Sources of Financial Aid
Grants are funds, often awarded by the college or universities, that do not need to be paid back. Students do not need to complete an application for grant monies. Federal and state grants, such as Pell and TAP, are also available.
Work Study is a federal program that gives students financial assistance through campus employment.
Loans are a form of financial aid that must be paid back after graduation. Below is a list of loan providers:
- Stafford Loans can be subsidized or unsubsidized. In the case of subsidized loans, the government pays the interest while a student is in school. For unsubsidized loans, the student pays the interest on the loan and can defer payment until after graduation. Stafford Loans are awarded based financial need.
- Perkins Loans are awarded to students with exceptional financial need.
- PLUS Parent Loan are awarded to parents, and have an interest rate higher than that of the unsubsidized stafford loans.
- Private Loans
Applying for Financial Aid
- FAFSA – The Free Application for Federal Student Aid must be filed by all Year 2 students applying for financial aid. The FAFSA can be filed as early as October 1 of Year 2 and we encourage families to file by January 15th or February 1st at the latest. Students can enter up to ten schools on the FAFSA. Additional schools can be added by using the FAFSA correction form.
- CCS – The CSS is an additional financial aid form that is required by many private colleges. The form must be filed in addition to the FAFSA. It can be filed as early as October. To find out if a particular school requires the CSS, please check with the individual college.
- Scholarships – Scholarships are awarded by schools and organizations. Students must search for and apply for different scholarships on their own.
- Attend meetings with college representatives.
- Speak with a student activities coordinator to discuss how to get involved through the BECNO community. Students should consider volunteering, finding internships, and committing to those activities about which they feel passionate.
- Begin standardized test prep.
- Students are assigned BECNO college transfer advisors.
- Weekly CTO meetings begin for all Year 1 students.
- Take the SAT or ACT (with writing). Students may also take the SAT in May.
- Those students who did not take the SAT or ACT (with writing) in March should do so now.
- Students take up to three SAT II Subject Tests, or the SAT or ACT (with writing) if they have not already done so. (BECNO recommends that students take two subject tests only.)
- Attend the Year 1 retreat to Simon’s Rock.
- Resolve any outstanding grade changes.
- Students should set up a meeting with their College Transfer Advisor, particularly those students who are considering applying Early Decision or Early Action.
- Complete the college advising questionnaire at the Student Services Site (SSS).
- Arrange visits to and possible overnight stays at prospective schools.
- Request letters of recommendation from faculty.
- Draft college essays. Help is available in the Writing Center.
- Attend college open houses and information sessions.
- Begin applying for scholarships.
- Take, or retake, SAT, SAT Subject Tests, or the ACT (with writing).
- Call colleges to schedule interviews.
- Submit Early Decision/Early Action applications.
- Submit applications to schools with Rolling Admissions.
- Take, or retake, SAT, SAT Subject Tests, or the ACT (with writing).
- Early Decision/ Early Action decisions are sent to applicants.
- Finalize essays and submit supplemental applications.
- Begin submitting regular decision applications.
- File FAFSA and CSS Profile.
- First semester grades are mailed to colleges.
- Begin to submit transfer applications.
- Notification for those students who applied for regular admission.
- Compare financial aid packages.
- Visit schools.
- Notify all colleges of admissions decisions.
- Send deposit to the school you plan to attend.
- Notify counselors and teachers of acceptances.
- Early Decision (ED): This is a binding admissions plan whereby students commit, unconditionally, to attending the school if admitted. ED deadlines are usually in November, although some schools offer secondary ED deadlines, called ED 2, as late as mid-January. Students receive an admissions decision within four to six weeks. The advantage of this plan is that, if admitted, students know where they are going early, usually by December 15th. While their friends are stressed applying to more schools through January and February and must compare different offers of admission and financial aid through May 1st, successful ED applicants already have everything figured out. Another advantage of this plan is that some schools have higher admission rates for ED applicants. The downsides include losing the chance to compare financial aid packages and having to commit to one school so early on in the process.
- Early Action (EA): This plan is similar to ED in terms of application deadlines, but it is non-binding. Students do not have to withdraw applications at other schools if accepted and, should they choose to enroll, they can wait until May 1 to mail in their deposit. Other than having to complete the application early, this plan has no downside and is absolutely encouraged as it buys students the great comfort that comes with being admitted to a school early on in the process, often by December 15th.
Rolling Admission: Under this plan, students’ applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis. Rather than waiting to receive all the applications by a specific deadline, and then selecting the strongest applications from the pool, admissions decisions are made on an ongoing basis. Therefore, the earlier an application is received, the higher the chance of acceptance, and the sooner the student finds out if s/he is admitted. Students are notified throughout the year, rather on a single date, as with regular decision. Many state schools have rolling admissions plans, such as University of Massachusetts, University of Arizona, etc.
Regular Decision: Under this plan, students must submit applications by a specific deadline; typically between January 1 and February 15, although many transfer applications are accepted through May. Admissions decisions are not made until after all applications are received, to ensure that the strongest applications are selected from the pool. Decisions are mailed to all applicants on April 1.
Freshman versus Transfer Applications: Do BHSEC students apply as freshmen, transfers or both? How many BHSEC credits are accepted by four year schools? Over the past several years, the CTO has learned that BHSEC students have a wide variety of goals for their continued education. This, coupled with the fact that different schools recognize different numbers of BHSEC credits and accept students in a variety of ways (as transfers, freshmen/freshmen with advanced standing, etc.), makes it difficult to give a “one size fits all” answer to this question. These issues are best addressed on a case-by-case basis the CTO advisors.
- Bard College Opportunity Scholarships and Preferred Transfer: Click here for information on Bard College scholarships and opportunities for early college students.