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Financial Assistance

Frequently Asked Questions

The financial aid application process can be confusing, so here are the answers to some of our most commonly asked questions. You can also find more information in our 2024-2025 Financial Aid Guide.

Eligibility Questions

I don't think I will qualify for aid. Should I bother applying?

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.

Do I need to complete both the FAFSA and CSS Profile to be considered for financial assistance?

You need to complete the CSS Profile if you wish to be considered for Bentley need-based funds, including grants and student employment.  If you only wish to be considered for federal and state grants and Federal Direct Loans (formerly called Stafford loans), you only need to complete the FAFSA.  Please let us know if you decide not to complete the CSS Profile, so there will be no delay in processing your application for federal aid.

My parents are divorced/separated/never married, living separately. Do they complete the same CSS Profile?

Each of your parents will complete their own CSS Profile. You and your custodial parent will complete your CSS Profile using your College Board account credentials. Your noncustodial parent will need to create their own account, which can be linked to yours after you've input a school code.

What financial aid is available for international students?

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 first-years as part of the admission process. Prospective international graduate students may be offered an academic award, also through the admission process.

What are the criteria for undergraduate academic scholarships?

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 first-year 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.

Are there academic scholarships for continuing students?

Scholarships based on previous academic achievement are awarded to incoming first-years, transfer students, and graduate students through the admission process. There are no academic awards for continuing students. There are free scholarship search engines, such as FastWeb, where you can explore opportunities for outside scholarships.

What loans are available to supplement financial aid?

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.

What is the deadline for applying for financial aid? Can I still receive aid if I miss the deadline?

There are varying deadlines for prospective, returning, and graduate students.

Students who have missed the priority deadline should submit all applications as soon as possible. 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.

How can I check to see if all of my application materials have been received?

If you are a prospective first-year student or transfer student, you can check your application status through your BentleyConnect portal. If you are a prospective graduate student, you can check your application status through your Graduate Application Status Portal account. Returning students can check their application status through their Workday account under "Personal" and then "Documents."

A FAFSA must be submitted to generate a checklist. Application items are 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 account online before calling to verify we have received your document.

What is the process for applying for athletics aid?

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.

Who can I talk to about my financial aid?

Many general questions can be answered by our financial aid assistants in Rauch 104 +1(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.

Is my financial aid package guaranteed for all four undergraduate years?

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 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, number in college, and level of enrollment. If any of these assumptions are incorrect or change during the academic year, you must notify the Office of Financial Assistance immediately.

My parents' income for the upcoming year will be much lower than the income we reported on the financial aid applications. Will Bentley take this into consideration when determining my award?

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 I become a resident assistant, will it have an impact on my financial aid?

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.

How will an outside scholarship have an impact on my financial aid 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 Direct 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.

Where can I find a summary of the loans I have borrowed to date?

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.

Where can I get more information about my awards?

Please see our 2024-2025 Financial Aid Guide.

When is financial aid considered taxable income?

Grants, scholarships and fellowships

Students receiving financial aid in excess of qualified education expenses should be aware of the federal tax implications of aid received. A part of your grant, scholarship or fellowship may be taxable if it exceeds your qualified tuition and related expenses in your degree program, even if you do not receive a W-2 for it. Student loans are not reported as taxable income because they will eventually be repaid. Qualified tuition and related expenses are defined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as “tuition and fees required for enrollment or attendance at the educational institution or for books, supplies and equipment required for courses of instruction at the institution and required of all students in your course of instruction.” If the sum of your grant, scholarship or fellowship for the tax year exceeds your qualified tuition and related expenses for the tax year, part of your award may be taxable. Please note that grant, scholarship or fellowship from multiple academic years may fall within the same calendar year. For example, for the 2022 tax year, you will determine if you have taxable scholarship by reviewing scholarship and qualified education expenses for spring 2022 and fall 2022.


You should always direct questions concerning the taxability of a grant or scholarship to the IRS or to a qualified tax consultant.


Federal Work Study

Any funds you receive as a result of work as a student employee are considered earned income and are subject to federal, state and local tax withholding. Federal Work Study funds earned in a calendar year will be reported on the next year’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as “taxable earnings from need-based employment programs, such as Federal Work-Study and need-based employment portions of fellowships and assistantships.” These earnings will be excluded from your available income in the need-based calculation for aid eligibility during that year.

Are current Bentley students eligible for BentleyFirst?

BentleyFirst is only available to prospective Bentley students as the program is designed to make a private education accessible to students who would only consider going to a public university due to cost. Current students already have access to a Bentley education and are able to work with our Office of Financial Assistance in order to keep/make Bentley affordable.