International Students

It is important to note that while international students are eligible for all types of University grants, scholarships and assistantships, federal student loans are available only to students who are US citizens or permanent residents.  Alternative funding may be available to international students via private sources in the form of loans or other awards.  We strongly encourage you to carefully investigate these sources of funding before making a final decision.

After you have been accepted in a program of study, all international students are required to provide a confidential Certification of Finances to identify sufficient funding for your education before an I-20 will be issued.  An I-20 must be obtained from Clarkson University before you may apply for a visa to enter the United States for educational purposes.

Outside Resources

Information on outside scholarships and loans for international students are available at: 

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University Awards

All graduate students are considered for University merit-based financial assistance including teachings assistantships, research assistantships, fellowships and scholarships.  This aid is awarded by each academic department.  Not all types of assistantships are available in all programs.  Please visit the graduate program page for further information on the assistance available for your program.

Teaching Assistantships

Teaching Assistantships (TA) provide a stipend plus full tuition.  Duties include an average of 12 hours of work per week and may include assisting in the laboratory or recitation sections and grading of reports or homework.

Research Assistantships

Research Assistantships (RA) require no teaching responsibilities, and provide a standard stipend plus full tuition.

Industrial and Governmental Fellowships

Funding may cover full or partial tuition and/or a stipend.  The stipend must be at least minimum wage and duties may not exceed 40 hours per week including time to attend classes.

Partial Tuition Scholarships/Assistantships

Due to the limited number of TAs and RAs available, partial tuition scholarships and assistantships are also granted on a merit basis.  These assistantships offer a 20%-40% tuition waiver equivalent.  In some departments, a few hours per week of work is required by the student in exchange for the waiver.  There is no stipend associated with this form of aid.

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Loan Information

Student loans are available through the Federal Direct Loan Program and alternative student loan lenders.  Most Clarkson graduate students will take federal student loans before considering alternative loans.  Although some alternative lenders advertise low variable interest rates, other considerations such as repayment options, deferment and possible cancellation benefits, interest rates and consolidation options should be included in making loan decisions.

The information contained herein includes changes made by Congress that took effect July 1, 2013 and December 1, 2013. 

You should always exhaust all of your scholarship, assistantships and federal student loan options before borrowing an alternative loan.

Below are some comparisons to assist you in deciding which loan is best for you.

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan vs. Private Loan
 

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

Private Loan (terms vary by lender)

Interest Rates

Fixed interest rate at 7.60% while in
school & repayment (on loans disbursed between 7/1/18-6/30/19)

Variable interest rate based on the lender, usually based on a LIBOR or Prime plus a credit margin. Some lenders now offer fixed interest rate loans.

Fees

4.264% origination fees for loans disbursed before 10/1/2018.

Depending on lender and credit, could have 0-9% origination fees.  Many lenders offer 0% origination fee.

Credit Requirements

Credit check required. Approval
determined by federal criteria and
does not include debt to income
ratio.  Most students are approved
without a co-signer (endorser).

Credit check required. Approval determined by lender criteria based on credit score and credit history.

Repayment Terms

10-year repayment, or up to 25
years if Federal Direct Stafford and
Graduate PLUS exceed $30,000.

Many income based reapyment options.

No payments while in-school.

Depending on lender, 15-25 years.

Most lenders offer no payment option while in-school.

Grace Period

Students are not required to make
payments for 6 months after leaving
school.  Check with loan servicer for requirements.

Most lenders offer 6 to 9 months grace period after enrollment ends.

Federal Loan
Consolidation

Can be consolidated with other federal educational  loans (i.e., Perkins and
Stafford) or to extend repayment period.

Private Loan Consolidation available with very few lenders.

Deferment Options

Unlimited half time student deferment,
3 yr unemployment and hardship, and forbearance. Some military.

Very limited options. Varies by lender, some charge a fee to apply.

Discharge Options

Federal government will discharge
the loan if permanent disability or
death of student.

Possible Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

A few lenders now will discharge loans because of  permanent disability or death.  Check with lender.

Borrower Benefits

.25%  interest rate reduction for
Electronic Debit Account Repayment

Borrower Benefits often offered to reduce interest rates.

Annual Loan Limit

Students may borrow up to the cost of
education less other aid received.

Students may borrow up to the cost of education less other aid received.

