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  Oct 24, 2020
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Financial Aid

To assist students and parents in meeting the costs of an education at Russell Sage College, the Office of Financial Aid Services offers a variety of scholarship, grant, loan, and employment programs. See for more information: Funds from these programs are sponsored by federal, state, and private sources. Additionally, a commitment of more than $10 million from Russell Sage College is provided to assist students. Most types of assistance are based on financial need, which is the difference between the cost of education and the estimated contribution of the student and family (Estimated Family Contribution or EFC). The EFC is determined through a measurement of family resources that is consistent for all applicants and is a reflection of the first principle of college financial aid: The student and family have the primary responsibility for meeting college expenses.

In addition to aid awarded on the basis of need, Russell Sage College sponsors a number of scholarship programs that recognize academic achievement, talent, and other individual characteristics of the student. Private organizations, societies, and agencies also make available grants and other awards for individuals who meet their eligibility criteria. Secondary school guidance offices, public libraries, and websites are the best sources of information regarding private scholarship opportunities.


Those seeking consideration for aid must be enrolled as degree- or certificate-seeking students on at least a half-time basis (six credit hours per semester for undergraduates) to qualify for most financial aid programs. Most grants and scholarships provided directly by Russell Sage College require full-time attendance. United States citizenship or permanent resident status is an eligibility requirement for all programs. It should also be noted that federal and state legislation frequently modifies requirements and eligibility standards for financial aid.

Application Procedures

Because financial aid is awarded on an annual basis, these application procedures must be followed each year. While admission is not required to initiate an application for financial aid, new students will not receive confirmation of their status until the Office of Financial Aid is notified that the admission process is complete.

  • The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) should be completed as soon as possible after January 1, but no later than March 1, preceding the academic year for which assistance is requested. Students are requested to file the FAFSA online at Electronic filing is an accurate and fast means of filing for financial aid. When filing electronically, New York State residents may file for TAP at the same time (see below).
  • New York State residents should also complete the application for the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP). The New York State Higher Education Services Corporation will mail this form to your home if you opt not to file electronically.
  • Applicants and their parent(s) (when the applicant is dependent), selected through the FAFSA process for verification, must submit all pages of completed tax forms upon request by the Office of Financial Aid Services. A verification worksheet must also be submitted. Failure to complete the verification process prior to the start of the academic year may result in the loss of institutional grants.
  • Early action applicants for Russell Sage College can request appropriate aid forms from the Office of Admission in December of their senior year to obtain an early estimate of their financial aid packages. Requests should be coordinated through the Office of Admission.

Conditions of Financial Aid Awards

Terms and Conditions

  • All aid is awarded on an annual basis. Aid amounts are credited to student’s account for each semester’s charges based upon enrollment.
  • Refunds of any excess credit will be made approximately halfway through each term through the Office of Student Services. Refunds are generated when the student account reflects a credit balance resulting from direct payments and/or the posting of financial aid.
  • Earnings from student employment are paid bi-weekly directly to the student. As such, this award may not be deducted from student account balance due amounts.
  • Since aid is awarded on the basis of annual financial information from students, and college costs change each year, the makeup of financial aid awards may vary depending on changing circumstances.
  • Outside sources of assistance, such as private scholarships and Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) must be reported to the Office of Financial Aid Services. It is possible that financial aid already awarded could be modified as a result.
  • All awards of federal and state aid are tentative, pending approval and receipt of funds from the source.
  • College costs on which financial aid eligibility is calculated include direct expenses (such as tuition, fees, and room and board for resident students), and indirect expenses (such as books, supplies, personal and incidental expenses, and transportation and home maintenance for commuting students).
  • Returning students are expected to file the FAFSA by April 1 preceding the academic year for which assistance is requested. Students filing after April 1 may not be eligible for institutional grants previously awarded.
  • Students receiving institutional academic scholarships are required remain in good academic standing and at full-time status to continue receiving these monies.
Undergraduate Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

Federal regulations (Section 667.16(e), 668.32(f), and 668.34) require that schools monitor the academic progress of each applicant for federal financial assistance and that the school certify that the applicant is making satisfactory academic progress toward earning their degree. This determination of progress must be made at least once a year and before the financial aid office disburses any federal aid funds for the subsequent semester.

Students who are aware of learning or other disabilities should immediately contact the Office of Disability Services so that appropriate accommodations can be made. A student with a documented disability and functional limitations is still held to the same academic expectations as other students. If the student is registered with the Office of Disability Services and is receiving appropriate accommodations, the student should be able to maintain satisfactory academic progress for financial aid eligibility purposes.

