Resources for Students

Welcome to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. As you prepare for arrival, please review the information below, as well as other links on this Web page. Please continue to watch the Office of Graduate Education website for additional announcements and information.

Before you Arrive:

Your department will reach out with information relevant to your specific program. Please check your email regularly for any communication. If you want to get in touch or have a question, it is best to start with an email to your graduate program administrator. You can find departmental contacts on our Contact Us page.   

RPI is located in the city of Troy, NY. For information on traveling to and from Troy, please check out this website:

From Albany Airport (ALB): The closest airport is Albany International Airport (ALB). Despite the name, there are currently only domestic flights to Albany. If arriving at Albany Airport, the easiest way to get to campus is by taxi or rideshare. Both Lyft and Uber are available in the capital region.

From New York City: New York city has three international airports: John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), LaGuardia Airport (LGA), and Newark Airport (EWR). 

From these airports, there are several ways that you can get to RPI:

1) Shutttle: There is a shuttle service between JFK, Newark, LaGuardia and Albany Internatioanl Airport. Visit this website for accurate information: While the shuttle will pick you up directly at the arrival airport, you will still need transportation from Albany Airport to RPI. 

2) Train: The Amtrak train will take you from Penn Station to Rensselaer Station.  Visit Amtrak Website for ticket information and schedules:

3) Bus: there are several bus companies with service from NYC to Rensselaer. Buses typically leave from the Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT) and arrive either at Albany or Rensselaer bus terminals. You can check: or

For the above two options (train and bus) you will need to get from the airport to the terminal. You can explore your options here:

Finally, you will need to get from the Rensselaer station to RPI - the easiest option here is either taxi or rideshare. 

Once on campus, here is a map to help find your way around. 

Graduate students typically live off-campus. This website: provides information on housing options, as well as information the Troy community.

The RIN (Rensselaer Identification Number) is your main campus ID. It is the nine digit number that begins with 66 that you can see on your acceptance documentation. Next, you need to activate your Rensselaer Computing System(RCS) account, and obtain you campus card. You will find the instructions here: Primary Campus Accounts and Services.

The above document also provides useful information on other campus systems, parking, disability services and accommodations, and campus safety information. For additional information on how to set up the VPN, phone applications, software downloads, and more, please see the following document: Additional Account Access Instructions, or visit:

There are different health insurance options available for graduate students. Information on health plan options for students are detailed here

Please also review the campus health requirements listed here: Health Center Requirements

If you want to ask someone about health insurance please reach out to Bonnie Bornt, Departmental Insurance Rep,, 518-276-2997

International students should review the information for new students from the office of International Services for Students and Scholars (ISSS). This page contains important information to help you prepare for coming to the U.S., as well as things to consider once you are here. It also provides information on banking, housing, communications, and more.

Troy public schools and PreK programs:

Daycare programs:

Area information and general activities for families:

Troy public library offers multiple programs for children and adults:

Relocating to a new place involves costs such as airfare, housing and utilities deposits, basic purchases, and more. Students should plan accordingly and prepare an initial budget until they begin to receive their stipend (if applicable).

Below are estimated costs of living in Troy. Please note that these estimated costs apply to a single adult with no children. All estimates are for the calendar year (that is, Fall, Spring and Summer).

Food - $400/month

Other necessities - $350/month. This includes apparel and services, housekeeping supplies, personal care products and services, and other personal expenses.  

Campus fees - $3,533 per year. This includes the RPI health insurance plan cost ($2,020) and all campus fees ($1,513). There are different market healthcare options that you can explore if you don’t wish to use the RPI plan. If you have questions on US healthcare you may reach out to Bonnie Bornt, Departmental Insurance Rep, at, 518-276-2997

Housing - You can find rates starting around $650, for a single bedroom in a shared house (with or without a private bathroom). On the higher end of rent, you can find a studio or one bedroom apartment at around $1300/month. Please check the Housing section on this page for more information.

Transportation - Your Rensselaer ID allows you to ride all CDTA bus routes, including STAR and NX services, at no charge. You also have free access to the CDPHP Cycle program. If you do own a car, the approximate annual cost for car ownership in the capital region (based on an analysis done by the Times Union is $1,685. To this, you will need to add the cost of gas and the purchase price of the car.

When you Arrive on Campus:

Please review the attached presentation to learn about our Registration Procedures

All new graduate students are required to attend the Academic Orientation Seminar. Summer and Fall entrants attend the orientation seminar in August. Spring entrants attend the orientation seminar in January. New teaching assistants are also required to attend Teaching Assistant Training. Please make sure your schedule will allow you to participate in the academic orientation seminar, and if you will be a new TA, in the TA training. The links on the right hand side menu of this page will take you to the relevant pages for the academic orientation seminar and the TA training course.

Departments and schools offer additional orientation activities. Contact your department directly for more information on required orientation and your expected arrival date. The Contact Us page on this Website provides the names and emails of all graduate program directors (GPDs) and graduate program administrators (GPAs). 

Rensselaer is required to complete Form I-9 for each individual that is hired for employment (such as TAs and RAs). This includes citizens and noncitizens. There is a portion of the form for students to complete, and a portion that Rensselaer as the employer must complete. Part of this process includes presenting us with acceptable documents evidencing your identity and employment authorization. You may not begin working until your I-9 verification process is completed.

Students who are on campus must meet with a Student Liaison or make an appointment with the Payroll Office. That person will then be responsible for meeting with you, in person, to view your documents and issue your Student Employment Card. Your department's contact person can help you set this up. Before your meeting, please fill out Section One of Form I-9 at this linkMaintain your receipt code to present at your meeting.

Please note - Rensselaer will not pay student workers to perform work while residing abroad.

Visit the payroll page to set up your direct deposit.

Rensselaer graduate students have access to discounts on air travel with Southwest airlines. The reduced rates are available to graduate students when booking through Graduate students must use the Institute’s discount code of 99500402 and have a Rapid Rewards Membership in order to access this discount for their personal use.

Graduate students can also take advantage of T-Mobile Work Perks program.

CDPHP Cycle! RPI Code: the redemption code for a Seasonal Pass for RPI students is: GORED
The seasonal pass allows up to 30 min of free e-bike per day (can be multiple trips), unlimited free minutes for pedal bikes. No unlock fee (even after free time is used up). Once free minutes are used up riders are charged the PAUG rate of $.15/minute. This code can be redeemed through the Credits & Coupons section in the app, in the drop down menu that appear when you click on your name. Once the code is entered you will be prompted to the Membership options for RPI. Please be sure to sign up with your email. 

Finally, graduate students also have a platform for access to discounts on getaways, things to do and goods: visit: and enter Registration Code: bhsonline. 

Graduate students with families may take advantage of a limited hourly child-care support program offered through Human Resources. Please visit: for more information. The program is intended to help students with unexpected needs, not on a regular basis. Students who would like to utilize this service should email Louis Padula at

Spouses of graduate students may take courses at RPI during the time they are here. Spouses may audit one course per semester at no cost. They may also take up to two courses for credit at no cost. To get started, please email Louis Padula at Dependents of international students must contact ISSS to ensure the dependent visa allows you to take courses. 

Finally, spouses of graduate students who wish to obtain a campus card will be waived the $10 card fee. If you have any questions, please email Colleen Smith at

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