Aggregate Loan
Limit

None

Yes, depending on lender

PLUS: You may prefer the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan for the following reasons:

  • The loan has a fixed rate.
  • If your credit is considered poor, you are more likely to be approved for the federal loan.
  • There are more deferment and forbearance options which allow you to postpone payments temporarily after you enter repayment.
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness after 10 year repayment an option for certain employment.

Private: You may prefer the Private Loan for the following reasons:

  • The interest rate is variable and could initially be lower than federal rates.
  • Most lenders offer no origination fee loans if you have good credit.


All student loans are based on the cost of attendance as set by the academic department and the Office of Financial Aid, less any University awards or external aid.  The cost of attendance includes the direct cost of tuition, books, and fees as well as indirect costs such as a modest living allowance, transportation and personal expenses.  Students who are doing distant Clinical Studies or a Global Program or have additional educational expenses, such as a computer purchase or other special situations may submit an appeal for an adjustment to their cost of attendance based upon documented additional costs.

Federal Student Loans
Federal Direct Student Loans are available to students who are US Citizens or Permanent Residents.  Students must be enrolled at least half-time in an eligible program and meet standards of satisfactory academic progress.  Students must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on a yearly basis.

We are required to disburse the loans equally over the enrollment period. In most cases, this means fall and spring loan credits would be equal, even if charges are not. 

Subsidized loans for Graduate students have not been available for loan periods starting July 1, 2012 on, due to Congressional action. The federal government used to pay the interest on the loan while a student was enrolled in school at least half-time and during the grace period. 

Unsubsidized – An unsubsidized loan is not based on financial need.  Interest must be paid on a monthly/quarterly basis or be capitalized (added to the principal loan amount).  Payments on both the interest and principal begins six months after the student graduates, leaves school or drops below half-time enrollment.

Graduate PLUS Loan – A Graduate PLUS Loan is an unsubsidized loan that is not based on need.  The amount a student may borrow is the cost of attendance minus all other aid.  Applicants are subject to a credit check.  Interest must be paid on a monthly/quarterly basis or be capitalized (added to the principal loan amount).  Payments on both the interest and principal begins six months after the student graduates, leaves school or drops below half-time enrollment.

Comparison of the Graduate student Federal Loan programs. Federal loans are eligible for the Federal Loan Consolidation program.

 


Unsubsidized

GradPlus

Grace period

6 months

6 month deferment (not grace)

Origination fee (for loans first disbursed 10/1/17-9/30/18)

1.066%

4.264%

Loan Amount Limit

$20,500/year

Cost of attendance less other aid

Interest rate (for loans first disbursed 7/1/18-6/30/19)

6.60% fixed

7.60% fixed

Interest begins

From disbursement

From disbursement

Credit test

Can’t be in default on Title IV aid

Also subject to a “soft” credit check.

Repayment of Federal Student Loans will not be required until six months after a student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time.  Graduate PLUS borrowers may need to contact their servicer to request an in-school and six month post enrollment deferment.  Borrowers may make payments of interest or principal earlier, without penalty.  Borrowers will be able to choose from several repayment plans, and may be eligible for various deferment options.  The standard repayment period is ten years.

Graduate Federal Loan Steps

Visit the websites below for additional information on the Federal Student Loan Program:

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Enrollment Status

Enrollment status for graduate students varies depending upon the program in which the student is enrolled.  Quarter programs are considered half-time at 3 credits per quarter and full-time at 6 credits per quarter.  Graduate semester programs are considered half-time at 4.5 credits per semester and full-time at 9 credits per semester.  In some cases, the Academic Department determines the student’s enrollment status. At least half-time enrollment is required for all federal loan programs and for in-school deferment status on federal loans a student has already borrowed. Contact the Academic Department directly for questions regarding enrollment status.

Students enrolled in doctoral or master’s thesis credits may be considered full time at the discretion of the Academic Department.  If determined to be full time or half time, students who are in residence, external PhD students and students who are not in residence are eligible to apply for federal student loans.  Loan eligibility is determined by subtracting University Awards and other grant and scholarship aid from the cost of tuition, a book allowance and a living allowance. 

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Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress – Graduate Students – Effective July 1, 2016

Federal regulations require that schools monitor the academic progress of every federal financial aid recipient and certify that the student is making satisfactory academic progress towards earning his/her degree.  This policy governs federal financial aid only.  Institutional awards, scholarships and assistantships may have other requirements. Students may only receive federal aid for courses that are required for degree completion. 

