Forms and Policies


The following forms and/or links will help you in the Financial Aid process:

2024/2025 Forms

The PDF files listed may require the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader to be downloaded and installed.

Additional Resources

How does Roger Williams University's Financial Aid Office choose preferred lenders?

The Preferred Lender list is reviewed on an annual basis in the fall prior to Financial Aid Award Letters being sent to students for the next academic year. The Financial Aid staff (FAS) meets with and reviews information from a broad range of lenders located in and outside the New England area. Once the FAS has met and retrieved information from the lenders Roger Williams University FAS compares lenders based on the following two criteria:

  1. Service to borrowers
  2. Borrower Benefits

As a result FAS picks the top four lenders that have the best customer service and benefits for our borrowers. Roger Williams University has a list of four preferred lenders to help assist our students and parents in their search of the best lender for their circumstances. RWU does not receive any payment or benefits from the lenders on our preferred lender list. Our Preferred Lender List is a suggestion only and we will work with any lender at our students’ or parents’ request.


General Policies

Financial aid is distributed in equal installments each term. Exemptions are campus work-study where the student is paid bi-weekly.  Also any outside scholarships are credited to the students billing statement upon receipt.  In order for us to assess your financial need in a fair and uniform manner, all applicants (freshman and transfer) must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after October 1 each year, but no later than February 1.  

Degree-Applicable Course Policy

Definition of Degree-Applicable Courses:
Degree-Applicable courses are defined as college-level courses that apply to a student’s degree-seeking program or certificate. If a student enrolls in courses that do not apply to a student’s degree or certificate, those courses cannot be counted as part of their enrollment status and therefore, their aid will be prorated to cover only the courses that apply. Students will need to pay out of pocket for the courses that do not apply for their certificate or degree-seeking program.

The Department of Education Financial Aid regulations affirm that federal Title IV and state financial aid cannot be awarded for courses that do not count toward a student’s academic program (degree-applicable courses). 34 CFR 668.2(b) states “If a student is enrolled in courses that do not count toward his degree, certificate, or other recognized credential, they cannot be used to determine enrollment status unless they are eligible remedial courses. This means you cannot award the student aid for classes that do not count toward his degree, certificate, or other recognized credential”. This policy applies to every student receiving Federal and State Aid.

Preparatory Coursework:
A student is eligible to receive Direct Loans for preparatory coursework as long as the student satisfies coursework before being admitted as a regular student. Eligibility is limited to 12 months.

Remedial Coursework:
34 CFR 668.20 states that “If the student is admitted and takes remedial coursework within that program, he can be considered a regular student, even if he is taking all remedial courses before taking any regular courses for a limit of 30 semester hours up to one academic year” and therefore be eligible for federal and state aid.

What types of Federal and State aid could be affected by taking non-degree courses at RWU?
The types of Federal Aid that could be affected at RWU are the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized and Direct PLUS Loan programs, Perkins Loan, and Federal Work-Study. The types of state grants that could be affected are the Rhode Island Promise, Rhode Island Crusade, and Vermont State Grant.

Are Enrolled Graduate Students Taking Prerequisite Undergraduate Courses Eligible for Title IV Loans?
Student that have been fully admitted as graduate students can take undergraduate courses and be eligible for graduate loan limits as long as these courses are applicable towards the student’s graduate degree and will be enrolled at least half-time.

Retaking Classes:
Retaking Coursework policy at RWU states that, “a course may be repeated for credit if “a grade of C- or less is received on the first attempt. If a student receives as second grade of C- or less in the repeated course, the course may be repeated only once more”.

34 CFR 668.2(b) allows a student, in a term-based program only, to retake one time only per previously passed course. Therefore, if a student had any grade higher than an “F”, he or she may repeat the class one time only and receive federal and state aid for that class. However, a student that repeatedly fails the same course and retakes it will still be eligible for federal and state aid as long as the student maintains minimum rate of progress. 

Prerequisite Classes:
Students are eligible for federal and state aid as long as the prerequisite classes satisfy their certificate or degree requirements.

Dual Major/Degree:
Students will be eligible for federal and state aid as long as they enroll in courses that apply for either degree. However, your ability to receive federal and state aid may be impacted once you have completed the degree requirements for one of your degrees. Students that have completed their requirements for one of the degrees will not be eligible for Pell Grant and SEOG.

