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Financial Aid Award Guide

The Boston Conservatory Financial Aid Process

The Boston Conservatory offers institutional scholarships and we accept federal, state and private forms of loans, grants, scholarships and workstudy. Conservatory scholarships are based primarily on the merit of the audition, but the needs of the institution are also considered. If the student has filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), then the student's financial need will be considered when scholarships are awarded.

When a student has been accepted to the Conservatory both artistically and academically, they will receive an email that will direct them to an acceptance letter. The acceptance letter will list any institutional scholarship that the student has been awarded. If there is no scholarship on the acceptance letter, then the student has not been awarded Conservatory financial aid.

Very soon after the acceptance letter has gone out, a hard copy award letter from the Financial Aid Office will be sent. This financial aid award letter will list any institutional scholarships and grants that the student has been awarded. If the student has filled out the FAFSA, the award letter will also list federal aid.

During the summer, incoming students will be introduced to Net Partner, our online financial aid system. Students may accept, decline, or adjust their financial aid on Net Partner. They may also download forms, check the status of loans and receive valuable financial aid information via Net Partner. Returning students won't receive hard copy award letters, instead they will be directed to Net Partner.

What Do I Need To Do Next?

  1. Sign and return one copy of The Boston Conservatory award letter.
  2. Provide any documents that are requested on the award letter.
  3. Determine how to pay the rest of your balance. Please refer to the information provided in this Financial Aid Guide for guidance on this and for more information about the financial aid process.

Verification Process (Requested Documentation)

Some students are chosen to have their FAFSA information verified by the federal government or by the Conservatory. Students are usually selected randomly by the federal government, but if there is conflicting or unusual information on your FAFSA, you may be chosen for that reason. An example of conflicting information is zero income information or income that is extremely low for the number of persons in the family.

When you are selected for verification, you are required to provide the following documentation:

  1. Tax infomration for you and, if you are a dependent undergrad, your parents. Accepted forms include:
    1. IRS Tax Return Transcript—available on the IRS website or by calling 1-800-908-9946
    2. IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT)—available through the FAFSA under Financial Information. For instructions on how to use the IRS DRT, please check out this YouTube video.
  2. Verification Worksheet—asks for additional information. It will be sent to you by the school.
  3. Other documentation may be requested .

In some cases, students and parents are not able to use the Data Retrieval Tool or get a Tax Return Transcript. In these cases, we will ask for the following:

  1. Tax Filing Extensions
    In the case of an extension, a tax return transcript or the Data Retrieval Tool is still required and aid will not be released until it is received. To hold the aid in an approved status, however, the following would be required:
    1. A copy of the IRS Form 4868 for the year 2015
    2. All W2s. If the tax payer is self employed, then a signed statement certifying AGI and taxes paid for 2015
  2. Amended Tax Return
    1. The 2015 Tax Return Transcript and
    2. A signed copy of the Amended Tax Return or 1040X
  3. Separated or Divorced tax payers who filed jointly
    1. The 2015 Tax Return Transcript and
    2. All W2s from both parties. If self employed, then Schedule C(s) or other forms of verification of the earned income from both parties
  4. A tax payer who is a victim of Identity Theft
    1. Tax Return Transcript—call the IRS at 1-800-908-4490
  5. Foreign Tax Return
    1. Paper copy of the signed, translated tax return
  6. Nontax Filer
    1. All W2s
    2. Verification Worksheet with all employers and amounts of earned income listed

The FAFSA tells you if you have been selected to be verified by the government and the Conservatory will request verification documentation on the award letter. You do not need to provide verification information before you are awarded, unless your FAFSA information was insufficient to grant you an award (you will be notified if this is the case).

You will have 30 days from the date on the award letter to submit verification documentation to the Financial Aid Office. If you do not provide the requested documentation by the deadline, then you may lose part of your federal and/or institutional aid.

If you are unable to get the documentation in by the deadline, notify the Financial Aif Office as soon as possible and you may receive an extension.

How Do I Get a Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan?

