Financial aid is money made available from federal, state, local, or private sources that helps students attend the postsecondary institutions of their choice. At the University of Rhode Island, these varied sources are administered by Enrollment Services in Green Hall. URI’s financial aid programs are designed to serve students from the widest possible range of society, and all students are encouraged to apply.
In most cases, financial aid will be awarded in a “package” of grants (which do not have to be repaid), loans (which have to be repaid), and student employment opportunities (part-time jobs while attending school). The purpose is to assist the students in meeting the costs of attending the University. To continue receiving financial aid, it is necessary to reapply and demonstrate sufficient financial need each year as well as to maintain satisfactory academic progress.
Financial aid to students is awarded without regard to race, sex, religion, age, color, creed, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation, and without discrimination against disabled and Vietnam-era veterans.
Financial Need. A student does not have to be from a low-income family to qualify for financial aid, but does have to have “financial need.” “Need” is the difference between what it costs to attend the University and what the student and family can contribute from financial resources. Parents, insofar as they are able, are expected to bear primary responsibility for financing a child’s college education, and the student is also expected to earn a portion of the resources for college expenses, usually through summer employment.
Eligibility. Only U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens are eligible to apply for financial aid. Foreign students desiring information about financial assistance should contact URI’s Office of International Students and Scholars.
To be considered for financial aid, a person must have been accepted and enrolled at least half time (6 credits for undergraduates, 4.5 for graduate students) as a matriculated student at the University. Enrolled students must be making satisfactory progress toward their degrees according to the University’s policy on satisfactory progress (see “Satisfactory Academic Progress”).
In general, a student who already has received a baccalaureate degree is considered eligible for only those aid programs listed as available to graduate students. This applies even if the student is pursuing a second undergraduate degree. For more information, please check with an Enrollment Services counselor.
Application Procedure. To apply for financial aid, students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), available online at fafsa.ed.gov. This form is also used to apply for state scholarships, including those for Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Residents of other states should check with their state scholarship or grant authority to inquire if another form is needed to apply for state scholarship funds.
The awarding of financial aid for the current academic year may require validation and documentation of all information submitted to Student Financial Assistance. Therefore, students must be prepared to submit the following information if asked: verification worksheets, official tax transcripts of their own and their parents’ last U.S. income tax returns 1040/1040A/1040EZ, and any other documentation requested.
Application Priority Dates. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid should be filed online at fafsa.ed.gov after January 1, and no later than March 1. Applications completed on or before March 1 will receive first consideration for financial aid awards; however, applications will be processed as long as funds remain available.
Federal Aid Available
Federal Pell Grants. The Pell Grant, available to undergraduates, is designed to form the foundation of all financial aid received. Each applicant is issued a Student Aid Report, a copy of which is electronically sent to Enrollment Services if URI 003414 was put on the FAFSA. The amount of the Pell Grant is calculated according to the cost of attendance, the number of credits for which the student enrolls, and the Pell Grant Index printed on the Student Aid Report.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. This program is intended to assist undergraduate students with the greatest financial need. First priority is given to students receiving Pell Grants.
Federal Perkins Loan. Eligibility is based on exceptional financial need. These loans have a simple interest rate of five percent annually. Interest does not accrue until nine months after graduation, termination of studies, or enrollment for less than half time.
Nursing Student Loan Program. This program is available to undergraduate students enrolled in the College of Nursing. Long-term, low-interest loans become due and payable nine months after graduation or termination of nursing studies. The loans are designed to help financially needy students attain careers in nursing.
Health Professions Student Loan Program. This loan program is restricted to undergraduate students with financial need majoring in pharmacy.
Federal Work-Study Program. This federally supported program provides undergraduates with part-time employment during the school term and full-time employment during vacation periods. The jobs may be either with University departments, or with off-campus, nonprofit, nonsectarian, and nonpolitical agencies. Other institutionally funded employment is also available.
