The financial aid guide is designed to outline the financial aid programs available at BSU and to inform you and your family of general policies and procedures that the financial aid programs require. We would be happy to answer any questions you might have so please feel free to contact the financial aid office.
We encourage you to read this guide and become familiar with its content. We want you to be informed and become an advocate for yourself so that you will receive the maximum financial aid that is available to you.
If you need further assistance in the completion of applications or if you have questions or comments regarding the application process, your awards, or the service you receive, please feel free to contact any one of the counselors. Best wishes for a successful year.
As a participant in federally funded programs, Bridgewater State University must adhere to certain federal guidelines and eligibility requirements. In order to be eligible to receive financial aid at BSU, you must:
- have "financial need" (this can only be determined by filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with the Department of Education)
- Be a U. S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
- Have a Social Security number
- Maintain satisfactory academic progress*
- Sign a statement of educational purpose/certification statement on refunds and default and a statement of registration status (these certifications will be provided for your signature on the FAFSA)
- Possess either a high school diploma or a GED
- Be a matriculated student (in other words, a student accepted into a degree or eligible certificate program) at BSU; continuing education students in non-degree/certificate programs are not eligible
- Be enrolled at least half-time (6 credits) for each semester during which you want to receive aid. Undergraduate students who enroll in less than 6 credits may receive a Pell Grant in limited cases.
- Register with the Selective Service if you are a male born after 1/1/60 and are at least 18 years old**
* Please see the Satisfactory Academic Progress section of this guide.
** Other restrictions/requirements may apply; contact the Selective Service in your local community for more information.
How to Apply
Priority Deadline Date
Verification Policy and Procedures
Any student may be selected for verification by the federal government or the Financial Aid Office. The verification process allows financial aid counselors to review the information reported on the FAFSA, checking for accuracy against documents provided by you.
If you are chosen for verification, you must submit a a tax return transcript as well as a completed Verification Worksheet (provided by the Financial Aid Office). If you are a dependent student, a copy of your parents' tax return transcript must also be submitted and your parents must complete the Verification Worksheet. If you are married, your spouse's tax return transcript must be submitted and your spouse must also complete the Verification Worksheet. All documents must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office.
If you are selected for verification, the documents required must be received before an actual financial aid award can be issued. Depending on the time of year, an estimated financial aid eligibility letter may be sent pending verification of your file. Any documents requested for verification must be submitted within the specified deadline or students considered "on-time" may lose their priority status and be awarded on a funds available basis instead.
Verification should be complete as soon after notification as possible, but must be complete prior to the last day a student is enrolled at least half-time, unless the student selected for verification is a Pell Grant recipient. For such students, the verification process must be completed no later than 60 days after the last day of at least half-time enrollment.
Determining Your Dependency Status
Bridgewater State University follows a nationally accepted philosophy in administering its financial aid programs. The basic principle of this philosophy is that the students and their families have the primary responsibility of meeting as much of the cost of attending college as is reasonably possible. Financial aid is a supplement to family resources if they are insufficient to meet college costs.
There are three components for determining financial aid: cost of attendance, family contribution and financial aid eligibility.
The cost of attendance is determined by the Financial Aid Office. Average expense budgets are used for students based on where they will be living during the academic year and their enrollment status.
The expected family contribution is determined from the information supplied on the FAFSA or Renewal Application. This amount is calculated using a nationally recognized process called "need analysis." This process takes into account several components such as:
- Family income (taxable and untaxable)
- Number of family members
- Number of family members attending college at least half-time
- Family assets (not including the home)
- Essential family living costs
Financial aid eligibility is determined by subtracting the expected family contribution from the cost of attendance:
Cost of Attendance minus (-) Family Contribution equals(=) Financial Aid Eligibility
Changes in Status
If you change your enrollment status during the Drop/Add period, then your financial aid may be adjusted accordingly. Changes in your housing status or a change in credit hours attempted can affect your assigned cost of attendance and therefore alter your financial aid award. It is in your best interest to notify the Financial Aid Office in writing of any change in status to ensure accurate financial aid packages. A student's total financial aid (including veteran benefits) can never exceed the total cost of attendance
Financial Aid Awards
If you qualify for financial aid, a financial aid award letter will be mailed to you, apportioning the total aid awarded between the fall and spring semesters. If you are an incoming student (who has been accepted), have met the March 1 deadline, and have a complete file, you can expect to receive an award letter by mid-April. If you are a returning student and have met the March 1 deadline, you can expect to receive an award letter by mid-June. Students who apply late will receive notification of their awards once their files have been reviewed; these awards are subject to the availability of funding.
