Financial Aid Programs

Sources of Financial Aid

Detailed information on the sources listed is available from the Office of Student Financial Aid, or in certain cases, from the department or office noted with the entry. This list is subject to change.

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Federal Pell Grants

These are federal entitlement grants ranging from $585 to $5,730 annually. Eligibility is determined by the United States Department of Education, using a national formula. Actual awards vary according to the cost of attendance, the student's enrollment status (full, three-quarters, half, or less-than-half time), and a family's expected contribution.

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Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants

These federal grants are awarded directly by the Office of Student Financial Aid on the basis of financial need as determined from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Awards may range from $100 to $4,000 per year depending on funding and student need. Priority for funding is given to students who are eligible to receive Federal Pell Grants.

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Federal DIRECT Parental Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)

Federal Direct PLUS Loans allow parents of dependent undergraduate students to borrow up to the full cost of college less other student aid. There is no need requirement for the PLUS loan, but parents must pass a credit review in order to qualify for the loan. Repayment may be deferred for up to six months after the student is no longer enrolled at least half time. However, interest does accrue on the loan and is capitalized into the loan principal before repayment begins. The interest rate on these loans is fixed at 7.21 percent. Federal Direct PLUS Loans have an origination fee of 4.292 percent.

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Federal Perkins Loans

This loan program is administered directly by the Office of Student Financial Aid. Student eligibility is based on financial need as determined from the FAFSA. Annual loan amounts may total up to $5,500 for undergraduates and $8,000 for graduates. The cumulative undergraduate borrowing limit is $27,500 at the undergraduate level and $60,000 at the graduate level. 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 half-time enrollment (six credits per semester). Students may be allowed up to 10 years to repay; however, a minimum monthly payment of $40 is required.

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Federal DIRECT Loans

Eligibility for subsidized Federal Direct Loans is based upon financial need as determined by the Office of Student Financial Aid, using information from the FAFSA. Subsidized loans are interest free during the student's period of enrollment. Students have a six-month grace period after leaving school or dropping below half-time status before repayment begins, but interest will accrue during this period. Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans, which do not require financial need, have an interest charge during both the in-school and grace periods.

Effective July 1, 2014, both subsidized and unsubsidized loans for undergraduate students have a fixed interest rate of 4.66 percent with a 1.073 percent origination fee.  Subsidized loans are limited to undergraduate students.  The unsubsidized loan interest rate for graduate students as of July 1, 2014 is 6.21 percent with a 1.073 percent origination fee. 

Annual Loan limits are as follows:

  • $5,500 for freshmen, but only $3,500 can be subsidized
  • $6,500 for sophomores, but only $4,500 can be subsidized
  • $7,500 for upper-class undergraduates, but only $5,500 can be subsidized
  • $20,500 for graduate students

Financially independent undergraduate students may apply for an additional unsubsidized loan of up to $4,000 in the freshman and sophomore years and $5,000 in the junior and senior years.

Aggregate Loan Limits:

  • $31,000 for undergraduate dependent students, but no more than $23,000 can be subsidized
  • $57,500 for undergraduate independent students, but no more than $23,000 can be subsidized
  • 138,500 for graduate students

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Federal Work-Study Program

This is a part-time employment program based upon financial need. A work-study award is paid biweekly at an hourly rate, based on hours worked.  Eligibility is determined by the Office of Student Financial Aid, using information from the FAFSA. The Career Development Center assists work-study students with job placement on or off campus. While work-study students receive priority for job placement, the College cannot guarantee placement in a position.

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Rhode Island State Grants

These grants are restricted to residents of Rhode Island. Awards range from $250 to $500 per year based on information reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The priority application deadline for receipt of the FAFSA at the federal processing center is March 1 prior to the following academic year. Eligibility is determined directly by the Rhode Island Higher Education Assistance Authority, 560 Jefferson Boulevard, Warwick, RI 02886, (401) 736-1100.

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CollegeBoundfund Academic Promise Scholarship

Administered by the Rhode Island Higher Education Assistance Authority, these need-based scholarships are awarded to graduating high school seniors planning to enroll full-time. The scholarships are restricted to Rhode Island residents, and selection is based on a combination of need and academic achievement as determined by test scores on either the SAT-I or ACT. Eligible students receive up to $2500 per year over four years for an aggregate total of $10,000. The application process and deadline is the same as the State Grant program explained above.

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Other State Financial Aid Programs

Guidelines for applying for state scholarship/grant programs vary, so students should inquire at the appropriate agency in their state of legal residence regarding application procedures.

Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of other state scholarship agencies are available upon request from the Office of Student Financial Aid.

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Preparatory Enrollment Program (PEP) Grants

These grants are restricted to students accepted for admission to the Preparatory Enrollment Program. Awards typically range from $200 to $13,000 per year based on financial need as determined by the Office of Student Financial Aid. All applicants are required to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In addition, new freshman applicants are required to file the Rhode Island College Financial Aid Application in order to be considered for this program.

