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Getting Started

applying for graduate federal financial aid

Eligibility Considerations

Before beginning the financial aid process, you'll want to review the following requirements for your eligibility. Below is a list of criteria you must meet in order to be eligible for different types of federal financial aid.

  • You must have been accepted to a degree-seeking program
  • You are enrolled at half-time per semester as defined by the Office of Student Services (half-time is generally 6 credits)
  • You must not be in default on a Federal Stafford or Perkins Loan or need to pay a Federal grant overpayment
  • You are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • International students are not eligible for Federal financial aid. Read about other opportunities for international students.

Action Items: First Steps

Once you have reviewed the following requirements for your eligibility for financial aid, you can submit your application.

For now, there are two remaining steps involved in starting your need-based financial aid application:

  1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  2. Submit the Boston College Graduate Financial Aid Application

Step 1: Complete Your FAFSA

It's all about FAFSA: the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. In order to be considered for need-based financial aid, you must complete and submit your FAFSA. The information you report on the FAFSA is used to calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is a federal methodology of your family income and assets. It is not the amount you are actually expected to pay. The EFC is a calculation used to determine your elibility for federal student aid.

What Information Do I Need to Complete the FAFSA Accurately?

We recommend having the following handy to complete your FAFSA accurately:

  • Social Security number
  • W-2 forms and other records of earnings
  • The BC College code: 002128
  • Your Federal Income Tax Return (and that of your spouse, if you are married)
  • Any foreign tax return
  • Untaxed income records—Social Security, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, welfare, or veteran's benefits records, etc.
  • Bank statements
  • Investment information
  • Permanent resident card, if you are not a U.S. citizen
Submitting Your FAFSA

You can complete your FAFSA by going to

In order for BC to receive your FAFSA, certain pieces of your information must match between your FAFSA and our records. Please pay extra attention to your name, your date of birth, and your SSN. Also, don't forget to add our school code (002128)!

FAFSAs must be signed electronically using a U.S. Department of Education Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID). If you do not already have an FSA ID, you can apply for one here. Be sure to maintian a copy of this FSA ID for your records. You will need to use it to make changes to your FAFSA, or to file again in future years.

Once you have submitted your FAFSA for the appropriate year, it will take a few days to process. You should receive an e-mail directing you to your Student Aid Report (SAR). This is the summary of the FAFSA you should keep for your records.

Some students may be chosen for verification of the information they submitted on the FAFSA. If you are chosen for verification, please review your SAR to see if any additional information is requested.

Step 2: Submit the Boston College Graduate Financial Aid Application

The Boston College Graduate Financial Aid Application is available for download as a PDF file. Complete the form, sign it, and submit it to:

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

Please note that we only accept original signatures. Don't forget to keep a copy for your records!

Priority Deadlines for Federal Financial Aid

It is the student's responsibility to ensure that all required forms are received by the stated deadlines.

Graduate Student Priority Deadlines—Students can send in their forms after the priority deadline. (Please review message to late applicants below.)

  Incoming Graduates (Feb. 1 or Earlier Admission Deadlines) Continuing Graduates (Academic-Year Only Applicants) Summer Federal Direct Loan and/or Summer Federal Work-Study Applicants*
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) submitted electronically or paper FAFSA (pdf)
Feb. 5, 2018
March 1, 2018
Feb. 5, 2018
Completed BC Graduate Financial Aid Application
Feb. 5, 2018
March 1, 2018
Feb. 5, 2018

*Incoming graduate students admitted for the academic year are not eligible for Summer Federal Work-Study.

Message to Late Applicants

In order to be considered for Federal financial aid, your application and processed FAFSA must be received by BC before the end of the enrollment period. Application materials that are received after the following dates cannot be processed and federal financial aid cannot be received.

Application Materials for
Students Enrolled for…
  Must Be Received by…
Summer only   June 18, 2018
Summer and Fall only   November 5, 2018
Academic year only (Fall and Spring)
  April 8, 2019

Consequences for Applying Late

  • Aid will not arrive in time to pay bill or receive refund
  • Aid may not arrive in time to pay for books and/or living expenses
  • Incomplete applications will delay process

How Will I Receive My Award?

At Boston College, students' awards are sent out electronically. Students will receive an e-mail at their BC e-mail address notifying them that their award is ready to view at under "Financial Aid Award Notification." The Award Notification will list your award, Cost of Attendance, and name of your Financial Aid Counselor. By clicking on the name of the award, you can obtain a definition of that award.

  • Incoming students will begin receiving award notifications at the beginning of April
  • Returning students applying for summer aid will begin receiving award notifications mid-April
  • Returning students applying for academic year aid (fall/spring) will begin receiving award notifications in June

Status Check!

At this point you should have submitted your FAFSA and Graduate Financial Aid Application. When you're ready for more information, please proceed to the:

Next Step: Planning