Required Documents

The following documents must be submitted in order to process your request for a Stafford Loan:

  • 2014-2015 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or 2014-2015 Renewal FAFSA
  • Graduate Student Aid Application
  • Complete Stafford Loan Entrance Counseling online at: (This session must only be completed once while attending Rensselaer at Hartford. Loan counseling completed at other schools does not qualify.)

Please note that the Graduate Student Aid Application should be sent directly to the Rensselaer Office of Financial Aid. The FAFSA or Renewal FAFSA can be completed online by going to the Department of Education's FAFSA on the Web site below: (NOT!)

fafsa.ed link

To submit a FAFSA online and sign it electronically, follow these steps.

  • Go to the web site and click on "Get Your PIN" if you don't already have one or have misplaced it. (A Personal ID Number or PIN is automatically generated and sent to students who already have completed a FAFSA or Renewal FAFSA and whose name, date of birth, and SSN have been verified by the Social Security Administration.) Use of a PIN helps ensure the privacy of the information you are submitting online and allows you to sign the form electronically. When you apply for a PIN you will be asked how you want it to be sent to you. You can choose to receive an e-mail with a link to your PIN on the Web, or you can request that the Department of Education send a paper PIN mailer to your permanent address. If you choose the former and do not access the link in the PIN e-mail message within 14 days of receiving it, your PIN will be removed from the Web and a paper mailer sent to your permanent mailing address.
  • Prior to completing the FAFSA online you might want to print a Pre-Application Worksheet since the order of the questions on the 2014-2015 version of FAFSA on the Web differs from the paper FAFSA. To do this, click on "Worksheets" and then select the Pre-Application Worksheet.
  • Next, complete your FAFSA online by clicking on "Fill Out a FAFSA." Follow the online instructions and save the data whenever you are prompted to do so. This way your responses will be saved in a secure, temporary server for 45 days from the time the application was last accessed. To bring up your application to work on it again, click on "Continue Working on a Saved Application" on the FAFSA home page. FYI, by clicking on a command button called "View FAFSA Summary" at any point during data entry, you can see a summary of all of the responses you've provided so far. When you are done, you can print the summary page for your records. Then click on "Submit my FAFSA Now" and either print or note your confirmation number.
  • Finally, click on "Electronically Sign My Application" (if that is the method you have chosen) to complete the process. You will be asked to confirm your identity by providing information (including your PIN) and then click on "Submit Request."
  • An e-mail notification will be sent to you once the FAFSA has been successfully processed with instructions on how to access your Student Aid Report (SAR) online. If you did not provide a valid e-mail address, a paper SAR will be mailed to you. If you need to make corrections, go to "Make Corrections to a Processed FAFSA" on the FAFSA home page.

Once you have completed a FAFSA on the Web, please be sure submit the Graduate Aid Application – Hartford Campus to the Rensselaer Office of Financial Aid.

Helpful Tips

  • When completing the FAFSA, please note that our school code is "E01127."
  • Most students submit their loan application by academic year, however students may request Stafford Loans on a semester-by-semester basis. You must be continuously enrolled for at least six credit hours during each semester included in your loan period.
  • Federal Stafford Loans are not only for tuition, you can also borrow for other educationally related expenses such as books, supplies, transportation, housing, food expenses, etc.

In addition to allowing you to sign and correct a FAFSA online, your PIN also will provide access to:

  • The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) web site ( for a history of the federal financial aid you have received.

Determining Eligibility: Basic Eligibility Requirements

The Financial Aid Office confirms your eligibility using the U.S. Department of Education's analysis of your completed FAFSA. Official results of this analysis are retrieved electronically in an Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR). Students receive this information by mail or the Internet in a slightly different format: the Student Aid Report (SAR). The ISIR contains your official Expected Family Contribution, as well as results of the database matches the Department conducts to confirm that other eligibility requirements are met. These database matches include: verification of a valid Social Security Number; Selective Service Registration compliance; and U.S. citizenship or eligible non-citizenship status. In addition, the database matches verify that you are not in default on any student loan; you do not owe an overpayment on any Student Financial Assistance grant or loan; and you have not inadvertently exceeded the annual or aggregate loan limit allowed for the Federal Direct Loan Program.