Pursuant to federal regulations, the following constitutes Russell Sage College policy on satisfactory academic progress for undergraduate students.

Maximum hours to earn degree: To quantify academic progress, a school must set a maximum time frame in which a student is expected to complete a program.  For an undergraduate program, the maximum time frame cannot exceed 150% of the published length of the program measured in credit hours attempted. The majority of undergraduate programs require 120 hours for graduation. The maximum time frame for students in these programs is 180 attempted hours (120 x 1.5=180). Students whose programs require more than 120 hours for a degree will have a higher limit.

  • As expressed in years: Students are normally expected to complete an undergraduate degree by the end of 4 years of full-time study.  Therefore, students will forfeit their eligibility to participate in federal financial aid programs after 6 years of full-time enrollment (4 x 1.5 = 6).
  • Withdrawals: Grades of W are counted as courses attempted and count toward the maximum time frame.
  • Audited Courses: Students do not earn any academic credits for audited courses. They do not count in the calculation of “attempted hours.”
  • Pass/Fail Courses: These hours do count within the total attempted and earned hours.
  • Transfer Credits: Transfer credits accepted for the student’s academic program or degree are counted when measuring the maximum time frame to complete the degree or program. Russell Sage College does not accept for credit any transfer grades lower than C-.
  • Repeat Policy: Federal and institutional aid students can repeat a course once. The most recent attempt will count towards GPA as well as in the calculation for attempted and completed credits.
  • Double Major and/or Minors: Students who receive permission from their Dean to pursue a double major/minor will normally be expected to complete all degree requirements before reaching 180 attempted hours.
  • Change in Major: Students who change their major will normally be expected to complete all degree requirements before reaching 180 attempted hours.
  • Second Bachelor’s Degree: A student who has already been awarded a bachelor’s degree may apply for a second degree only if the second degree is different from the first degree. Ordinarily, a second degree at the undergraduate level is discouraged, and a graduate degree is encouraged.
    • Students working toward a second bachelor’s degree are no longer eligible for Federal Pell Grants and Federal SEOG grants.
    • Undergraduate students are limited in how much they can borrow under the Federal Stafford Loan Program and the Federal Perkins Loan Program. These limits are not increased for students working on a second bachelor’s degree.
Satisfactory Progress (SAP) Definition

Students have a limited amount of time to complete their undergraduate degree requirements. To earn the basic undergraduate degree, students must successfully complete 120 credit hours. Undergraduate full-time status equals 12 or more credits per semester. However, to graduate in 4 years, a student must complete 30 credits each academic year. Federal or institutional aid recipients enrolled less than full-time are required to meet these standards on a basis proportional to their enrollment status.

For transfer students, satisfactory academic progress will be measured by equating transfer credits accepted by Russell Sage College to the number of cumulative credits earned, as indicated on the chart below. All transfer credits accepted by Russell Sage College will be considered attempted and completed credits for purposes of determining Satisfactory Academic Progress.

For a student to be considered as progressing normally and maintain eligibility for federal and institutional financial aid, students must achieve specific quality (grade averages) and quantity (credits earned) standards. Below are outlines of academic standards which must be met to comply with federal and institutional requirements. Academic progress is monitored by the Office of Financial Aid through established institutional guidelines.

Qualitative Standards: Grade Point Averages

In accordance with federal regulations, by the second calendar year of enrollment in a post-secondary educational program, the student must have at least a 2.000 cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) to be considered making satisfactory progress for continued participation in federal and institutional aid programs. Students who do not meet this test will be ineligible to participate in federal and institutional financial aid programs until this deficiency is corrected.

Cumulative GPA and Pace completion requirements to remain in good academic standing are as follows:

Attempted Credits Grade Point Average (minimum)
Pace % (minumum)
0-24 credits 1.500 67.000
24.5-47.5 credits 1.750 67.000
48+ credits 2.000 67.000
Quantitative Standards: Credits Earned (Pace of Completion)

Russell Sage College recommends students earn at least 30 credit hours per academic year in order to graduate in four years.

To remain eligible for financial aid, all students must successfully complete (earn) a minimum of 67.000% of the total cumulative hours attempted.  Attempted hours include all credits attempted at Russell Sage College as well as those credits that were accepted as transfer credits. Pace of completion is determined by dividing the total number of credit hours earned (successfully completed) by the total number of credit hours attempted.

In order for students to monitor their academic progress, both the cumulative GPA and the Pace of Completion can be found on the student’s Program Evaluation nd My Progress (under Show Program Notes).

