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Graduate Student Financial Aid
Award Information: Answers

What is the Cost of Attendance?

The total cost of a Boston College graduate education includes tuition, fees, and living expenses. Living expenses include rent/utilities, meals, books, travel, and personal expenses. Students are charged for tuition and fees on their student account. All billing statements are sent electronically and can be viewed in the Agora Portal under "My Bill." To see how much tuition and fees are for the 2014–2015 year (available in April of each year), click on "Calculating the Cost" on the left navigation.

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What if I have a special circumstance?

Our goal is to accurately review your ability to contribute to your educational costs and ensure that Boston College has awarded you the best financial aid package available based on the information provided to our office. If you feel that an error was made in what has been reported, or if the student's circumstance has changed, aid awards can be reconsidered.

If you are requesting an increase to your Cost of Attendance due to rent or medical/dental expenses not covered by insurance, you will need to provide documentation of these expenses, along with copies of your lease and/or receipts to your Financial Aid Counselor along with a Letter of Appeal.

Any request for an appeal must be submitted in writing to your Financial Aid Counselor. A written response from your Financial Aid Associate can be expected within two weeks of the receipt of the appeal.

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Is there any Boston College aid?

Boston College Institutional Funds

Assistantships, Fellowships, and Scholarships are awarded by the individual graduate schools. Please check your individual graduate school's website for information and deadlines to apply for these types of aid.

Students are notified directly by their graduate school or department if they have received one of these awards. Recipients are encouraged to send a copy of their award letters or emails to the Office of Student Services. This will enable our office to calculate a more accurate financial aid award. Aid received from a graduate school will be estimated on the financial award based on the notification received from the student. Actual awards will be sent electronically from the departments later in the semester and be credited to your student account.

Adjustments to a student's Federal financial aid award could be made at any time after the start of the academic year, depending on when information is received from the department. These adjustments could necessitate the repayment of loan funds that have already been disbursed to the student.

Tuition Remission

Tuition remission is awarded to assist students in the pursuit of their degree. It requires no service (work) at Boston College, nor is it subject to federal or state income tax withholding by Boston College, but it must be declared by the recipient as taxable income in accordance with current federal tax law. The value of the tuition credits awarded is credited to the student's account. This award could affect the amount of federal financial aid a student is eligible to receive. Recipients should refer to the letter sent to them by their academic department or graduate school for specific information about their award.

Service Stipend

This award requires service to an academic or administrative department at Boston College. It requires no more than 20 hours of work per week. The amount of compensation varies but is paid over the course of the academic year, and it is subject to federal and state income tax withholding. It does not affect the amount of federal financial aid that a student is eligible to receive. Recipients should refer to the letter sent to them by their academic department or school for specific information about requirements.

Non-Service Stipend

This award is to aid students in pursuit of their degree, and it requires no service (work) at Boston College. The stipend is generally distributed in two equal amounts, one amount at the start of each semester. Non-service stipends are not subject to federal or state income tax withholding by Boston College, but recipients must declare them as taxable income in accordance with current federal tax law.

This type of stipend could affect the amount of federal financial aid you are eligible to receive during that period, because it is awarded to assist students with expenses while in school. Recipients should refer to the letter sent to them by their academic department or school for specific information. Please note: Some or all of the institutional awards you receive may be taxable. Please consult the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or a tax professional for further information about your specific tax situation.

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What are the different types of federal aid?

Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan

Graduate students may be eligible to borrow up to $20,500 per year through this federal loan program. Students must be attending school at least half time to be eligible to borrow under this program. The Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan accrues interest while a student is attending school. Students have a choice of paying the interest while in school or having it capitalized after graduation or having ceased to be enrolled at least half-time. Please contact your servicer for details on these options.

The interest rate for new loans for the 2014–2015 year is fixed at 6.21% beginning July 1, 2014.