Direct Loans are federal educational loans for U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens (green card holders). The Direct Loan Program offers loans directly from the federal government. View information on Direct Loans, or visit the Department of Education website.

If this is your first time borrowing a Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loan (aka Stafford Loans) at The Boston Conservatory, you need to do the following things before you can receive your loan funds:

  1. Create an FSA ID (user name and password). You may do so at
  2. Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at
  3. Send the signed award letter to the Financial Aid Office
  4. Send any requested documentation (see award letter) to the Financial Aid Office
  5. Fill out a Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) at
    1. The Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) is a promise to repay the loan. You will need to sign into using your FSA ID. Click on "Complete a Master Promissory Note." You must fill out the MPN completely, submit the record and get a confirmation number. If you do not receive a confirmation number, you have not completed the MPN.
  6. Fill out the Direct Loan Entrance Interview at
    1. The Direct Loan Entrance Interview provides you with your rights and responsibilities as a federal loan borrower. You will need to sign into using your FSA ID. Click on "Complete Counseling". Follow the instructions until you have submitted the record

Returning Students and the Direct Loan Process

If you are a returning student who has never borrowed a Direct Loan while at The Boston Conservatory, please read the instructions above.

If you are a returning student who has at some point borrowed a Direct Loan while at The Boston Conservatory, you should follow instructions #1–4. Once you have filled out the Direct MPN and the Direct Entrance Interview, you do not have to fill them out again while at the Conservatory.

Direct Parent PLUS and Direct Grad PLUS Loan Process

Please see the section entitled “What if I didn’t get enough financial aid to pay my bill?”

How and When Will I Receive My Financial Aid?

  • For grants, most scholarships, Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, Direct Grad PLUS Loans and private educational loans, our office reviews your enrollment and other eligibility criteria and authorizes payment to your student account two to three weeks after the start of the semester.
  • Your awards may increase, decrease, or be canceled, depending on these eligibility reviews. If your aid is canceled for any reason, you are responsible for paying all tuition, fees, and book charges you have incurred. Credited funds are applied to your unpaid balance.
  • You will be notified by Boston Conservatory email when your federal loan funds have been credited.
  • If your charges exceed your aid, you must pay the balance.
  • If your aid exceeds your charges, you may be eligible for a refund. See below for details.


  • If your credited aid exceeds Boston Conservatory charges, then you may be eligible for a refund check. For the majority of students refunds are not provided until 4–5 weeks after the start of classes.
  • Most refunds created by federal aid are processed automatically 14 days after the fund has been credited to the student’s account. If a student is Pell Grant eligible and has a refund created by federal aid, the student (or parent in the case of a PLUS Loan) will receive a book stipend seven days after the start of class.
  • Refunds created by the Direct PLUS Loan will automatically be sent to the parent borrower unless the parent requests otherwise via the PLUS Loan Notification and Authorization form. The Authorization form is sent to the parent before the funds are disbursed to the institution .
  • Refunds created by all other sources of funding will not be automatically refunded. The student must request the refund from the Bursar via email, mail, phone or in person.

How Many Credits Will I Need to Take?

Students are awarded under the assumption that they will be enrolled full time. If a student does not register for or drops below a full time number of credits, his awards may be canceled or reduced. Please see page 7 of the Conservatory Catalog for a listing of Credit Loads and Enrollment Status.

  • Pell Grant awards vary based on credit load.  
  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, Direct Grad PLUS Loans, Work Study, SEO Grants, Part Time State Grants and many private loans require at least half time enrollment. Six credits is half time enrollment for undergraduates. Graduate students should check their individual program for half time enrollment information. Awards may be pro-rated based on the number of credits taken.
  • Most State Grants require full time enrollment.
  • Conservatory Scholarships require full time enrollment.

What else Do I Have to Do to Keep My Federal and State Aid (and stay in school)?

To remain eligible to take classes and receive federal financial aid at The Boston Conservatory, you must comply with the college-wide Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy:

1. Grade Point Average
Undergraduates must maintain a cumulative and semester GPA of 2.0 or better. Graduate students must maintain a cumulative and semester grade point average of 2.7 or better.

