Financial Aid

Types of Aid Available

Grant Assistance

Each academic department reviews applications for grant and scholarship assistance. Amounts are awarded by the specific department that you have applied to for admission and are incorporated into your financial aid package once determined.

Tuition Benefits

Employer tuition benefits may be available to you. Contact your employer’s benefits office for details. You are required to notify your financial aid counselor of any expected tuition benefits.

Outside Scholarships

The strength of the candidates who attend the University often makes our students excellent candidates for outside scholarships. Be sure to look to family employers, local foundations, clubs, and community agencies for scholarship opportunities. Students are required to notify our office of any outside scholarships that will be received during the academic year. Outside scholarships reported to our office will appear as an anticipated credit on the student bill until October each academic year. At that time, any outside scholarship that has not been received by the University will no longer appear as a credit.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans

To be eligible for federal student loans, students must be:

  • U.S. citizens or permanent residents
  • Matriculated
  • Enrolled at least half time (6 credit hours per term) in a degree-granting program

Please note: Audited courses do not count in determining enrollment status.

Federal student loans are the most beneficial loan option to students and their families and should be pursued before alternative loans.

To request federal student loans, students must submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Assistance). Students who apply will be offered an unsubsidized loan, which is a guaranteed student loan, assuming the student meets federal eligibility requirements.

This loan has a fixed interest rate of 5.41%. An origination fee will be subtracted from the amount borrowed and is reflected in the disbursement to a student’s account. Interest will begin to accrue on this loan after it has disbursed. The interest can be paid while attending school. If a student chooses not to pay the interest while enrolled, it will be capitalized when repayment begins.

Graduate students may borrow up to $20,500 in federal Direct Loans per academic year. The actual amount a student is eligible to borrow cannot exceed the University of Rochester’s cost of attendance minus any other assistance received.

Federal Graduate PLUS Loans

Graduate students can borrow a PLUS Loan to help pay for their education expenses as long as they:

  • have already applied for their annual federal Direct Student Loans
  • are matriculated in a master's or PhD program; certificate programs are excluded
  • are enrolled at least half time (at least 6 credit hours per term)

Graduate PLUS applications can be submitted online. Click the green Sign In button to complete the PLUS Request Process. Students must have a federal PIN and have already submitted a FAFSA in order to submit a Graduate PLUS application.

Students should avoid applying any earlier than 90 days before the start of the academic year. Credit approvals are only viable for that amount of time. If the loan is applied for too early, the credit approval will become invalid and a new PLUS application will need to be submitted online for processing. Please also factor in time for the Financial Aid Office to review your submitted FAFSA, which must occur before your Graduate PLUS application can be processed.

Once the application is submitted online, the Financial Aid Office will be notified electronically regarding the amount requested and whether the loan was approved or denied. Please note that the loan amount requested is assumed to be for the entire academic year. The PLUS loan will be set up across all the terms in which you are, or plan to be, enrolled at least half time during the academic year. The total of your PLUS loan and other financial aid cannot exceed the cost of attendance for each eligible term.

State Educational Loans

The following states offer educational loans for their residents: Alaska, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Vermont.

State educational loans:

  • are available to both undergraduate and graduate students (and possibly to parents and relatives), as long as the student is matriculated and enrolled at least half time in a degree program
  • are credit-based and offer interest rates and terms that may be competitive with PLUS loans and alternative loans
  • may have both fixed and variable interest rates available, depending on the state

To research the different states that provide these loan options, please review the Financial Aid Office’s website.

Alternative Loans

These educational loans are offered by several banks and educational lenders as a supplement to (not a replacement for) federal student loans. Alternative loans may also be referred to as private educational or supplemental loans, as they are not affiliated with federal or state loan programs.

International students will most likely need to secure a private/alternative loan with a U.S. cosigner. If you do not have a U.S. cosigner, please try to obtain a loan through a bank in your native country, especially if they offer students loans in the United States.

Alternative loans:

  • feature variable interest rates based on the LIBOR or PRIME rate
  • may have additional fees of up to 9.5% of the requested loan amount
  • require credit approval
  • may be deferred
  • often allow a 6-month grace period before students begin repaying
  • must be accounted for in the student's aid package

Please Note

The following types of students should speak to a financial aid counselor first before pursuing alternative loans:

  • non-matriculated
  • students seeking to pay past-due balances
  • students not meeting satisfactory academic progress
  • students denied on previous alternative loan applications due to poor credit

For more information on alternative loans, visit the Financial Aid Office’s website.