Types of Financial Aid

Learn more about your options when it comes to aid types—including scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study opportunities.

Institutional Grants and Scholarships

Each year Boston College awards millions of dollars in need-based grants and scholarships to eligible undergraduates. Eligibility for Boston College grants and scholarships is determined based on the student’s demonstrated institutional need. Generous benefactors to the University can fund a portion of these scholarship grants through donor-established scholarships. Students who are eligible for Boston College need-based grants will be considered for a donor-established scholarship once they have completed the standard application for financial aid.

Boston College need-based grant funding is available to undergraduate Woods College of Advancing Studies students; however, due to the low cost of tuition and fees, most students' need is filled by Federal aid. Eligibility for all funding will be determined during the initial review.

Federal & State Grants

Federal and state grants are part of the scholarship portion of the overall financial aid award. As such, funding from these sources is determined and/or verified by the Office of Student Services and can replace institutional scholarship funding. Changes in grant levels from federal or state agencies can result in a dollar-for-dollar change in the Boston College scholarship. In addition to the application priority deadlines established by Boston College, students must also meet any deadlines established by their state scholarship program. These deadlines are listed on the FAFSA and are available at studentaid.gov.

Estimates of federal and state grants are included in the initial award based on data submitted on the CSS PROFILE, FAFSA, and other application materials. The Office of Student Services is responsible for verifying all application information and reporting the corrected information to Federal and state agencies. If any changes are made during our verification process, a revised award notification will be sent to you. Federal and state grant funds will be disbursed to your student account once the necessary application materials have been received and reviewed (verified) and funding has been received. Because these programs operate on different schedules, not all federal and state grants will be credited to your account at the same time. In general, these awards will be disbursed to your student account in two even installments—one each semester.

Federal and state grant programs include:

  • Federal Pell Grant: A federal grant program awarded to students with exceptional financial need.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG): A federal grant program awarded to students with exceptional need, with preference to students receiving Federal Pell Grants.
  • Federal TEACH Grant: A Federal grant program awarded to students who intend to teach full-time in high-need subject areas for at least four years at schools that serve students from low-income families. If the teaching requirements are not met, this grant becomes an unsubsidized Federal Stafford loan, with interest accruing from the date the grant was initially disbursed. For more information, visit studentaid.gov/manage-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/teacher.
  • MASS Grant: A Massachusetts grant program awarded to students with exceptional financial need.
  • Gilbert Grant: A Massachusetts grant program awarded to students with financial need.
  • Other State Scholarships: Several other states have reciprocal agreements with Massachusetts allowing the grants from those states to be used at Boston College. Because of the differences in the programs between states, Student Services is often not able to make estimates of state grant funds awarded by other states. Therefore, students should send copies of their state grant award notifications to Boston College, so that Student Services may provide an adjusted award letter well in advance of the Fall semester. If Student Services does not receive notification from the student, the adjustment will be made once the state notifies the office of the student's state grant eligibility, usually during the Fall semester.

Federal Direct Loans

Direct Loans are low-interest loans for students and parents to help pay for the cost of a student's education after high school. The lender is the U.S. Department of Education (the Department), though the entity you deal with once you go into repayment, your loan servicer, can be a private business.

With Direct Loans a student may borrow directly from the Federal government and have a single contact—your loan servicer—for everything related to repayment, even if you receive Direct Loans at different schools. Each student will have online access to individual Direct Loan account information via the servicer's website. Students can choose from several repayment plans that are designed to meet the needs of almost any borrower and can switch repayment plans if your needs change.


Nursing Loans

This is a federally subsidized loan program awarded to nursing students demonstrating financial need. Repayment of principal and interest (fixed at 5%) begins nine months after you cease to be enrolled at least half-time. The minimum monthly installment is $40.00, and the loan must be paid within ten years.

You will be required to complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and related disclosure materials. This is an electronic process; specific instructions will be emailed to you once the financial aid process is complete. Funds will be disbursed to your student account only after completion of all forms. Disbursements of this loan will be made in two equal installments—one each semester.

Students who have been awarded the Nursing or Law loan for the first time or the Balfour, Peter Jay Sharp, or the Bank of America Loan this year must complete Entrance Counseling and sign a promissory note. Visit ECSI's website for more information. Students will receive an email from the ECSI when it is time to sign their documents. Please make sure that your email client does not block communications from ECSI.

Federal Direct PLUS Loans

Direct PLUS loans are unsubsidized loans for the parents of dependent students. PLUS loans help pay for education expenses up to the Cost of Attendance minus all other financial assistance. Interest is charged during all periods.