2. Course Completion Rate (Avoid Excessive Withdrawals!)
You must complete at least 67% of all cumulative and semester attempted credits. Credits for withdrawn, failed, incomplete, repeated, completed and transfer classes are considered “attempted," as are credits for English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) classes and all credits attempted during periods when you did not receive financial aid. A class is considered “completed” if you have earned a grade of “D” or better. Withdrawn courses count as unsuccessful attempts.

3. Complete Degree Before Exceeding Attempted Credit Limit
You must complete your program of study within 150% of the published time frame. Transfer credits count against your 150% limit. If you complete the requirements for one degree or certificate, you may be able to receive aid for additional programs of study.

Satisfactory Academic Progress will be evaluated at the end of every semester. Students who are not meeting the SAP standards will be placed on Financial Aid Warning. Students on FA Warning may still receive financial aid. They have one semester to make the required standards before being placed on Financial Aid Suspension. Suspended students are ineligible for all Federal, State, and Boston Conservatory aid programs.

Suspended students may appeal their status. The appeal must be in writing and explain:  

1. why the student did not complete the requirements

2. what has changed that will allow him to complete the requirements

3. an academic plan that shows how he will be able to complete his degree in a specified time frame.

The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Committee will review all completed appeals. Approved students will be granted Financial Aid Probation status and will be eligible to receive aid for their next semester.

Students on Financial Aid Suspension may be able to reestablish eligibility by meeting the above SAP requirements at their own expense.

For more information on this and other policies, please see the Student Handbook.

Annual Reapplication Requirement

For Federal and State aid programs, you must reapply every year by submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). To apply online, go to For the best aid package, submit your FAFSA in January for the following Fall term. For most State aid, you must file your FAFSA by May 1. Check your individual state for their deadlines. For SEO Grants and Federal Work Study, you must submit your FAFSA by May 1.

What Do I Need to Know About the Conservatory Scholarship?

Conservatory Scholarships are awarded based primarily on the merit of the audition. Need may be taken into account if the FAFSA is filed, but only if the audition warrants it. They are renewable if the student maintains Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for Scholarships (see below). The Conservatory Scholarship is not increased unless the student has a full tuition and fee scholarship and tuition increases. 

  • Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for Scholarships
    To remain eligible for your Conservatory scholarship you must meet the scholarship academic progress standards. SAP standards include a 2.0 cumulative GPA and completion of full time number of credits. See the Scholarship Fact Sheet for more information.
  • Annual Reapplication Requirement
    There is no reapplication requirement, you must, however, maintain scholarship SAP.

What Happens if I Drop, Withdraw or Change Grading Method to Audit?

  • Your award letter lists the amount of financial aid you will receive based on full time enrollment status. If you change your enrollment status, your financial aid package may be revised.
  • You cannot receive aid for audited courses or courses that are dropped before the add/drop date.
  • A course is considered “dropped” if you drop before the add/drop date. There are no charges or SAP penalties for dropped courses.
  • If you withdraw from a course after the add/drop date, it is a “withdrawal.” You will be charged for “withdrawn” courses, and withdrawals can lead to violations of the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.
  • If you withdraw from all your courses or stop attending them before completing more than 60% of the semester, you may have to return all or a portion of the federal financial aid that you received. A more complete explanation of the federal financial aid withdrawal and refund policy is available in the online Student Handbook.
  • If you withdraw from all your courses, you may be charged a percentage of your tuition:

The Boston Conservatory Withdrawal and Refund Policy 

Refunds are calculated for the fall and spring semesters using the following schedule

Termination Date Refund Student Obligation
Before the first day of classes 100% 0%
Within 10 class days 80% 20%
Within 15 class days 60% 40%
Within 20 class days 40% 60%
Within 25 class days 20% 80%
After 25 class days None< 100%

Refunds are calculated for the Institute for Music Education (Summer) by the following schedule

Termination Date Refund Student Obligation
Before the first day of classes 100% 0%
Within 3 class days 80% 20%
Within 4 class days 60% 40%
Within 5 class days 40% 60%
Within 6 class days 20% 80%
After 6 class days None 100%

The application fee and deposits toward tuition and/or room and board are not refundable. No fees are returned after the start of classes. The refund policy as stated above applies to tuition and on campus room and board charges only.

