It’s not just you; the terror is entirely real for all of us. College is expensive and Bennington is an expensive college. Real talk: costly and scary.
That being said, the administration here also does an exceptional job of making this craziness affordable. Last (school) year, for instance, more than 90% of first-year students received grants or scholarships; the average value for each of these grants or scholarships was $29,000. That’s sans loans, sans work-study.
For specific questions, check out the website here ( http://www.bennington.edu/Admissions/financialaid/undergraduates.aspx ); if, once you’ve applied, you have questions specific to your situation, contact the office of financial aid. They’ll totally talk to you. It’s their job.
The answer to your question(s) is YES. We do have a significant number of students who receive significant financial aid. It’s all need-based, so you’ll most likely get what you need once you get accepted. If you are an accepted student and you need 75% or above, then Bennington will try to make it happen.
Here are some links to a summary of financial aid and the Financial Aid Handbook. However, statistics often don’t accurately represent how personal Bennington is. Like everything else, Financial Aid at Bennington is done on a very individual level.
Bennington gave me the most financial aid out of any school I applied to and I know that this was true for many of my friends as well. Additionally, when it was still not enough, the Financial Aid Office renegotiated my aid so I could attend. Each year I can renegotiate my aid based on my family’s need.
If you have questions regarding applying for financial aid, feel free to email the financial aid office firstname.lastname@example.org or give them a call at 800-833-6845. They’ll be glad to answer your questions and to work with you on your financial aid application.
Our main piece of advice is NEVER let the price of a school stop you from applying. Many of the schools that are the most expensive are also the schools that give the most financial aid. Additionally, many schools have waivers for the admission fee (including Bennington!).
Money can be scary, but don’t let it stop you from applying from colleges that you are passionate about.
Arden ‘16 and Chernoh ‘15
Here’s the problem:
Bennington doesn’t have a mathematical equation that we can plug your scores into and get your financial aid package. That would be nice. But, it would also mean that all students would be judged solely on their test scores. Which isn’t really how it works here. Students up for aid are looked at holistically because an SAT score really gives us no information on how you’ll fit in here. Your chances of getting a larger financial aid package increase the more excited you are about Bennington and the more passionately you pursue your own interests. If you still need additional info give the Financial Aid office a ring at 802-440-4325.
All the best,
I had three at one point but I wised up real quick and left one of them. There’s a cap on how much you can earn each term (about $1200) so if you’re working more than one job and you hit the cap early, you can’t work anymore and it’s a pain for everyone.
But I would say that with the Field Work Term and a Bennington education, most students here graduate with a sense of self-advocacy (and at least 4 FWTs’ worth of job hunting/work experience) that seriously helps with the job hunt (it’s all about the interview!) as well as a network of both past employers and other professionals (even your teachers!) to call on.
Students also aren’t paying $200,000 during their time here. A large percentage (90%) of students receive both need-based and merit-based aid ($36,660 a year, on average!)
This isn’t the 80’s, pal!
First off, you’ll be considered for $cholarships right off the bat, so you’d find out about that with the acceptance letter.
In terms of other aid, Bennington has a financial aid application in addition to the FAFSA (opens January 1) and CSS (DUE December 10) for you to fill out when you apply with questions similar to the FAFSA, and you’d get an estimated institutional and federal aid award based on the Bennington form and CSS with your letter, so as long as the numbers on your FAFSA and CSS Profile are consistent with what you put on the Bennington application, the aid you recieve in the spring should be the same as the estimate you get with your letter.
(you can check all the financial aid deadlines here)
Hi volunteering friend.
Yes, as a matter of fact, we do have volunteering opportunities. As with most things at Bennington, if you want to make it happen then you can. And so when there was a group of students interested in helping to teach English to immigrants, they asked the school for transportation and now they go into town once a week to work with people from all over the world (usually from Central America) on their speaking, reading and writing skills.
Another example of volunteering at Bennington: One day a term about 60 of us go into town and help string Christmas lights and hang decorations, clean up parks, etc. It’s loads of fun and a good way to connect with the town.
Personally, I think I want to do more volunteer work, because — although what is being done is awesome and admirable — I have so much energy I want to give to meaningful work, and so I intend to get more involved in the coming terms with my own understanding of volunteering and how it plays into my life. I’m especially interested in the possibility of gardening with the homeless shelter in town. Join me if you want to! I think it will be great.
Financial aid is given based on a combination of need and merit. They look at your specific skill set first, and there are scholarships based on that (great leader? great writer? all-around promising personality? designed your own sock-powered rocket stove boat? like nature? who knows what all the scholarships are). And then whatever need the merit scholarships do not cover they do their best to meet based on a mixture of loans, work study, and the heart of your first-born child. There are also a lot of scholarships and grants outside of the college for people who are really into volunteering. Check around in your local area — churches, lions clubs, rotary clubs, and other community organizations are often very excited to help you get educated.
