Graduate Students

General Eligibility Standards

Virtually all federal student aid financial assistance awarded by the College, including student loans, is limited to:

  1. Students who have been accepted into a program that will lead to a degree.
  2. Students who are U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens.
  3. Students who are enrolled at the College carrying at least one-half the normal full-time academic load. 4.5 credits per semester is considered half-time enrollment.

For financial aid purposes, student enrollment status is normally verified after the end of the Add period (first two weeks of a semester). Hence, those who are officially classified as non-matriculated students, visiting students, or special students should anticipate that their awards would be canceled. Students whose status at the end of the Add period is less than full time should expect that the amount of their award(s) might be reduced proportionately and/or canceled.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships are limited to accepted degree candidates who are enrolled full time. The duties of a graduate assistant usually involve such activities as classroom instruction, preparation for and supervision of laboratory sections, direction of discussion or recitation sections, grading papers, and research. The student may be required to devote a maximum of 20 hours a week to such work, not more than 10 hours of which may be in classroom contact hours. The normal course load for a graduate assistant is nine hours per semester.

Graduate assistants receive a stipend of $3,000 to $3,500 for the academic year, and remission of tuition and registration fees for the academic year and summer session. Appointments to assistantships are for one year. Renewals must be recommended to the Dean of Graduate Studies by the department chair. Students must apply for assistantships by March 1 through the appropriate graduate program. The awarding of assistantships for the ensuing year will be announced in May.

Interested candidates should contact the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Graduate Student Traineeships

Graduate student traineeships are limited to accepted M.S.W. degree candidates who are enrolled full time and who are not in the first year of the advanced standing program. Graduate trainees in the School of Social Work receive tuition remission for the academic year and are required to work 10 hours per week on assignments within the School of Social Work.

Interested candidates who are accepted into the M.S.W. program should contact the School of Social Work.

Graduate Student Scholarships

Scholarship assistance is available to graduate students through the Elizabeth S. Carr Trust Fund, for students in the elementary/early childhood education programs, and through the Rhode Island College Alumni Association. The Harrower Family Award is available through the Department of English and the graduate dean. Specific information on these and other scholarships is available from the Dean of Graduate Studies, the Office of Student Financial Aid, and for alumni scholarships, the Office of Alumni Affairs.

Master of Social Work Scholarships

In addition to offering Rhode Island College Graduate Student Scholarships, the School of Social Work offers Master of Social Work Graduate Scholarships to full-time M.S.W. students. These scholarships are used to match Federal Work Study funds to enable recipients to obtain paid field placements in non-profit agencies and organizations. To be eligible for these scholarships, students should file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at The School of Social Work also offers the following scholarships to second-year students enrolled full time in the M.S.W. program: the Juanita Handy Scholarship, awarded to a minority and/or woman student, and the Mary G. Davey Scholarship, awarded to a student who is dedicated to child welfare. Specific information and requirements can be obtained from the dean of the School of Social Work.

Student Employment Opportunities

The Career Development Center provides information to students who are seeking part-time employment during the academic year or summer employment. Employment opportunities may occur on and off campus, and many of them are career oriented. One source of employment is the Federal Work-Study Program, which is based on financial need. However, students who do not apply for financial aid and/or who are not eligible for financial aid may also be employed in designated career-oriented and other jobs both on and off campus. Interested students should register for employment with the Office of Student Employment located in the Career Development Center.

Need-Based Financial Aid

Need-based financial aid for graduate students consists of student loans and Federal Work-Study. In addition to demonstrating financial need, general eligibility requirements for financial aid include acceptance for admission as a candidate for a degree or approved certificate program, enrollment on at least a half time basis (4.5 credits per semester) and status as a U. S. Citizen or permanent resident.

To apply for need-based assistance during 2016-2017, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or FAFSA on the Web at Outside Priority for funds administered by Rhode Island College will be given to applications received at the federal processing center by May 15, 2016.

Applications should be submitted as soon after January 1 as possible. To have your FAFSA information sent to Rhode Island College, enter our Federal School Code, 003407, in Step 6 of the FAFSA. It is not necessary to list the college name, address or state, but be sure to enter a housing code to indicate where you plan to live while attending the College. While it is preferable to use income figures from a completed 2015 income tax return, you may use estimated income figures if necessary to ensure on-time application. After the FAFSA is submitted, the federal processor will send you a Student Aid Report (SAR). Be sure that Rhode Island College is listed on the SAR, otherwise we will not be able to receive your information from the federal processor. If Rhode Island College is not listed or a SAR is not received within four to six weeks, contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243.

Note: Rhode Island College reserves the right to require verification of income data submitted by any and all applicants for financial assistance. Awards for those who are asked for such verification will be made conditional upon receipt of the requested information/documentation. Forms of documentation or verification that may be requested include, but are not limited to, copies of IRS tax transcripts and copies of authorization letters for untaxed income. Any discrepancy in reported figures may result in adjustment or cancellation of the financial aid award and may be reported to the federal government for further review and possible legal action.

Student Loan Programs

Federal Direct Loans

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. As of October 1, 2016, the loans have a fixed interest rate of 5.31 percent. These loans also have a 1.069 percent origination fee.  The repayment period extends up to 10 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.  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.

Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

Graduate students who have remaining educational expenses after borrowing their maximum annual eligibility under the Direct subsidized and unsubsidized programs may borrow from the PLUS program to meet the remaining portion of their cost of attendance. As noted above, 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.

As of October 1, 2016, Direct PLUS loans have a fixed interest rate of 6.31 percent. Repayment may be deferred for up to six months after you are no longer enrolled at least half time.  As with the unsubsidized Direct Loan, interest accrues during the period of enrollment and grace period. In addition to interest, these loans have a 4.276 percent origination fee.

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.

Financial Aid for Summer Sessions

In addition to the process outlined above, students who wish to apply for financial assistance for summer sessions must submit a Rhode Island College Application for Financial Aid-Summer Sessions. These forms are available from the Office of Student Financial Aid on or about February 1 each year. A form may also be obtained online (see Forms on Main Page). Summer Session aid is contingent upon the availability of funds and normally consists of Direct Loans and Federal Work-Study. Preference is given to applicants who file summer applications prior to April 1.

Page last updated: Apr. 14, 2017