Important note on withdrawal and federal loan funds and the Exit Counseling Interview
Students who graduate or withdraw and have taken out federal loan funds are required to undergo an Exit Counseling Interview. The Exit Interview is a federal requirement. Students who fail to complete the Exit Interview will have their transcripts held until the interview is completed. The Exit Counseling Interview is available at Students sign in using their FSA ID and are given information about a variety of loan subjects. They are then required to take a number of short quizzes. The interview takes about 30 minutes to complete.


How is Financial Need Determined?

Cost of Attendance
- Expected Family Contribution
= Financial Need

  • Financial need is defined as the difference between your cost of attendance, as determined by the Conservatory, and your expected family contribution (EFC), as determined by the FAFSA. The amount of financial need you have determines what kind of financial aid you may receive. Please note that the Conservatory does not award up to a student's complete need.
  • The cost of attendance includes direct costs such as tuition and fees and room and board (if on campus) and estimated costs such as books, supplies, room and board (if not on campus), transportation and miscellaneous expenses. You may not receive financial aid (including loans) in excess of your cost of attendance. Please note that the gym fee is not considered an educational cost and is not included in the cost of attendance. The estimated costs are based on averages taken from student surveys conducted every two years.
  • The U.S. Department of Education calculates your expected family contribution (EFC) based on the financial information from your FAFSA. They compare your income and assets against standard cost of living allowances for the number of people in your household.

2016–2017 Cost of Attendance

Undergraduate On Campus Off Campus
Direct Costs (paid to institution)    
Tuition $41,560 $41,560
Fees $2,300 $2,300
Room* $11,700  
Board** $6,300  
Indirect Costs    
Books $570 $570
Living Expenses*** $2,280 $16,068
Total $64,710 $60,498
Health Insurance**** $2,109 $2,109
Total with Health Insurance $66,819 $62,607
Graduate  M.M. M.F.A. G.P.D. Performance G.P.D. Opera A.D. P.S.C. On Campus Expenses
Direct Costs              
Tuition $41,560 $41,560 $25,170 $41,560 $25,170 $25,170  
Fees $2,300 $2,300 $2,300 $2,300 $2,300 $2,300  
Room*             $11,700
Board**             $6,300
Indirect Costs              
Living Expenses*** $16,068 $16,068 $16,068 $16,068 $16,068 $16,068 $2,280
Books and Supplies $570 $570 $570 $570 $570 $570 $570
Total $60,498 $60,498 $44,108 $60,498 $44,108 $44,108 $20,850 + tuition
Health Insurance **** $2,109 $2,109 $2,109 $2,109 $2,109 $2,109 $2,109
Total with health insurance  $62,607 $62,607 $46,217 $62,607 $46,217 $46,217 $22,959 + tuition 

*Students who live with their parents should contact the Financial Aid Office for more information on their cost of attendance.

**This figure represents the 265 Block meal plan. In addition, there are also 210, 150, 75 and 25 Block meal plans. First year students in the dorms are required to have the 265 Block meal plan.  

***Living expenses on campus include travel and miscellaneous items. Living expenses off campus include room and board, travel and miscellaneous items. Fitness center memberships and/or classes are not considered an educational expense and are not included in the cost of attendance. Please note that the Conservatory does not have an on-campus fitness center. For more information, contact Wellness Services

****By law, students must have health insurance that includes comprehensive coverage in Massachusetts. All three-quarter and full-time students are automatically enrolled in, and charged for, our Student Health Insurance Plan. The plan is underwritten by Blue Cross Blue Shield and provides coverage throughout the United States and abroad, from August 15, 2016 through August 14, 2017. To waive participation with a comparable plan, you must submit an online waiver each year. For more information, contact Wellness Services. 