All F Grades or Zero GPA

Students receiving all F grades or having a zero GPA in one semester will have their status automatically moved to Unsatisfactory Academic Progress (USAP) and will not be eligible for federal or institutional financial aid regardless of meeting all other SAP requirements. Until the student is making satisfactory academic progress, they are responsible for all charges due to the College.

During the semester that the student received all F grades or a combination of F’s and Incompletes (I) the student will be asked to verify their attendance. Failure to verify attendance will be considered an “unofficial” withdrawal and aid for that semester is subject to the Return to Title IV (R2T4) Federal Calculation of repayment. This calculation could result in the student having an outstanding balance with the college due to returned funds to the Department of Education. 

Grade Changes

Students who are receiving aid on a conditional or probationary basis must resolve all incomplete grades before the Office of Financial Aid can make a final determination that they meet the satisfactory academic progress guidelines. Students must report any grade changes that impact their aid directly to the Office of Financial Aid.


Financial Aid Warning: There is a minimal amount of time between when final fall grades must be posted and the start of spring semester, and even less time between the posting of final summer grades and the start of the fall semester. Students incur a financial liability to Russell Sage College as soon as a semester begins. Therefore, under most circumstances, we believe it would be unfair to retroactively remove a student’s aid once the semester begins If this is the first documented occurrence of a student’s academic difficulty. These students will receive a “financial aid warning” letter which will remind them of the minimum academic requirements for their aid programs and strongly urge them to take advantage of the academic services that are available to students. Students will be eligible to receive financial aid during this semester. These students will be notified that their records will be checked again at the end of the semester and that further action may be taken if there is not significant improvement during the current semester. Students can only receive aid for one semester under this “warning” status.

Each aid recipient’s record will be evaluated at the end of the spring semester to determine that the student is meeting the standards described above. If the student has reached the maximum number of scheduled hours without earning the degree, the student must be excluded from further participation in federal financial aid programs.

Federal regulations require that these standards apply to all students, even first-time applicants who have previously enrolled at Russell Sage College, or to those who have not been formally placed on probation.

Financial Aid Probation: If the student has not reached the maximum number of scheduled hours and it is determined that the student has fallen below the completion ratio standards for satisfactory progress, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation and notified that his/her continued eligibility for federal financial aid assistance is in jeopardy. Students who fail to maintain the required minimum GPA will also be placed on financial aid probation. Students will normally be allowed only one probationary period during their academic program.

Students on financial aid probation will receive a separate letter that will outline the academic requirements the student must meet in order to receive aid for the following semester. If the student on financial aid probation meet the terms of the probation, they will be permitted to continue to participate in the federal student aid programs for a subsequent semester. Students who have been placed on probation shall be considered to be making satisfactory academic progress for the purposes of receiving financial aid as long as the student continues to meet the academic requirements outlined in their probationary letter.

The Office of Financial Aid will review the records of students who are on financial aid probation at the end of each academic year. If the student does not meet the terms of the probation, the student will forfeit eligibility for all federal and institutional financial aid programs.

Loss of Eligibility due to Lack of Satisfactory Progress

A student who has lost eligibility to participate in federal and institutional aid programs for reasons of academic progress can regain that eligibility only by enrolling at Russell Sage College at their own expense and demonstrating that they are capable of completing a semester with any failures, incompletes, or withdrawals and showing the ability to complete their degree requirements in a more regular fashion. The mere passage of time will restore eligibility to a student who has lost eligibility for failure to make satisfactory progress.

Students who have been academically excluded from Russell Sage College but are subsequently given permission to re-enroll are not automatically eligible to continue to participate in federal, state, or institutional programs. Admissions decisions are totally separate from funding decisions.

Right to Appeal

Students have the right to appeal any decision of ineligibility to continue to receive financial assistance. Appeals must be filed within 30 days of notification that aid eligibility has been lost. An appeal must be typed and sent to the Director of Financial Aid, Office of Student Services, 65 First Street, Troy, NY 12180. The appeal may not be based upon a need for assistance or lack of knowledge that assistance was in jeopardy. An appeal would normally be based upon some unusual situation or condition which prevented the student from passing more courses, or which necessitated that the student withdraw from classes. Examples of possible situations include documented serious illness, severe injury, or death of a family member. See for appeal guidelines.

If students do not have grounds for an appeal, or if an appeal is denied, students may still be able to regain eligibility for future semesters. This is done by enrolling at Russell Sage College at the student’s own expense - without financial assistance - and meeting Russell Sage College satisfactory academic progress guidelines.

Appeal Approval Conditions

Appeals can only be approved if the Financial Aid Appeals Committee determines:

  • that the student will be able to meet Russell Sage College’s satisfactory academic progress after the next payment period; and,
  • there is a letter of support from the student’s academic advisor.

