Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Academic information

What type of academic support services are available for my son/daughter?

The Advising & Learning Assistance Center (ALAC) provides support and training for students, faculty, and staff to promote personal and academic growth among Rensselaer’s students. They offer services and provide resources for academic advising, tutoring, study skills, time management, stress relief, effective learning techniques, note and test-taking skills, supplemental instruction, learning assistants, English as a Second Language, workshops, and intervention (Electronic Warning System, Faculty Intervention Program, and Individual Counseling). For detailed information, please visit the Advising and Learning Assistance Center website.

What type of academic support services are available for my son/daughter with a disability?

Disabled Student Services is part of the Dean of Students Office. It was created to assist Rensselaer students with disabilities in achieving full access both to the academic programs and extracurricular activities offered on campus. Disabilities may be physical, psychological, emotional, or learning-related, such as dyslexia or attention deficit. Disabled Student Services offers information, needs assessment, and individual assistance. All services are provided at the student’s choice and are confidential. For more information, please visit the Disability Student Services website.

How can I get information about my son/daughter’s academic performance?

Our hope is that students maintain open communication with their parents and/or family members regarding their academic progress and other important issues. We encourage you to discuss these matters with your student, which also fosters trust and mutual responsibility. Furthermore, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute complies with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). If your son or daughter is 18 years of age or older, Rensselaer cannot release any records, including academic information, to a third party-which includes parents or guardians. For more information regarding FERPA, please contact the Registrars office.

How do I get information regarding the Dean’s List?

This information is from the Advising & Learning Assistance Center’s website.

A student who, in any semester, attains a quality point average of 3.00 or better and has no grade below C is placed on the Dean’s List for the following semester. (Grades below “C” include “I,” “D,” “F,” “FA,” “U,” and “NC.”) No student will be placed on the Dean’s List who takes less than the normal load of 12 credit hours. Thus, a student must have completed at least 12 credit hours with the grades of A, B, or C.

The Dean’s List is compiled at the end of the grading period. No student will be placed on the Dean’s List retroactively except in the case of administrative error or late submission of grade reports by a professor. A student will not be placed on the Dean’s List upon resolving a grade of “I.”

How do I get Commencement information?

For details on Commencement, please see the Commencement website.

How do I get information regarding Rensselaer’s Yearbook?

The Transit is a student-run club that produces the yearbook at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The production of the book includes photography, layout, and design. Learn more at the Transit’s website.

Health services

What types of services are provided by the Health Center?

The Student Health Center is a comprehensive, nationally-accredited, physician-directed program providing outpatient ambulatory health care with services that include:

  • Medical, gynecology, and allergy clinics
  • A counseling center
  • Health education and wellness programs
  • Free flu shots
  • Specialty consultation referral

For detailed information, please refer to the Rensselaer Student Health website.

What are the fees for services?

All matriculated students pay a mandatory Health Center Fee that provides access to the Student Health Center during each regular semester. Coverage for summer sessions is included in the spring semester fee. Rensselaer students are required to have adequate health insurance. The Rensselaer Student Accident and Sickness Insurance Plan uses a low-cost Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) that provides nationwide year-round coverage at a very reasonable cost. This insurance plan, together with the services of the Student Health Center, provides seamless coverage for students while at school. The plan also meets J-1 visa requirements. Dependent coverage is available at reasonable cost. Students who have equivalent health insurance that provides non-urgent coverage in Troy, may request waiver of the PPO plan. Additional questions regarding insurance may be directed towards the Student Health Center.

Student mail / packages, storage, and meal plan options

How do I address mail to my son/daughter?

This information is from the Residence Life website.

Mail is delivered to all residential mailrooms Monday through Friday. If students receive a package, they will be emailed a notification slip and the package is held in the mailroom for pickup. Mail for the Colonie and RAHP Apartments is delivered by the Troy U.S. Postal Service.

For all residence halls, Stacwyck Apartments, and Polytechnic Commons:

Your Name
Name of Building & Room/Apt #
1999 Burdett Avenue
Troy, NY 12180-3599

For Blitman Commons:

Your Name
Blitman Commons & Room/Apt #
110 8th Street
Troy, NY 12180-3599

Please note that package pick up for Blitman Commons will be at the J-Bldg. The J-Bldg. Mail Center is located at 11th St. and Peoples Avenue at the rear of the building across from the boiler house.

For Colonie Apartments:

Your Name
Room# Colonie Apartments
2358 Burdett Avenue
Troy, NY 12180-3590

For RAHP Apartments:

Your Name
Apartment# Building Area (Albright Court or Colvin Circle)
Troy, NY 12180-3950

How do I surprise my son/daughter with gift/care packages?

Surprise Someone Packages! During the year and especially on their birthday or special celebration times, you wish you can be there. Let Hospitality Services at Rensselaer prepare a personalized cake for your favorite student’s birthday or Special Celebration. Learn More

How do I get more information about my son/daughter’s meal plan?

At Rensselaer we believe that dining on campus plays an important role in fostering a sense of community. Rensselaer Hospitality Services, managed by Sodexo, has developed a dining program that reflects the diversity and spirit of Rensselaer. At the heart of our program is the resident dining halls. Rensselaer offers three locations, each with its own service style and unique atmosphere. Learn More

What is a RAD account and how do I add money to my son or daughter’s RAD account?

RAD (Rensselaer Advantage Dollars) is a campus declining balance account on a student’s campus access card. RAD saves the hassle of fumbling for cash or spending time in line when making purchases at ALL Hospitality Services locations, select Rensselaer locations, and several off campus restaurants and eateries. Among the advantages of using a RAD account are balance roll over from year to year, no annual or set-up fees, an 8% discount for students when buying food on campus, and much more. For more information or to make a deposit to your student’s RAD, please visit

If you have any questions about RAD, please contact the Campus Card Office at (518) 276-6670 or e-mail them at

Do you offer storage for my son’s/daughter’s supplies over the summer?

There are limited storage options available through the Office of Residence Life, each summer. Traditionally, a number of local companies also offer special deals to Rensselaer students for storage. Information is posted on the Residence Life website towards the end of the spring semester.

Transportation, parking, and safety

How do I park on campus?

Please visit the RPI Parking & Transportation web site for more information.

How do I get to campus?

For detailed directions to the Rensselaer campus, please see

What type of transportation services does Rensselaer offer for my son/daughter?

Transportation options are offered through a variety of shuttles or forums. Rensselaer’s Red Hawk Shuttle Service consists of a fleet of buses, operated under the supervision of Parking and Transportation and the Department of Public Safety. In addition, Rensselaer’s Department of Parking & Transportation Services, in cooperation with the Capital District Transit Authority (CDTA) provides free shuttle service to the Albany International Airport, Amtrak Train Station, & Greyhound Bus Terminal, during both the end and beginning of the semester as well as during major semester breaks.

Is there an alternative to walking alone on campus during evening or early morning hours?

Yes, the Department of Public Safety offers the RPI Safety Escort service so that your student will not have to walk alone on campus after dark. This service is available 24 hours every day by calling Public Safety at extension 6656, from any campus phone (or 518-276-6656 from a non-campus phone). For more information, please visit the RPI Safety Escort site.