Next Steps:
Any students receiving financial aid from federal and state sources should meet with their advisor to ensure that they are following their academic plan. The advisor will review with the student which classes are required for their degree or certificate. Before enrolling in elective classes, please confirm with your advisor if all the electives that you register for are considered degree-applicable courses.

If you intend to take a class that does not apply for your degree or certificate, please stop by the Financial Aid Office to see if your financial aid will be impacted.

Merit Scholarship Policy

As part of our comprehensive financial aid packaging, Roger Williams University offers institutionally supported merit scholarships ranging from $8,000 to the cost of full tuition per year. All students are considered for merit-based scholarships, with no separate application required.

  •  Scholarships are earned based on accomplishments prior to attending RWU and renew based solely on good academic standing.
  • Scholarships are renewable for the student's full four years of study at RWU
  • Student must maintain full time enrollment term (minimum of 12 credits)

Professional Judgement Policy and Procedures

Description: On a case-by-case basis and consistent with federal guidelines, Roger Williams University Financial Aid may consider a student’s special circumstances to either increase or decrease data elements used to calculate the Student Aid Index (SAI), or to add expenses to a student’s budgeted cost of attendance. These adjustments affect only need-based aid. Since the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) does not afford the opportunity to provide details about any special circumstances that could impact a student’s ability to pay costs associated with a program of study. The Financial Aid Office is expected and required to make reasonable decisions that support the intent of the federal guidelines regarding professional judgment. Roger Williams University is held accountable for all professional judgment decisions made, and for fully documenting each decision. The decision of the Financial Aid is both discretionary and final; there is no appeal process to the U.S. Department of Education. This policy sets forth guidelines regarding how professional judgment in financial aid will be exercised at Roger Williams University.

Professional Judgement cannot be exercised to:

  • circumvent the law or regulations;
  • waive general student eligibility requirements;
  • change a student’s status from independent to dependent;
  • adjust the EFC directly;
  • alter the need analysis formula or change table values;
  • create a new category in the cost of attendance.

Special Circumstances

Special circumstances are ones that differentiate the student’s finances from those of other students. The Special Circumstance form, available from the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, includes a more information and documentation requirements. Exercise of professional judgment is neither limited to nor required for the situations mentioned.

Examples of special circumstances:
  • changes to dependency status;
  • one-time laptop purchase
  • unusually high medical or dental expenses not covered by insurance;
  • support of extended family;
  •  changes in a family’s reported income due to: o death or disability of a wage earner;
  •  divorce;
  • unemployment of a family member or anticipated drop in family income;
  • termination of a child-support agreement;
  • student leaves work to attend school full time;
Examples not considered special circumstances:
  • vacation expenses;
  • standard living expenses (e.g., utilities, credit card expenses, children’s allowances, etc.);
  • mortgage payments;
  • car payments;
  • lawn care;
  • credit-card or other personal debt problems;
  • all other discretionary expenses.
Requesting a Professional Judgment Review

If a student or prospective student believes he or she has a situation that would qualify as a special circumstance that may lead to a professional judgment, the student or prospective student should pick complete a special circumstance form, Special Circumstances | Roger Williams University ( The Admissions and Financial aid administrator will review your request a first-come, first-served basis, will issue a decision. The process typically takes 2 weeks. After receiving a professional judgment request, the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid will first examine the request to determine whether the requested adjustment, if granted, will impact a student’s financial aid package before going through the formal professional judgment decision process.

Satisfactory Progress Policy

Roger Williams University is committed to the academic success of all students. It monitors progress toward success via the Academic Good Standing requirements. To remain in Academic Good Standing students must meet both rate of progress and required cumulative grade point requirements. Failure to meet Academic Good Standing requirements will result in sanctions and interventions, including dismissal from the University, in cases of serious or repeated poor academic performance. 

To meet the rate of progress requirement, full-time students must accumulate at least the minimum number of credit hours noted on the scale below. The minimum satisfactory rate of progress would necessitate five years for completing an undergraduate degree. Students who wish to complete their undergraduate degree in four years should plan to complete at least fifteen (15) credits per semester A student that elects to take a reduced program of study (12-14 credit) during the fall and spring semester and are strongly advised to enroll in Winter Intersession or Summer Session courses.

SAP is ran on an annual basis at the end of the spring semester once grades have been determined.

