Policies and Procedures
There are many policies that can impact your financial aid awards. Please review the following policies carefully to ensure that you understand how your enrollment status, your academic progress, and other factors may impact your aid at Berklee.
The U.S. Department of Education or Berklee may select certain FAFSA records for a process called verification. If your FAFSA record is selected, there are additional financial aid requirements necessary to verify the accuracy of the FAFSA information and confirm your financial aid eligibility. You will be notified if you have been selected for verification by the Department of Education in the Student Aid Report (SAR) after you file your FAFSA. These requirements typically include tax and wage information, but other documents might be necessary to complete verification.
It is important to provide any requested documents as quickly as possible to ensure the timely processing of your aid.
Students who are selected for verification for the 2022–2023 academic year will have their verification processed by our partner, Inceptia. Please click here to learn more.
Students who are selected for verification for the 2021–2022 academic year will have their verification processed by Berklee Student Financial Services staff and will receive relevant email communications.
Please click here for more detailed information on the Berklee verification process.
Students who wish to attend Berklee part-time may still be eligible to receive federal financial aid and private loans.
Students must be enrolled in six or more credits that count towards their program to receive consideration for the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal Work-Study, Federal Direct Loans, and Federal Perkins Loans. Students may borrow from the federal loan programs for more than eight semesters; however, there are aggregate limits on all federal loans. One semester–loan period Direct Loan amount will vary based on registered credits and enrollment status.
Students enrolled in fewer than six credits are likely to enter their grace period and/or need to begin loan repayment.
Federal Pell Grant recipients enrolling part-time may be eligible to receive the award on a prorated basis.
All Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory at Berklee students must be enrolled in 12 or more credits to receive consideration for the Massachusetts Gilbert Grant and other various state loans and scholarship funds, unless otherwise notified.
Most private loan lenders have enrollment requirements, including minimum credits. Students are encouraged to check with their lender to clarify the company's specific policy regarding enrollment.
All part-time students must continue to meet satisfactory academic progress (SAP) policy to be considered for financial aid funding. For specific information on how your aid package may be affected by your enrollment status, please contact the Office of Student Financial Services.
Attending Berklee College of Music part-time requires prior approval, and students should visit this page to submit the appropriate forms: https://www.berklee.edu/registrar/registration-forms
All College and Conservatory students will have their aid awarded assuming full-time enrollment. Aid (scholarships, grants, and federal financial aid) will be adjusted after the add/drop period in each semester. Please note that if your part-time enrollment is approved and charges reduced, your aid may not reflect the reduced amount until after add/drop. Please plan for any potential balance.
Berklee Online students do not need approval for part-time enrollment, but should be aware of how their aid may be affected by enrolling in fewer than 12 credits.
Part-Time Aid Proration
All Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory at Berklee students will have their aid awarded assuming full-time enrollment.
Aid (scholarships, grants, and federal financial aid) will be adjusted according to your registered credits after the add/drop period in each semester. Students receiving federal financial aid must be enrolled in a minimum of six credits to be eligible for aid.
Please note that if your part-time enrollment is approved and charges reduced, your aid on your statement may not reflect the reduced amount until after add/drop. Please plan for any potential balance.
Your Right to Cancel
Students and parents who borrow federal or private loans have the right to cancel or decline all or part of their loan(s) and return funds to the lender.
Students wishing to cancel their federal loans must do so prior to the loan disbursement, or within 14 days of receiving their notice of disbursement. Please submit this form to decline federal loans. Parents and graduate students who borrowed PLUS Loans should email email@example.com to decline those specific loans.
Most private loan lenders have a 30-day or 60-day deadline for sending either all or part of a loan back. Once you are out of this window, the parent or student may be responsible for loan fees, several payments, and any interest that has accrued.
We encourage you to check with your lender before signing your loan agreement to clarify their return of funds policy.
Financial aid is available for some Berklee College of Music students who wish to take classes during the summer semester. Your summer aid package will be determined based on your remaining yearly FAFSA eligibility and your enrollment status.
- Students must be enrolled in at least six credits to receive Federal Direct Loans.
- Summer is generally considered the last semester of the academic year and will use the FAFSA that began in the previous fall semester. For example, the academic year beginning with fall 2021 and continuing into spring 2022 is the 2020–2021 year, and summer 2022 would use the 2021–2022 FAFSA.
Please note that students who attended both the fall and spring semesters may not have aid available for summer.
Title IV Code of Conduct
The following Code of Conduct was last updated by NASFAA's Board of Directors in November 2019. Subject to enforcement procedures that went into effect July 1, 2015, NASFAA institutional members of NASFAA will ensure the following:
1. No action will be taken by financial aid staff that is for their personal benefit or could be perceived to be a conflict of interest.
- Employees within the financial aid office will not award aid to themselves or their immediate family members. Staff will reserve this task for an institutionally designated person to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.
