Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly is financial aid?
Financial aid is need-based funds that help students pay for college. The Office of Financial Aid at Berklee primarily awards federal grants and loans.
What is the difference between financial aid and scholarships?
Financial aid is need-based. Scholarships are merit-based.
How do I receive financial aid?
Domestic students should fill out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Aid) online at fafsa.ed.gov. See Applying for Aid for more information. Once a councilor has reviewed your FAFSA and you have been awarded financial aid, it will be credited to your account. International students may apply for the Berklee International Grant, available online at berklee.edu/forms.
When is the deadline to apply for financial aid?
The FAFSA application becomes available for the following year on January 1. The preferred filing date (to be considered for all institutional aid) is April 1, 2010. If you file after the preferred filing date your aid package may be delayed. For the summer, students can file their FAFSA until June 30.
Will financial aid cover my tuition bill?
No. Students should be prepared to supplement their financial aid package with out-of -pocket payments, scholarships, and private loans.
How do I know if the OFA has received all of my documents?
Students that have access to my.berklee.net can click on Student Services, then My Finances, then My Documents to view all information that has been requested and received by our office. Students who do not have access to the website yet are welcome to contact our office directly with any questions about what they are missing or need to complete in order to be awarded financial aid. You can call our office at 617 747-2274.
When will I be awarded?
Entering students for the fall should expect to receive their award letters sometime between the end of February and the beginning of April. Entering students for the spring will receive their award letters between mid-to-late October.
What should I do if I need more information?
Financial aid staff and counselors are always available to help. Students and parents are encouraged to contact our office at 617 747-2274 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions they may have.
How much does it cost to attend Berklee for one year (two semesters)?
The cost to attend Berklee is listed in the Tuition and Related Costs section. Your eligibility for financial aid funds is determined by a figure referred to as the Cost of Attendance. The Cost of Attendance is composed of both direct costs--i.e. charges that will appear on your student account, such as tuition and fees--and indirect costs that are simply estimates, such as living expenses. You can see a breakdown of Cost of Attendance in the Tuition and Fees section.
Does Berklee offer a payment plan for tuition?
Berklee participates in a payment plan administered by an agency called Tuition Management Systems (TMS). Materials and applications are available directly from TMS at their website or by calling 800 772-4867.
How do I apply for a Berklee scholarship?
Merit-based scholarships are administered by the Office of Scholarships and Student Employment (OSSE) and are based on musicianship and music potential. Prospective students are required to participate in a live audition as part of their application to the college's full-time program. Continuing students who have completed at least two semesters of full-time study at the college may apply for a scholarship by submitting an achievement portfolio.
Can I apply for student employment?
All students (whether domestic or international) may apply for student employment at Berklee. Information on how to apply is given at Student Employment orientation sessions and can be obtained from the Office of Scholarships and Student Employment located at 921 Boylston Street, 6th floor. Students interested in community-service employment should speak with the OSSE to discuss opportunities.
I am an international student entering Berklee for the first time. Can I apply for financial aid?
Entering international students are eligible to apply for merit-based scholarships and student employment, both of which are administered through the Office of Scholarships and Student Employment. Prospective students are required to participate in a live audition as part of their application to the college's full-time program. Continuing students who have completed at least two semesters of full-time study at the college may apply for a scholarship by submitting an achievement portfolio. Additionally, certain loan programs are available to international students who have a United States citizen or permanent resident as a cosigner.
How do I apply for private scholarships?
The Office of Financial Aid recommends that you research private scholarships that you may qualify for. Recommended sites on our Links page will help you begin your search.
How often will I need to apply for financial aid?
You must renew your FAFSA every year.
Do I have to wait until I have completed my tax return to submit the FAFSA?
If you have not yet completed your tax returns by the Office of Financial Aid's recommended FAFSA filing date of April 1, you should still apply. The FAFSA allows you (and your parents) to estimate income information until returns have been completed. Once you have filed your taxes, update your FAFSA by submitting corrections to the Department of Education. Instructions on how to do this will be automatically sent to you by the Department of Education when they process your FAFSA.
What is the process of "verification"?
Approximately one third of all financial aid applications are selected for "verification." You will be required to submit a verification worksheet as well as signed copies of your (and your spouse's, if you are married, or your parents, if you are a dependent student) federal tax forms, W-2 forms, or other financial documents. Berklee will be comparing information from your application with these documents. The law says we have the right to ask you for this information before awarding federal aid. If there are differences between your application information and your financial documents, Berklee may need to make corrections.
Is there a specific family income cutoff for receiving need-based financial aid?
No. Need-based financial aid is based on a formula legislated by Congress that includes many factors besides income.
Based on the FAFSA's criteria, I am considered a dependent student. However, my parents will not be assisting me financially. Am I still required to submit their financial information?
Federal regulations have specific criteria for determining dependency v. independency status, and if you are considered "dependent," you must include parental information on your FAFSA. Unfortunately, whether or not your parents assist you financially is not a factor in determining dependency status.
How does Berklee use the results of my FAFSA?
The FAFSA determines your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is the number that is the result of a federally legislated formula applied to your FAFSA information. Your EFC is the amount that the Department of Education feels that you can contribute to your education for the respective school year. Based on institutional costs and limited federal, state, and institutional resources, many students pay or borrow more than their EFC. Berklee uses your EFC to determine which federal aid programs that you qualify for. Your EFC will be noted on your Student Aid Report (SAR).
There has been a recent change in my family's income that is not reflected by the information I gave on my FAFSA. What can I do to have these changes taken into account?
If family financial circumstances have changed, you should notify the Office of Financial Aid in writing and provide specific information regarding the change, how the family income will be affected, and the best possible estimate of the income change. Any supporting documentation should also be included.