Coterminal Program (For Undergraduate Students Admitted to RPI Prior to the Fall 2024 Semester)

The Coterminal Program award policies described here apply to students whose first term of undergraduate enrollment at RPI is prior to Fall 2024 Semester.   Students beginning enrollment at RPI for Fall 2024 or after will have opportunity to attain their Masters Degree in a similar manner through our new Accelerated Master's 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). Students who were eligible for Federal Pell Grant or Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG) funding during their last term of undergraduate study will be considered for additional need-based funding to replace these awards during the graduate timeframe.  Work Study will still be available, if eligible. 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 received during the undergraduate years will be named the "Rensselaer Coterminal Award" in the semester(s) of graduate study.

Effective Fall 2023, the total of all Rensselaer awards may not exceed the total tuition charges during semester(s) of graduate enrollment.

How is my degree level for Coterminal financial aid eligibility determined?

The Office of Financial aid certifies Federal and State program eligibility based on the degree level determined by Registrar Office official enrollment records. The student’s status for a term does not change after the start of the term in question and the college's administrative technology system is the source of the data used to decide.

Eligibility for RPI funded awards is based on the total number of credit hours for the term. A combination of graduate and undergraduate credit hours is used to determine if a student is considered to be “full-time” (12+ credit hours) for RPI funded awards.

Federal and state awards are only provided based on the number of credit hours being taken during the term that are associated to the official degree level for the student. For example students who do not have their undergraduate degree confirmed per Registrar records prior to the start of a term may only receive aid based on undergraduate rules and only at levels appropriate based on their number of undergraduate credit hours for that term.   In some cases, this environment may result in a student being ineligible for Federal Student Loan funding due to their official status being an undergraduate student that is enrolled fewer than six credits of undergraduate courses.

Maximum eligibility for Rensselaer scholarships and grants:

In most cases, students may receive two additional semesters of eligibility after completing the undergraduate program. If the student is enrolling in the MBA or Eng-Sci MBA options, they would be eligible for up to three additional semesters of eligibility.

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 typically automatically renewed, regardless of financial need or academic performance. Revisions are only made for reasons described in the Revision of Awards section of the Student Guide to Financial Aid. 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.