442-4551, or visit their website at www.va.gov.
Bureau of Indian Affairs Graduate Fellowship Grants Enrolled full-time and recognized by Secretary of the Interior as a member of an Indian tribe and demonstrating financial need and academic achievement. Amounts vary Contact American Indian Graduate Center (AIGC) at (800) 628-1920, or on the Web at www.aigc.com.
Loans Eligibility Amount How to Apply
Federal Direct Loans Matriculated students who are enrolled at least half-time and who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Maximum amount: $20,500. The maximum amount cannot exceed the cost of education minus all other financial aid awarded. File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). (must be a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident)
Federal Perkins Loan Students who meet requirements established by federal government, and demonstrate significant financial need. Up to $8,000 per year; $40,000 limit for undergraduate and graduate study. File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). (must be a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident)
Private Alternative Loans Enrolled student who is credit-approved by lender. Up to the cost of education minus all other financial aid awarded. Consult the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships website at www.rit.edu/financialaid or contact the private lender directly.
Federal Direct PLUS Loans for Graduate Students Matriculated students who are enrolled at least half-time and who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The maximum amount cannot exceed the cost of education minus all financial aid awarded. File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and complete a Federal Direct PLUS Loan application.
Employment Eligibility Amount How to Apply
Federal Work Study Program Students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents with financial need: most jobs provided are on campus, and some community service positions are available. Varies, depending on hours and wage rate (RIT wage rates start at $8.75 per hour). File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Contact the RIT Student Employment Office at www.rit.edu/emcs/seo.
RIT Employment Program No financial need requirement; may be on campus or off campus. Varies, depending on hours and wage rate (RIT wage rates start at $8.75 per hour). Contact the RIT Student Employment Office at www.rit.edu/emcs/seo.

This chart covers the most commonly awarded financial aid programs available to full-time graduate students at RIT. Information is correct as of July 2016. Most graduate programs require satisfactory progress toward degree completion to maintain eligibility. Filing the FAFSA by April 1 will ensure priority consideration for all programs. Applications filed after this date will receive consideration as long as funds remain available. Scholarships provided by RIT will be prorated for NTID-sponsored students to reflect lower NTID tuition rates.