Students will receive a Disclosure Statement from their lender with details about their loan and the rates. The interest on the Subsidized Stafford loan by the federal government will not accrue while the student is in school. Repayment on both loans begins six months after a student graduates or ceases to be enrolled at least half-time. For new loans with a disbursement date on or after December 1, 2013, and before October 1, 2014, there is a 1.072% Federal loan fee. Loans with a first disbursement on or after October 1, 2014, and before October 1, 2015, the loan fee is 1.073%.

Federal Perkins Loan

This federal loan is awarded to students with exceptional financial need. No fees are associated with the Perkins Loan, and, for new borrowers, repayment of principal and interest (fixed 5%) begins nine months after the student graduates or ceases to be enrolled at least half-time. Repayment may be spread over ten years and deferred or canceled under certain conditions. The maximum award per academic year is $8,000 based on available funding.

As a new borrower to the Perkins program at BC, you are required to complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and related materials. This is an electronic process; specific instructions will be emailed to you at your BC email address. If your Perkins loan increases or a new loan is awarded, you will not receive a new MPN, as the original MPN is valid for all additions to the original award.

The financial aid verification process must be complete and all promissory notes must be signed before any disbursements can be made to your student account. Disbursements are made in two equal amounts—one each semester.

Failure to complete any required paperwork during a stated period will result in the cancellation of your award.

Federal Nursing Loan

This loan is awarded to nursing students with exceptional financial need. Terms are similar to those of the Federal Perkins Loan Program. The interest rate is 5%, with a maximum award per academic year of $4,000 based on available funding. Financial aid transcripts are required for all incoming nursing students who have received Health and Human Services funds. A transcript form and cover letter will be sent to students who indicate they have received these funds. These forms should be sent to the schools indicated for completion and returned to Boston College.

Proceeds from all loans are sent to Boston College and credited to the student's account.

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I am taking Summer classes. How do I apply for aid?

If you are taking classes in Summer 2014, you will apply for Summer along with Fall and Spring on the 2014–2015 BC Graduate Financial Aid Application. All students have an academic year for awarding loans. An academic year is generally two semesters. If you are enrolled in the Summer and plan on taking out Federal Direct Loans, then your academic year may begin in the Summer and continue through the Fall or be part of a spring summer enrollment period, and then a separate fall and spring enrollment period. If you are applying for an alternative loan or Graduate PLUS Loan, make sure your loan period matches your loan period for your unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan. You will apply for another loan for Spring later in the Fall semester.

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How do I apply for my Federal Direct Loans?

New Students and First-Time Borrowers

You must complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling. The MPN is the actual loan application. The Department of Education, which operates the Federal Direct Student Loan Program (DL), is your lender.

Visit StudentLoans.gov to complete the MPN. You will need your FAFSA PIN to sign in to the DL website. The MPN must be completed in order for your loans to be disbursed. All student loan funds are sent to Boston College and applied to your student account.

Once your bill has been paid and if there is a credit balance on your student account, you may request a refund. Refunds can be requested through the Agora Portal by clicking on "Request Student Account Refund" under "Account and Personal Info" under the My Services tab.

Entrance Counseling must be completed if you are borrowing loans at Boston College for the first time through Federal Financial Aid programs. You may complete Entrance Counseling online at StudentLoans.gov.

Returning Students

You will be notified at your BC email address that your award is available to view under "Financial Aid Award Notification" in your Agora Portal. If you have completed the MPN in a prior year, you do not need to complete a new one.

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How will I know when my federal loans have been disbursed?

You will receive an email when your loans are disbursed. Loans are disbursed at the beginning of each loan period; i.e., students who are applying for the academic year will receive one disbursement in the Fall and a second one in the Spring. Students who apply for Summer/Fall/Spring funds will receive one disbursement for the Summer, a second for the Fall, and a third for the Spring.

After the funds have been credited to your student account and if you have a credit balance, you may request a refund. Refunds may be requested online through the Agora Portal under "My Bill."

