Berklee students who are experiencing extenuating financial circumstances can appeal for federal or institutional need-based aid through the appeals process.*
A Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is required for domestic students who wish to appeal, while a CSS Profile is required for the college's international students who wish to appeal. Students who are already receiving Presidential or full-tuition scholarships are not eligible to receive institutional appeal funding as Berklee's institutional funding cannot exceed tuition charges.
*Berklee Online domestic undergraduate and Berklee Valencia graduate students are only eligible to submit an appeal for federal need-based funding.
Special Circumstances Appeal Process
Federal Financial Aid Appeal
Federal student aid guidelines give Berklee the ability to perform a professional judgment, allowing the school to consider information not accounted for on the FAFSA, such as more recent tax information, in an effort to potentially help undergraduate students qualify for Federal Pell Grants and direct subsidized loans.
Recent updated guidance from the Department of Education has provided more flexibility for schools to consider job loss or unemployment benefits received as a result of and during the pandemic. Students must provide supporting documentation. Specifically, students should submit documentation of unemployment benefits received, such as an unemployment verification letter, online unemployment insurance account records from the state unemployment agency, or other supporting records. A 1099-G for 2020 can also be accepted.
Please note that students can only be considered for funding up to the yearly maximum Pell grant and subsidized loan limits. Any subsidized loan awarded will replace existing unsubsidized loans and will not result in additional funding. Undergraduate students who are already receiving maximum Pell grants and subsidized loans will not be eligible for additional federal aid. Graduate students are only eligible for the unsubsidized and PLUS loans, and will not be considered for Pell grants or subsidized loans.
Institutional Aid Appeal
Berklee College of Music, Boston Conservatory at Berklee, and Berklee NYC students who appeal for institutional aid will have the following factors considered during the committee review:
- Family financial need, as demonstrated by the FAFSA or CSS Profile
- Any previous family borrowing history
- Your current aid package
- Academic performance
- Semester in school (continuing students only)
- Audition and interview results (entering students only)
- Appeal letter
- Any supporting documentation
Note that Berklee Online students are not eligible to appeal for institutional aid.
Every effort is made to assist students who demonstrate financial need. Please note that even with an approved appeal, the majority of students find it necessary to utilize other forms of funding to meet their costs, so you are encouraged to develop a sound financial plan that you can implement regardless of the outcome of your appeal. The Office of Student Financial Services is here to assist you as you explore your options to finance your Berklee education. You can contact us at via email at email@example.com and by phone at 617-747-2274.
How much money can I expect to receive from a federal aid appeal?
Undergraduate students can expect to be considered for the Federal Pell Grant and subsidized loans through the professional judgment process. Students who are already receiving maximum Pell grants or subsidized loans will not be eligible to receive additional funding. Graduate students are only eligible for the unsubsidized and PLUS loans, and will not be considered for Pell grants or subsidized loans.
How much money can I expect to receive from an institutional appeal?
The average appeal award is approximately $5,000 per year, depending on individual circumstances. Because institutional funding is limited and appeal approvals are relatively modest, it is important to develop a sound financial plan to meet your costs and not rely on appeal funding to fully close your financial gap.
Can I appeal for housing funding or emergency needs?
The special circumstances appeal process awards funds towards tuition only through institutional aid. If you have other financial needs that are not related to tuition and are a main campus student, you are encouraged to submit a Student Emergency Fund Appeal.
How long will it take to receive a decision?
Every effort is made to review appeals as quickly as possible. The timeline is dependent on our volume of appeals, and you will receive an email as soon as your decision is rendered. You are encouraged to continue with your plans as you await your appeal response.
Can faculty submit a letter to support my appeal?
Absolutely. You can have your faculty member email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will add their letter to your appeal.
Can I request reconsideration for a merit scholarship decision?
All entering students to the main campus are automatically considered for merit-based scholarships during the admissions process. While your audition decision will not be reconsidered, if you believe you may qualify for need-based financial assistance, you may certainly submit an appeal to be considered for funding. We also encourage you to explore need-based financial aid and other cost-saving paths to Berklee as you will likely still have a financial gap after your appeal decision is rendered.
Can I appeal for a full-tuition/Presidential scholarship?
The appeals process is designed to assist students with unusual circumstances and help them get closer to closing their financial gap. Students are not granted full-tuition/Presidential scholarships during the appeals process. Those determinations are made as part of the admissions process.
Is there a deadline for my appeal submission?
There is no deadline for your appeal submission. Both entering and continuing students can submit an appeal at any time. Our committee will review appeals in order of the next upcoming semester. While you may appeal for a future semester at any time, your appeal will not be reviewed until the committee begins reviewing for that semester.
Do I need to complete my federal financial aid verification before I submit my appeal?
Students must fully complete their federal financial aid verification process, if applicable, before their appeal will be reviewed. This will give our committee the most accurate information for their decision and prevent any delays in your appeal review. If you have questions about your financial aid review, please contact us via email at email@example.com or by phone at 617-747-2274.