  • Students that are determined of not meeting SAP will be sent a letter notifying them of the appeal process.
  • The letter will give a due date and notification date to students in regards to the institutions reconsideration of the student’s eligibility for Title IV aid.
  • If student fails to make SAP, student—
  • Loses eligibility for Title IV aid
  • If an appeal is approved the student is notified of the conditions that must be met to continue their financial Aid eligibility after each term as outlined in the plan.
  • A student that has failed to make SAP, who has appealed and has been granted an appeal, will be on Financial Aid Probation as stated on their approval letter.
  • If a student does not meet the academic plan any future aid will be canceled.  The student can only regain financial aid eligibility until the student is meeting SAP.

Scale for Satisfactory Academic Standing

      Full-Time                                                               Minimum
Semesters Completed*     Minimum GPA        Credit Hours Completed
End of 1st Semester                            1.70*                                              12
End of 2nd Semester                           1.80                                               24
End of 3rd Semester                            1.90                                               36
End of 4th Semester                            2.00                                               48
End of 5th Semester                            2.00                                               60
End of 6th Semester                            2.00                                               72
End of 7th Semester                            2.00                                               84
End of 8th Semester                            2.00                                               96
End of 9th Semester                            2.00                                             108
End of 10th Semester                          2.00                                             120

*Courses graded on a pass/fail basis will be counted in credits attempted but will not count in the cumulative grade point average.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals

Any student who believes that mitigating circumstances prevented him or her from achieving the minimum requirement should complete a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form with Elizabeth Niemeyer, Senior Retention Advisor, located in the library, room 204.

The form should be addressed to:
SAP Appeals Committee
Roger Williams University
One Old Ferry Road
Bristol, RI 02809-2921

Special Circumstances

We recognize that the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) may not always portray a clear picture of your financial situation. If the FAFSA does not adequately reflect your current situation, or your financial circumstances have changed since you submitted the FAFSA, you may request a re-evaluation of your financial aid eligibility. We encourage you to complete the Special Circumstance Appeal Form. Please read the form carefully, choose the circumstance that best fits your situation, and provide all the information requested.

Families directly impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, are also encouraged to complete the Special Circumstance Appeal Form. We may be able to help with additional expenses incurred due to COVID-19, whether that be extra medical expenses, extra childcare costs, job loss, salary reductions, or additional computer equipment to take courses on-line. Please read the form carefully and provide documentation that supports the financial hardships you have incurred.

In reviewing your completed form, the RWU FA Appeals Committee will consider your situation and determine any possible changes that may be made to your federal, state, and institutional aid resources. Keep in mind financial situation does not guarantee that additional assistance is possible.

Special Circumstance Consideration

Completing a Special Circumstance Appeal form allows students/families to address income changes in the current calendar year versus the prior year. The income and asset changes may result in a revision to the Student Aid Index (SAI), and any change in the SAI will help our office determine whether a student becomes eligible for additional financial aid.

Common types of circumstances that warrant a closer review include:

  • Recent Disability.
  • Retirement during the calendar year.
  • The death of a significant wage earner listed on the FAFSA.
  • Divorce/Separation of dependent student parents; divorce of an independent student and spouse.
  • Change in amounts of child or spousal support
  • Extraneous out-of-pocket medical expenses not covered by insurance incurred between January 1 and December 31 of the prior calendar year. Note: Costs must not exceed medical expenses as allowed by financial aid regulations.
  • Change regarding number of family members in the household whom you or your parents provide more than 50% support.

Documentation Requirements

Loss of Income/Resources
Incurred as a result of layoff/unemployment, disability, retirement, death, divorce and/or child or spousal support.

Documentation required:

  • Job Loss 
    • Three (3) most current pay stubs from each job held between January 1 through December 31 of the current year
    • If laid off, letter of termination from employer and copy of final pay stub
    • Notice of unemployment insurance award
    • Retirement benefits statement
  • Disability benefits eligibility letter
  • Agency verification of loss of benefits
  • Death Certificate 
    • Any information about income from death (i.e., life insurance, death benefits, pension plans)
  • Divorce decree or statement of separation
  • Court/legal documentation (child/spousal support) verifying date support ends

Medical Costs (not covered by insurance)

Costs should not exceed medical expenses as allowed by federal regulations. Expenses must have been paid by parents or students.

Documentation required:

  • Receipts and/or billing statements from medical provider(s) that the family or student has paid out of pocket
  • Itemized statement from insurance company documenting costs not covered by insurance

Changes in the number of family members

Include any changes to the number of family members. These family members must be someone for whom you or your parents provide more than 50% of support.