Sylvia M. ‘16
The short answer to your question is absolutely. The Office of Financial Aid here, like most institutions, works with the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), which is used to generate something called the “Expected Family Contribution” (EFC). Your EFC is comprised of many different factors (family income, obviously, but other things as well). A big factor is how many other siblings you have that are currently in college. Sooo, your EFC would be adjusted accordingly. If you have any other Fin Aid questions feel free to call the friendly folks in the office. Financial Aid’s extension is x 4325. Just tell ‘em you are a prospective student and they’ll help you out.
Aren’t siblings the best?
- Julia ‘15
First off, Bennington is not in the top 25 most expensive colleges in the US (Hollah). We also have pretty good range of economic diversity compared to other 4-year private institutions. About 20% of our campus has a Pell Grant (a need based grant to low-income under graduate students) which is pretty good for a private college.
This is the ticket price of Bennington College:
But before you start freaking out I want you to look at this helpful graph.
See net cost? See how far below the ticket price it is? Bennington follows those trends. We give a lot of merit and need-based aid. In 2012-2013 more than 90% of first-year students received a grant or scholarship. We are also pretty good at negotiating aid after the initial award. I know that the majority of my friends negotiated their aid and this support continues every year.
In conclusion, don’t let the ticket price scare you. Apply, look at your financial award, negotiate if needed and then you can decide if Bennington is out of your price range.
Arden J. ‘16
There are all kinds of options for affordable FWT’s. For one thing, students can always get a job near home to avoid rent. For another thing, students tend to team up in terms of housing in the major cities like NY, San Fran, Boston, LA, etc. There are also lots of alumns and parents of students who are willing to house Bennington students over FWT! Then there is the FWT grant - I’ve personally been saved by the FWT grant. You can apply for the grant and get a little bit of help with things like rent, groceries, transportation, etc., which means you might not get set back financially at all, if you plan it well!
Do not despair!
Happy to hear that you’ve fallen in love with Bennington :)
To answer your question:
We do offer financial aid to international students, based on merit + need, just like every other applicant. Know that you even though you want to transfer in the spring term, you’ll be considered equally as much as the students coming in the fall.
If you have further questions, I’d recommend you shoot an email to Nick Forcier, our admissions councilor in the office who handles international student applications, at »> email@example.com.
We’ve gotten a lot of ?’s about financial aid recently because money can be $cary. We totally get it and also scared too. Only human over here though we seem cyber.
Speaking of humans, our first piece of advice is to call financial aid. Talking to humans and not computers can also be scary but they’ll be able to help you on an individual basis way better than we can. Their digits are 802-440-4325. This is a great idea for all questions. Self advocacy can be fun!
That being said we can give you some more general info:
Merit aid is based on the strength of the total application not just a student’s grades or test scores (so maybe your art portfolio made us rethink existence or something). Upon applying, all students are considered for need and merit based scholarships, no extra paperwork necessary beyond the FAFSA and other federal documentation you’d be filling out already.
in 2012-13, 90% of first-year students received a grant or scholarship, the average award being $25,791. And that’s money you don’t have to repay.
Are there hidden costs? I’d look at our budget here. I’d also just say that it is easy to not spend money on campus. I don’t carry cash and I’ve gone weeks before without spending a dime.
Field Work Term? I can’t predict how much it will cost for you. Grants are available. But also, if money is a concern, do something where you will make money, even if it isn’t the dream. It will still be a great experience. You aren’t required to fly to France, you can live with Mom and Dad.
alan & emily!
I know money can be stressful - yes, you can appeal. Talk to you counselor (if you don’t know who that is check here) and he or she can help guide you through the process.
Don’t give up yet!
Your financial aid package isn’t final, and if it doesn’t work for you, you should get in touch with your counselor and see if you can figure something else out. Of course the financial aid office can’t guarantee anything, but they’ll do their best to help.
— sarah ‘14
Okay so — I know how stressful figuring out money stuff is, but you should know that the school is totally all about helping you find a way to make it all work. As an international student (from Pakistan), I use the Bollinger insurance we get through the school, and pay $688 a term in addition to what I pay for tuition and all that. In my experience, Bennington goes out of its way to accommodate international students and the situation is usually not as dire as it seems.
Nick Forcier (firstname.lastname@example.org), who handles all the international applications, will be happy to walk you through the process and see if we can’t wrangle a way to make it easier.
Let us know if you have any more questions!
— sarah ‘14