Finance your education

Admitted students who are awarded RISD graduate fellowships, assistantships or federal student aid will be notified as part of their mailed acceptance packet.

Assistantship positions are determined by individual departments at a later date, but your graduate program director should be able to give you a preliminary idea of available positions available and associated responsibilities.

Total Costs

Final tuition and fees for the 2018–19 academic year have not yet been finalized, but for planning purposes you can review this year’s costs. All 2018–19 rates will be confirmed at the end of February.

Financing options for US citizens and permanent residents

Types of aid available to US citizens or legal permanent residents include:

  • RISD fellowships
  • RISD assistantships
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans*
  • Federal Direct GradPLUS Loans*
  • Alternative (private) loans
  • Outside scholarships

* In order to first determine eligibility for government loan programs, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

More detailed information, including deadlines and requirements for eligibility, can be found at

Loan calculators

It is important to understand what the true cost of your education will be. We encourage you to explore estimated monthly loan payments and repayment options for federal student loans. Additional information on loan calculators can be found at

Repayment programs and loan forgiveness programs

The federal government offers a number of loan repayment programs and options. We encourage you to explore them at In addition, for students who are committed to working in public service after graduation, we encourage you to explore the Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program at

Financing options for international students

Types of aid available to international graduate students include:

  • RISD fellowships
  • RISD assistantships

In addition, international students are encouraged to seek out funding options from their home countries. Additional financing options can be found at and

Alternate payment plan

Since paying for a college education can be a challenge, RISD offers a Tuition Management Systems (TMS) Payment Plan, which allows students to spread payments for tuition, housing and dining over an extended period of time. Under the TMS Payment Plan, each semester’s tuition and fees are spread out over five equal installments.

Plan in advance

In planning for graduate studies, it is important to begin well in advance if you will be depending upon financial assistance to achieve educational objectives. Prospective students should consider the following:

  • Have I paid off all possible consumer debt?
  • Do I have sufficient savings to cover expenses not included in the cost of attendance?
  • Are my current student loans in good standing?

In addition, one of the biggest financial challenges for graduate students comes at the beginning of each semester. Financial aid refunds and assistantship checks are typically not available until after the start of classes. Students are encouraged to prepare for this cash flow situation by arriving on campus with their own funding to begin the semester.


If you are awarded an assistantship, your Graduate Program Director will discuss job options for you and will ask Academic Affairs to issue a contract for each assistantship job you are assigned. You will receive your assistantship contracts as digital contracts via your RISD Gmail. You may elect to have your assistantship salary applied to your tuition bill, paid to you via check or direct deposited to your bank account.

Your salary will be paid on the 20th of each month after you have started your job. Prior to starting work you must visit the Student Employment Office and complete the I9 form and W4 form. You will need to bring original documents for the I9.


The Financial Aid staff (Student Financial Services) is committed to providing helpful and accurate information to students regarding financing options for their education at RISD. If you have any questions, call them at 401 454-6661 or email