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Faculty and Staff

Section 12. Fellowships, Assistantships, Scholarships, Loans and Veteran's Benefits

12.l0 General Conditions
12.20 Fellowships
12.21 General
12.22 Industrial, Endowed, and Special Fellowships
12.23 URI Graduate Fellowships
12.30 Assistantships
12.31 General
12.32 Graduate Assistantships
12.33 Graduate Research Assistantships
12.34 Conditions of Appointment to Assistantships
12.40 Tuition Scholarships
12.50 Financial Aid
12.60 Veteran's Benefits
12.70 New England Regional Student Program
12.80 Tuition Waiver at the Public Institutions of Higher Education

12.10 General Conditions

12.11. A number of opportunities for financial assistance are available to graduate students. To be eligible for any assistance, students must in every instance first be admitted to the Graduate School.

12.12. The University of Rhode Island subscribes to the following Resolution Regarding Graduate Scholars, Fellows, Trainees and Assistants, which has been adopted by the Council of Graduate Schools in the United States:

Acceptance of an offer of financial aid (such as a graduate scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, or assistantship) for the next academic year by an actual or prospective graduate student completes an agreement which both student and graduate school expect to honor. In those instances in which the student accepts the offer before April 15 and subsequently desires to withdraw, the student may submit in writing a resignation of the appointment at any time through April 15. However, an acceptance given or left in force after April 15 commits the student not to accept another offer without first obtaining a written release from the institution to which a commitment has been made. Similarly, an offer by an institution after April 15 is conditional on presentation by the student of the written release from any previously accepted offer. It is further agreed by the institutions and organizations subscribing to the above Resolution that a copy of this Resolution should accompany every scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, and assistantship offer.

12.13. Graduate students on URI Fellowships, scholarships and on assistantships are expected to be full time students. They are not eligible for additional academic year employment without written permission of the Dean of the Graduate School. For additional details see the current Graduate Assistants United (GAU) contract.

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12.20 Fellowships

12.21. Fellowships are awarded to graduate students in recognition of achievement and promise as scholars. They are intended to enable students to pursue graduate study and research full time without rendering services to the University. All University of Rhode Island Graduate School fellowships are administered by the Dean or the Associate Dean of the Graduate School. Fellows are selected from lists of nominees submitted by department Chairs.

Fellowship stipends are considered as grants or gifts rather than as compensation. Fellowship recipients are advised to check with the Internal Revenue Service for definitive information on the taxability of their grants. Fellows are required to devote their energies full time to their studies and may not engage in remunerative employment during the time of the fellowship except with the consent of the Dean of the Graduate School or the Dean of the College, as appropriate, and the sponsor of the fellowship. Stipends vary with the nature and tenure of each fellowship. In most instances, fellows have tuition and fees paid by the University.

12.22. Industrial, Endowed, and Special Fellowships. Various industrial firms, foundations, and private individuals donate funds to support graduate fellowships. Stipends and supplemental allowances of fellowships are not uniform. They are restricted to students in particular areas of study and research. Applicants for such fellowships are selected by the department concerned, subject to approval by the dean of the appropriate college or Graduate School. In addition to the basic stipend, such fellowships may provide full remission of tuition, fees, and allowances for dependency and educational costs.

12.23. University of Rhode Island Graduate Fellowships. A limited number of University of Rhode Island Graduate Fellowships are awarded each year. University of Rhode Island Fellows receive a stipend for the academic year and have tuition and a percentage of fees paid from University sources for the academic year. The University of Rhode Island Graduate Fellowship program is designed to give preference to promising students in doctoral programs at the University. Fellows are selected by the Graduate School Committee on Fellowships and Scholarships from lists of nominees submitted by department Chairs.

12.24. University of Rhode Island Foundation Minority Fellowships are competitively available to students who are members of minority groups that are currently underrepresented in higher education. Nominations are made by departments to the Dean of the Graduate School.

12.25. University of Rhode Island Diversity Graduate Fellowships are awarded by the Dean of the Graduate School to students from minority and underrepresented groups.

