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Frequently Asked Questions


Do I need to qualify for need-based financial aid to compete for merit scholarships as a prospective undergraduates?

No. You may compete for scholarships regardless of your family’s demonstrated financial need.

I’ve been admitted to the University. When will I learn about my financial aid?

Students who complete all application materials on time and are admitted to the University will receive a financial aid email notification shortly after their notification of admission. Every effort is made to ensure that all students receive their financial aid award information prior to the May 1 deposit deadline. However, late applicants may need to make a deposit decision prior to receiving an award.

What if I don’t get a financial aid email shortly after my letter of admission?

Students who do not receive financial aid notifications typically have not filed all of the materials requested by the Financial Aid Office. Make sure you have completed the CSS Profile and the FAFSA and that you included the University on the list of schools to receive the information. If you have any concerns about your financial aid application, contact us.

What else do I need to know as a prospective transfer student?

Application requirements and notification procedures differ based on the term for which you are seeking admission. For the most up-to-date information, please contact us. There are some merit scholarships that are unique to transfer students. Transfer students are also subject to different general guidelines, such as loan levels and the number of semesters they may receive institutional funding. Transfer students only receive university aid until the graduation date that was determined at the time of admission.

What is my family contribution?

The University of Rochester uses an institutional methodology (IM) analysis to calculate each family’s expected contribution. The resulting figure is usually higher than the federal methodology (FM) analysis used to calculate eligibility for federal assistance. Although a small share of parent assets are included in the IM calculations, in most cases parent income, family size, and number of children in college have a greater effect on aid eligibility.

Are there income cutoffs for financial assistance?

No. Every application is individually reviewed so that factors such as assets, family size, and number in college are considered, in addition to the family income.

Are special circumstances considered?

If your family has concerns about contributing the portion of the cost not covered by financial aid, we encourage you to contact us so that we may discuss the situation with you. Every situation is unique, so we will work with you to determine what financing options are available to assist your family. In all cases, a written appeal detailing your special circumstances and providing appropriate documentation will be required in order for a further review of your file to take place. Keep in mind that appeals are not guaranteed to be approved.

How do scholarships that I receive from outside the University of Rochester affect my financial package?

The amount of the outside scholarships received will reduce the work-study and loan awards before reducing university need-based grants. The combination of outside awards and Rochester-packaged awards may not exceed a student’s determined institutional need or estimated cost of attendance.

Are there any academic requirements to keep my financial aid once it’s been awarded to me?

Undergraduates in the Arts, Sciences & Engineering must achieve a specified cumulative GPA and accumulate a specific number of credit hours at the end of each semester to continue receiving financial aid. These requirements are outlined in the Federal and University Academic Standing Policy. For recipients of New York State aid, please also review the New York State Academic Standing Policy.

What is FAOnline and how do I access it?

FAOnline is the University of Rochester’s online student financial aid portal. All students receiving financial aid are required to use FAOnline to review financial aid awards, access required documents, and stay informed of important deadlines. Students are regularly emailed information regarding their financial aid and are instructed to log into FAOnline to review their account. You can log into your account online; you’ll need your University of Rochester ID number (not your Net ID) to get started.

When will my financial aid disburse to my student account?

Financial aid cannot disburse any earlier than 10 days prior to the beginning of classes each term. Keep in mind that all your requirements must be complete before you aid will be eligible to disburse. These requirements typically include registration and all financial aid application materials, in addition to any specific loan requirements. You will be notified by email of any outstanding items every two weeks. Typically, if all requirements are met and you’re registered, your federal and University aid should disburse the week of classes. You can always track your disbursement progress through your FAOnline account.

It appears that after my financial aid pays for my direct costs, I may be eligible for a refund. When would that be available to me?

If your total financial aid is in excess of your direct costs and you expect to receive a refund to help with your living expenses, you may request a credit balance from the Bursar’s Office. A refund is NOT available until financial aid funds have disbursed to your student billing account. Although these funds can be used for books and living expenses (including rent if you do not live on campus), you should be prepared to cover your costs at the beginning of each term out of savings until financial aid funds have been applied to your account. You should bring money to campus with you to help pay for your books and supplies as financial aid is not always available to help with these items.

Do I have to apply for aid every year?

Yes. All students applying for aid will need to file a FAFSA every year. Additional application materials may also be required, and you will be notified in December each year so that you can complete the application process by 12 a.m. (midnight) EDT, March 15.

Please keep in mind that returning students who do not submit their financial aid application with all supporting documentation by March 15, 2022 are not guaranteed full consideration for need-based University grant assistance and may have their institutional aid reduced due to limited funding. Merit-based aid does not require a new application every year.

UR students may see their need-based aid change between years for a variety of reasons. Those reasons aren’t always clear to students, so we’ve put together a video that explains the broader trends behind financial aid and what to expect year to year as well as some common reasons students may see a change.  Be sure to check it out!

For students and parents interested in learning more about our aid policies, we encourage you to read over our FA Handbook for the 2022-2023 academic year. In general, if a student’s financial circumstances (income, assets, and reported number in household/college) are similar from year to year and all application deadlines are met, they should expect to see a similar aid package.

How do I decline or reduce my financial aid?

