The options below are available to help pay for enrollment costs above what is covered by a student’s eligibility for federal, state, and Rensselaer gift aid and/or Federal Student Loans. We recommend that students initiate their participation in these options at least two months prior to the beginning of their academic year. When making alternative funding decisions, families should consider how much they can contribute out-of-pocket prior to taking additional loans.
Students are advised to borrow only what is needed; to apply for merit or need-based gifts prior to loans; and to utilize their federal loan program eligibility before borrowing parent or alternative loans which may be more expensive to repay. To apply for need-based grants from Rensselaer or to apply for Federal and State Student Financial Aid Program funding, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is available online at www.fafsa.gov.
Rensselaer offers a monthly payment plan through Transact. This program allows you to spread out your academic year expenses into monthly payments based on the semester(s) you are enrolled. There is no interest on this payment plan; however there is a nominal enrollment fee. To find out more about this program, visit the Tuition & Payment Plan Enrollment Guide.
This program allows the parent of a dependent student to borrow funds to pay their student’s educational expenses. Graduate students may apply for the Graduate PLUS Loan. A credit check is required and the borrower must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen. In addition, the student must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). A mandatory Federal origination fee of 4.236% will be deducted from the gross loan amount. This fee helps to ensure that the PLUS Loan is fully forgiven if either the student or the parent borrower dies. PLUS Loans may be requested for an amount up to the difference between our cost of attendance and the amount of aid awarded to the student. The loans are disbursed in equal amounts per term. The ten year repayment period begins after all funds have been disbursed for the award year. Repayment can be postponed while the student is enrolled at least half-time. The annual fixed interest rate is based on the high yield Treasury Note as of June 1st (of prior academic year) plus 4.60%. The interest rate on PLUS Loans disbursed after July 1, 2022 for the 2022-23 award year is 7.54%. For additional information on the PLUS loan/Graduate PLUS loan program visit www.studentaid.gov. Detailed information about the upcoming year’s Rensselaer application process is available here.
These non-federal loans are secured through private lending institutions. The student is the primary borrower for most programs and a credit-worthy co-borrower may also be required to secure approval. Most lenders will not lend to a student who is under 18 years old at the time of application, regardless if a co-signer is used. In addition, the lender will look to other factors such as income and current outstanding debt when determining eligibility. Availability of in-school deferment, loan forgiveness options, interest rates, processing fees, and repayment terms vary by lender. Most programs offer in-school deferment. Most provide borrower choice of either fixed or variable interest rates. Actual rates and fee levels will be determined based on the borrower(s) credit rating. Repayment typically begins after all funds are disbursed for the award year. Loans may be requested for an amount up to the difference between our cost of attendance and the amount of aid awarded to the student. On an annual basis, we compile a list of commonly used alternative lenders for our students. While we do not encourage any specific lender, you can find basic pricing information on ELMSelect.