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12.30 Assistantships

12.31. Assistantships are awarded to students in degree programs for services rendered to a department or to a particular research project. Assistants are required to work up to 20 hours per week.

12.32. Graduate Assistantships (see University Manual 7.80.10-7.83.11)

12.32.1. Departmental Graduate Assistantships are available in limited numbers to graduate students enrolled in departments offering graduate work. Their duties consist of assisting, under supervision, with instructional and/or research activity of a department. The student may be required to devote a maximum of 20 hours a week to departmental work, not more than ten hours of which may be in classroom contact hours.

12.32.2. Graduate Assistant stipends are set through negotiations between the University and the Graduate Assistants United union, and approved by the State of Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education. Stipend levels depend upon the experience and academic qualifications of the student (see current GAU contract). Stipends and tuition remissions for students on partial assistantships will be prorated for the period of the appointment. The student will be responsible for the remainder of tuition. Normally appointments to assistantships are for one academic year. Renewals may be recommended by the department.

12.32.3. To be nominated for a departmental assistantship, a student must first be admitted to the Graduate School. Requests for appointment as Graduate Assistant are initiated by the department Chair and are forwarded to the Dean of the College and then to the Dean of the Graduate School, who certifies that the student has been formally admitted to a graduate program.

12.32.4. Only graduate students who are admitted into a degree program and who remain in good academic standing are permitted to hold Graduate Assistantships. Students on provisional status may be denied appointment as graduate assistants.

12.33 Graduate Research Assistantships

12.33.1. Graduate Research Assistantships are awarded to graduate students who may be assigned to individual research projects sponsored either by the University or by outside sources. Like the Graduate Assistant, the Graduate Research Assistant is expected to devote a maximum of 20 hours per week to research duties. On supported research contracts and grants individuals are judged to be employed on a half-time basis (40 hour work week). Remuneration is normally equivalent to the stipend for a Graduate Assistant along with remission of tuition, health insurance, and a portion of University fees (see current GAU contract). Additional remuneration for the summer is usually computed on the basis of the rate for the academic year adjusted for 40 hours per week for a maximum of 16 weeks.

12.33.2. Requests for appointment as Graduate Research Assistants are initiated by the Principal Investigator of the grant involved and are forwarded to the Department Chair. The request forms are then forwarded to the Academic Dean and then to the Dean of the Graduate School, who certifies that the student has been admitted into a degree program and has remained in good academic standing. Upon appointment, the Graduate Research Assistant will be notified by the department or program.

12.33.3. Graduate Research Assistants employed on research grants on a full time basis during the summer months may be registered for and receive academic research credit during periods of such employment under the following conditions:

  1. The student must be accepted to the Graduate School in a degree program (see last paragraph under "Graduate Assistants" above) and be in good standing at the time of their appointment,

  2. Students may take no more than 14 research credit hours per summer,

  3. Graduate Research Assistants employed full-time during the summer months may register for coursework and receive credit only if satisfactory arrangements are made with their supervisor for meeting their work commitments.

12.34. Conditions of Appointment to Assistantships

12.34.1. All assistantship holders must register for 6-12 credits of coursework per semester and will be billed as full-time students. Although the tuition, health insurance, and a portion of University fees will be paid for students on a full assistantship (20 hr/week for the semester), these benefits will be prorated for those students who are appointed to a partial assistantship (period of appointment or hours of appointment). These benefits will also be prorated for students who resign, or are terminated from an assistantship prior to the appointment end date. These students will be responsible for the remainder of the full-time tuition and fees. Students on assistantships are not eligible for additional academic year employment without permission of the Dean of the Graduate School (see current GAU contract). Such permission must be obtained prior to beginning the additional employment.

12.34.2. A written list of duties normally assigned graduate assistants shall be prepared by the Department or other unit and provided to each prospective graduate assistant (as defined in Sec. 7.11.12 of the University Manual) and graduate research assistant (Sec. 7.11.13) with the initial offer of the assistantship.

12.34.3. Each department or other unit shall draft guidelines on how its graduate assistantships are apportioned and assigned, which will be made available to graduate students with the initial and each subsequent offer and upon request. Currently enrolled graduate assistants should be notified of their status for re-appointment about April 1 of each year.