If an appeal is granted, the student will receive aid on a conditional basis for one semester. The conditions will be outlined in the letter sent to the student granting the appeal. The Financial Aid Appeals Committee will review the student’s record at the end of the semester to determine their status for the following semester. Students who fail to meet the conditions outlined by the committee during their conditional semester will not be allowed to submit a subsequent appeal. During the time the student is placed on probation, he/she must successfully complete the semester without any failures, incompletes, or withdrawals.

Satisfactory Academic Progress for New York State Aid

To be eligible, and remain eligible, for the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), students must:

  • be a full-time (12 credits or more required credits per semester) and matriculated student at each level of study, and
  • maintain good academic standing by meeting program pursuit and satisfactory academic progress requirements as detailed below.

Program Pursuit is defined as:

  • completion of at least 6 credits during each term of study in the first year for which an award is received; or
  • completion of at least 9 credits during each term of study in the second year for which an award is received; or
  • completion of at least 12 credits during each subsequent term for which an award is received.

 This chart is for students who received aid in 2007-08 through and including 2009-10 and HEOP students first receiving aid in 2007-08 and thereafter:

Before being certified for this payment A student must have accrued at least this many credits With at least this grade point average
First 0 0.000
Second 3 1.100
Third 9 1.200
Fourth 21 1.300
Fifth 33 2.000
Sixth 45 2.000
Seventh 60 2.000
Eighth 75 2.000
Ninth 90 2.000
Tenth 105 2.000

This chart is for non-HEOP students first receiving aid in 2010-11 and thereafter:

Before being certified for this payment A student must have accrued at least this many credits With at least this grade point average
First 0 0.000
Second 6 1.500
Third 15 1.800
Fourth 27 1.800
Fifth 39 2.000
Sixth 57 2.000
Seventh 66 2.000
Eighth 81 2.000
Ninth 96 2.000
Tenth 111 2.000

New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (NYHESC)
NYHESC administers programs of assistance for children of deceased or disabled veterans, and of deceased corrections officers and fire fighters. Direct grants are available to Vietnam-era veterans. New York State also provides grants and scholarships to students who concentrate in specific fields of study, including education, nursing, physical therapy and occupational therapy. Information may be obtained on the HESC website at

Summer Accelerated Study
At Russell Sage College, enrollment for the summer term is always considered accelerated study. In addition to meeting general TAP eligibility criteria, students qualify for accelerated study awards only upon earning 24 credits applicable to their degree program in the prior two semesters at Russell Sage College. Transfer credits cannot be used to meet the accelerated study requirement. The required 24 credits can be earned in any combination (e.g. 6 in the fall and 18 in the spring).

For the purpose of determining eligibility for a state award for the accelerated study at Russell Sage College, an earned credit is a credit for which the student has taken at Russell Sage College, received a passing grade and which is applicable to the student’s degree program.

Requirement for accelerated study apply to all full-time study scholarships that do not allow for part-time study. Veteran’s Tuition Awards and Part-Time TAP Awards for student with disabilities are not affected by the accelerated study requirement.

There is no waiver provision available for students who do not meet the accelerated study earned credits requirement.

Loss of Good Academic Standing
Students who lose good academic standing in a term when they received a state grant or scholarship are not eligible for an award for the next term.

Reinstatement of Good Academic Standing
Students who have lost good academic standing may restore this standing in one of the following ways: make up past academic deficiencies by completing one or more terms of study without receiving any state grants or scholarships; be readmitted to school after an absence of at least once year; transfer to another school, or be granted a waiver.

One-Time Waiver
New York State Commissioner of Education regulations permit students to receive a one-time waiver of the good academic standing requirement. The waiver is not automatic, and may only be granted in extraordinary or unusual circumstances which are beyond the control of the student. There must be a reasonable expectation that the student will meet future requirements. To request a one-time waiver, students must submit a completed one-time waiver application along with supporting statements and documentation. One-time waiver applications are available in the Financial Aid office. If granted, the waiver becomes part of the student’s financial aid record and the student is expected to meet good academic standing requirements thereafter.

Please note that applying for a one-time TAP waiver is not a guarantee that you will be approved. In addition, the decision made by the appeals committee is final and not subject to appeal. However, in the event that a request is denied, the student may submit additional documentation for review if they feel it is pertinent to the original TAP waiver request.

