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Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions

prospective undergraduate students

(Printable Version)

1. I am a prospective student at Boston College. How do I apply for aid and what are the deadlines? Do I need to apply every year?
Students who wish to be considered for financial aid must apply each year. To apply for financial aid as a Boston College student, there are several forms that must be completed:

  • All students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for federal and/or state aid. Federal aid includes Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Direct Loans, both subsidized and unsubsidized, Perkins loans, Nursing loans, and Work-Study. State aid varies by state. Once the FAFSA is completed, you may be selected by the Federal Processor for a process called verification, which means you will have to provide your actual tax data on the FAFSA through the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
  • By completing only the FAFSA, Boston College is not able to determine your eligibility for institutional need-based grants. In order to be considered for all institutional need-based aid as well as all federal and state aid, you must complete the FAFSA and additional forms, if applicable to your situation.

You may check the status of your application at www.bc.edu/finaidapp.

2. Will my chances of acceptance be diminished if I apply for aid?
Boston College has a need-blind admissions policy, which means that our Admissions Office evaluates each student's academic and extra-curricular credentials without knowledge of a family's financial circumstance. Your application for aid will in no way affect your chances of admission to Boston College.

3. Is it possible to obtain a fee waiver for the CSS Profile?
You should complete the CSS Profile with your information. After submitting this data, CSS will determine if you are eligible for a fee waiver. This determination is made solely by The College Board and not by Boston College.

4. I want to apply for financial aid, but my parents cannot complete their Federal Tax Returns by your application deadline. What should I do?
Applicants are required to submit copies of their current year tax returns (including all schedules and W-2's.) If you are unable to complete your tax returns by the deadline you should use estimated tax data to complete your CSS Profile and FAFSA applications. You should also submit copies of your previous year tax returns and a letter explaining when your current return will be available. Financial aid awards based on estimated data and previous year tax information will be conditional, and will not be made final until the current year tax return information has been reviewed for any necessary changes to the estimated award.

5. I, the student, did not file taxes, so how can I waive my student tax requirement?
If you did not file a tax return and deposit to Boston College, an additional form will be collected sometime in mid-May to verify your tax filing status.

6. If I do not qualify for aid, can I reapply as an upper class student?
Yes, you may apply anytime during your period of enrollment at Boston College.

7. Will I receive the same financial aid award in future years?
Boston College is committed to meeting your full demonstrated financial need throughout your undergraduate years. However, your need may change from year to year. Circumstances in which your need may change could include an increase or decrease in the parent's or student's income or assets, family size, or number of family members attending college. Your financial aid award will change to reflect these changes in circumstances. If the family's circumstances remain relatively constant over the four years of attendance, the total financial aid received should not change significantly. Self-help expectations (Federal Work Study and Federal Loan amounts) may change with grade level advances.

8. If my parents are divorced or separated, do they both need to send in financial information?
Yes, your custodial parent should file the FAFSA and the CSS Profile Application, and your non-custodial parent should complete the Noncustodial Parent's Profile. It is the position of the University that the responsibility for funding a student's education rests primarily with the student and family. Reluctance on the part of a parent, whether custodial or noncustodial, to assist with these costs is not sufficient reason to exclude their income/assets from our analysis. Consequently, while we will use only the student's and the custodial parent's information when determining eligibility for federal financial aid, we will continue to require the non-custodial parent's information before we will review eligibility for institutional funds. We look at each case individually, and we make every effort to be sensitive to particular family circumstances. If either parent is remarried, financial information about their new spouse and dependents, if any, should be provided.

It is really up to you, your mother, and your father to decide how to divide the responsibility for paying the term bills.

9. I notice my award notification says that my financial aid is conditional. Does this mean my financial aid award could change upon receipt of additional documentation?
If the additional documentation reflects different information than what your family provided to us on the CSS Profile or FAFSA, your aid eligibility will be re-evaluated. Your award might then be changed to reflect the more accurate information.

10. What is Federal Work Study? How do I get a work study job?
Federal Work Study is a type of self-help financial aid that is awarded based on financial need. Students may earn up to the amount awarded through their work study position. It is important to note that funds earned from a work study position are paid directly to the student and do not reduce the student account bill. Work study positions are typically posted just before the start of the fall semester. Students can search the job database through the Student Services Student Employment website at www.bc.edu/studentemployment.

11. I'm expecting to receive outside scholarships from my high school or other sources outside of Boston College. How will these affect my financial aid award from Boston College?
All students are encouraged to seek out outside scholarships to help with the cost of their education. To ensure the outside scholarship will benefit the student as much as possible, it is our policy to first replace the loan and work study portion of the student’s BC financial aid package; however, total grant funding (including outside scholarships) cannot exceed the student’s total demonstrated institutional need. If the amount of outside scholarship received exceeds the amount of loan and work study, then the student’s BC grant funds are reduced to meet their demonstrated institutional need.  Unearned funding such as tuition benefits and state grants reduce BC grant funds dollar for dollar within the financial aid package.
 
Sources for outside scholarships can include high schools, civic organizations, vocational rehabilitation programs, etc.  Students can also visit www.fastweb.com for additional outside scholarship application information.
 
Reporting and Mailing Scholarships
 The federal government requires that students inform the Office of Student Services directly of any scholarships or other education benefits received from sources outside of BC.   You should report this information on your financial aid application materials, as well as submit the outside scholarship award letter(s).  Please ensure all outside scholarship information has the student’s name and eagle number included.
 
Please send all outside scholarship award letters to:
 
Boston College
Financial Aid Processing Center
PO Box 489
Randolph, MA 02368

Beginning August 1, 2014, the new address to mail all financial aid forms will be:

Boston College Financial Aid Processing Center
P.O. Box 67486
Chestnut Hill, MA  02467
 
Please mail all outside scholarship check payments to:
 
Boston College
Office of Student Services
Lyons Hall, Room 103
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
 

12. Why does my award differ from what FAFSA said my Expected Family Contribution (EFC) was?
There are two different methodologies used to determine financial aid at Boston College. Federal Methodology is determined by your FAFSA and is used to award federal funds only. Boston College uses an institutional methodology to award Boston College funds. This methodology takes into account home equity and other information that the federal methodology does not. Therefore, Boston College's expected family contributions are often different than the federal EFC.

13. I received a better financial aid award from another university. Will Boston College match the other school's award? How can I get BC to increase the amount of aid I was offered?
All financial aid offered at Boston College is need-based. The Office of Student Services does not offer merit-based financial aid. If your family's financial situation has changed significantly since the time of your financial aid application, please contact your financial aid counselor to discuss the specific details to determine if your analysis should be reviewed. Boston College does not "match" other school's financial aid offers.

14. My online application status says that the Incoming Student Validation Form is required. What does this mean?
This form is a federal requirement for all incoming freshmen. It can be downloaded at www.bc.edu/finaidforms. It confirms information that you have already reported, such as untaxed income and the number of people in your parent's household and in college. Unless this information has changed from what you originally reported on the FAFSA and CSS Profile, your award is unlikely to change. Any outside scholarships listed on this form will be factored into your financial aid award as described in our outside scholarship policy.