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12.40 Tuition Scholarships

12.41. A limited number of tuition scholarships are awarded by the Dean of the Graduate School to qualified students demonstrating need of financial assistance. Awardees have tuition and a percentage of fees paid from University sources for the academic year. Selections are made by the Graduate School Committee on Fellowships and Scholarships from ranked lists of nominees submitted by department Chairs.

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12.50 Financial Aid

12.51.Enrollment Services distributes money from various sources to help students with financial need. Need is defined as the difference between what it costs to attend URI and what the student and family can contribute from their financial resources including all other sources of assistance. The student is expected to earn a portion of these resources. Only citizens, nationals or permanent residents who have been accepted and are enrolled as URI graduate students are eligible. Special students and students attending only during the summer sessions are ineligible. The FAFSA Form should be submitted on-line at: www.FAFSA.ed.gov after January 1, but prior to March 1. For further information or copies of the forms, contact Enrollment Services (401) 874-9500. Programs of interest to graduate students include loans (12.52) and part-time employment (12.53).

12.52. Loans.

12.52.1. Federal Perkins Loan. Graduate students may borrow up to $30,000 including undergraduate loans. These loans have a simple interest rate of 5% annually. Interest does not accrue until six months after graduation or withdrawal. Minimum payments of $30.00 per month are required and the repayment period may extend up to ten years. These loans are made to Graduate Students on a limited basis only.

12.52.2: William D. Ford Direct Loans. All students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid can participate in this Loan Program. Those students who meet the financial need criteria may receive in whole or in part a subsidized loan where the federal government pays all interest until six months after graduation, withdrawal, or a drop in enrollment status to less than half time. Unsubsidized loans are available for those students who do not qualify for the need-based subsidized loan. The same terms and conditions as for subsidized Stafford loans apply, except that the borrower is responsible for the interest that accrues while in school. Eligible graduate students may borrow up to $18,500 a year. The maximum total Federal Stafford Loan debt for graduate or professional study is $65,000 including undergraduate loans. For new borrowers who receive loans, the interest rate is variable, with a nine percent maximum rate.

12.52.3: University Loans. Emergency loans of from $40 to $200 are available to full-time students. These loans are short-term in nature (14-90 days), and can be made only when there are means of repayment. Application forms are available at the Student Financial Aid Office.

12.53. Part-time Employment.

12.53.1: Federal Work Study Program (FWSP). This federally supported program provides part-time employment during the school term and full-time employment during the vacation periods. The jobs may be either with University departments, or with off-campus, non-profit, non- sectarian, non-political agencies. Other institutionally funded employment is also available. A list of these jobs is available in the Student Financial Aid Office. (Limited funding could curtail the summer employment program.)

12.53.2: Regular Student Employment (IPR). Jobs funded by the University are available to several hundred students. Jobs are listed in the Student Financial Aid Office.

12.54. Other Sources of Aid.

12.54.1: There are many additional sources of financial aid available to students who qualify: scholarships from private organizations, clubs, labor unions, fraternities, sororities and businesses; Vocational Rehabilitation financial support; Veterans Administration benefits, including survivor benefits; and Social Security benefits. Students should apply directly to the source if they believe they qualify. Graduate students have access to a national computerized database of fellowship and other financial assistance opportunities available to students pursuing advanced degrees, completing dissertation research, and seeking post-doctoral positions.

12.55. Policy on Satisfactory Academic Progress for Graduate Students Receiving Federal Financial Aid.

12.55.1: The Education Amendments of 1980, P.L. 96-374, October 3,1980, state that "a student is eligible to receive funds from federal student financial aid programs at an institution of higher education if the student is maintaining satisfactory progress in the course of study he or she is pursuing according to the standards and practices of that institution."