Satisfactory academic progress is evaluated at the conclusion of each term and include, per federal regulation both quantitative and qualitative measures.  These measures include:

  1. Cumulative Grade Point Average - a cumulative 3.0 is required.  Students with a cumulative GPA less than 2.7 are not eligible federal aid.
  2. PACE - A minimum percentage of attempted credits hours must be earned every semester.  PACE is determined by:

    Cumulative # of Earned Hours
    Cumulative # of Attempted Hours

    Students must maintain a minimum PACE of 50%.
  3. The maximum time frame for meeting degree requirements.

    Student must complete their degree within 150% of the published length of the program. All graduate credits attempted at Clarkson are applied to the maximum time frame. There is no appeal of the maximum time frame standard.

Attempted Credits for PACE and the Maximum Time Frame include:

Earned hours – Passed (A-D), Pass (P)

Repeated Courses – all attempts – refer to the REPEATED COURSE section for detailed information.

Withdrawal (LW) and (W) - Maximum time frame regulations do not allow for the exclusion of courses in which a student has remained past the drop period and earned a grade of ‘W”.

  • Failure (F)
  • Incomplete (I)

All accepted transfer credits (including consortium agreements & Study-Abroad courses) &test credit (T)

All graduate courses attempted at Clarkson, even if they are not used to meet degree requirements.

Earned credit hours for PACE include:

  • Grades of A, B, C, D or P (with credit)
  • All accepted transfer credits (T)
Financial Aid Warning

A student who whose cumulative GPA is between 2.700 and 2.999 and/or whose PACE is less than 50% is not making Satisfactory Academic Progress for Federal Financial Aid.  The student is notified by the Financial Aid Office via email to the student’s Clarkson email address that he/she is on Financial Aid Warning for the subsequent term of attendance.  During the Financial Aid Warning term, the student retains eligibility for federal financial aid

A student who meets both the PACE and GPA standards at the conclusion of the Financial Aid Warning term is again meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress for Federal Financial Aid and is eligible for federal aid for the subsequent term of attendance.

A student who does not meet both the PACE and GPA standards at the conclusion of the Financial Aid Warning term is notified by the Financial Aid Office via email to the student’s Clarkson email address that he/she is not making Satisfactory Academic Progress for Federal Financial Aid and is ineligible for federal aid for subsequent terms.  A student may not have two consecutive Financial Aid Warning terms. 

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Appeal Process

A student who does not meet the federal financial aid satisfactory academic progress standards at the conclusion of the warning term or a student whose GPA is less than 2.7 may file an appeal based on catastrophic or extraordinary circumstances “beyond the student’s control,” such as personal illness or injury, or the death, illness or injury of a family member, relative or close personal friend or other situations specific to the individual student.

There are 4 required elements of an appeal:

  1. A completed and signed appeal form.
  2. A written statement from the student - Federal regulations require a student who is requesting an appeal to submit a written statement explaining:

    Why the student was not able to meet the satisfactory academic progress standards.

    What has changed that will allow the student to meet the standards at the conclusion of the academic plan (see #3 below).
  3. Supporting documentation - A student requesting an appeal must submit supporting documentation such as a physician’s written statement to substantiate illness or accident, a copy of a death certificate or newspaper obituary, a written statement from clergy, family member(s), or other third party familiar with the student’s situation, or a written statement from an academic advisor, professor or counselor.
  4. Development of an Academic Plan - As part of the appeal, the student must work with a Program Administrator to develop an academic plan.  The academic plan is designed to enable the student to meet both PACE and GPA standards at the conclusion of the plan. An academic plan may entail one to four terms and includes specific requirements the student must achieve.  Although the student is not making satisfactory academic progress, federal aid is reinstated on a term by term basis.

A student interested in filing an appeal must begin the process by contacting the Associate Director of Financial Aid at the CRC Campus or the Graduate Student Service Representative at the Potsdam Campus at least two weeks prior to the beginning of the term he/she wishes to receive federal financial aid.

A student filing an appeal must authorize the release of pertinent information as part of an investigation of the facts concerning the failure to meet satisfactory academic progress standards.

Each appeal will be investigated and reviewed by the Financial Aid Office Appeals Committee in conjunction with faculty members and advisors from the student’s program of study as well as other Clarkson University personnel as necessary.

