Policies & Eligibility
Students who demonstrate financial need will qualify for financial aid provided they meet certain eligibility requirements below. These requirements include full-time enrollment in a degree program, satisfactory academic progress toward a degree, and eligible citizen status. Students with demonstrated financial need who live off-campus, while still eligible for financial aid, may see a reduction in their financial aid award as a result of a lower cost of attendance. A student with demonstrated financial need who studies abroad will receive more or less financial aid depending on the program's administering sponsor.
Demonstrated financial need is the difference between the cost of attendance and the expected family contribution.
Boston College is committed to providing information in a manner that is accessible to all. If you are in need of a printed copy of the material presented on this web page, please contact the Office of Student Services.
Verification is a federal process used to confirm the accuracy of the information provided on the FAFSA. If your FAFSA is selected for verification, additional information will be required to complete your financial aid file.
Students may be provided with a financial aid award before submitting all the required documentation to complete the verification process. Should the verified financial information differ significantly from the original information provided on your FAFSA and/or CSS Profile forms, there may be a change in your financial aid eligibility.
The documentation required for the verification process can vary. Students can confirm what information is needed by checking their online portal which will indicate the information needed to complete your financial aid file. Typically students selected for verification will have to submit the following documents:
- Incoming Student Federal Verification Form or Undergraduate Financial Aid Application
- Signed copies of federal/foreign tax returns or IRS Tax Return Transcripts for the student and parent.
- If the student or parent is not required to file a tax return, a non-filer statement is required along with copies of your W2 forms. The IRS Verification of Non-Filing letter is required from parents of dependent students who did not file a tax return as well as independent students (and spouse, if applicable) who did not file a tax return. Dependent students are not required to submit an IRS Verification of Non-Filing letter.
- Additional documentation may be required for some to verify:
- Untaxed Income
- High School Completion Status
- Identity/Statement of Educational Purpose
IRS Data Retrieval Tool
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) allows students and parents to electronically transfer their IRS tax return information into the FAFSA. The IRS DRT, if successfully matched, is one method used to complete the FAFSA Verification process.
We strongly encourage you to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool during the initial filing of your FAFSA. Families must actively choose to utilize the IRS DRT by clicking "Link to IRS" on the FAFSA. If they choose to do so, they will be transferred to the Internal Revenue Service website. There, the FAFSA Central Processing System (CPS) will conduct a data match with the IRS. In order to enhance the security and privacy of personal data transferred into the FAFSA from the IRS, the IRS DRT will encrypt the student applicant and parent transferred tax data and hide it from view on both the IRS DRT website and on the FAFSA web pages. The words "Transferred from the IRS" will display in the data entry fields throughout the FAFSA form and on the Student Aid Report (SAR).
You and your parents are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if you:
- Filed your federal tax return with the IRS
- Have a valid social security number
- Have a Federal Student Aid ID
You and your parents are not eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if:
- Your parents are married and filed as "Married Filing Separately"
- Your parents are married and filed as "Head of Household"
- You filed an amended tax return
- You filed a foreign tax return
- You filed a 1040NR tax return using a Tax Number (TIN)
Withdrawals and Leaves of Absence
Students who need to withdraw or take a leave of absence may do so for academic, disciplinary, personal, or medical reasons. For students that receive federal financial aid funds, you may be subject to the Federal Return of Title IV Aid calculation and state financial aid return policies. Students should notify the Office of Student Services as soon as a decision has been made to withdraw, take a leave, or otherwise stop attending Boston College.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Federal regulations (Sections 668.16(e).668.32(f) and 668.34) require that schools monitor the academic progress of each applicant for federal financial assistance and that the school certify that the applicant is making satisfactory academic progress toward earning his/her degree. This determination of progress must be made at least once a year and before the financial aid office disburses any federal aid funds for the subsequent semester. At Boston College, students are reviewed annually, at the end of each spring semester, for compliance with the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements.
Students who are aware of learning or other disabilities should immediately contact the Disability Services Office so that appropriate accommodations can be made. A student with a documented disability and functional limitations is still held to the same academic expectations as other students. If the student is registered with the Disability Services Office and receiving appropriate accommodations, the student should be able to maintain satisfactory academic progress for financial aid eligibility purposes.
Pursuant to Federal regulations, the following constitutes Boston College’s Financial Aid policy on satisfactory academic progress for undergraduate students.
Eligible Citizen Status
The Office of Student Services gives full financial aid consideration to United States citizens and eligible non-citizens. Eligible non-citizens are:
- Permanent U.S. residents
- Holder of an Arrival Departure Record (I-94) for anyone of the following designations:
- Asylum Granted
- Victim of Human Trafficking
Eligible non-citizens must provide documentation of permanent residency or citizenship status. Acceptable forms of documentation include:
- Resident Alien Card (I-551)
- Arrival/Departure Record (I-94) with a temporary I-551 stamp that has not expired
- Conditional Permanent Resident Alien Card (I-551C)
- T-Visa (T-1, T-2, T-3, etc)
Pending U.S. Permanent Residency Status
- Must document permanent residency by the admission deposit deadline. If you will not be able to document permanent residency status, you are not eligible for financial aid.
