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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Coterminal Program

The Coterminal Program allows Rensselaer undergraduates to complete their Bachelor’s degree within eight semesters (ten for B. Arch students), while maintaining their Rensselaer financial aid during their additional semesters of graduate study. Students can apply to most Master’s Programs that Rensselaer offers, following the same curriculum as those who entered through the traditional route. Some applicants choose to pursue a Master’s degree in the same academic discipline, while others take a more interdisciplinary approach, applying to a graduate program outside of their undergraduate department.


Rensselaer is committed to providing financial aid assistance to Coterminal Program students within the following guidelines:

How do I apply for aid?

Students must file the FAFSA as an undergraduate student while completing the undergraduate degree. Once the student has completed the requirements for the undergraduate degree, s/he will apply to graduate through the Registrar’s Office and will then be considered a graduate student. At that point the student will file the FAFSA as a graduate student.  Students in the coterminal program who are undergraduates will also be required to complete the Coterminal Academic Plan, which is available at the bottom of this page.

Will my aid change once I’m a graduate student?

Rensselaer scholarships and grants will be renewed under the same renewal policies (see below) during the graduate semester(s). In addition, if the student was eligible for federal grants (Pell and SEOG) during the last semester of undergraduate study, Rensselaer will make up for the loss of those grants during the semester(s) of graduate study.  Work Study will still be available. Students will be eligible for graduate level Federal Direct Student Loans once s/he is considered a graduate student and will also be eligible to apply for the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan.  Students’ parents will no longer be eligible to apply for the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan once the student is a graduate student.  Please note that Rensselaer Scholarships and Grants may have different names in the semester(s) of graduate study.

Maximum eligibility for Rensselaer scholarships and grants:

Students may receive two additional semesters of eligibility after completing the undergraduate program.

How are Rensselaer awards renewed?

The same renewal polices are used in the Coterminal Program as are used for renewal during regular undergraduate study. Rensselaer need-based scholarships/grants are renewable provided the student demonstrates a similar level of need, as determined by the FAFSA.  Awards in this category are subject to change if financial need decreases.   Students must file the FAFSA by the priority filing deadline date while in the Coterminal Program for full consideration of Federal, State, and/or Rensselaer need-based financial aid. Merit scholarships from Rensselaer are automatically renewed, regardless of financial need or academic performance. Note that a student must be enrolled full-time to be eligible for the full amount of Rensselaer scholarships and grants.

Federal and State aid programs may be renewable based on regulations governing those programs.

New York residents:   Be aware that NYS Grants and Scholarships including the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) are limited to eight semesters of undergraduate eligibility and can only be applied to undergraduate study.

Students who received an NCAA athletic scholarship may receive funding in the fifth year only if they meet NCAA eligibility.

If a student athlete seeking to be a coterminal student has exhausted her/his NCAA eligibility to play and received an athletic scholarship, that student will be eligible for two additional semesters of support for his/her fifth year of study.  However, Rensselaer financial aid will be limited to the merit award the student would have otherwise received upon admission to the Institute without regard to athletic scholarship.  Need-based Rensselaer undergraduate grants will be awarded based upon the policies in place at the time the student is entering the fifth year of study.

A coterminal student may not receive undergraduate and graduate Rensselaer aid simultaneously.

Thus, a student receiving a teaching assistantship or research assistantship will forfeit undergraduate aid and/or is no longer eligible for the Coterminal Program.

File Collection

Coterminal Academic Plan

Students in the Coterminal Program who are undergraduates are required to complete the Coterminal Academic Plan. This should be completed and returned to the Office of Financial Aid.