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How can I decline some or all of my financial aid?

If you wish to borrow less than what you have been awarded, you must notify the Office of Student Services in writing or through the "Financial Aid Award Notification" in the Agora Portal of your intent to cancel or reduce your loan. Click the "Edit" button to reduce the amount of your award, then click "Continue" to submit the request to your Financial Aid Counselor. As these changes are done manually, not electronically, please allow up to two weeks for them to be processed completely.

Students who request that their Federal Loans be canceled are responsible for any resulting balance on their account. Students will not be allowed to register for the next semester if their balances have not been paid. Federal regulations require all lending institutions to disburse Federal Direct Loans for an academic year in two substantially equal amounts. A Federal Direct Loan does not credit the bill until the electronic fund transfer is received.

If your loan proceeds do not arrive in time for registration, the net amount of the federal loan for that semester will be deferred on your bill, providing all requirements have been met.

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How do I get my refund?

Refunds can be processed by Direct Deposit into your checking or savings account. Direct Deposit is free and completely secure, and it ensures you will receive your refunds faster and without the hassle of picking up and depositing checks.

If you have not enrolled in Direct Deposit, simply log into your Agora Portal account, select the "My Bill" option under "Account and Personal Info," then select the "Direct Deposit" link. Once enrolled in Direct Deposit, you can request a refund by selecting "Request Student Account Refund" under "My Bill." Refunds will still be available by check but will be issued only once per week and can be picked up at 129 Lake Street. For more information about the refund process and the refund schedule, visit www.bc.edu/erefunds.

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Can I work while I'm in school?

Federal Work-Study

Federal Work-Study is a federally subsidized employment program that provides funding for students to help them meet college expenses. It provides students with job opportunities on or off campus, including community service. Federal Work-Study is awarded based on availability to students with federal eligibility. The amount is not deducted from the bill.

Actual earnings depend upon whether the recipient participates in the program, the hours worked, and the pay rate of the position as determined by the University. Federal Work-Study recipients receive first consideration for available on-campus positions. However, a Federal Work-Study award does not guarantee students an on-campus job. If a student works two jobs, whether on campus, off campus, and/or community service, both jobs will be paid with the Work-Study award.

To see available positions, visit www.bc.edu/studentemployment.

Campus Employment

Campus Employment is a separate option allowing students to hold part-time, on-campus jobs to help them meet college/living expenses. Students do not need to apply for federal financial aid to work through this program. Boston College provides on-campus opportunities in various University departments.

Students in either program may work no more than 20 hours per week while school is in session. When school is in recess, students may work up to 40 hours per week, if the job and funding permit.

In addition, Boston College has partnered with CollegeHelpers.com to provide information on off-campus, non-Federal Work-Study job listings available to enrolled Boston College students. For information about student employment, contact the Office of Student Services in Lyons Hall, or visit www.bc.edu/studentemployment.

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How do I fund the rest?

Students may choose to finance the balance of their education (Cost of Attendance minus financial aid offered) through Federal Grad PLUS or Alternative Loans.

Grad PLUS Loan

Graduate PLUS loan is a Federal Alternative loan for graduate or professional students. This loan is taken out in the student's name, not the parents'. Graduate or professional students are eligible to borrow under the PLUS Loan Program up to their Cost of Attendance minus any other financial assistance received. Students must be enrolled at least half-time and must meet all of the other general eligibility requirements for the Federal Student Aid programs. In addition, a check is performed and the applicant cannot have any adverse credit within the last 90 days. Students may use an endorser if their Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan is denied. To apply for a Grad Plus Loan, visit www.studentloans.gov.

This loan has a fixed interest rate of 7.21% and a 4.288% fee for a loan with a first disbursement before October 1, 2014, and a loan fee of 4.292% for a loan with a first disbursement on or after October 1, 2014, and before October 1, 2015. Repayment begins after the loan has been fully disbursed; however, students can postpone payments while enrolled at least half-time. Visit Direct.ed.gov for more information.

