GRADUATE AWARD PROGRAM
The Eastman School of Music provides financial support to its graduate students primarily through the Graduate Award Program, a merit-based system of financial aid. Through its graduate awards, Eastman is able to provide in-depth professional training for graduate students, and to receive valuable services in return. Graduate students who are not only highly recommended in their major, but who also are highly recommended for a graduate award, receive the most merit-based financial support from the School.
A graduate award normally consists of a stipend (salary for the work done) and a tuition scholarship (a partial remission of tuition). A small number of awards are tuition scholarship only. Please note that admission to a graduate program does not guarantee a graduate award.
For further information, please contact Eastman’s Office of Graduate Studies.
APPLYING FOR A GRADUATE AWARD
Graduate Award tuition scholarships and/or stipends are awarded through the Office of Graduate Studies. If a student currently has a Graduate Award for the 2013-2014 academic year, a Continuation of Graduate Award Form will be sent to a student’s UR email address in January. The form should be returned to the Office of Graduate Studies. If a student does not hold a Graduate Award for 2013-2014 academic year and wishes to be considered for one for the 2014-2015 academic year, he/she should consult the departmental chair for application procedures.
All Graduate Students must complete the 2014-15 Graduate Student Aid Application and submit the completed form to the Eastman Financial Aid Office. Graduate tuition scholarships will not disburse and any other institutional or Federal aid cannot be processed until the Financial Aid Office has received the Graduate Student Aid application. A Financial aid award letter will be sent to the student’s UR email address when this form has been reviewed and the financial aid package has been processed.
Please note that graduate awards do not roll over from year to year. Student’s must re-apply every year through the process described above.
Graduate Federal Aid
The Graduate Award Program is unable to meet the financial need of all our our graduate students. Eastman’s Financial Aid Office helps graduate students, who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, apply for federal assistance to help with their educational expenses. Such assistance includes Federal Direct Student Loans (Unsubsidized & Graduate PLUS) and Federal Work-Study funds.
International graduate students, although not eligible for federal assistance, with U.S Citizen or eligible permanent resident as a co-applicant, may apply for a private loan for financial assistance beyond the graduate awards.
The Federal Work-Study program provides full-time graduate students an opportunity to earn money towards educational expenses through on-campus and off-campus employment. The hourly pay for each position is based on the University of Rochester pay rate for the position which is based on the type of work and the skills required. Most FWS program students at the Eastman School of Music obtain employment within the school.
It is the student’s responsibility to seek available positions on campus if he/she wishes to earn work-study funds. Available positions are posted to the Careers and Professional Development website.
The number of hours a student will work are determined by the student’s class schedule, supervisor and the amount of FWS funds offered in the award letter. A student must be enrolled as a full-time student to be eligible for work-study.
This program provides a low-interest, long-term loan for educational expenses. The federal loan limit per year for graduate students is $20,500. A student will be notified of loan eligibility through the financial aid award. Interest will be charged from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. The interest rate for a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan is 6.21% (14-15). If a student allows the interest to accumulate, it will be capitalized and added to the principal amount of the loan. An origination fee of 1.073% is charged by the federal government, so the actual dollar amount a student receives will be less than the amount borrowed. Federal regulations require multiple disbursements of federal loans originated for a full academic year. One half of the loan amount will disburse in the fall term and one half in the spring term.
If a student wishes to decline or reduce a Federal Direct Loan, the Financial Aid Office needs to be notified in writing no later than 14 days after the disbursement of the loan.
First-time Federal Direct Loan Borrowers must complete a Master Promissory Note and an Entrance Counseling Session before loan proceeds can be credited to a student’s account.
This program provides a credit-based loan for educational expenses. It allows graduate students to borrow up to the cost of attendance minus other financial aid awarded. A student will be notified of loan eligibility through the financial aid award letter. Interest will be charged from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. The interest rate for a Graduate PLUS Loan is fixed at 7.21% (14-15). An origination fee of 4.292% is charged by the federal government, so the actual dollar amount a student receives will be less than the amount borrowed. A student may request that this fee be considered in the Cost of Attendance so as to maximize the Graduate PLUS Loan eligibility. Federal regulations require multiple disbursements of federal loans originated for a full academic year. One half of the loan amount will disburse in the fall term and one half in the spring term.
If a student wishes to decline or reduce a Federal Graduate PLUS Loan, then the Financial Aid Office needs to be notified in writing no later than 14 days after the disbursement of the loan.
First-time Graduate PLUS Loan Borrowers, who are approved for this loan, must complete a Master Promissory Note and an Entrance Counseling Session before loan proceeds can be credited to a student’s account.
A Graduate PLUS Loan applicant must not have an adverse credit history. If a student is concerned about the financial eligibility for a Graduate PLUS Loan, the Eastman Financial Aid Office can run a credit check to determine eligibility. A Credit Check Authorization Form must be completed and returned before the credit check can be done. If the student does have an adverse credit history, he/she may still be able to receive a loan by obtaining an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history. An endorser is someone who agrees to pay the loan if the borrower fails to do so.
Repayment of a Graduate PLUS Loan begins 60 days after the last disbursement. Graduate students, who wish to defer payment on the principal of the Graduate PLUS Loan while they are enrolled, must complete a deferment form. This form can be obtained from the Federal Graduate PLUS Loan Servicer. A student borrower can find out who the Federal Loan Servicer is by reviewing the Graduate PLUS Loan account at www.nslds.ed.gov.
For information on Federal Loan processing, please visit the Eastman Loan Page.