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Rhode Island College Grants

College grants ranging from $100 to $13,000 are awarded by the Office of Student Financial Aid to students with demonstrated financial need. All applicants are required to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In addition, new freshman and transfer applicants are required to file the Rhode Island College Financial Aid Application in order to be considered for this program. Award decisions depend on level of need, year in school, academic record, and date of application.

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Rhode Island College Transfer Scholar Awards

These awards range from $2,500 to $5,000 and are based on academic achievement as well as financial need.  To be considered, an entering transfer student must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25 as determined by the college Office of Undergraduate Admissions at the time of acceptance.  Eligibility is determined by the Office of Student Financial Aid, using information from both the FAFSA and the Rhode Island College Financial Aid Application.  Awards may be renewed for up to three years of study based on need and maintenance of a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.

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Merit-based Scholarships

Rhode Island College recognizes superior academic achievement through the awarding of scholarships. There are several merit-based scholarship programs available to students at the College. These programs fall into four general categories:

  • Presidential Scholarships
  • Honors Scholarships
  • Special Talent Awards
  • Alumni Scholarships

Presidential Scholarships

These merit-based scholarships of at least $2,000 per year are awarded to entering freshmen for up to four years of study. The scholarships are awarded based on the Admissions application, but awards are considered as part of the financial aid package for recipients who have also applied for financial aid. The minimum academic requirements needed to be considered for a Presidential Scholarship as an entering freshman are a high school class rank in the top 30% and combined SAT-I scores of at least 1100 (critical reading and mathematics) or an ACT composite score of at least 24. For priority consideration, students should apply to the College for admission by December 15.

Transfer students are also considered for these scholarships for up to three years of study. The minimum transfer requirement is a grade point average of at least 3.5 with a minimum of 24 earned credits.

Honors Scholarships

Entering freshmen who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement are invited to join the College Honors Program. Honors students are considered for scholarships from the Presidential Scholarship Program, Faculty Honors Scholarship Program and the Rhode Island College Foundation. These scholarships are awarded on a competitive basis to students with the highest academic profiles. Awards typically range between $500 and $1,500 per year. Honors scholarships are renewable for up to four years, as long as a student maintains a B average and full-time status. If you are interested in the College Honors Program, remember to indicate this interest on your admissions application form.

Special Talent Awards

Special Talent Awards were established to recognize and encourage students who have exceptional talent or skill in the visual and performing arts, areas of intercollegiate competition (other than athletics), or similar fields. Currently, the College offers Special Talent Awards in the following areas: art, communications, dance, film studies, music, and theatre. While the requirements for these awards vary by department, award competition is open to entering freshmen and transfer students. Awards range from $100 to $2,500. Applicants should contact the academic department or club advisor in their area of interest.

Alumni Scholarships

The Rhode Island College Alumni Association offers a number of scholarships, both merit- and need-based, to new and advanced students. In addition, the association offers several scholarships each year to children and grandchildren of College alumni. An alumni scholarship application is available directly from the Alumni Office.

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Additional Scholarships from the College

Individuals, organizations, and endowments provide funds to the College through the Rhode Island College Foundation. The eligibility criteria for these awards vary according to the wishes of each donor. In some cases, financial need is a requirement and award recipients are selected from the pool of financial aid applicants at the College. In other cases, awards are made directly by the academic departments of the College. A listing of these programs is provided in the College Catalog.

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Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense

If you served on Active Duty, you might be eligible for education benefits offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. For example, the Post-9/11 GI Bill provides financial support for educational and housing expenses to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service after September 10, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days. You must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

If you are currently serving in the military, you may be eligible for funding offered through the Department of Defense Tuition Assistance program. Check your eligibility status and the amount for which you qualify with your Service prior to enrolling. 

If you are the spouse or child of a service member who is serving on active duty Title 10 orders in the paygrades of E1-E5, O1-O2, or W1-W2, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the Department of Defense for education, training, and/or the occupational license and credentials necessary for a portable career.

If you are the spouse or child of a service member, you may be eligible for transfer of the service member’s Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to you.

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Private Agencies and Organizations

Additional sources of financial aid include employers, unions, and community organizations. Information on private scholarship programs may be obtained from high school guidance counselors and through reference publications in many local libraries. Scholarship search database programs are also available for free use on the Internet. A good web site to start with is the FinAid Page at Outside Linkwww.finaid.org.

The College encourages students to take the initiative in applying for outside financial assistance. Whenever possible, outside assistance will be first used to reduce the loan and/or student employment components of the College financial aid package if adjustment is necessary.

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Short-Term Loans

  • Students with financial aid that exceeds direct charges (i.e. tuition, fees, room and board) may be eligible to receive a line of credit towards purchases in the Rhode Island College Bookstore.
  • Applications must be submitted on-line using the student self-service section of RIConnect.

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Page last updated: Nov. 5, 2014