Frequently Asked Questions
The financial aid application process can be confusing, so here are the answers to some of our most commonly asked questions.
Financial Aid Package Questions
All students, at the very least, should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). We use this form to determine your eligibility for federal and state aid programs. You will receive a Student Aid Report shortly after submitting this form, which will contain your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). If this number exceeds the cost of attendance, you will most likely not be eligible for Bentley Grant funds and we will not require you to complete the College Scholarship Service PROFILE form. There is no cost to submit the FAFSA.
Students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents are not eligible to apply for need-based financial aid. There are a limited number of scholarships offered to incoming freshmen as part of the admission process. Prospective international graduate students may be offered an academic award, also through the admission process.
There is no standard method used to determine eligibility for academic scholarships. Each college or university establishes its own criteria that is often based on their admission standards and the competitiveness of the pool of applicants. At Bentley, the admissions committee reviews all freshman applicants for eligibility for scholarships through the admission process. Eligibility is determined based on excellent academic achievement as evidenced by high school curriculum level, course selection, grades, standardized test scores (SAT or ACT), individual academic accomplishments and extracurricular activities.
Scholarships based on previous academic achievement are awarded to incoming freshmen and graduate students through the admission process. There are no academic awards for transfer students or continuing students. There are free scholarship search engines, such as FastWeb, where you can explore opportunities for outside scholarships.
You are awarded federal loans as part of your financial aid package. Since these loans generally have the lowest interest rates and most favorable terms, we encourage you to borrow these loans before considering any alternatives. Parents can borrow their Expected Family Contribution (EFC) through a number of loan options, both federal and private. Bentley also has a payment plan that can be combined with loans to reduce overall borrowing costs. More information on payment options for parent and students is available in financing options.
There are varying deadlines for prospective students, depending on whether you are applying as an Early Decision, Early Action, or Regular Decision freshman or as a transfer student.
- Returning undergraduate students must submit all required aid applications by April 15 preceding the academic year.
- All application materials for graduate students are due no later than June 1 preceding the academic year.
- Bentley grant funds, as well as some state and federal funds, may not be available if you have not completed the application by the published deadlines. Bentley grants are awarded on a funds-available basis.
You can check your application status through your MyBentley account, available here for prospective freshmen and transfer students, and here for continuing undergraduate and all graduate students. Information submitted is updated within one-to-two days of receipt, except during March and April when our volume increases; during those months, updates may take longer. Please wait at least 24 hours and check your MyBentley account before calling to verify we have received your document.
With the exception of men’s and women’s basketball and men’s ice hockey, most athletics-related financial aid is based on need. You should indicate your interest in competing for Bentley by completing the Prospective Student Athlete Questionnaire for your sport. You must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for need-based financial aid.
Many general questions can be answered by our financial aid assistants in Rauch 104 (781.891.3441). If you have more in-depth questions about how your eligibility was determined or need to discuss a change in your financial situation, it’s best to contact your financial aid counselor to set up an in-person or phone appointment.
Financial aid is based on your current family income and asset information. You must reapply each year so that we can evaluate your need based on current information. Your aid could increase or decrease in future years, depending on your family’s situation. The most common reasons for changes in aid packages are the following:
- A large increase or decrease in family income, usually due to a job change, promotion, retirement, etc.
- A change in housing status from on-campus to commuter, or vice versa
- A change in the number of household members
- A change in the number of students in your family who are undergraduate college students
- A change in enrollment status (less than full time)
Your financial aid award letter will reflect assumptions made regarding housing status, household size, and number in college. If any of these assumptions are incorrect or change during the academic year, you must notify the Office of Financial Assistance immediately.
Although we use the previous year's income as the base year for our analysis of your financial need, we recognize that it is not always a good predictor of the following year's income. We may choose to use your estimates to determine your need; however, if your parents are not able to predict the income because of too many uncertainties, we may elect to postpone an “estimated year” income review until we are further into the calendar year. Aid awarded based on estimated income is considered tentative and actual tax returns are required to verify estimated income. If estimates were too low, any appeal grant awarded may be reduced or canceled.
If you are receiving need-based financial aid, your RA award, along with other financial aid, cannot exceed your need as determined by the federal government (through the FAFSA application). In most cases, loan and job eligibility is reduced or canceled to allow room in your package for the RA award. In some cases, Bentley Grant will also need to be reduced or canceled. Students with RA awards generally have a financial aid package that contains more gift aid and fewer loans than students without an RA award. Because RA assignments are made in the spring, prior to the awarding of financial aid, it is difficult for us to tell you exactly what impact the RA award will have on your package. Plan to meet with your financial aid counselor and we can estimate the impact based on your current-year package.
The federal government requires that you inform us directly of any grants, scholarships or other education benefits you will receive for the academic year from sources outside of Bentley such as your high school, civic organizations, vocational rehabilitation programs, tuition reimbursement benefits, prepaid tuition programs, and others. Your outside resource will, in most cases, allow you to maintain your total grant award and reduce your total loan amount. It is our policy to meet any unmet institutional need, and then replace Perkins Loan, Work-Study, and Stafford Loan (in this order) with your outside resource before reducing Bentley Grant funds. We will make every effort to avoid decreasing Bentley Grant, but in some cases we have no choice.
This information is available through your MyBentley account under the Finances tab. If you borrowed non-federal private loans, MyBentley may display the name of the lender, or it may display alternative student loan. Bentley keeps information on your private loan lender(s), but it is best to keep your own records for ready access. In addition, you can check the National Student Loan Data System for a summary of your federal loans.