Students may take out additional funds to cover their complete cost of attendance. To determine how much you can borrow, subtract the financial aid on your award letter from your total cost of attendance. Please note that if there are federal loans on your award letter, they are the gross amount. Fees may be taken out of them. Please also note that you need not borrow up to your entire cost of attendance. You should only borrow what you willl need. Please see the section on your Conservatory bill for more information on loan funds.

Less than full time students would have their cost of attendance elements pro-rated.

What if My Financial Situation Has Changed?

If your family experiences an extreme change in its finances due to circumstances such as illness, disability, divorce, or unemployment, you can have your eligibility reevaluated based on your new family financial circumstances.  We have a “Special Circumstances” form on our website on the forms page.  Fill it out and submit it and all of the requested documentation to our office.  We will review your request and notify you of the results.  


Bills are mailed in June and November. Your financial aid award will be listed on your bill as “Expected Funding." Expected funding will be subtracted from the total as long as the award letter has been signed and returned with all requested documents. If all requested documents have not been sent, then your financial aid will not show up on your bill. If your financial aid does not show up on the bill and you have not paid your balance, you will receive a late fee of $200.  

If you do not have enough financial aid to cover your bill, then you must find the money another way (private loans, PLUS loans, outside scholarships, own pocket). If you do not have funding in place by the deadline, then you will receive a late fee of $200.

What if I Didn’t Get Enough Financial Aid to Pay My Bill?

Most students do not get enough financial aid on their award letter to cover their balance. In this situation, there are options listed below for you to consider. To determine how much you can take out on these loans, determine your cost of attendance from the information above and subtract the financial aid listed on your award letter. Please note that you do not have to take out your entire cost of attendance.

  • Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans
    PLUS loans are available to all credit worthy parents of undergraduate students attending on an at least half time basis. The FAFSA is required in order for the parent to take out the PLUS. Parents may take out the full cost of attendance minus any other financial aid. Repayment starts as soon as the loan is fully disbursed (usually in the spring semester), however, parents can now defer making payments until the student is out of school. Parents that do not make loan payments and do not arrange for a deferment, will not receive a PLUS loan for the following academic year. If a parent applies for a PLUS loan and is denied, then the student may apply for an Unsubsidized Loan for $4,000 or $5,000 (see above) or the parent can reapply with a credit worthy endorser. PLUS Loans are assumed to be for the whole academic year. Any parent who wants the PLUS for just a semester must notify the Financial Aid Office.   

    Please fill out the Direct PLUS Loan MPN at If your parent does not already have an FSA ID from filling out the FAFSA, then they will need to get one at The Direct Loan interest rate was 6.84% for the 2015–2016 Award Year. This is expected to change July 1, 2016. There is an origination fee of 4.272% that is taken off the top of the loan. When determining how much to borrow, remember to factor in this 4.272%.

    Please note that only biological or adopted parents may take out a Parent PLUS Loan. Stepparents may take out the PLUS only if they are married to the biological parent at the time that the PLUS is requested. Grandparents and legal guardians are not eligible for the PLUS unless they have legally adopted the student.
  • Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loans
    Grad PLUS loans are available to all credit worthy graduate students who attend on an at least half time basis. Grad Students are required to fill out the FAFSA in order to take out the Grad PLUS Loan. Repayment can be deferred until after the student leaves school. If the student is denied for reasons of credit, then he or she may reapply with a credit worthy endorser. Grad students may take out the full cost of attendance minus any other financial aid. Any student who wants the Grad PLUS for just a semester must notify the Financial Aid Office.     

    Please fill out a Direct Loan Grad PLUS MPN at If you have not already created an FSA ID from filling out the FAFSA, you will need to get one at You must also fill out an Entrance Counseling Interview at If you have already filled out the Entrance Interview for the Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, then you do not need to fill it out again. The Direct Loan Grad PLUS Loan’s interest rate is fixed at 6.84% for the 2015–2016 Award Year. This rate is expected to change July 1, 2016. There is an origination fee of 4.272% that is taken off the top of the loan. When determining how much to borrow, remember to factor in this 4.272%.