The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. All students who complete the FAFSA can participate in the William D. Ford Direct Loan program. Those students who meet the financial need criteria may receive in whole or in part a subsidized loan where the federal government pays all interest until six months after graduation, withdrawal, or a drop in enrollment status to less than half time. Unsubsidized loans are available for those students who do not qualify for the need-based subsidized William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan. Those eligible to borrow under the unsubsidized William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program include independent undergraduate students, graduate and professional students, and certain dependent undergraduate students. The same terms and conditions as for subsidized William D. Ford loans apply, except that the borrower is responsible for the interest that accrues while the student is still in school.
The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program for Parents. Parents who have good credit may borrow up to the cost of education minus estimated and actual financial aid by submitting an application to Enrollment Services. If the loan is approved, it will be disbursed in multiple installments, usually at the beginning of each semester.
University Aid Available
University Grant. The University provides grants to over 1,000 undergraduate students. To be awarded a University Grant, the student must demonstrate financial need and a satisfactory academic record.
Arthur L. Hardge Memorial Grant. This grant is awarded to economically and socially disadvantaged undergraduate residents of Rhode Island who participate in Special Programs for Talent Development.
University Scholarships. Scholarship awards require not only financial need but evidence of high academic potential. Some scholarships have specific restrictions, such as place of residence, major, and class year. See uri.edu/catalog/files/scholarship-awards.pdf for a list of available scholarships.
Athletic Grants. These grants are made on the recommendation of the Athletics Department to athletes who meet established qualifications. These awards are based on athletic ability rather than on need. Students interested in such assistance should contact the department.
Regular Student Employment. Positions funded by the University are available to more than 1,500 undergraduate and graduate students. Job postings are available at uri.edu/es/students/finance/employment.
University Loans. Emergency loans are available to full-time undergraduate and graduate students. These loans are short-term in nature (14-90 days), and can be made only when there is a means of repayment. Application forms are available in Enrollment Services.
State and Other Sources of Aid
Undergraduate residents of Rhode Island are encouraged to apply for state scholarships or grants. While both are based on need, the scholarships also require a strong academic record in high school. The Rhode Island State Scholarship and Grant Program is administered by the Rhode Island Higher Education Assistance Authority. Other states offer similar programs; for more information, contact your state’s scholarship agency.
There are many additional sources of financial aid available to students who qualify: scholarships from private organizations, clubs, labor unions, fraternities, sororities, and businesses. Students should apply directly to the source if they believe they qualify.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
For the most up-to-date version of this policy on Satisfactory Academic Progress (“SAP”), visit uri.edu/es/students/finance/standards.html.
For Students Receiving Federal Financial Aid
Federal regulations require all institutions that administer Title IV student assistance programs to monitor the academic progress towards a degree or certificate of students applying for funds. All University of Rhode Island students who have completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and wish to be considered for Title IV federal aid as well as selected other types of assistance must meet the criteria stated in the policy. Programs governed by these regulations include:
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal Work Study
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
- Federal Perkins Loan
- Health Professions Loan
- Nursing Student Loan
- The William D. Ford Federal Direct Subsidized Loan
- The William D. Ford Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
- The William D. Ford Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
- Most private loans
- University of Rhode Island grant and scholarship programs (including Centennial and Talent Development programs)
- R.I. State Scholarship programs (including Academic Promise and College Crusade)
Your financial aid eligibility is based on satisfactory academic progress (SAP) standards that the University of Rhode Island’s office of Enrollment Services is required by the U.S. Department of Education to establish, publish, and apply. The office of Enrollment Services measures your academic performance and enforces SAP standards to ensure that you, as a financial aid recipient, progress toward graduation. If you fail to meet these standards, you become ineligible to receive financial aid until you comply with all requirements.
Financial aid recipients will be reviewed for satisfactory progress at the end of the spring semester after grades are posted. A student who does not meet the satisfactory academic progress standards will be terminated from financial aid assistance. An aid-terminated student is ineligible for any further financial aid, including student loans, until satisfactory academic progress is re-established. Readmission to a program or removal from academic probation does not automatically constitute eligibility for federal aid.
SAP Standards—Undergraduate Students
In addition to maintaining good standing within your college, your academic performance must meet two main SAP components:
- Qualitative Standard—This component is represented by your cumulative grade point average. Your cumulative GPA must be a minimum of 2.00 after successfully completing 60 credits or your fourth term of enrollment, whichever comes first.
