Rhode Island Student Success Initiative

Application for financial aid to CCRI, RIC and URI


What is the Rhode Island Student Success initiative?

The Rhode Island Student Success initiative was implemented in January of 2019 and is exclusively for undocumented students who cannot apply for federal student aid. Institutional aid may only be awarded to students who would be otherwise eligible for financial aid besides their undocumented status. To receive institutional aid, all students must:
  • Show financial need.
  • Make satisfactory progress.
  • Be enrolled in a Title IV aid-eligible program in Rhode Island, i.e. CCRI, RIC or URI.

Information on the application will determine eligibility for institutional financial aid for the 2019-2020 academic year for students who:
  • Cannot apply for federal student financial aid due to immigration status, AND
  • Meet conditions described in a signed affidavit in the application.

Students meeting the above criteria must submit the following to be considered for institutional or state financial aid funding:
  • Complete and sign the application and affidavit.
  • 2017 income and tax documentation as described in the application. IMPORTANT: Do not send original financial documents — please make copies!
  • Funding is not guaranteed, so early applications are strongly encouraged.

Important Facts about the Rhode Island Student Success Application (RISSA)

  • Your privacy is important to us. Information on this application will only be shared with school personnel as needed to administer financial aid programs. The Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) forbids schools from disclosing most confidential student information to non-school persons.
  • Submit your completed application to the Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner.
  • Illegible or missing information will delay processing and awarding of financial aid. Ensure that all relevant sections are completed. If a section does not apply to you, mark it as “N/A” or “Not Applicable.”

Please be aware that due to privacy issues, the RISSA form will NOT be available to fill out online or as a download document. If you have any questions on completing the application, please contact Yaruska Ordinola, Project Assistant for CASO.

Eligibility

As an undocumented student or DACA student, am I eligible for federal student aid?

No. Undocumented students, including DACA students and Dreamers, are not eligible for federal student aid.

However, in Rhode Island as of January 2019, you are eligible for state or college financial aid. Most states and colleges use information collected on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the CSS Profile to determine whether you are eligible for aid. If you are undocumented and have graduated or are graduating from a high school in Rhode Island and plan to attend a state college in Rhode Island, you are eligible for the Rhode Island Student Success initiative.

As an undocumented student or DACA student in Rhode Island, am I eligible for in-state tuition?

Yes, if you meet the criteria established by the Rhode Island Board of Governors. For details about Rhode Island In-State Tuition Policy, visit this page on the CASO website.

Completing the Rhode Island Student Success Application (RISSA)

To complete the RISSA form, do I need a Social Security number?

No. A Social Security number is not necessary to complete the RISSA. Undocumented students without a Social Security number and DACA students with Social Security numbers can complete the RISSA. Still, even if you have a Social Security number and are applying to non-state colleges in or outside of Rhode Island, you should complete the FAFSA so you can be eligible for private aid or out-of-state aid.

Does my parents’ citizenship status affect my eligibility for federal student aid?

No. Your parents’ citizenship status does not affect your eligibility for state student aid. In fact, the RISSA doesn’t even ask about your parents’ status.

In order for me to complete the RISSA form, do my parents need Social Security numbers?

No. Since your parents’ citizenship does not affect your ability to complete the RISSA, they do not need Social Security numbers. If your parents do not have Social Security numbers, you must enter 000-00- 0000 when the RISSA asks for parents’ Social Security numbers. If you are living with a local guardian and are under the age of 18, you must use his or her or their tax information.

If your parents do not have Social Security numbers, one or more parent or local guardian must sign the signature page from the online RISSA.

On the RISSA form, how do I answer the question that reads, “Are you a U.S. citizen?”

Both DACA students those without a Social Security number must answer that question by selecting the option “No, I am not a citizen or eligible noncitizen.”

On the RISSA, how do I answer the question that reads, “What is your legal status?”

If Rhode Island is your legal residence, then it is your true, fixed, and permanent home. The fact that you are a DACA or undocumented student does not affect how you should answer this question for purposes of completing the RISSA.

On the RISSA form, how do I answer the question that reads, “What is your parents’ state of legal residence?”

Your parents’ answer should reflect their true, fixed, and permanent home. Your parents’ legal immigration status does not affect how you should answer this question for purposes of completing the RISSA.

On the RISSA form, how do I submit my tax information?

If you have completed the FAFSA on paper or online and/or if you filed your income tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), you may use the same information on the RISSA form. If you did not file an income tax return with the IRS, follow the instructions that detail how to answer the financial information questions.

On the RISAA form, how do my parents or local guardian submit their tax information?

If you are completing the FAFSA on paper or online and your parents or a local guardian filed their income tax returns with the IRS and they meet certain requirements such as having Social Security numbers, you may use the same information. If your parents or a local guardian did not file their income tax returns with the IRS, follow the instructions that detail how to answer the parental financial information questions.

What information will I need to fill out the RISSA form?

To complete the Rhode Island Student Success Application, you will need:

  • Your Social Security Number (or your card if someone else is filling out the form for you)
  • If you worked and filed your taxes, your most recent federal income tax returns, W-2s, 1040 Form and other records of money earned.

  • If you are a dependent student, then you will also need all of the above information for your parent(s) or guardian(s).
  • You will also need both your parents' or guardian's birthdays.
  • If you are living with only one parent, then you will only need information about him or her.
  • If your parents are divorced or separated, you will need the month and year of their separation.
  • If your parents are married, you will need the month and year when they were married.
  • IMPORTANT: If you are under the age of 24, your parent or guardian must sign the RISSA form before we notarize it.

* IMPORTANT: None of the above information will be made public and the IRS will not use it in any way to pry into your immigration status. You should therefore not worry about any possible deportation actions.