Applicants for this loan are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). They also must have applied for, and the school must determine the student's annual loan maximum eligibility under the Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan Program before the applicant may apply for a Graduate/Professional PLUS Loan.

As a reminder, the Federal Direct Stafford Loan rate is 6.21% fixed, and the Grad PLUS Loan rate is 7.21% fixed.

Alternative Loans

As with most loans, a credit check is required for most alternative loans. Some of the most frequently used educational loan programs are listed on the Alternative Loan charts. In providing this information, we are not recommending that any of these programs be chosen over another. Rather, this information should assist students in making reasonable and appropriate choices. When you compare these loan programs, we recommend that you consider the different repayment options, deferment options, capitalization of interest options, and borrower benefits. Proceeds from all loans are sent to Boston College and credited to the student's account. For more information, visit our Alternative Loans page.

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Are there other resources I can explore?

Outside Aid

Aid from employers, corporations, foundations, service organizations, religious groups, parent and school associations, and other organizations that sponsor educational assistance programs would be considered outside aid. We will include an estimate of the award on your award notification based on information received on your BC Financial Aid Application. Outside aid recipients are responsible for providing copies of award notices to this office and notifying us if their award will be different than the estimate. Deferment of payment is possible, provided we have received a copy of the award notification.

Your local library and the Internet are good resources to research outside aid sources. You may also visit Fastweb.com for more information. In addition, ASA College Planning Center, located in the Boston Public Library, maintains information on a number of outside resources. This center can be reached at (617) 536-0200 or toll free at (877) 332-4348.

Please note: If you receive funds from an outside source, an adjustment may be made to your award package to ensure that the total of all resources is within your Cost of Attendance.

Other Payment Options

Boston College offers the Boston College Deferred Payment Plan (BCPP) that is available through the Office of Student Services. If you have questions about this plan, please contact the Office of Student Services.

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What else do I need to know?

  • You must be prepared to meet all living expenses prior to your financial aid being disbursed.
  • You must complete Entrance Counseling if you are borrowing loans at Boston College for the first time through federal financial aid programs. Entrance Counseling can be completed online at StudentLoans.gov.
  • You must complete an MPN if you are a borrower of federal loans at Boston College. You can do so at StudentLoans.gov.
  • You should know that federal financial aid is not automatically renewed annually. Students must apply for financial aid each year with a new FAFSA and BC Graduate Financial Aid Application.
  • You should send us a copy of any scholarship, grant, or assistantship information you receive other than federal financial aid so that these can be included in your financial aid award.
  • You should know that it is your responsibility to obtain the financial aid application from the Office of Student Services' website at www.bc.edu/gradaid and send the necessary documentation to the Boston College Financial Aid Processing Center in a timely manner.
  • You should be prepared financially, as refunds from Stafford, Graduate PLUS, and/or Alternative Loans are not available until the first week of classes each semester, and only if there is a credit balance on your student account.

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Where do I send my documents?

Students should send all correspondence, documents, and applications to:

Boston College Financial Aid Processing Center
P.O. Box 67486
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

Please retain copies of all documents sent to Boston College pertaining to your application. All documents become the property of Boston College once submitted. All documents are imaged, and the paper originals are destroyed within 180 days of receipt. Therefore, the University is unable to return any original documents to students or their families.

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What are the office hours and contact information?

Office hours change from semester to semester. Be sure to check our main web page for current hours of operation.

Students should direct general questions to the Office of Student Services in Lyons Hall by calling (617) 552-3300 or (800) 294-0294, or by emailing studentservices@bc.edu.

You may check the status of your application by visiting www.bc.edu/finaidapp. You may also use our automated forms information service, which is available seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., by calling either telephone number listed above. Students with a BC password can also check their status through the Agora Portal.

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Note: All information contained on this page is subject to change and final regulation by the Department of Education or Boston College.