Any requests to decline or reduce your financial aid should be emailed to your counselor. These requests must be sent by you, the student.

Does my housing impact my financial aid eligibility?

The basic formula for need-based aid eligibility is taking the difference between your cost of attendance and your expected family contribution, which constitutes your family’s financial need. Financial aid awarded to you will be roughly in line with that determined financial need.

The room and board (meal plan) items in your cost of attendance are impacted by your housing status, with on-campus, off-campus, and commuter students having substantially different room and board allowances. For students who live in campus housing, room and board items in your cost of attendance can also vary based on what housing unit you are assigned. Therefore, yes, your housing can impact your aid eligibility based on the formula described above.

The cost of attendance for each housing unit will take into consideration differences in the room rent charges you will be billed for, as well as the meal plan (board) options that you have to choose from based on your housing assignment. Financial aid eligibility is based on students taking the minimum-cost meal plan option available to them, with different housing units having different minimum-cost plans.

To learn more about how housing and meal plan options can impact your costs and aid eligibility, we encourage you to take advantage of an interactive Housing and Meal Plan Research Tool. This tool gives you the opportunity to explore your options further based on your individual circumstances and preferences. You are also encouraged to contact your financial aid counselor with further questions after using the Research Tool.

What types of aid are available if I am interested in taking summer classes?

Undergraduates who are interested in taking summer classes will need to complete the Summer Aid Application, which is available through FAOnline after February 1. The Financial Aid Office will process your request and determine your potential eligibility for federal and/or state aid. Private loans can also be used to pay for summer classes if you do not qualify for federal and/or state aid. We recommend that you speak with your counselor if you have questions regarding how summer aid works.

Additional information can be found on our website.

I will receive money from my parent’s employer to help pay my educational costs. How is that applied to my financial aid?

Employer benefits cannot be used to replace a part of your family resources; it must be taken into account in your financial aid awards, in accordance with federal regulations and University policy. In order to take these benefits into account, they will replace need-based grants from the University first, if awarded, with any excess then replacing self-help aid.

The currency in my home country has been devalued over the past year, making it more expensive to attend. Can my aid eligibility be reconsidered on that basis?

Country currency rates are calculated from GDP per Capita data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and are updated annually based on the data available using the same year that income is reported on the financial aid application (i.e. 2021 income and IMF data to apply for the 2023-24 academic year).

The University will not consider appeals for changes in currency exchange rates beyond the annual application renewal and award determination.

I’m concerned I won’t graduate on time. How many semesters of aid can I receive at the University?

You are eligible to receive financial aid at the University of Rochester for up to a total of eight semesters or until your first bachelor degree requirements are met, whichever is first (for dual degree programs, you have up to 10 semesters or until your dual degree requirements are met, whichever is first). Please work closely with your academic advisor to develop an academic plan that supports an on-time degree completion.

If you are approved for a ninth semester of enrollment at the College, you may also receive financial aid. However, a separate appeal is required and approval is not guaranteed.

Please contact your financial aid counselor if you’re concerned that you may need an additional semester of aid.

Is financial aid available to assist with the cost of Winter Session courses?

Students enrolling in Winter Session coursework will have those credits added to their spring semester transcripts.  Tuition for Winter Session courses will be $970 per credit hour. Students who are eligible for federal or University loan funding, who have not already used their full loan eligibility for the academic year, can request loan funds be added to their aid awards to assist with the cost of Winter Session courses. Grant assistance will not be provided for Winter Session coursework.

Bill-related questions

I just received an updated award notification from the Financial Aid Office. Why hasn’t the change to my financial aid shown up in UR Student yet?

UR Student does not update in real time. It updates approximately once per business day. If a change has been made to your financial aid package, please allow for up to two business days for your statement in UR Student to reflect this change.

Why is my Federal Work Study/University Student Employment not listed on my University bill?

Since the money you earn through these programs goes to you in your biweekly paycheck, it never appears as an anticipated credit on your bill like other types of aid. It’s up to you to determine how to best use those earnings during the academic year to help fund your education.

For example, you may use that paycheck to help pay for your books and supplies over the course of the semester or you may decide to pay a portion toward your tuition bill instead.

Why is there a charge for health insurance on my bill?

All full-time students are required to have health insurance that meets University insurance criteria. If you see a charge for health insurance on your bill and you are already insured through your parents’ plan (or your own plan), you may have forgotten to waive the University health insurance. You can log in to the UHS website to waive the University insurance. Open Enrollment begins June 14 and ends September 15. Remember, this process must be completed every year.

For questions, please contact University Health Insurance at (585) 275-2662.

If I’m receiving an outside scholarship, where do I send the check?

Bursar’s Office
PO Box 270037
330 Meliora Hall
Rochester, NY 14627

What options do I have for covering the amount due on my bill?

Your parent can apply for a Parent PLUS Loan. To learn more about the PLUS loan, visit the Federal Student Aid website. To apply for the PLUS loan, your parents should visit the Direct Loan website.

Who do I talk to about different types of questions?

If you have a question pertaining to the charges on your bill or payment plans, you should contact the Bursar’s Office at (585) 275-3931 or If your question pertains to your financial aid package, you should contact your financial aid counselor.

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