Upon receipt of your award letter, read it carefully, and follow all accompanying directions.
It is your responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Office of all financial assistance for education received from other sources. If you have not previously reported this aid, you may do so on the back of your award letter before returning it to the Financial Aid Office.
All types of outside assistance must be taken into account in the financial aid package. Outside assistance received after the awards are made by the Financial Aid Office may cause the financial aid package to be adjusted if these funds are in excess of the financial aid eligibility. See the section in this guide on "Outside/Private Scholarships or Financial Assistance" for further information.
Financial Aid Appeals
If your family situation changes after you receive your financial aid award, you can appeal the decision. Grounds for an appeal may include, but are not limited to: loss of a job, a death in the family, divorce or separation in the family or unusually high medical bills.
To appeal a financial aid award, send a letter to the Financial Aid Office, describing the ground(s) for the appeal. Appeals are reviewed throughout the academic year and are all handled on an individual basis.
Payment of Financial Aid Awards
Bills are generated by and paid at the Student Accounts Office. If you have been awarded financial aid prior to the receipt of your college bill, anticipated aid will appear on your student account bill. If your financial aid does not appear on your Student Account Statement you can indicate anticipated aid on the back of your bill with the following exceptions:1. Federal Work Study – cannot be applied to the bill because there is no guarantee that you will earn the entire award. 2. Federal Direct Loans – you must complete a Master Promissory Note (and Direct Loan Entrance Counseling if you are a first time Direct Loan borrower at BSU) before any loan award can be deducted from your bill. 3. Fees will be deducted from your loan. See the Direct Loan website for current fees.
Write the amount of all aid received on the back of your bill to reduce the amount you owe. If you have been awarded more aid than required to cover your bill, you will be refunded this amount by the Student Accounts Office, and it can be used to meet other educational expenses. Excess funds on your account are usually not available until after the drop/add period.
Students who are receiving enough aid to cover billed expenses, and who are expecting a refund of excess cash may request a book voucher from the Student Accounts Office at the beginning of each semester.
If you withdraw from the university during the semester, you may not be eligible for your entire financial aid award. (See "Refund Policy" FAQ.)
Outside/Private Scholarships or Financial Assistance
If you are a student who receives any type of outside/private scholarships or financial assistance you should communicate the dollar amount of the award to the Financial Aid Office and the Student Accounts Office. You may do so by submitting a copy of the notification letter to both offices. Types of assistance that must be reported include but are not limited to: private scholarships, tuition waivers, Americorps, veterans benefits and Massachusetts Rehabilitation Assistance. Depending on the amount and type of funding, other financial aid awards may be adjusted.
If your financial aid package must be adjusted due to receipt of outside assistance, the policy followed at Bridgewater State University is to reduce your financial aid in the following order: Direct Loans; other self-help, i.e., Perkins Loan, Massachusetts No Interest Loan, and Federal Work Study; and Grants.
It is your responsibility to make certain that funds for outside/private scholarships are received from the private source and credited to your account.
Financial Aid Programs at Bridgewater State University
Bridgewater State University participates in a wide variety of federal, state, institutional, and private financial aid programs. These programs can be grouped into three categories: grant, work and loan. The following is a description of these programs.
For financial aid purposes, the term "undergraduate" refers to students who are pursuing their first undergraduate degree. Enrollment levels are as follows: full time: 12 or more credits; three quarter time: 9 to 11 credits, half time: 6 to 8 credits; less than half time: 1 to 5 credits.
See related FAQs: Grants and Waivers, Work Programs and Loan Programs in this guide.
Grants and Waivers
Bridgewater State University participates in a wide variety of federal, state, institutional, and private financial aid programs. These programs can be grouped into three categories: grant, work and loan. The following is a description of the work programs.
For financial aid purposes, the term "undergraduate" in the following paragraphs refers to students who are pursuing their first undergraduate degree. Enrollment levels are as follows: full time: 12 or more credits; three quarter time: 9 to 11 credits, half time: 6 to 8 credits; less than half time: 1 to 5 credits.
Federal Work Study
- a federal program awarded by the Financial Aid Office at BSU
- eligibility is based directly on demonstrated financial need
- available to undergraduate students enrolled at least half-time; priority given to full time students
- provides financially eligible students an opportunity to work part-time on campus
- pay rates vary, refer to Student Employment Web page for updated information
- students work according to their class schedule, typically 10–12 hours per week
- payment is biweekly through a paycheck
Community Service Federal Work Study
- awarded to undergraduate students in the same manner as Federal Work Study, however here the award is used for an off-campus position at a non-profit, community service agency
- eligibility is based directly on demonstrated financial need area of study
- the Office of Student Employment, located in Boyden Hall, has a list of positions available in the community.