To maintain satisfactory progress as a graduate student at The University of Rhode Island for federal financial aid purposes, the student must be enrolled in a degree-granting program on at least a half-time basis (i.e. five credits) for each semester aid is received. The courses must be graduate-level and applicable to the student's approved Program of Study. Master's degree students have ten semesters to complete degree requirements on a full- or part-time basis. Students who are not in residence during the academic year terms and who have received special permission from the Dean of the Graduate School have 14 summer session terms in which to complete requirements. Two summer terms totaling at least five credits will be considered one part-time semester; two summer terms totaling nine credits will be considered one full-time semester. Doctoral students have 14 semesters in which to complete their degrees, regardless of whether they matriculate with an earned Master's degree.

Master's and doctoral students who have completed all course requirements including thesis research shall be considered to be making satisfactory progress at least at the half-time rate if they are registered for at least one thesis credit. All students are required to be enrolled for consecutive semesters until graduation unless an official Leave of Absence has been approved. If students do not utilize the Leave of Absence option and fail to register, they are considered to have voluntarily withdrawn.

All graduate students holding a Graduate Assistantship or Graduate Research Assistantship are considered to be full-time students. Such students are required to register for at least six credits whether they hold a full or partial assistantship for a given term.

Satisfactory progress standards will conform to The University's academic standards, as delineated in the Graduate School Manual. Students who are placed on academic probation will be notified of the possibility of their loss of federal financial aid eligibility. Students on academic probation who do not meet the conditions of continued matriculation within the specified time limits, and students who are dismissed, or suspended, will be ineligible to receive federal financial aid. Criteria for probation and dismissal appear in the Graduate School Manual.

Satisfactory progress will be monitored and measured each semester according to implementation procedures on file in the student financial aid division of the Office of Enrollment Services. Failure to maintain satisfactory progress for two consecutive semesters will result in the loss of federal financial aid eligibility until the student is determined by a financial aid officer to be, once again, making satisfactory progress.

If there are unusual circumstances which result in the student's inability to make satisfactory progress, the student should write a letter of appeal documenting the unusual circumstance(s) and submit the letter to the financial aid division of the Office of Enrollment Services.

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12.60 Veteran's Benefits

12.61. Information concerning Veteran's Benefits and counseling is provided by the Office of Enrollment Services. All certification forms are administered through that office. For more information, please see the University Enrollment Services Veteran's Information web site (http://www.uri.edu/es/acadinfo/acadyear/veterans.html).

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12.70 New England Regional Student Program

12.71. Under the provisions of the New England Regional Student Program for graduate students, a regional student tuition rate (150% of the Rhode Island resident rate as of 1 July 2010, but check to determine current percentage) is charged to residents of another New England state who are matriculated graduate students in certain plans. The specific plan must be one, which is not available at the student's home-state university. Normally, these plans are listed in the New England Regional Student Program graduate level booklet. In cases where an apparently similar program of study is available at both institutions involved, a resident of another New England state must obtain certification from the Dean of the Graduate School of her/his home-state university that the program of study is not available there. This certification will normally take the form of a statement by the chairperson of the relevant department endorsed by the graduate dean. Request for classification as a regional student should be directed to the Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Rhode Island.

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12.80 Tuition Waiver at the Public Institutions of Higher Education

12.81. Any Rhode Island senior citizen who submits evidence of being 60 years of age, and over, and of having a household income of less than three times the federal poverty level, will be allowed to take courses at any public institution of higher education in the state with the tuition waived. However, students who qualify for waivers must apply for financial aid. Any aid received must be applied towards the amount waived. Admission into particular courses will be granted on a space-available basis and at the discretion of the receiving institution. All other costs of attendance are paid by the student.

12.82. Any individual who submits evidence of currently receiving unemployment benefits from the state of Rhode Island, of having a household income of less than three times the federal poverty level and of not being claimed as a dependent by a parent (or someone else) will be allowed to pursue course work at any public institution of higher education in Rhode Island with tuition and the registration fee waived. However, students who qualify for waivers must apply for financial aid. Any aid received must be applied towards the amount waived. Individual students will be responsible for all other costs of attendance. Admission into particular courses will be granted on a space-available basis and at the discretion of the particular institution. This waiver also applies to any Rhode Island resident who submits evidence of residency and of currently receiving unemployment benefits in another state.

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