The Office of Financial Aid will notify the student by e-mail of the final decision. If the appeal is approved the Associate Director of Financial Aid at the CRC Campus or the Graduate Student Administrative Representative at the Clarkson Campus will begin the Academic Plan process.  Once the Academic Plan has been designed and required signatures have been obtained the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation and federal aid eligibility will be reinstated for the term.

At the end of the Financial Aid Probationary term, the student will be evaluated according to the requirements specified in the academic plan.  Provided that the student is successfully meeting the conditions of the plan, the student may continue to receive federal aid for the subsequent term.  In cases in which an academic plan includes more than one term, the student will be evaluated at the end of each term. If the student continues to meet the requirements of the plan, the student remains eligible for federal financial aid.

A student who does not meet the conditions of the academic plan or whose appeal is denied is no longer eligible for federal and aid at Clarkson until both standards are met.   A student who is ineligible for aid may regain eligibility by taking courses at Clarkson without receiving federal  aid that raises their  GPA  to the minimum standards and/or increases earned hours to the minimum PACE  requirements

REPEATED COURSES

Courses in which a grade of F or W is recorded on a student’s transcript may be repeated a maximum of 2 times.  

The earned hours are counted once.

The attempted hours are counted each time and may be used to establish full-time enrollment status.  

The student may receive financial aid for these course repeats. 

Courses in which a student has previously earned credit (A, B, C, D)

Federal regulations allow a student to repeat a course once if the student previously earned credit for the course.  The repeated course(s) will be used toward full-time enrollment status and are eligible for financial aid.  Courses repeated more than once will not count toward enrollment status and are ineligible for financial aid.  More than one course may be repeated per term. The attempted hours are counted each time.

The earned hours are counted once. 

The grade from the prior completion(s) is excluded from the GPA calculation.

ACADEMIC GRADE CHANGES AND INCOMPLETES

For purposes of determining SAP for federal and institutional financial aid, all grade changes including incompletes must be submitted to SAS prior to the 10th day of the subsequent term.  This deadline may differ from academic departmental guidelines

READMITTED STUDENTS

A student who has left the University for one or more terms and has been readmitted will have Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid reviewed at the time of readmission.  Transfer credits must be received prior to the 10th day of the term in order to be included in the SAP determination.

If the student is determined to be meeting SAP, federal aid will be offered provided the student meets all other eligibility requirements.

If it is determined that the student is not meeting SAP, the student will be notified by email to the student’s Clarkson email address of his/her status and the appeal process.

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Grad Student Financial Aid FAQs

Can International students get student loans?

Only US citizens and permanent residents are eligible for federal student loans.  It is possible that private companies may offer alternative student loans to international students, but in most cases, a credit worthy US co-signer is required.  Clarkson does not recommend specific alternative lenders.

How much can I borrow in Federal loans as a graduate student?

Graduate students can borrow up to $20,500 in Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans per aid year. 

If the student still has unmet need, they can apply for the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan. This loan is not subject to an annual federal limit. The loan is subject to a soft credit check, which means they will not be approved if the student is past due on other debt. They have the option to request $Max, or a specific amount. The school will calculate the Cost of Attendance (which includes direct costs and indirect costs such as estimates for rent and food, books, and travel). The Graduate PLUS loan can be offered for the difference between the Cost of Attendance less other aid. Students will have an opportunity to reduce the amount offered when they accept the loan via PeopleSoft self-service.

Can federal loans be used to cover living expenses?

Cost of attendance includes non-direct costs such as living expenses.  The amount if based on averages.  Living expenses for students enrolled for less than full-time status will be prorated.

How do I apply?

Students apply for the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan by using the “Graduate Federal Loan Application” for the correct aid year found at: https://www.clarkson.edu/student-administrative-services-sas/financial-aid/financial-aid-forms under “Financial Aid Forms”. Next to that form, students will find “Graduate Federal Loan Steps” which explain all the required steps.

When should I start the process for federal loans?

Students should file their FAFSA after October 1 each year, using the prior year's income tax return.  Loan applications can be submitted in June or July, but no later than 10 days before the tuition due date, which is typically the first Friday in August.  Students who will start with summer courses will want to submit their loan application as least a week prior to that tuition billing due date.

Do I need parent information when I file the FAFSA?

No, graduate students are independent and do not include parent information.

Do I need to come to campus and meet with a financial aid staff member?

Although many student come to SAS to discuss their financial aid at some point, much of the discussion can take place via email or phone before the student is on campus.

Are graduate student eligible for NYS TAP or the federal Pell grant?

No, graduate student are not eligible for either.

