2014-2015 Catalog

Federal Financial Aid Programs

Need-based financial aid for graduate students consists of student loans and employment programs. To apply for need-based financial assistance, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students are encouraged to apply online at www.fafsa.gov. The FAFSA on the Web Worksheet should be used prior to applying online. Priority for funds administered by Rhode Island College is given to applications received by May 15 prior to the following academic year. In addition to demonstrating financial need, general eligibility requirements for financial aid include acceptance for admission as a degree candidate and status as a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Federal Perkins Loans

This loan program is administered directly by the Office of Student Financial Aid. Eligibility is based on financial need as determined from the FAFSA. The annual loan limit for graduate students is $8,000, and the cumulative limit for combined undergraduate and graduate borrowing is $60,000. Actual award amounts depend on federal funding levels, and priority is given to those applicants with the greatest need. Repayment at 5 percent interest begins nine months after the borrower drops below halftime enrollment (5 graduate credits per semester). Students may be allowed up to ten years to repay; however, a minimum monthly payment of forty dollars is required.

Federal Direct PLUS Loans

Graduate students are eligible to borrow under the Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program. Students may borrow up to their full cost of attendance minus other student financial aid. The PLUS interest rate is fixed at 7.9 percent, and applicants must pass a credit review in order to qualify for the loan. Repayment of the loan begins six months after the borrower ceases to be enrolled at least half time, and interest accrues during the period of enrollment and grace period. In addition to interest, these loans have a 4.204 percent origination fee. Graduate applicants must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and they must have used their maximum eligibility under the unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan Program.

Federal Direct Loans

Recent federal legislation eliminated subsidized Direct Loans for graduate students effective July 1, 2012. Unsubsidized Direct Loans have an interest charge during the in-school and grace periods. The loans have a fixed interest rate of 6.8 percent and a 1.051 percent origination fee. The repayment period extends up to ten years, but there is a minimum monthly payment of $50.

Graduate students may borrow up to $20,500 per year from the unsubsidized Direct Loan. Although financial need is not required for an unsubsidized loan, the FAFSA must still be filed. In all cases, the total amount of student aid from all programs is limited to a student’s total educational costs as determined by the Office of Student Financial Aid.

Federal Work-Study Program

This is a part-time employment program based on financial need. A work-study award is paid biweekly at an hourly rate based on hours worked. Wage rates reflect both the level of responsibilities and the experience of the student worker. Eligibility is determined by the Office of Student Financial Aid, using information from the FAFSA. The Career Development Center helps work-study students identify opportunities both on and off campus; however, Rhode Island College cannot guarantee that a student will secure a work-study position.