Campus Financial Services
There are two main offices on campus that handle financial matters relating to tuition and payment: the Financial Aid Office and the Bursar's Office. Both are helpful and necessary, and it is important to know how their functions differ!
For an oversimplified explanation, the Financial Aid office handles all of the logistics that go into figuring out your cost of attendance at Rensselaer. To do this, they are in charge of:
- Standard financial aid documents (FAFSA and CSS Profile)
- Any RPI merit scholarships or grants that you have been awarded
- Federal loan and work study eligibility
- Documentation of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
Generally speaking, you should always direct questions about your specific Financial Aid package (loans, grants, etc.) to the Financial Aid Office. They have proper access on the backend of RPI's systems to look at your financial details, your Hub advisor does not! However, here are some general responsibilities of yours to ensure your Financial Aid status is in good standing.
1) Complete the FAFSA annually! If you are interested in qualifying for federal aid or RPI need-based aid, you must fill this out every year.
2) Manage your Financial Aid awards in SIS. While you may qualify for certain loans and/or work study programs, you must go into SIS to accept, decline, or reduce these awards before they will apply to your bill.
3) Maintains satisfactory academic progress (SAP). Part of receiving federal aid is maintaining what is considered "Satisfactory Academic Progress" towards your degree. This is determined based on how many semesters you have attended RPI, your GPA, and the number of attempted credit hours that you successfully pass. Further details can be found here.
4) Maintain full-time student status. Many types of financial aid require full-time enrollment, which is defined as 12 or more credits per semester. This is why the Hub recommends always signing up for ~16 credits - you give yourself the flexibility to drop a course without jeopardizing your status. Unless you have prior approval from ALAC to be a part-time student, part-time enrollment will result in a reduction or elimination of certain Financial Aid awards.
The Financial Aid Office can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and they have limited phone availability at (518) 276-6813.
When thinking about how the Bursar's Office fits in to your financial equation on campus, think that the "B" for Bursar equals "bill." Based on all of the aid package work done in Financial Aid, the Bursar's Office generates your tuition bill and processes all payments/refunds.
Payment options are relatively simple - you can pay online via CashNet or by mail. Online payments are the fastest and generally more secure way to pay. You can also set up monthly installment plans instead of paying your bill as a lump sum!
If you have an outstanding balance on your account, you may have a "Bursar's Hold" on your registration. To fix that, paying off your balance should get the hold to disappear within 24 to 48 hours of receipt of payment.
If you have questions about your bill, you would want to get in touch with the Bursar's Office specifically at email@example.com
For a quick and easy reference to see which office may best fit your needs or questions in a given moment, check out this infographic!