Are graduate student eligible for federal work study?

Graduate students may be eligible for federal work study.  Contact Abby DeCastro in Financial Aid to determine your federal eligibility.  When federal work study is included in your cost of attendance formula, it may reduce your loan eligibility.

Can I defer my undergraduate student loans?

Yes, if you are attending at least half-time.  Clarkson’s Registrar’s Office submits a file of registered students approximately the third week of each term to the Student Loan Clearinghouse.  Most, but not all, loan servicers will obtain enrollment data and automatically process an in-school deferment.  Student borrowers should check the status of their  existing student loans for deferment eligibility and processing.

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Contacts

Contact information for individual graduate programs:

The David D. Reh School of Business
busgrad@clarkson.edu
315-268-6613

Arts and Sciences & Institute for a Sustainable Environment
Deb Moschell
dmoschell@clarkson.edu
315-268-3932

Wallace H Coulter School of Engineering
Carmen Camp
ccamp@clarkson.edu
315-268-2318

Capital Region Campus Programs
Kim Broomhall
kbroomha@clarkson.edu
518-631-9837

Institute for a Sustainable Environment
Carmen Camp
ccamp@clarkson.edu
315-268-2318

Masters of Science in Engineering and Management
Debra Fitzgerald
dfitzger@clarkson.edu
518-631-9837

Student Administrative Services Representative (SAS)
Your Student Administrative Service Representative (SAS Rep) is your first point of contact for financial aid questions and concerns. You may contact your Potsdam Campus SAS Rep at 315.268.6451 or sasgrad@clarkson.edu. You may contact your CRC SAS Rep at 518.631.9910 or sasgradcrc@clarkson.edu

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Withdrawal from the University

Total Withdrawal from the University - Treatment of Federal Title IV Aid

There are occasions when a student may leave the University prior to the completion of a term.  If a student officially withdraws from the University, takes a leave of absence, unofficially withdraws or is dismissed during the term, for the purposes of financial aid each of these situations is treated as a withdrawal.

A student intending to leave the University must contact their Academic Department Office to begin the official withdrawal process.

The law specifies how Clarkson must determine the amount of Title IV program assistance a student has earned as of the date of withdrawal. The Title IV programs pertaining to graduate students that are covered by this law are:  Federal Unsubsidized Direct Student Loans and Graduate PLUS Loans.

When a student withdraws from the University during the term, the amount of Title IV program assistance that the student has earned up to that point in time is determined by a specific formula.  If the student received less assistance than the amount that earned, the student may be able to receive those additional funds.  If the student received more assistance than earned, the excess funds must be returned to the US Department of Education.

The amount of assistance that the student has earned is determined on a pro rata basis. The formula is based upon the number of days the student has attended as a percentage of the total number of days in the term.   For example, if the student completed 30% of the term, the students earns 30% of the assistance originally awarded.  Once the student has completed more than 60% of the term, the student has earned all of the assistance awarded for the term.   Federal regulations require this calculation if the student officially or unofficially withdraws, is dismissed or otherwise leaves the University during a term.

Student transcripts are reviewed at the conclusion of each term.  If a student received all “F” grades during a term, federal regulations require the Office of Financial Aid to obtain additional information from the Academic Department(s). If the Academic Department(s) determines that the student completed yet failed to meet the course objectives in at least one course, no changes to the student’s financial aid for that term is required.  If however, the Academic Department(s) determines that the student did not complete all courses (i.e. stopped attending all courses); the student is considered to have unofficially withdrawn from the University.  In this case, the last date of an academic related activity (i.e. documented attendance in class, submission of a homework assignment or the taking of an exam) is used to determine the date of the unofficial withdrawal.  If the last date of an academic related activity is after the 60% date of the term, no adjustment to a student’s financial aid for that term is required.  If however, the date occurs prior to the 60% date, a Title IV refund calculation is required and necessary adjustments to a student’s financial aid for the term will be made.  In absence of a documented last date of an academic related activity, federal regulations require Clarkson to use the midpoint (50%) of the term.

The Federal Title IV Refund Procedure is separate and distinct from the Office of Student Account’s refund policy for tuition, fees and other charges at Clarkson.  Therefore, a student may still owe funds to cover unpaid institutional charges.

Satisfactory Academic Progress for students who return to the University for a subsequent term will be reviewed and a determination will be made based on the Maximum Time Frame, PACE and GPA standards as stated above.

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