Non-Federal Work Study Employment – (Jobs on Campus)
- Institutional employment is open to all students who are currently enrolled as BSU students, regardless of financial eligibility. The positions are on-campus and vary from clerical to maintenance, and also vary in duration and pay rate. Positions may be available throughout the school year into the summer months and during semester breaks depending on departmental needs and the availability of funding.
Job Location and Development (JLD) Program – (Jobs in the Community)
- available to all students regardless of financial need
- provides students with the opportunity to work in the local area
- designed to help students gain experience in their field of study and to earn additional income for educational expenses
- job listings are posted year-round in the student employment office
- pay rates vary depending on experience and/or job requirements
For questions regarding all forms of student employment please contact the Office of Student Employment, located in Boyden Hall, at (508) 531-1232.
Direct Loan Application Process
- For Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans, the initial application requirement is met when the student submits the complete Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Student borrowers must also complete a Direct Loan Master Promissory Note and complete Entrance Counseling.
- For Direct PLUS Loans, the student must submit the complete Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The parent must submit a Federal Ford Direct PLUS Loan Request Form to the Financial Aid Office, available from the Financial Aid Office or on our website. The parent must also complete a Direct Plus Loan Master Promissory Note.
- The Financial Aid Office certifies the loan and forwards the information to the direct loan servicer.
- The direct loan servicer evaluates the application (credit check, etc., for Plus) for approval.
- If the loan is not approved, the direct loan servicer will notify the borrower by mail. In the case of a Parent PLUS loan denial the parent may be given the option of reapplying with an endorser, which works much like a co-applicant. If the loan is approved, the direct loan servicer sends a Notice of Loan Approval to the student, indicating the loan amount(s) approved and the dates on which it (they) will be disbursed.
- Once the funds are received by Bridgewater State University, the Office of Student Accounts notifies the borrower of the arrival of the funds.
- First-time borrowers for Federal Ford Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans must complete Direct Loan entrance counseling prior to receiving funds. Loan entrance counseling may be completed online at the student loans website or by making an appointment with a financial aid counselor.
- Loan funds are applied first to the student's account if there is a balance. If there is no balance, the student receives the whole loan amount for that semester, minus any fees. If a portion of the loan was applied to the student's account, the remainder will be refunded to the student. For Direct PLUS Loans, any funds in excess of the balance due on the bill will be refunded to the parent, unless the parent authorizes the release of these funds to the student on the Federal Ford Direct PLUS Loan Request Form.
- In order to postpone repayment, students must be matriculated and enrolled at least half time. Students should contact the loan servicer(s) to determine eligibility for a deferment and to obtain deferment forms. The Registrar's Office at Bridgewater State University will certify all qualifying student loan deferments.
- Upon withdrawing from the college, falling below half-time enrollment status, or graduating, the student must complete loan exit counseling. Loan exit counseling may be completed on line at the Student Aid website or you can make an appointment with a financial aid counselor.
- Borrowers are required to notify the college and the lender and/or servicer of any changes in:
- telephone number
- next of kin
- withdrawal from college
- transfer to another college
- obtain/change driver's license
- social security number
- graduation date
- enrollment (less than half time)
Exchange/Study Abroad Programs
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Code of Conduct
The Bridgewater State University office of financial aid has adopted the following NASFAA and Massachusetts Board of Higher Education Statements of Ethical Principles and Codes of Conduct to ensure the highest ethical behavior and professional practices.
NASFAA STATEMENT OF ETHICAL PRINCIPLES
The office of financial aid at Bridgewater State University follows NASFAA’s Statement of Ethical Principles, which provides that the primary goal of the institutional financial aid professional is to help students achieve their educational potential by providing appropriate financial resources. To this end, this Statement provides that the financial aid professional shall:
- Be committed to removing financial barriers for those who wish to pursue postsecondary learning.
- Make every effort to assist students with financial need.
- Be aware of the issues affecting students and advocate their interests at the institutional, state, and federal levels.
- Support efforts to encourage students, as early as the elementary grades, to aspire to and plan for education beyond high school.
- Educate students and families through quality consumer information.
- Respect the dignity and protect the privacy of students, and ensure the confidentiality of student records and personal circumstances.