  • Apply for a Federal Direct PLUS through the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Interest rate is 9.083% fixed during repayment for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2024.
    Interest starts accruing at the loan’s first disbursement.
    Rates are annually reset by the federal government on July 1.
  • Origination fee is 4.228% for loans disbursed on or after Oct. 1, 2020, and before Oct. 1, 2024.
  • Eligibility is COA (cost of attendance) minus any aid received by the student.
    The school will determine the amount you are eligible for upon certification of the loan.
  • A Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) must be completed for the student before you apply for a Federal Direct PLUS loans.
  • Parents must complete an MPN (Master Promissory Note)
    The MPN is completed online using your FSA ID. As the parent of the student, you will need to sign with your own parent FSA ID and cannot use your son or daughter's FSA ID.

Federal Loan Resources

  • studentaid.gov—The U.S. Department of Education's website for federal student aid. On this page you can:
    • Complete a Direct Loan Electronic Master Promissory Note (MPN).
    • Complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling.
    • View Disclosure Statements and other electronic loan correspondence.
    • Find links to other tools and resources.
    • Initiate a PLUS Loan application.
    • Access the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).
  • The Department of Education's Direct Loan Applicant Services hotline: 800-557-7394

Private Educational Loans

Private Educational Loans are loans not guaranteed by the Federal government. The borrower (either student or parent) may borrow a private educational loan through various banks, credit unions, or savings and loan associations. There are many different types of private educational loans for different types of borrowers.

These loans are not need based; rather, they are based on creditworthiness. Most students will need a creditworthy co-signer such as a parent or other relative in order to obtain a private educational loan. Terms and conditions applicable to these loans vary greatly. Factors such as interest rate, APR, length or repayment, loan minimum and maximum, and fees should be carefully considered when researching and choosing a private educational loan.

One feature of many private educational loans is the ability to completely postpone (defer) repayment until you graduate from college. Private educational loans almost always offer lower interest rates than credit cards do.

While we encourage students and families to pursue Federal financial aid before considering private educational loans, there are many student/family situations where a private educational loan is viewed as a preferred alternative. Sometimes parents want their student to be responsible for his/her education. In other cases, the convenience of not needing Federal forms to borrow funds is also a consideration. Whatever your situation may be, borrow only what you need, and compare your options before you borrow.


ELM Resources is the only not-for-profit mutual benefit corporation serving the student loan industry today. ELM Resources provides a common, non-proprietary, and open data exchange and disbursement system that seamlessly links the diverse computing platforms of schools and lenders through its industry-leading products.

ELM also offers a lender comparison solution, ELM Select, for schools that provide their own page to display a recommended lender list and offers students the ability to compare and select the loan that best fits their needs. Over 1,800 campuses use ELM Resources to send and receive loan data for alternative loans with the lender of their choice.


Credible is an online tool that allows students to compare personalized loans from multiple lenders. Students can analyze prequalified rates, terms, and eligibility rules side-by-side in just a matter of minutes.

Credible is not a lender or bank. Credible partners with student loan lenders, so that applicants have a variety of competitive options, each addressing their particular needs.

Credible is completely free! You can find out more about Credible and begin the process at www.credible.com.

Note: Boston College does not endorse any of the lenders included at the links above and cannot recommend specific lenders. Students may also choose to use a loan provider that does not appear in the list of lenders included at either of the links above.


Work Opportunities

There are two types of student employment opportunities available to students: Federal Work-Study and campus employment. 

Federal Work-Study (FWS) is a federally-subsidized employment program awarded to domestic students. Opportunities under the FWS program may be on- or off-campus, including community service positions. To be eligible for FWS, students must demonstrate federal financial need by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for a given year, and be enrolled in a degree program at least half-time or greater.

The amount indicated on your financial aid award is the maximum eligibility level, not a guarantee. Actual earnings depend on the hours worked and the pay rate of the position. Awards are based on students working 8–10 hours per week. Earnings made do not credit the student’s account, but rather are paid directly to the student in the form of a weekly paycheck.

If you do not qualify for FWS or did not apply for financial aid, you can work under the campus employment program. Campus employment is a separate option allowing students to hold part-time jobs on campus to help meet educational expenses. 

In either employment program, students may not work more than 20 hours per week while school is in session. During the summer, students may work up to 40 hours per week as permitted. 

Preference is given to FWS-awarded students since they have demonstrated financial need.

For information about available jobs, visit our Student Employment web page.

Outside Scholarships

All students are encouraged to seek 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 replace the loan and work study portion of the student’s financial aid offer before adjusting any Boston College grant or scholarship funds. Because BC meets full demonstrated institutional need, the total grant funding, including outside scholarships, cannot exceed that determined need. The financial aid offer will be adjusted as needed to keep the offer within institutional financial need.