- Quantitative Standard—The quantitative component requires you to complete your degree within a maximum timeframe. The ratio between attempted and completed credits determines your credit completion ratio. You are eligible to receive financial aid for a maximum timeframe of 150 percent of the published degree credits required to complete your program. For example, if your undergraduate degree program requires 120 degree credits, you are eligible for financial aid up to 180 attempted credits (program restrictions apply). Each year, your cumulative credit completion ratio is calculated to ensure that you have earned at least 67% of the credits you attempted to maintain your aid eligibility.
A grade of I or NW is not acceptable. Students who fail to complete at least 67% of attempted credit hours because of (I) incomplete or NW grades, or who withdraw from all classes after receiving financial aid, will have their financial aid terminated.
Transfer Credits—These credits are counted in the total attempted and earned credits.
Withdrawals—All credit for which a student is registered beyond the drop period will be included in the measurement.
Repeated Course—If you repeat a course, credits for each time you register will be added to the attempted/earned credit totals. However, only the most recent grade received will be used in the calculation of your cumulative GPA.
Appeal Process—A student who is declared ineligible to receive aid for not maintaining SAP may appeal the decision to the SAP committee within 15 days of receipt of the notification. If there are mitigating circumstances that resulted in the student’s inability to make SAP, the student should write a letter of appeal documenting the circumstances and submit the letter to the Satisfactory Progress Appeals Committee, c/o Enrollment Services, 6 Rhody Ram Way, Kingston, RI 02881.
Before an appeal will be considered, the student must have an active FAFSA on file for the semester for which they are requesting financial aid, and not be dismissed from the University. If you will need more than one term to comply with the SAP policy (a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 and be completing at least 67% of cumulative credit hours attempted), you must provide a detailed academic plan approved by your advisor. The academic plan must establish criteria for success on a term by term basis in order to show that you are progressing toward degree completion and satisfaction of the SAP policy. Per Federal regulations, if your appeal is approved, you are allowed to receive financial aid for one semester only. If you meet the conditions set forth in your approval letter, you may continue to receive aid for subsequent semesters.
If your appeal is denied through this process, you will be notified in writing and will not receive financial assistance for the next period of enrollment. You may regain your financial aid eligibility by enrolling in and completing enough credits to meet the qualitative and the quantitative standards described in the policy. The decision of the SAP committee is final.
SAP Standards—Graduate Students
In addition to maintaining good standing within your college, your academic performance must meet two main SAP components:
- Qualitative standard—As a graduate student, you must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 for the entire enrollment period.
- Quantitative standard:—The quantitative component requires you to complete your degree within a maximum timeframe.
As a Ph.D. candidate, you must complete your degree within seven calendar years of being admitted to your doctorate program (program restrictions apply). Your progress within this maximum timeframe will be reviewed annually at the end of each spring semester. At this time, your cumulative credit completion ratio is determined to ensure that you have completed at least 67% of all credits attempted to maintain your financial aid eligibility. If you are unable to complete your degree within this timeframe, you may appeal for an exemption.
As a graduate student pursuing a Masters degree, you are eligible to receive financial aid for a maximum timeframe of 5 years after the date you are first enrolled as a graduate student at the University. Your progress within this maximum timeframe will be reviewed annually at the end of each spring semester. At this time, your cumulative credit completion ratio is determined to ensure that you have completed at least 67% of all credits attempted to maintain your financial aid eligibility. If you are unable to complete your degree within this timeframe, you may appeal for an exemption. A grade of I (Incomplete) or NW is not acceptable. Students who fail to complete at least 67% of attempted credit hours because of (I) Incomplete or NW grades, or who withdraw from all classes after receiving financial aid, will have their financial aid terminated.
Master’s and doctoral students who have completed all course requirements including thesis research shall be considered to be making satisfactory progress at least at the half-time rate if they are registered for at least one thesis credit and have written permission from the Dean of the Graduate School.