Determining Eligibility: Calculation of Financial Need

By law, your eligibility for a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan is calculated as follows:

Cost of Attendance - Other Financial Assistance Received = Eligibility for Federal Loan programs

The maximum Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan you may receive is $20,500 per academic year. You may also borrow the remainder through the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan program.

Cost of Attendance (for Part-Time "Advanced Studies" programs)*

The Office of Financial Aid will calculate your Cost of Attendance based upon your requested loan period and anticipated enrollment during that period. You will note that Cost of Attendance includes not only tuition, books and supplies, but also living, transportation, and incidental expenses. In addition, a reasonable allowance for the documented rental or purchase of a personal computer may be included in the Cost of Attendance. Some examples of calculations for Cost of Attendance are shown below:

Award Year: 2014-2015
Sample calculation for a half-time (six credit hours each term) student enrolled fall 2014, spring 2015, requesting $20,500:

Tuition semesters ($1,545 per credit hr. for 12 credit hours total - six credit hours per term)
Textbooks and Supplies



Living Expenses (12 months)
Personal & Misc Expenses
Total Cost of Attendance (COA)
Expected Family Contribution
Other Financial Assistance

*For Cohorts, contact the Rensselaer Financial Aid Office for more information, 518-276-6813, or or email:

Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is the amount the U.S. Department of Education determines you and your family are expected to contribute toward your education with your own resources. Using the information submitted on the FAFSA, your EFC is calculated using federally mandated methodology. The EFC is only utiliized when determining financial aid sources that are based on financial need. In most instances, for graduate students this factor is not considered because need-based aid sources are rare. However, any student seeking federal financial aid must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Other Financial Assistance Received

Other sources of financial assistance-- such as scholarships or tuition reimbursement through your employer--are considered awards of aid and are used in determining your eligibility for federal aid programs. All forms of financial assistance should be reported on your Graduate Aid Application – Hartford campus.

Notification of Eligibility

Federal law also mandates that educational institutions advise students in writing of their loan confirmation process. Due to its unique student culture, Rensselaer at Hartford has opted for a passive confirmation process. Therefore, in your notification of eligibility you will be given two business days (from receipt of the e-mail) to notify the Financial Aid Office if you wish to either refuse the loan or adjust the loan amount. Otherwise, your loan request will be transmitted to the Department of Education.

Completing a Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN)

Rensselaer electronically submits all information required to originate your loan using the loan period and loan amount you requested (or your maximum eligibility whichever is less) on your Graduate Studesnt Aid Application - Hartford. Please note that multiple loans for a period up to ten years can be made against the Master Promissory Note (MPN). It may not be necessary for you to sign a note for each new loan.

You can use your Federal PIN to electronically sign your MPN once the loan has been originated. Please note that the MPN does not show the loan amounts you are agreeing to borrow, nor does it indicate anticipated disbursements. Instead, this information is mailed to you in a separate Disclosure Statement approximately 30 days prior to the anticipated disbursement dates. If you wish to borrow less than the amount listed on the Disclosure Statement, please contact the Office of Financial Aid immediately so that adjustments can be made. If you wish to cancel the authorization for subsequent loans to be made under your MPN, you will need to send written notification as well.

Once your note has been received, you have completed your entrance interview (if required) and the first disbursement is made your loan is booked. Remember that your loan will not be processed unless (and until) they have received your signed MPN.

Entrance Interview

Every student who borrows through the Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program for the first time at Rensselaer is required to participate in an Entrance Interview. To do this, please log into By law, no student can have access to loan proceeds prior to this Entrance Interview.

An additional purpose of the Entrance Interview is to make sure you fully understand your responsibilities as a borrower. When you sign the MPN you promise to pay to the U.S. Department of Education all sums disbursed under the terms of the note plus interest and other charges and fees that may become due as provided in the note.

Selected for Verification

The Office of Financial Aid will inform you of any database match problem, along with information on how to resolve the problem.

A number of federal aid applicants are selected by the U.S. Department of Education for verification. If you have been selected, the Office of Financial Aid will inform you of this requirement and will provide you with a Verification Worksheet. If you are selected for verification, you are required by federal regulation to accurately complete and return the Worksheet to the Office of Financial Aid and submit any other documents required (i.e. Federal Tax Transcript).

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Updated: 2016-04-21, 15:03