- Ensure equity by applying all need analysis formulas consistently across the institution's full population of student financial aid applicants.
- Provide services that do not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, age, or economic status.
- Recognize the need for professional development and continuing education opportunities.
- Promote the free expression of ideas and opinions, and foster respect for diverse viewpoints within the profession.
- Commit to the highest level of ethical behavior and refrain from conflict of interest or the perception thereof.
- Maintain the highest level of professionalism, reflecting a commitment to the goals of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.
Task Force on Standards of Excellence
Adopted by Board of Directors, April 1999
NASFAA CODE OF CONDUCT FOR INSTITUTIONAL FINANCIAL AID PROFESSIONALS
An institutional financial aid professional is expected to always maintain exemplary standards of professional conduct in all aspects of carrying out his or her responsibilities, specifically including all dealings with any entities involved in any manner in student financial aid, regardless of whether such entities are involved in a government sponsored, subsidized, or regulated activity. In doing so, a financial aid professional should:
- Refrain from taking any action for his or her personal benefit.
- Refrain from taking any action he or she believes is contrary to law, regulation, or the best interests of the students and parents he or she serves.
- Ensure that the information he or she provides is accurate, unbiased, and does not reflect any preference arising from actual or potential personal gain.
- Be objective in making decisions and advising his or her institution regarding relationships with any entity involved in any aspect of student financial aid.
- Refrain from soliciting or accepting anything of other than nominal value from any entity (other than an institution of higher education or a governmental entity such as the U.S. Department of Education) involved in the making, holding, consolidating or processing of any student loans, including anything of value (including reimbursement of expenses) for serving on an advisory body or as part of a training activity of or sponsored by any such entity.
- Disclose to his or her institution, in such manner as his or her institution may prescribe, any involvement with or interest in any entity involved in any aspect of student financial aid.
Adopted by Board of Directors, May 2007
NASFAA’s Statement of Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct for Institutional Financial Aid Professionals
MASSACHUSETTS BOARD OF HIGHER EDUCATION
CODE OF CONDUCT—STUDENT LOAN PROGRAMS
Code of Conduct
The primary goal of the institution and its financial aid staff is to help students achieve their educational potential by providing appropriate financial resources. To this end, this document provides institutions, specifically financial aid professionals, with a set of principles that serves as a common foundation for an acceptable standard of conduct.
Institutions and their Financial Aid Professionals shall:
- Maintain the highest level of professionalism
- Commit to the highest level of ethical behavior and refrain from conflict of interest or the perception thereof
- Respect the dignity and protect the privacy of students, and ensure the confidentiality of student records and personal circumstances
- Provide information to families for lenders that have proven to provide the best combination of price, access to funds, and service to students and families
Further, institutions shall ensure that all officers, trustees, directors, employees or agents, and financial aid professionals adhere to the following:
- May not accept gifts, meals, travel, or any other non-trivial items from student loan providers in connection with the institution’s loan business
- May not accept, from a lending institution, money, equipment, or printing services or anything of value that may provide or suggest an advantage or grant a preferred status
- If serving as a member of a lending institution’s advisory board, may not accept anything of value in exchange for this service, such as “revenue sharing”
Bridgewater State University does not have a preferred lender list. Students may borrow from any lender they choose with no preference made by the University. The University utilizes www.ELMSelect.com to provide information to our students. This is not to be construed as an endorsement of those lenders included on ELM Select. Students may borrow from lenders not included on ELM Select.
- Organize a file for all of your financial aid information and keep copies of all information you mail.
- Be aware of all priority deadline dates.
- Respond promptly to all correspondence from the Financial Aid Office and the Student Accounts Office. Failure to respond can result in the loss of aid, cancellation of class schedules and loss of campus residency.
- Print your name and Banner ID on all information sent to the Financial Aid Office. In the case of divorced or remarried parents (using a new name) be sure to prominently print the student's name and Banner ID on all documents.
- If your family has special circumstances, inform the Financial Aid Office in writing.
- Promptly notify the Registrar's Office of any change of name, address or telephone number. All financial aid correspondence will be mailed to the student's current address on record in the Registrar's Office (all financial aid correspondence will be mailed to the student's local address during the fall and spring semesters).
- Be your own advocate! Be aware of all aspects of your financial aid application and awards. Ask questions. You have every right to ask your financial aid counselor questions regarding your awards if you do not understand them. Do not make this your parents' responsibility. Not knowing about financial aid may delay resolution of serious financial issues and may result in the loss of aid. It is not only your right to know, it is your responsibility to know.