Mar. 15, 2020: COVID-19 Update

For the latest updates visit COVID-19 Updates.

Dear RISD Students,

We realize that public health responses to COVID-19 have changed rapidly, and that the extraordinary safety measures implemented across the country have had an unforeseen impact on student and family finances. We want to make sure we keep you informed about the financial support available from RISD to help navigate this challenging situation.

Funding to Defray Travel and Moving Costs

All undergraduate students who receive need-based financial aid and graduate students who have a financial aid application on file will receive $150 to defray travel and moving costs. This funding will be sent via direct deposit or a mailed check to your home address.

If you have not already departed campus and need immediate access to funds in order to facilitate travel, please contact

To expedite funding we highly recommend you sign up for direct deposit if you have not already. You can complete and/or verify your direct deposit information in WebAdvisor (not Workday).

If you are not a financial aid recipient and are experiencing financial hardship (including food insecurity) due to this sudden change, we will have a case-by-case process by which you may be considered for financial assistance. Please email and we will contact you as we refine that process.

Continuation of Student Employment

All students will continue to receive the pay they have relied on throughout the spring semester regardless of work performed. We understand that many students rely on their campus employment to assist them with living expenses related to attending RISD. We are developing a process to record all hours that would have been worked through the spring semester and will have more details on this process coming out very shortly.

We also highly encourage you to sign up for direct deposit of your paycheck in Workday if you have not done so already. With students leaving campus, sending checks through the mail will take time and is not guaranteed to make it to you. Instructions on how to sign up for direct deposit in Workday can be found here. For workers who do not have a bank account we also have the ability to set up a paycard. If you are interested in the paycard options please contact payroll at or Student Employment at

Staying on Campus

Students without off-campus housing options will be accommodated in RISD housing. We continue to accept requests from students who would like to remain in RISD housing because they cannot return to their permanent address, or due to financial hardship. Students must request extensions through the Housing Portal as soon as possible, and if approved to stay for the remainder of the spring, will be relocated to a consolidated space on campus. Efforts will be made to locate students in single rooms when possible. Please also use the portal to complete your check-out if you are departing campus.

Refund of Room & Board Charges

All students in RISD housing who are leaving will receive a credit adjustment based on prorated room and board charges. This credit will be applied directly to your student account. Credits can be viewed on beginning in early April. Any student account with a credit balance will be eligible for a refund. We strongly recommend that students who have access to a U.S. bank account complete and/or verify their direct deposit information on WebAdvisor (not Workday). Information on refund requests and methods will be sent to all students once credits have been applied. We anticipate refunds to be processed within three weeks of the request.

To ensure students are receiving their refund at accessible and valid addresses, bank accounts, etc., RISD Student Financial Services will gather information from you via the Refund Request Form. This form will be sent to you via email once the credit(s) has been applied to your account. We understand that due to sudden departures, some students may not be staying at their permanent address or will not have time to update their address with the Registrar’s office. Additionally, some students may not have access to the bank account in which they have set up direct deposit. For these reasons, we are asking that students submit a Refund Request Form to ensure we have all necessary information for a successful transfer of funds.

All credit balances will remain on student accounts unless requested for refund. We will apply any credit balance toward future semester tuition and/or fees.

Transitioning to Remote Learning

RISD faculty are committed to providing an exceptional educational experience that will allow for continuity of the academic program. While the format of our teaching must change given the serious public health threats we are facing, we promise that enrolled students can stay on track with their academic plan and graduate in a timely manner by following this plan for continuity.

We understand this is a difficult time for our community, and particularly for our students. We want to emphasize that we are here to assist our students, faculty and staff through the transition of the semester to remote learning. We remain resolved to ensuring that students’ educational goals are not compromised in the process as we navigate the weeks ahead.

We Are Here For You

RISD staff are here to assist students in need, now and throughout the semester.

We understand you have many questions, so please do not hesitate to reach out to us directly.

Student or 401-454-6600

Student Financial Services (Financial Aid/Student Employment/Student Accounts) or 401-454-6661

Residential or 401-454-6650

Jamie O’Hara
Vice President, Enrollment Management & Student Affairs

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