Documentation required:

  • Provide a detailed statement explaining the reason for the change
  • List names, ages, relationships, and number in college

Other: Family situations not covered by the above can be documented in a letter and submitted for consideration also. Please note that any such change does not guarantee an increase in aid or changes to the original financial aid award. RWU provides the best offer in its original financial aid award.


Students will be notified via mail or phone regarding the Appeal Committee’s decision. In addition, students’ appeals that have been granted will receive a revised award in the mail. All decisions are final and appeals will only be reconsidered if new information is submitted.

Merit Appeals

All admitted students are considered for freshman academic scholarships. Each admission application is carefully reviewed and scholarship decisions are based on an overall assessment of the information contained in the original application materials. We have had to make very difficult decisions to select the overall strongest applicants from an extremely competitive applicant pool. Students appealing a scholarship decision should provide new and compelling academic information that was not previously included in their applications, or extenuating personal circumstances they feel warrant a change in the scholarship decision.

Documentation for a Merit Appeal

A complete appeal must be submitted in writing by the applicant, and must include the student’s most recent official transcript or grade report. If there is additional context to the student grades and performance that warrants explanation, The applicant may submit specific letters of support from teachers, counselors, and other persons who can provide information that may not have been included in the original scholarship review process.

Please return all requested materials to:
The Office of Student Financial Aid
Fax 401-254-3356
Phone 401-254-3100

Verification Policy

If your FAFSA is randomly selected by the U.S. Department of Education for a process called verification, we will need at a minimum the following information:

  • Complete your FAFSA using the IRS Direct Data Exchange (DDX). Please access your online FAFSA, make a correction, and use the DDX. This will update your FAFSA with your tax information directly from the IRS. All data retrieval results will be encrypted on your FAFSA in an effort to reduce the chances of compromising sensitive data and the risk of identity theft.
  • If you are ineligible to use the Direct Data Exchange, you are required to submit a copy of your IRS tax return or a tax return transcript of your federal income tax return to the Office of Financial Aid. You can request an official transcript online or by mail. There is no charge from the IRS to request this documentation.
  • Student and Parent (if applicable) W-2 forms.

Student Federal Loan Borrowing Policies

Subsidized Federal Direct Loans

These are low interest loans that are awarded based on financial need. The U.S. Department of Education pays the interest that accrues on the loan during the in-school, grace and authorized deferment periods. The interest rate for the 2023/2024 year loan is 5.499% with a loan origination fee of 1.057% for undergraduate students. The maximum borrowing amount is $3,500 for freshmen, $4,500 for sophomores, and $5,500 for juniors and seniors with a maximum cumulative total of $23,000. Repayment of principal begins six months after the student stops attending school on at least a half-time basis.

Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans

These are low interest student loans that are not awarded based on financial need. The U.S. Department of Education does not subsidize the interest; the student borrower is responsible for all interest that accrues on the loan from the date of the first disbursement. The interest rate for this loan for the 2023/2024 year is 5.499% with a loan origination fee of 1.057% for undergraduate students. Repayment begins six months after the student stops attending school on a half-time basis.

Note: Based on student FAFSA results, students may be awarded a combination of subsidized and unsubsidized loan amounts. Regardless of the type of loan awarded, every student must complete an Entrance Interview and Master Promissory Note before receiving this loan.

Accepting Your Award

Students accept and sign their initial award and any subsequent revisions via paper award letter.  The financial aid award letter is to be completed and submitted to the Office of Student Financial Aid within 10 business days.

Financial Aid Refund

Students attending the University for the first time (but for less than 60 percent of the period of enrollment) who received federal aid are required to have their billed charges calculated based on a federal pro rata refund formula which supersedes the general refund policy set forth in the University Catalog.

If a student withdraws, refunds of financial aid will be applied in the following order: first, Federal Stafford Loan, then Federal PLUS Loan, Federal Pell Grant, Federal SEOG, and finally Roger Williams University grants and scholarships. The amount refunded shall not exceed the total amount granted for the fiscal year (credited to the student's account) for the particular federal program. The order in which funds are refunded is dictated by the federal government.

Loan Cancellation Policy

Pursuant to, and in compliance with Code of Federal Regulations ((CFR) Title 34, Part 668 under Title IV, HEA programs, section 668.165), from the time you receive your billing statement notifying you that your Federal Direct Family Education Loan (Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized and/or PLUS) is disbursed on your account, you have 14 days to cancel it by submitting a written request to the University. The University's Financial Aid office must receive your written request within 14 days of the print date on your billing statement. You may contact the Office of the Bursar to discuss an alternate payment plan, if necessary.