- If a preferred lender list is provided, it will be compiled without prejudice and for the sole benefit of the students attending the institution. The information included about lenders and loan terms will be transparent, complete, and accurate. The complete process through which preferred lenders are selected will be fully and publicly disclosed. Borrowers will not be auto-assigned to any particular lender.
- A borrower's choice of a lender will not be denied, impeded, or unnecessarily delayed by the institution, even if that lender is not included on the institution's preferred lender list.
- No amount of cash, gift, or benefit in excess of a de minimis amount shall be accepted by a financial aid staff member from any financial aid applicant (or their family), or from any entity doing business with or seeking to do business with the institution (including service on advisory committees or boards, beyond reimbursement for reasonable expenses directly associated with such service).
2. Information provided by the financial aid office is accurate and unbiased, and does not reflect preference arising from actual or potential personal gain.
3. Institutional award notifications and/or other institutionally provided materials shall include the following:
- A breakdown of individual components of the institution's cost of attendance, designating all potential billable charges
- Clear identification of each award, indicating type of aid, i.e., gift aid (grant, scholarship), work, or loan
- Standard terminology and definitions, using NASFAA's glossary of terms
- Renewal requirements for each award
4. All required consumer information is displayed in a prominent location on the institutional website(s) and in any printed materials, easily identified and found, and labeled as "Consumer Information."
5. Financial aid professionals will disclose to their institution any involvement, interest in, or potential conflict of interest with any entity with which the institution has a business relationship.
Refer to NASFAA's Statement of Ethical Principles, Enforcement Procedures, and the Ethical Principles, Code of Conduct and Enforcement Procedures Q&A for more information about NASFAA's ethical guidelines and how they are enforced. To report a potential violation of NASFAA’s Code of Conduct, refer to the Ethics Complaint Submission Form.
Return of Title IV Funds
The Higher Education Amendment of 1998 required schools to implement a Return of Title IV Refund Funds Policy when a Title IV (federal financial aid) recipient withdraws from school. A federal financial aid recipient is defined as a student who has received Title IV funds such as, but not limited to a Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplement Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Direct Loan, Federal Perkins Loan, and Federal Direct PLUS Loan.
How Your Withdrawal Date Is Calculated
The Office of Student Financial Services is required to recalculate students’ eligibility for federal funds when they withdraw, are dismissed, or take a leave of absence before completing 60 percent of the semester.
The recalculation determines how much federal aid a student has “earned” by dividing how many calendar days the student has attended class by the number of calendar days in the semester (excluding scheduled breaks of five days or more). This is based on the date of the official withdrawal received by the Registrar’s Office.
If the student has completed at least 60 percent of the semester, then they are said to have “earned” 100 percent of their federal financial aid, and none of it need be returned to the federal government.
Any “unearned” aid must be returned to the federal Government in the following order (each fund is fully refunded before moving to the next fund):
- Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
- Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan
- PLUS Loan (Grad or Parent Loan)
- Pell Grant
- Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
If the student has received a refund before withdrawing from school, then the student may be required to repay some or all of those funds. Any funds remaining after these restorations have been made will be refunded to the student within 30 days of the student’s withdrawal.
Maximum Federal Aid Limits
Students who are continuing their education and have previously borrowed federal loans should log in to National Student Loan Data Systems (NSLDS) to ensure they are within their lifetime Pell Grant and loan limits. If you are close to your limits, please develop a sound financial plan to meet your costs. Students who are close to or meeting their lifetime limits will be notified by the Office of Student Financial Services once the FAFSA is received and file review completed.
Students who are pursuing a second bachelor’s degree will not be able to utilize federal student loans and may have limited or no Federal Pell Grant eligibility. Alternative loans may be an option, but we encourage you to explore all other financing methods.
Berklee is required to send a notice of exit counseling to all students who have received a subsidized, unsubsidized, or PLUS loan under the Direct Loan Program or the FFEL Program, and who meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Drop below half-time enrollment in a semester
- Leave school or do not otherwise enroll
- Fully withdraw from a semester
Exit counseling provides important information to prepare you to repay your federal student loan(s).
Loan repayment generally begins after a six-month grace period. If you re-enroll in school at least half-time before your six-month grace period expires, you will not go into repayment and your grace period will reset.
Maintaining Federal Financial Aid Eligibility
To remain eligible for federal financial aid in a semester, undergraduate students must be enrolled in at least six credits that fulfill requirements of their degree program and meet satisfactory academic progress guidelines. Students who fall below six credits or enroll in courses outside of their degree requirements will not be eligible for federal financial aid for that semester, need to complete exit counseling, and may go into loan repayment.
Graduate students must be enrolled at least three credits in a semester and meet the graduate satisfactory academic progress guidelines to remain eligible for federal financial aid.