A variety of financial aid options
Student Financial Services is committed to helping undergraduate students understand the aid process and how best to finance their education.
In this section you'll find financial aid:
Please note the relevant deadlines, since any financial aid forms submitted after the posted deadlines will be considered in light of available resources
Incoming students who wish to apply for financial aid should complete the:
- Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) (to be considered for federal financial aid)
- CSS Profile Application (to be considered for financial aid from RISD)
You must file these forms each year by the posted deadlines. International students, visiting students, mobility students and students in other special categories are not eligible for financial aid.
We are here to help with any additional questions or concerns regarding financial aid.
Early Decision deadlines
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
School code: 003409
The FAFSA is used to award all federal financial aid, including grants, work-study jobs and loans. Applicants wishing to apply for federal student aid exclusively should only complete a FAFSA application.
Please note you cannot complete this application prior to October 1. Students who do not apply for financial aid by the deadline but still wish to be considered for federal student loans may still complete the FAFSA application.
CSS Profile Application
School code: 3726
The CSS Profile is used to award need-based financial aid from RISD
Deadlines for current students
RISD scholarships are awarded based on financial need. Recipients of RISD scholarships must apply for financial aid each year.
RISD offers several scholarships each year to first-year students who exhibit outstanding academic and artistic achievement but do not necessarily demonstrate need. Two awards of at least $10,000 are made to students participating in the National YoungArts Foundation competition and two awards of at least $10,000 are made to participants in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. To be eligible for these scholarships, applicants must enter the YoungArts or Scholastic competitions.
RISD-controlled financial aid is not available to special, visiting, international or exchange students.
RISD is pleased to participate in the Post 9/11 GI Bill® Yellow Ribbon Program, which provides additional financial assistance to veterans who qualify for 100% of Post-9/11 GI Bill® educational benefits. RISD provides scholarship assistance in the amount of $10,000, which is matched by the federal government for a total of $20,000. Participation is limited to 25 veterans, with Veterans Affairs (VA) regulations stipulating that assistance be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis.
To be considered for this program you must provide a copy of your VA Certificate of Eligibility for the Yellow Ribbon to RISD. Qualified students seeking assistance for the upcoming academic year can begin submitting certificates on April 1; application materials submitted prior to April 1 are not accepted.
Please note: Scholarship assistance cannot exceed tuition and fees from all sources. If an applicant receives scholarship assistance from RISD, $10,000 of this scholarship amount will be designated as the Yellow Ribbon match. If the total of scholarship assistance from RISD, the Yellow Ribbon Program and Chapter 33 benefits exceeds tuition and fees, the scholarship assistance offered by RISD will be reduced commensurately.
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the US Department of Veterans Affairs. More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official US government VA benefits site.
RISD provides a matching Americorps award of up to $5,550 to two students each year. Students must provide a copy of their letter of eligibility for the Segal Americorps Education Award no later than April 1 of each year. This award is granted on a first-come, first-served basis.
RISD is in partnership with Scholarship Universe, an online portal that works to match you with outside funding opportunities. Sign in with your RISD account and answer questions to build your profile, which will provide you with information on scholarships you may be eligible to apply for. The portal allows you to save scholarship results and receive emails about deadlines.
- You will apply with individual organizations, not RISD, and they will contact you with updates
- Scholarship Universe listings are fully-vetted
- Keeping your Scholarship Universe profile current improves scholarship matching
Please contact Student Financial Services with any questions pertaining to Scholarship Universe.
Federal and state grants
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form used to determine a student’s eligibility for:
- Federal Pell Grants
- Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants
- Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants
- Most state grants
Please list RISD’s federal code 003409 on the FAFSA form so that your information is sent to RISD’s Financial Aid office.
Federal grants and most state grants are considered entitlement grants that are based on financial need rather than merit.
Interest does not accrue while the student is enrolled at least half-time. Repayment begins 6 months after student graduates or ceases attending school at least half-time. Graduate students are not eligible for this loan. You can find additional information, including rates, on the US Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid site.
A creditworthy parent of a dependent undergraduate student can apply for a Federal PLUS loan. Federal PLUS loans are not based on demonstrated need and may be used to replace all or part of the calculated family contribution for students who have completed a FAFSA. RISD will not certify a PLUS loan until a student has been accepted and paid a commitment deposit to attend RISD. Please visit the US Department of Education's Federal Student Aid site for rates and additional information.
The Perkins Loan program has ended. Previous Perkins Loans borrowers with questions should please contact the SFS office.
Interest begins to accrue at time of disbursement. Repayment begins 6 months after student graduates or ceases attending school at least half-time. For additional information, including rates, please visit the US Department of Education's FAQ overview of subsidized and unsubsidized loans.
ALL borrowers need to complete a Master Promissory Note with the Direct Loan Program. First-time borrowers at RISD will need to complete a loan entrance counseling session, even those who have borrowed at a previous institution.
Borrowers should go to the Department of Education's Federal Student Aid site to complete both steps.
Private student loans are consumer loans that should only be considered after first exhausting your federal loan eligibility. Typically, federal loans provide students with more beneficial terms and conditions. Some of these federal loan benefits may include a lower annual percentage rate, fewer and lower fees, and more favorable repayment options. A number of private educational loans are available to students who need extra funding to assist in managing the expected family contribution. You must apply for private educational loans directly with the lender/agency. Borrowers must be creditworthy to participate in these programs. Students who are not creditworthy by program guidelines may still be eligible to participate IF they can find a creditworthy person to co-sign their loan application. Families are free to choose any lender which best serves their needs.
You should visit each potential lender's website to fully evaluate the benefits that they offer before making a final choice of a lender for your loans. There are other tools in addition that can help you and your family better understand the private loan options available to you: ELMSelect and Credible. These are loan comparison tools that provide borrowers with the ability to compare information about various lenders.
Credible provides borrowers with competitive, personalized loan offers from multiple vetted lenders in real time without impacting the borrower's credit. It is not a lender or a bank, but rather partners with a number of leading lenders to offer options that best fit the needs of the student. Credible allows students to analyze prequalified rates, terms and eligibility rules side by side in a short time.
The ELMSelect loan comparison tool offers the ability to compare and select the loan that best suits student needs. With ELMSelect, students can view, filter and compare private student loan options from lenders included on RISD’s lender list.
Federal and RISD Work Study programs allow students to earn an income to offset educational expenses. Over 1,300 RISD students, more than half the student body, participate in the Work Study Program, which consists of both Federal Work Study (FWS) and student employment.
While priority is given to FWS financial aid recipients for on-campus jobs, RISD also allows other students to work, if there are jobs left unfilled by FWS recipients. Work study offers five levels of hourly pay rates and students are paid bi-weekly.
Both on- and off-campus jobs are posted on the RISD Student Employment website. Off-campus job listings include community service opportunities at nonprofit agencies in the Providence metro area; jobs in the local community (babysitter, waiter/waitress, retail sales, lawn/garden, etc.) and professional opportunities such as freelance art and design jobs.
To prove eligibility to work, students must provide RISD with documentary evidence of identity (driver’s license, RISD ID or government photo ID) and US citizenship (US passport, social security card or birth certificate with a seal). Copies are not acceptable. You may request a duplicate of your social security card from the Social Security Administration Office. If you plan to work while at RISD, please bring the appropriate documentation with you.