Financial Aid

The Financial Aid Office at Ringling College of Art and Design is here to help you navigate through the many available financial aid options, assist you and your family in securing the resources necessary to fund your education and help you understand your rights and responsibilities for financial aid. While some assistance is available to students regardless of their financial need (e.g. some scholarships and the tuition payment plan), the primary purpose of Ringling College’s financial aid programs is to enable students to attend Ringling College. Parents and students are expected to make a maximum effort toward meeting college costs; where they cannot meet full costs, Ringling College seeks to provide assistance.

Financial Aid Office
Ulla Searing Center, 2nd Floor
(941) 359-7534

Financial Aid Application Process

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the primary form required, allowing determination of the student’s financial eligibility. This eligibility may be funded through gift assistance (grants) and/or self-help funds (loans and student employment), most frequently offered in combination in a financial aid “package.”

Applicants should submit the FAFSA to the Federal Student Aid Processor as soon after October 1 as possible and no later than March 1st. Students are encouraged to complete the yearly FAFSA online at All students, and for dependent students, a parent, should also apply for a PIN at This will serve as an electronic signature.

Financial Aid Programs

Detailed descriptions of financial aid policies and procedures may be obtained from the Financial Aid Office and on the financial aid website. A new FAFSA must be filed each year for reconsideration, and certain conditions govern all forms of aid. These include the maintenance of certain academic standards. Students should be aware of deadlines for appealing aid ineligibility based upon unsatisfactory academic performance.

Scholarships and Grants

These “gift” aid programs may be obtained through federal, state and institutional sources. Federal assistance includes the Federal Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG). In addition, the State of Florida offers the Bright Futures Scholarship program as well as need-based and non-need-based grants. Grants also are made by Ringling College through endowed funds and special gifts. Ringling College further recognizes outstanding academic and talent based potential of our students by sponsoring several merit award programs, in which awards are made regardless of financial need. Merit-based scholarships are offered to students based on academic and talent-based performance.

Federal Direct Student Loans

Federal Direct Loans are low interest loans for students, borrowed directly through the U.S. Department of Education. While student loans are an excellent option to help you meet your educational goals, loans are borrowed money that must be repaid with interest. Interest rates vary based on the loan program and year in which you borrowed the loan. Subsidized Loans are awarded based on financial need (as determined by the FAFSA). The U.S. Department of Education pays interest on the loans: while the student is enrolled at least half time, for the first six months after dropping below half time, and during periods of deferment. Unsubsidized Loans are awarded to any student eligible for financial aid regardless of financial need (as determined by the FAFSA). The U.S. Department of Education does NOT pay interest on this loan. The student has the option of making interest-only payments while in school or deferring all payments until six months after the student leaves school or is no longer enrolled half time. Students who have never borrowed Direct Loans before will need to complete the Entrance Counseling and Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN). This may be done through the website, To complete the MPN you will need your U.S. Department of Education PIN. This will act as your electronic signature. You will be asked to provide your driver’s license number and two references.

Financial Aid and Enrollment

Financial Aid is calculated on full-time enrollment, or 12 to 18 credit hours. You must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credit hours to receive financial aid. Part-time enrollment affects the Pell Grant, Bright Futures, EASE, FSAG and Ringling College scholarships and grants. It has a limited effect on federal or private loans. The Pell Grant, Bright Futures and Ringling College scholarships and grants will be prorated based on credit hours. EASE and FSAG would be eliminated as you must be enrolled full-time to receive these programs. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid to discuss your options. If you must withdraw from classes, you may be required to repay a portion of your financial aid. If you receive Bright Futures, you may need to pay back the amount you received for that class. However, withdrawing from a class may have an impact on the continuation of certain programs in subsequent years. Visit the Office of Financial Aid to discuss how this might affect you before you withdraw from your class.

Eligibility for financial aid is based on the costs involved with attending for an entire semester. If you withdraw from the College, a portion of your federal aid may need to be returned to the federal government. Please read carefully the Return of Title IV Aid policy listed on our website. If you have loans, you will enter into repayment within six months after you withdraw unless you enroll in a degree seeking program for at least six credit hours. Contact the Office of Financial Aid to discuss your options before you withdraw from the College.

Military Affiliated Education Benefits and Enrollment

The Financial Aid Office assists veterans and Members of the United States armed forces, as well as military-affiliated students, receive education benefits in compliance with the regulations of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). 

Ringling College of Art and Design School Certifying Official (SCO) serves as the liaison between the College and the VA and is responsible for transmitting certifications for  education benefits and verifying enrollment to the VA.

For questions about how VA education benefits, including the Yellow Ribbon Program, impact student aid and billing, email the School Certifying Official at:

VA education benefits are calculated on full-time enrollment, or 12 or more credit hours.  VA education benefits payments will vary depending on which benefit being used and hours of enrollment required for degree. 

If a student must withdraw from class(es), a debt may be incurred with the Department of Veteran Affairs. Students must complete a new request for certification with the College when withdrawing from class(es) during a semester. The appeals process for VA debts differs from that of the College and students should contact the VA directly for any questions regarding that process.

Eligibility for VA education benefits follows Ringling's Academic Sanctions for probation and dismissal for students using VA education benefits.

Repeating Courses

  1. Repeating any course in which a grade of “C” or better is received is not permitted in determining enrollment for financial aid eligibility. A course in which a grade of “D” or “F” is received may be repeated one time.
  2. Incomplete grades (“I”) will be considered only if they are made up by the dates posted in the official semester calendar.

Under certain conditions, a student may be eligible for a semester of Financial Aid Probation, which is the status assigned to a Ringling student who has failed to make satisfactory academic progress, has appealed, had their appeal approved and their eligibility for federal student aid reinstated. A student seeking to be placed on Financial Aid Probation and who has had their financial aid terminated may submit a written appeal with an academic plan of study to the Office of Financial Aid.

Extra Credit Charges

A student taking more than 33 total credits during a single academic year will be charged an extra credit fee. Calculations will be based on each student’s credit-hour load at the conclusion of the add/drop period for the fall and spring semesters. If an exception is made to allow the student to add credits after the add/drop deadline, the additional credits will be included in the total calculation. Extra credit charges are based on the number of credits that exceed the 33 credit limit multiplied by the current extra credit fee.