Sources for outside scholarships can include high schools, civic organizations, vocational rehabilitation programs, National Merit, etc. Boston College also treats any outside resource, like tuition reimbursement or employment-based education benefits from other institutions, as outside scholarships. 

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. This information should be reported for all scholarships, even if the funds are paid directly to the student. You should report this information on your financial aid portal, as well as upload the outside scholarship award letter(s) to the BC document upload portal. Ensure all uploaded outside scholarship information has the student's name and Eagle ID Number included.
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

Finding Outside Scholarships

Outside scholarships can help students reduce potential debt with funds that do not have to be repaid. There are numerous scholarship opportunities available. The Office of Student Services does not keep an internal listing of outside scholarship opportunities, but there are a variety of popular search engines that students may want to utilize. BC is not affiliated with any of these sites and listing them here should not be construed as an endorsement. Also use caution if using a paid scholarship search provider.

Other Potential Sources

  • High school (Boosters, PTA, band, etc.)
  • Students' or parents' employers
  • Local businesses
  • Town governments
  • Religious organizations
  • Ethnic and cultural organizations
  • Military associations
  • Private foundations and charities

Search Safely!

There are a variety of scholarship scams on the internet. Remember you should not have to pay to submit a scholarship application or to be considered for funding. You should also not have to share secure personal information like a Social Security number. When in doubt, research the company or scholarship provider to ensure they are a legitimate agency. For additional helpful tips to search for scholarships safely, please visit the Federal Trade Commission site.

Veterans' Education Benefits

Boston College acts as a liaison with the Veterans Administration for students who may qualify to receive veterans' education benefits. Eligible students should apply through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs in order to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility. Applications can be completed online at benefits.va.gov/gibill or by calling the Department of Veterans Affairs at 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551).

Once the Certificate of Eligibility has been received, the student should contact Linda Malenfant, the VA Certifying Official in the Office of Student Services. The Certifying Official will then certify the student's enrollment information to the Regional Processing Office (RPO). The RPO will process payment of benefits directly to the student.

For more information on life at Boston College, visit our Boston College Veterans website.

Boston College is proud to participate in the Post-9/11 GI Bill® Yellow Ribbon Program. This award is a supplement to Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, and it signifies Boston College’s commitment to providing benefits to those who have served our nation so courageously.

The Yellow Ribbon Program is a provision of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008. The program allows institutions of higher learning (degree granting institutions) in the United States to voluntarily enter into an agreement with the Veterans Association to fund tuition expenses that exceed the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition rate. The institution can contribute up to 50% of those expenses, and the VA will match the same amount as the institution.

Boston College has allocated 100 slots for Yellow Ribbon recipients. Any student in a degree program is eligible to apply. The Yellow Ribbon Program (YRP) scholarship, combined with Boston College Scholarships, federal aid, and other estimated financial assistance, cannot exceed the cost of attendance. YRP recipients must maintain good academic standing while receiving the scholarship. Recipients will be eligible to receive the award in subsequent years, provided that Boston College remains a YRP participant.

Eligible veterans must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Served an aggregate period of active duty after September 10, 2001 of at least 36 months
  • Honorably discharged from active duty for a service connected disability and served 30 continuous days after September 10, 2001
  • Is a dependent eligible for Transfer of Entitlement under the Post-9/11 GI Bill based on a veteran’s service under the eligibility criteria listed above

Students in all undergraduate schools, GA&S, GSOE, GSON, and CASG will receive a $6,000 Yellow Ribbon scholarship from BC that is matched by the VA with an additional $6,000 for a total of $12,000.

Boston College is implementing a program for Yellow Ribbon recipients for full-time MBA, Law School, and GSSW students in which Yellow Ribbon funding will meet the total tuition cost for these programs.

Eligible veterans must first fill out a form with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and then submit a Certificate of Eligibility to Student Services. For more information on the Yellow Ribbon Bill, including eligibility requirements, visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.

Post-9/11 GI Bill® Yellow Ribbon Program

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at benefits.va.gov/gibill.

Loan Default Rate


Class of 2020 Federal student loan default rate

Boston College


FY 2020 National Federal student loan cohort default rate

U.S. Department of Education

* The FY 2020 default rates were calculated using the cohort of student loan borrowers who entered repayment on their William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans or Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) between Oct. 1, 2019, and Sept. 30, 2020, and who defaulted between Oct. 1, 2019, and Sept. 30, 2022. As expected, FY 2020 cohort default rates were significantly impacted by the pause on federal student loan payments that began March 13, 2020. During the pause, borrowers with ED-held student loans were not required to make any payments, and no borrowers with ED-held loans entered default. Fewer than 200 borrowers with non-ED-held FFEL loans entered default because those loans were not eligible for the payment pause.