APPLYING FOR FEDERAL AID
Students who wish to be considered for Federal Aid (federal student loans and work-study) must:
- Be registered for at least half time status each semester (at least 6 credit hours or ESM 999) to receive loans.
- Have made satisfactory academic progress towards completing their degree.
- Complete all necessary applications and return all required documentation.
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
The U.S. Department of Education has created an enhancement to the FAFSA filing process by allowing applicants to retrieve tax data from the IRS. This process is called the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Students should select this option when filing their 2014-2015 FAFSA to streamline the application process.
- Complete the 2014-2015 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) following the instructions that best describes how you will apply. Make sure to use the Eastman School Code on your FAFSA: 008124. The Eastman FAFSA Application priority deadline is April 15, 2014.
- If a student chooses to sign the FAFSA using an electronic signature, then the student (and student’s spouse) will need a FAFSA PIN. If the PIN is forgotten, please apply for or request one at www.pin.ed.gov.
- A Graduate student is considered independent for financial aid purposes. Parental data is not required on the FAFSA.
We recommend the following steps when filing the 2014-2015 FAFSA:
Group 1 – You (and your spouse) will complete the FAFSA prior to filing your 2013 Federal Tax Return. This process is the recommended method.
Complete the 2014-2015 FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Use estimated student (and spouse) tax information when completing the FAFSA.
Complete your 2013 Federal Tax Return.
- If you (and your spouse) file your taxes electronically, wait 3 weeks and then update the FAFSA.
- If you (and your spouse) file your taxe via regular mail, wait 8 weeks and then update the FAFSA.
Update the 2014-2015 FAFSA by returning to your original FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov and clicking on “Link to IRS”.
- The student (and spouse) tax information will automatically be transferred from the IRS database into the FAFSA.
- You (and your spouse) will need to update any of the other questions on the FAFSA manually.
Group 2 – You (and your spouse) will be filing your 2013 Federal Tax Return prior to completing the FAFSA.
Complete your 2013 Federal Tax Return.
Complete the 2014-2015 FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at www.fafsa.ed.gov.
Enter the student (and spouse) income information by clicking on “Link to IRS”.
- If you (and your spouse) file your taxes electronically, wait 3 weeks and then use the IRS Data Retrieval.
- If you (and your spouse) file your taxes via regular mail, wait 8 weeks and then use the IRS Data Retrieval.
- The tax information will automatically be entered from the IRS database onto the FAFSA.
- You ( and your spouse) will need to update any of the other questions on the FAFSA manually.
Do not send any financial aid information to the Eastman Office of Financial Aid. When we receive your FAFSA information, we will notify you if any further information is needed.
Group 3 – You or your spouse will be applying for a tax extension by filing an IRS Form 4868:
You will need to send a copy of your IRS Form 4868 or approval of extension and all 2013 W-2 forms to the Eastman Office of Financial Aid. We will require a signed statement certifying AGI and taxes paid for a self-employed applicant. Do not send any other financial aid information. We will notify you if any further information is needed.
Do not try to use the IRS Data Retrieval System if:
- You are not required to file a 2013 Federal Tax Return
- You and your spouse are filing separate 2013 Federal Tax Returns.
- You are divorced/separated, but file a joint 2013 Federal Tax Return.
- You (and your spouse) will file an amended 2013 Federal Tax Return.
Please contact the Eastman Financial Aid Office for further guidance about completing the FAFSA.
FINANCIAL AID PACKAGE
A link to the Financial Aid Package at ESM FAOnline is emailed to graduate students. Federal Loan eligibility will not be will not be made to graduate students until the processed FAFSA is received electronically by the Eastman Financial Aid Office. In cases where a FAFSA has not been received and the student has requested Federal Loan eligibility, a student will receive a Financial Aid Package identifying the Graduate Award and the “missing” financial aid documents.
Verification is the process of confirming the information on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). In order to comply with Federal regulations, we may ask you to provide information that verifies the data you provided on your FAFSA. The creation of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool has simplified the verification process.
Our office is no longer allowed to accept federal tax returns.
We encourage students to search and apply for outside scholarship funding throughout their graduate program. Receiving the greatest amount of outside scholarship funding requires students to consider scholarships beyond the music realm (clubs, religious organizations, ethnic groups, groups that your relatives may be involved with, etc.) and to keep their search broad.
Some students choose to borrow a private loan to cover a portion of the cost of education not already paid for by scholarships and federal grants/loans. We strongly encourage students to exhaust all federal loan options prior to applying for a private loan. The federal loan programs generally offer lower interest rates and fees than private loans.
If a student chooses to pursue a private loan, we recommend comparing the costs associated with various loans before completing an application. Interest rates, fees, repayment periods, and other benefits can vary significantly between loans. Often these loans are based on credit-worthiness and approvals are not automatic. The FinAid.org website provides some comparative information regarding private loans. When selecting a loan through a comparative website, be sure to go to the lender’s website to ensure the most up-to-date information about the loan.
The University of Rochester Eastman School of Music does not maintain a preferred lender list. As such, the University has no agreements or relationships with any lenders and does not receive any benefit, financial or otherwise, from the use of private loans by students. For more information on the University’s policies, please see our Student Loan Code of Conduct and Policy on Private Lending.
Appeal for Additional Assistance
If a student’s financial circumstances have changed drastically due to a spouse’s unemployment, medical expenses, loss of personal funding (Social Security or Child Support), etc., then the student may petition for additional assistance. All graduate students should contact Eastman’s Office of Graduate Studies for further instruction.