Appeal Process—A student who is declared ineligible to receive aid for not maintaining SAP may appeal the decision to the SAP committee within 15 days of receipt of the notification. If there are mitigating circumstances that resulted in the student’s inability to make SAP, the student should write a letter of appeal documenting the circumstances and submit the letter to the Satisfactory Progress Appeals Committee, c/o Enrollment Services, 6 Rhody Ram Way, Kingston, RI 02881. Before an appeal will be considered, the student must have an active FAFSA on file for the semester for which they are requesting financial aid, and not be dismissed from the University. If you will need more than one term to comply with the SAP policy (a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 and be completing at least 67% of cumulative credit hours attempted), you must provide a detailed academic plan approved by your advisor. The academic plan must establish criteria for success on a term by term basis in order to show that you are progressing toward degree completion and satisfaction of the SAP policy. Per Federal regulations, if your appeal is approved, you are allowed to receive financial aid for one semester only. If you meet the conditions set forth in your approval letter, you may continue to receive aid for subsequent semesters. If your appeal is denied through this process, you will be notified in writing and will not receive financial assistance for the next period of enrollment. You may regain your financial aid eligibility by enrolling in and completing enough credits to meet the qualitative and the quantitative standards described in the policy. The decision of the SAP committee is final.
Graduate Fellowships, Assistantships, and Scholarships
Detailed information (stipends, allowances, tenure, etc.) on graduate fellowships, assistantships, and scholarships is available from the Graduate School Office and online at uri.edu/gsadmis. Fellowships and scholarships are awarded by the Graduate School to students selected from nominations submitted by department chairpersons. Students are advised to request nomination for these awards by the chairperson of the department in which they plan to study or in which they are currently enrolled.
Graduate assistants are expected to register for a minimum of six and a maximum of 12 credits per semester. Students who hold scholarships, fellowships, or assistantships are not eligible for additional employment unless written permission is received from the Graduate School.
Graduate students have access to a national computerized database of fellowships and other financial assistance opportunities available to students pursuing advanced degrees, completing dissertation research, or seeking postdoctoral positions.
Fellowships. Fellowships are awarded to graduate students in recognition of their achievement and promise as scholars. They are intended to enable students to pursue graduate studies and research without rendering any service to the University.
URI Diversity Graduate Fellowships are awarded by the Graduate School to students from minority and underrepresented groups. URI Foundation Minority Fellowships are also available to students from minority and underrepresented groups, with nominations usually made by departments to the Graduate School.
Special Fellowships are supported by various industrial firms, private foundations, and individuals, and are usually restricted to students in particular areas of study and research. The stipends and supplemental allowances of these fellowships are not uniform.
URI Fellows receive a stipend for the academic year and have tuition, health insurance, and the registration fee paid from University funds. URI Fellows are responsible for the remaining fees. Those wishing to be considered for fellowships must have their application file completed no later than February 1.
Graduate Teaching Assistantships and Research Assistantships. Assistantships are awarded to full-time graduate students to provide them with teaching and research training. Assistants may be required to provide service for up to 20 hours per week. Appointments are initiated by department chairpersons. To be eligible for such appointments, students must first be admitted as degree candidates. Applications for assistantships should be completed by February 1. Appointments are announced in early April.
Departmental Teaching Assistants assist, under supervision, with department instructional and/or research activities. No more than ten hours per week will be in classroom contact.
Research Assistants are assigned to individual research projects sponsored either by the University or an outside agency. On supported research contracts and grants, the graduate research assistants are expected to devote 20 hours per week to research activities.
Teaching and research assistants receive a stipend for the academic year. In addition, tuition (12 credits maximum), 20% of the required standard fees, and health insurance are paid from University funds for each semester of the academic year of the appointment. The student is responsible for the remaining fees. Additional remuneration is given for appointments during the summer, although this cannot be guaranteed. Stipends and tuition remissions for students appointed to partial assistantships will be prorated for the period of the appointment. The student will be responsible for the remainder of the full-time tuition and fees. The same policy applies to assistantships terminated during the academic year.
Tuition Scholarships. These scholarships cover tuition and registration fee and are awarded by the Graduate School from University funds. These scholarships are awarded to qualified students demonstrating financial need. Nominations for these scholarships are made by individual departments.