- If granted permanent residency later in the academic year, you will be considered for financial aid at that time. Be sure to submit a complete financial aid application.
- Must document permanent residency with financial aid application.
- If documentation comes in after the start of the academic year, you will be considered for financial aid at that time.
Students are eligible to receive financial aid if they live off campus. The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) remains the same for the academic year, and aid is adjusted according to the standard off-campus housing Cost of Attendance. The Cost of Attendance is based on a nine-month academic year, so the Summer months are the student's responsibility.
Based on extensive research performed by Residential Life and Enrollment Management on local cost of living, it is considered less expensive to live off campus than on campus. Living off campus impacts the awarding of financial aid in that the total cost of attendance is lower for a student living off campus. As a result, many students and families experience a decrease in the amount of financial aid awarded in the year the student spends off campus.
It is the student’s responsibility to find off-campus housing. This process usually takes place starting in February of each year. For more information, visit bc.edu/reslife. Students may apply for financial aid or alternative financing to help cover the costs of tuition, fees, and off-campus housing costs.
All Boston College financial aid funds, as well as any federal or private loans are disbursed to your student account. When you live off campus, your student account is billed for only tuition and fees. All other costs (rent and food) are the responsibility of the student and the family. If your determined financial aid funding exceeds tuition and fees, a credit balance is created. You may use this credit balance to cover rent and food.
If you borrow funds to cover the expected family contribution, funds will be disbursed to the student account to cover any outstanding balance. Any credit balance may be refunded to you in the form of a refund check that you may request through My Services at bc.edu/myservices. These funds may be used for all costs associated with living off-campus.
Funds will not be available until the start of classes each semester and after all financial aid funds have been disbursed to the student account. There are no advances given to cover these costs, so you must make arrangements ahead of time.
Living Off Campus for 2023–2024
The approximate total cost for a student living off campus in 2023–2024 is $84,865. This figure consists of direct (billed) costs (without financial assistance) of $67,074 for tuition and fees. The remaining $17,791 consists of indirect (non-billed) costs such as an allowance toward books, meals, transportation, and an estimated cost for housing and food (living expenses) off-campus.
When looking for off-campus housing, it is important to take into consideration the average amount allowed for housing and food within the 9-month academic year (September to May) budget. For the 2023–2024 academic year, the amount allowed for off-campus housing and food is $14,641. This translates into approximately $1,626.77 per month for rent, groceries, and utilities. Keep in mind that if you sign a full-year 12-month lease, you are responsible for the costs of the apartment over the summer (June to August).
- Students studying abroad can use financial aid for their study-abroad semester or year.
- If you study abroad through a Boston College Program or Approved External Program, you will be considered for all of the same need-based grants and loans you would be considered for if you were studying at BC. You will also be considered for BC tuition remission, FACHEX, the Gabelli Presidential Scholarship, and Allston/Brighton Scholarship, if applicable.
- To learn more, visit the Applying for Aid web page.
The information below applies to full-time study in a program that will count towards your undergraduate degree at Boston College. A student’s enrollment in a program of study abroad approved for credit by the home institution may be considered enrollment at the home institution for the purpose of applying for assistance under the Title IV, HEOA programs.
Can I receive financial aid when I am studying abroad?
Students studying abroad can use financial aid for their study abroad semester or year. Students interested in financial aid must complete the BC financial aid application process. Students applying for alternative loans only do not need to complete a financial aid application.
I have charges to pay to a school other than BC. Who processes my financial aid?
Your financial aid (grants, loans, and alternative loans) is processed by the school from which you are seeking your degree. Although you may have some charges payable to your study abroad institution, your aid, including alternative loans, will be processed through BC.
How is my financial aid affected by studying abroad?
If you study abroad through a Boston College Program or Approved External Program, you will be considered for the need-based grants and loans you would be considered for if you were studying at BC. If your study abroad program costs less than a BC semester, your financial aid must be based on this lower cost and your award may be adjusted. If your study abroad program costs more than a BC semester, you are eligible for financial aid up to the level that you would receive if you were at BC for that semester; it is your responsibility to finance any additional cost. Information about alternative loans is available on our website at bc.edu/paymentoptions. Your work-study will be canceled for your study abroad semester(s), as work-study cannot be used while abroad.
When will my financial aid be adjusted?
Student Services receives monthly rosters of students studying abroad for the upcoming semester. Once we receive notice that you have completed your study abroad application with the Office of Global Education (OGE), your financial aid will be adjusted. If you have already received a financial aid award based on being at BC both semesters, your award will be revised when we receive this notification. Your award letter will note if your study abroad semester was factored in to your award.
