Financial Aid FAQs

Will financial aid be available for the Summer Arch semester?

Federal, NY State, and Rensselaer financial aid will be available as long as you meet eligibility requirements.  The Summer Arch semester is like any other semester you attend full-time.

Will I get the same amount of financial aid in the Summer Arch semester as I would if I was attending a standard academic year (i.e. fall/spring)?

Yes, in theory.  However, need based aid is determined by your Cost of Attendance.  The Summer Arch semester is shorter in length than the fall or spring semester, so your expenses for the summer semester might be less which may mean less need-based aid.  Every attempt will be made to allow you to have as much financial aid as possible and renew awards you currently would have prior to your Summer Arch semester.  Merit based awards are never impacted.

When should I apply for financial aid (i.e. file my FAFSA)?

The 2017-18 FAFSA was available earlier than in years past and became was ready for students to complete on October 1, 2016.  This ability to file the FAFSA earlier will make it possible for the Office of Financial Aid to determine your aid award early if you plan to participate in the Summer Arch Program.  If you file your FAFSA by December 31st we will have your aid award ready by the end of January, 2017.  After you file your FAFSA you may be required to submit other documents to complete your financial aid application. Please check your SIS account after filing the FAFSA and see if other items are needed.  It will be important for you to submit any information that the Office of Financial Aid requests from you as quickly as you can.  Keep in mind that your financial aid application materials must be complete and you must let us know which semester you plan to be away from Rensselaer before we can create your aid award.

I’m not interested in any federal or state financial aid.  Do I still need to complete the FAFSA?

If you just have Rensselaer merit awards (i.e. Rensselaer Leadership Award, Rensselaer Medal Award, Rensselaer Recognition Award) and are not interested in federal or state aid then you do not need to complete the FAFSA. 

However, if you have Rensselaer need-based grants (i.e. Rensselaer Grant, Rensselaer Access Grant, President’s Assistance Grant) and you wish to be considered for renewal of these awards then you must complete the FAFSA even if you are not interested in federal or state financial aid.

I currently have a Federal Work Study Award.  Will I be able to use Federal Work Study during the Summer Arch semester?

We anticipate that Federal Work study will be offered as long as a student meets eligibility requirements and there are positions available during the summer.  Remember, you MUST have a financial aid package with an offer of Federal Work Study that you have accepted for the Summer Arch semester and submit the required Work-Study application in order to be placed in a position.  If you had a Work Study position in the spring 2017 semester this job does not automatically carry over to the summer 2017 semester.

Is financial aid available for my away semester?

Only federal aid is potentially available.  In most cases, it is expected that students participate in experiential learning experiences that do not include taking classes.  Using federal aid during the away semester is discouraged. Calculations of federal aid available to each student are based on need per academic year. If the aid is used during the away semester, less will be available during the two semesters on campus. You cannot use Federal Work Study during your away semester.  You must be taking at least six credits at RPI, or participating in an approved study abroad program to qualify for federal financial aid.

If you have further questions please feel free to contact the Office of Financial Aid and we will be happy to help you navigate the process.  We may be reached by email at or by phone at 518-276-6813.  You may also stop by the office in Academy Hall during business hours and speak to a staff member.