Request mailing address:
Roger Williams University
Office of Financial Aid 
One Old Ferry Road
Bristol, RI 02809-2921

Preferred Lender Policy

The Preferred Lender list is reviewed on an annual basis in the fall prior to Financial Aid Award Letters being sent to students for the next academic year. The Financial Aid staff (FAS) meets with and reviews information from a broad range of lenders located in and outside the New England area. Once the FAS has met and retrieved information from the lenders Roger Williams University FAS compares lenders based on the following two criteria:

  1. Service to borrowers
  2. Borrower Benefits

As a result FAS picks the top four lenders that have the best customer service and benefits for our borrowers. Roger Williams University has a list of four preferred lenders to help assist our students and parents in their search of the best lender for their circumstances. RWU does not receive any payment or benefits from the lenders on our preferred lender list. Our Preferred Lender List is a suggestion only and we will work with any lender at our students’ or parents’ request.

Student Employment

Federal Work-Study is awarded to students who demonstrate financial need. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be submitted annually to be considered for Federal Work-Study in the upcoming academic year. The FAFSA must be submitted before the RWU deadline in order to be eligible to receive work-study.

Students who are offered Federal Work-Study (FWS) as part of their financial aid package have three potential options to fulfill their work-study opportunity.

  1. Financial Aid Work-Study jobs are jobs around the campus that are open to eligible students at any point in their academic career. Students can work in a particular job for one semester or for all four years.
  2. The FIT program is a three-year opportunity for rising sophomores. Students have the chance to build their resume with meaningful, hands-on experience while working with a faculty or staff mentor in a role related to their academic work.
  3. Through the Feinstein Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement, students may earn their work-study awards in the community at non-profit agencies.

Students who are not offered Federal Work-Study as part of their financial aid package, or is a non-financially aided student, may be employed as a Student Worker. These are on-campus employment opportunities. Hourly employment wages are paid entirely by a department on-campus through its regular budget.

Documentation Requirements

In order to begin work, all the necessary forms should be completed in its entirety with the hiring supervisor or manager of the department you are applying to.

  • A Form I-9 with an original copy of a US Passport OR two other forms of ID
    • This is only required for first time RWU student employees or for students who have not worked for RWU in the past 2 years
    • Supervisors must make copies and attached the documents
  • A Federal Form W-4 
    • This is only required for first time RWU student employees or students who are making a change to the current W-4 form on file
  • A Rhode Island Form W-4 claiming single or married with number of exemptions OR 'Exempt' (the student cannot choose both)
    • This is only required for first time RWU student employees or students who are making a change to the current W-4 form on file
  • Direct Deposit form with verification of the student’s account number and routing number (void check, bank statement, bank web page, an authorization verification letter or account card from your bank)
  • Student Code of Conduct
    • This must be completed at least once while employed for RWU
  • Work-Study Supervisor Responsibilities form
    • This is required for ALL new supervisors

Working Requirements

  • Once employed, students will receive a regular paycheck every two weeks according to the Student Payroll Calendar.
    • Earnings will not automatically go toward tuition or books
    • A student will earn a rate of $14.00 per hour, unless they are participating in the Center for Academic Development Tutoring Program. Students in a tutoring program earn $14.50 per hour.
  • Students will be entered into the ADP system once the work-study authorization form has been processed by payroll. Each student will swipe in and out at their designated shift.
  • The Supervisors will be able to electronically sign off on your time worked. Supervisors will sign off on the time in ADP by 10am on the appropriate Monday to meet the payroll deadline.
  • Students participating in the FIT program, must work a minimum of 5 hours per week.
  • Students may earn up to the amount of their approved FWS award, but must discontinue working in a FWS-funded job once the maximum allotment is reached.
  • Once a student's award limit is reached, hours worked in excess of your award must be paid by your supervisor's department.
  • Both the student and hiring supervisor will be notified via a letter/email if you are approaching your work-study limit.
  • It is the responsibility of both the student and hiring supervisor to ensure that students do not exceed their work-study limit.
  • No student may work more than 8 hours a day, including all University jobs.
  • The maximum amount of hours a student may work while school is in session is 20 hours/per week including all University jobs.
  • Working during your scheduled class time is prohibited.
  • During a summer recess and winter intersession, up to 40 hours a week may be worked, including all University jobs.
  • Students are prohibited from driving during work-study employment with the limited exception of authorized work-study driver positions.