C Average Requirement
Students who have received the equivalent of two or more full years of state-funded financial aid must have and maintain a cumulative GPA of C (2.000 on a 4.000 grading scale) or better to be eligible for continued state-funded assistance. Cumulative GPA for readmitted students who have previously attended Russell Sage College is based on prior grades at Russell Sage College. Students who are denied an award for failing to achieve a cumulative GPA of C can regain award eligibility by completing appropriate coursework, without state support, to achieve a cumulative GPA of C. Students cannot regain eligibility by remaining out of school for a period of time.

Waiver of the C Average Requirement
The C average requirement may be waived for undue hardship based on the death of a student’s immediate family member; or the student’s personal illness or injury; or other extenuating circumstances. To request a C average waiver, students must submit a completed waiver application along with the appropriate supporting documentation. C average waiver applications are available in the Financial aid office. If granted, the waiver becomes part of the student’s financial aid record and the student is expected to meet good academic standing requirements thereafter.

Repeated Courses
Courses in which the student has already received a passing grade cannot be included in meeting full-time study requirements for state-sponsored financial aid.

Repeated courses may be counted toward full-time study requirements if a student repeats a failed course, if a student repeats the course for additional credit, or when a student has received a grade that is passing at the institution but is unacceptable in a particular curriculum.

Major Sources of Financial Aid

Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan

Students must complete the FAFSA application and demonstrate financial need according to the federal formulas in order to be eligible for subsidized direct loans. These loans are processed through the Department of Education. Under this program, the federal government will pay the interest on the loan as long as the borrower is enrolled (matriculated) at least half-time in a degree-seeking program and for six months thereafter. Students must also maintain satisfactory academic progress towards completing their degree requirements.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

Eligibility for the Unsubsidized Direct Loan is not based on a family’s demonstrated need. These loans are processed through the Department of Education. The government does not pay the interest on behalf of the borrowers under the Unsubsidized Direct Loan Program. Students are charged interest on this loan from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. The student borrower has the option to pay the interest while in school, or to allow the interest to accumulate, which adds to the principal amount of the loan and increases the amount to be repaid.

Federal Direct Stafford Loan Limits

The federal government sets limits on the amount of money a student can borrow. Russell Sage College awards students that have filed the FAFSA the maximum amount eligible under such limits. The annual limit applies to the most a sutdent can borrow in one academic year, while the aggregate limit applies to the maximum a student can borrow in a lifetime.

Federal Direct Stafford Loan Interest and Fees

See the website for interest rate and fees for 2020-2019:

Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)

The Federal Direct PLUS loan enables parents with good credit histories to borrow funds to pay the educational expenses of each dependent undergraduate child enrolled at least half time. The annual limit of a Direct PLUS is equal to the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid. 

Parent borrowers can choose to defer payments on a Federal Direct PLUS loan until six months after the date the student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time. Accruing interest could either be paid by the parent borrower monthly or quarterly, or be capitalized quarterly. Payments on interest can be tax deductible with no penalties for early payoffs. For more information:

Pell Grants
The maximum amount can change each award year and depends on program funding. The amount you get will depend not only on your financial need, but also on your costs to attend school, your status as a full-time or part-time student, and your plans to attend school for a full academic year or less.

Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG) 
Up to $1,500 annually for undergraduate study.  These grants are available to students with high financial need.

Federal Work Study 
Student employment funded by Sage and the government. The jobs are in a variety of areas, primarily on campus (examples are the libraries, campus centers, food services, offices and departments), are usually limited to 7-10 hours per week, and generally pay at the prevailing federal minimum wage or slightly above.

Perkins Loans 
The Perkins Loan is awarded to undergraduate students with exceptional financial need.  his is a campus-based loan program, with the school acting as the lender using a limited pool of funds provided by the federal government. It is a subsidized loan, with the interest being paid by the federal government during the in-school and 9-month grace periods. There are no origination or default fees and the interest rate is 5% with a 10-year repayment period.

Veterans’ Administration Benefits 
The Post 9/11 GI Bill provides eligible veterans serving after 9/11/01 with assitance for up to 100% of tuition and fees, plus benefits for books, supplies and housing. Plus, there are other Veterans Administration programs to assist veterans with their college goals. Details can be secured from Russell Sage College’s Office of Financial Aid or by contacting the Veterans Administration.


When reasonable efforts through other channels have not resolved a dispute or problem regarding federal education loans, students can contact the Student Financial Assistance Ombudsman. The U.S. Department of Education’s Ombudsman Office can propose solutions that may help students and other parties come to a final agreement, although an ombudsman can’t reverse a decision or take sides. Contact the ombudsman at:

Office of Ombudsman
Student Financial Assistance
Room 3012, ROB #3
7th & D Streets, SW Washington, D.C. 20202