    NOTE: Because the interest rate on the Grad PLUS is higher than on the subsidized and unsubsidized loans, you must take out your full eligibility in the unsubsidized loan before requesting the Grad PLUS Loan.
  • Private/Alternative Educational Loans
    Private loans are available to students, but most of these loans require a credit worthy co-borrower. There are a variety of private educational loans with different fees and interest rates. These loans are certified by the school and the funds come directly to the school. Any student who wants a private loan for just a semester, must notify the Financial Aid Office.

    As of February 14, 2010, private loans must be self certified by the borrower. In most instances, the lender will send the borrower a self-certification form that they will have to fill out and return in order to have their private loan approved. The form will require certain financial aid information that is available in this guide (the Cost of Attendance) and on your award letter. You may also request the form and the information from the Financial Aid Office. Private loans will not be approved until the Self Certification form has been filled out and returned to the lender.

    Please visit to find a list of private loan lenders with more information about their loans. Please note that you do not have to use this list of lenders.
  • Conservatory Poirier Loans
    This loan program results from a generous bequest from the estate of the late Alfred Poirier, a patron and sponsor of the arts. A limited number of loans are available to undergraduate seniors who are U.S. citizens. The maximum amount that can be borrowed is $7,500 per year or $3,750 per semester. The interest rate is 6.0% and the loan has a 120-day grace period. Eligibility for the Poirier Loan is determined by the Financial Aid Office.
  • Direct to Consumer (DTC) Loans 
    DTC loans are marketed directly to students. These loans usually have a higher rate of interest and/or higher fees. The check is made out to the student and not the school. If the school becomes aware that the student has taken out this loan, it will be counted as a resource against the student’s cost of attendance, which may result in a lessening of other financial aid. Because checks go directly to students, these loans are not counted as expected funding on the bill. This may result in a late fee of $200.

Recently, there has been discussion in the student loan industry that has resulted in a tightening of credit requirements. For those students/parents who are concerned about their FICO score, the Conservatory recommends that you try to improve it before applying for a PLUS or private loan. You can do this by getting your credit report and correcting any errors and paying your bills on time (if you are late with bills, it is important to get current and stay current). If you are unable to do this, you may wish to try to find a credit worthy co-signer, such as a friend or relative.  

Please note that credit checks for PLUS and many private loans are only valid for 90 days. If you fill out the application in May, but do not complete the process until August, another credit check will have to be issued. 

  • Tuition Payment Plan
    The Tuition Payment Plan, offered by Higher One, is an interest-free, debt-free way to pay tuition in monthly installments. There are plans for just one semester (not including summer) and plans for the entire academic year. Plans may only include current balances. There is an enrollment fee for each plan, which varies by plan type. To enroll in a plan, visit or call 1-800-635-0120.

Important Phone Numbers and Websites

The Boston Conservatory Office of Financial Aid

Nicole Brennan
Director of Financial Aid
Phone: (617) 912–9120 

Jessica Raine
Assistant Director of Financial Aid
Phone: (617) 912–9147


Fax: (857) 207–3120 or (857) 207-3147

Office Hours:

9 a.m.–5 p.m.

Other Phone Numbers

The Boston Conservatory Bursar’s Office
(617) 912–9164

The Boston Conservatory Registrar’s Office
(617) 912–9169

Federal Student Aid Information Center
(800) 4FED–AID (800–433–3243)
(FAFSA Information & Changes)

Department of Veterans’ Affairs
(888) 442–4551

Internal Revenue Service
(800) 829–1040

Direct Lending Servicer
(800) 848–0979

Other Financial Aid Websites

Free Scholarship Search

General Financial Aid Information

FAFSA Online & FAFSA Help

Veterans’ Benefits

Federal Student Aid Assistance

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