My study abroad costs include expenses that aren’t charged by BC. Are these costs taken into consideration?
We realize that you have expenses associated with studying abroad that are not paid directly to BC. When calculating your study abroad cost, we include charges from BC, charges from your study abroad institution (such as tuition, housing, and meal plans), along with additional costs not paid to either institution (such as airfare, off-campus housing, books, and living expenses). Elective “field trips” are not considered for financial aid. We will use the total cost as determined by the Office of Global Education when determining financial aid eligibility.
When and how do I obtain the refund on my credit balance?
If your financial aid (grants, loans, and alternative loans) for your study abroad semester exceeds what you will be charged by BC, you will have a credit balance available to take as a refund. Please note that your aid will be applied to prior unpaid balances before allowing a refund. Refunds are available when the funds arrive at BC, no earlier than the second day of classes at BC. Generally, loan funds are available after the first few weeks of school if your application materials were completed on time. Some funds, such as Pell and state grants, can take longer to arrive. You can monitor your bill online through your Agora Portal at bc.edu/myservices to see when these funds arrive at BC. Once the funds are applied to your account and BC classes have begun, you can request your refund online through your Agora Portal.
My study abroad institution has deposits and bills that are due before my refund will be available. Can I receive an advance on these funds?
No. You cannot receive financial aid that has not arrived at BC yet. Application and room deposits must be paid out-of-pocket. If a bill from your study abroad institution is due before your refund will be available, it is your responsibility to work out a payment arrangement with the study abroad school. Some study abroad schools may extend payment deadlines if they know you are waiting for financial aid, but this is entirely up to the school’s discretion. If they are not willing to extend the deadline, you must pay them out-of-pocket and use your credit balance to reimburse yourself when it becomes available.
Resident Assistant (RA) benefits are given to all students who become an RA at Boston College. The benefit is the reimbursement of all room, board, and the Health Services fee charged to the RA in an academic year. The total amount given to an individual RA can vary based on the cost of the residence hall in which they reside.
How are the RA Benefits paid to me?
Each RA is charged room, board, and the Health Services fee on their student account. The exact amount charged is then placed on the system as financial aid for the RA. This “aid” is then credited against the charges on the student account. Most of these adjustments occur in late June of each year.
How will RA benefits affect my financial aid?
Federal regulations require that these benefits be counted as a resource to meet a student’s financial need. Therefore, the Office of Student Services must incorporate the RA benefits within the financial aid award. We try to do so in a way that will not penalize the student by meeting any unmet federal need and by replacing federal work-study. Depending on the individual’s financial aid award, some Boston College grant may be replaced, but the total overall package will not be reduced due to a student becoming an RA. It is our goal in the Office of Student Services to faithfully award financial aid to all of our RAs who demonstrate financial need. In doing so, we try to recognize the valuable contribution that RAs provide Boston College by striving to preserve the maximum grant funding allowable under federal rules.
Special and Unusual Circumstances
The base information provided as part of the financial aid process looks at information from the prior prior tax year. We recognize that the information from that time period may not accurately reflect your current financial situation. Additionally, students may be experiencing circumstances that will impact their ability to provide parental information on the required financial aid application(s). Financial aid administrators are allowed to provide additional considerations for situations described below:
Special Circumstances refers to a financial situation that justifies an aid administrator adjusting data elements in the Cost of Attendance or in the financial aid calculation. Special Circumstance Appeals will be considered after you receive your initial award notification for the current aid year. After reviewing your special circumstance documentation, your aid package may remain the same, be increased, or reduced according to the financial information that has been submitted. Submitting a special circumstance request does not guarantee an adjustment will be made to your aid package.
Decisions are final and will be communicated directly to the student within 60 days from when appeal is initiated. For more information, contact the Office of Financial Aid to see if your situation can be considered. Appeals will require additional documentation, and appeals will be denied if required documentation is not provided within 60 days of initiating appeal. If approved, any additional funding awarded is only available for the academic school year for which the special circumstance is approved. Special circumstances must be reviewed annually, so appeal financial aid is not renewable.
Unusual circumstances refer to conditions that justify an aid administrator making an adjustment to a student’s dependency status based on a unique situation, more commonly known as a dependency override. Unusual circumstances may be considered for a dependency override after you file your Free Application for Federal and Student Aid (FAFSA) and before receiving your initial award notification for the current aid year. After reviewing your unusual circumstance documentation, your aid package may remain the same, be increased, or reduced according to the information that has been submitted. A dependency override does not guarantee an adjustment will be made to your aid package.
Decisions are final and will be communicated directly to the student within 60 days of the initial request or receipt of FAFSA. Failure to provide additional documentation requested will result in denial of appeal if not received within 60 days of request. For more information, contact the Office of Financial Aid to see if your situation can be considered.