The highest possible scholarship would be a full scholarship. The college can’t guarantee that everyone’s financial needs will be met in their entirety but it’ll certainly do its best. Financial aid packages go out around the same time as offers of admission, and if there’s something about the amount or the structure that doesn’t work for you, you can totally get in touch with a counselor and see if you can’t work something else out.
Of course, resources are limited, we get so many great and deserving applicants, aaaand you know how it is, really. The important thing is that financial aid is a conversation and absolutely up for discussion.
Hope that helps.
— sarah ‘14
As much as they want. I actually made money on my first two FWTs, and my most recent one could have been free if I didn’t love the Pad Thai place down the street from where I work so much. Granted, I wasn’t exactly living the FWT dream, but I have this theory that the FWT dream is kind of a lie. You can learn a lot even if you are in your hometown and not France. But Parke also went to France for free one time (grant + living with family), so you just have to be so so crafty.
I just asked everyone if the amount of money they spent on their FWTs correlated to the quality of the experience:
Eliana: “not really”
Hey, not a dumb question at all. The answer depends mostly on which class you’d be taking. Certain visual arts classes come with a studio fee- usually classes such as ceramics or sculpture that require enough bulk material sustain 14 weeks of students building and discarding works. Others, such as web design or critical photographic theory, might require a few tools, but are typically cheaper. Bennington College does provide quite a bit of material support for students in the form of loaner cameras and tools, as well as over half a dozen visual arts studios.
Keep in mind that many visual arts practices are material-intensive, whether for a class or just as a solo endeavor. Most of these fees and associated costs, however, aren’t any higher than what you’d see at a community college. Also, visual arts classes have an added advantage over, say, social science, in that they give you an opportunity to create useful and fun items you can keep for years. I’m still drinking coffee out of a mug I made in a ceramics class- I can’t exactly say the same about my anthropology paper from the same term.
Transfer students are considered for exactly the same aid, both need- and merit-based, as first year students. We’re not able to guarantee full scholarships but our financial aid is very competitive. If you’re accepted, you’ll receive your aid package with your offer of admission, and the amount and structure isn’t set in stone. Aid at Bennington is a conversation and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.
Start by listening to this Sharon Van Etten song because she just makes everything okay and really understands what it’s like:
No. Stop reading and listen to the music. I knew you were going to just play it in the background and then keep reading. But don’t do that. Listen to the music.
Okay, anyway: just hang tight. You’re still eligible for merit aid; and the good news is, we give merit aid out to people. Like actually. And because we get to know you as a person and not a number (from your tour, interview, portfolio, paper, essays, etc.) the aid decision isn’t based on arbitrary data like SAT scores. There is no use in worrying about the price — in my opinion — until you know what it will be for you. Make the call then.
Don’t worry. You are excited about Bennington, we are excited that you are excited. Bennington is committed to making an education here feasible for anyone and everyone who should be studying here. While we unfortunately can’t meet all need all the time, the college does it’s best (and from personal experience, they come pretty darn close.) Students who apply Early Decision don’t get any more or less kudos than those who don’t in the eyes of the financial aid office. As someone who applied ED, I got a pretty generous package and don’t think it was affected in anyway by my ED status. So just don’t stress about it. And please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the financial office with any questions or concerns.
- Sarah ‘15
SO, they actually both pertain to the Fall 2014 term. How it works is that there’s a sort of unofficial financial aid profile that you fill out by December 15th which gives us a feel for your financial situation, and which we use to give you an estimate of your financial aid package. Then by March 15th you send in your FAFSA information with all the official documents, which is when we notify you about the actual amount of your package. We do this because the necessary documents we need from you are not available until January 1st.
Sayonara and good luck!
I think the figure you were looking at was the Bennington tuition, which excluding room and board is $44,490. If I’m off, please let me know, but that’s the only 45k figure I can find on the site.
So, the reality of this is, Bennington, along with most private, small liberal arts schools, is a very expensive school. But here are a few numbers that might help. Ninety-five percent of Bennington students receive aid. The average aid package is $36,660 yearly, which includes scholarships, work study, and loans. The average grant or scholarship award is $25,791 yearly, and that’s money you and your parents won’t have to worry about later. Some packages are quite a bit more than that. Bennington students graduate with an average of $25,716 in debt, which is roughly a few thousand lower than the national average.
So, as someone who also had to think very hard about the cost of Bennington, here’s what I advise. Sit down with your parents and figure out together how much you can afford to contribute to your education between the three of you. Apply to Bennington, and if you’re accepted, we’ll send you our offer of a financial aid package, complete with our advice about federal loans etc. If it matches with what you can do, great. If not, go over your stuff again, get in touch with the financial aid office, and see if, working together, you can figure out how to make up the gap. They really do want to help you come here. While we can’t guarantee it’ll work out, we’ll do our best by you.
I just checked the Bennington website to make sure but it looks like our current tuition is set at $44,490. But please don’t let this number scare you. I had very similar concerns when applying to Bennington. The website goes on to offer the following fear-quellers:
The College offers several kinds of financial assistance: merit scholarships, need-based grants, loans, and work study. We recognize that every family’s financial situation is unique and we work closely with students to explore a full range of options for financing their education.
My advice to you is to apply regardless of the price tag, you can never know what kind of aid you could receive and Bennington is very much committed to working with students when it comes down to monetary facts and figures. It’s always, always, always worth applying. If I’d written off Bennington because of tuition, I never would’ve gotten here at all.
For more specific information I’d suggest giving the Financial Aid office a call: 800-833-6845 or 802-440-4325 or you can also shoot them an email at email@example.com
I had a similar issue upon my acceptance at Bennington. I encourage you to get in contact with the folks in the Office of Financial Aid. They will at least be able to shed some light on your current financial standing and the likelihood of you receiving more aid. Those folks in Financial Aid can sometimes make magic happen! Of course, you will have to reapply to the school as a transfer student. But it never hurts for you to start the conversation now. Best of luck!
Office of Financial Aid:
802-442-5401 (ext. 4325)
- Jeremy ‘16
My advice would be this: APPLY.
Bennington’s cost should not be a deterrent for anyone that wants to come here. All applicants are considered for both merit-based aid and need-based aid. If a prospective student’s application is strong enough, I can assure you that the school will do everything in its power to make sure you can study here. Personally, I can say that I know what it’s like to fall in love with this school and then look at the numbers; it can be pretty terrifying. But please, for the love of puppies and sunny summer afternoons, don’t stop applying due to how much Bennington costs! Do it for you, because you deserve to at least try! Do it for the puppies!
Nope! Bennington is not need-blind.
This does not mean that the school is not ‘financial-aid friendly’. Absolutely everyone who gets admitted is considered for both merit-based and need-based aid. How much aid is given depends of course on either the strength of your application (with merit-based aid) and the amount of your financial need (with need-based aid).
I know how daunting (and slightly terrifying) it is to look up a great school like Bennington and see that it’s not need-blind, but trust me, if this school wants you to come here they will move mountains and make dreams come true (figuratively and literally). I can personally attest to this; without the help of the unsung heroes at the Financial Aid, many of us wouldn’t have the privilege of the immense personal and academic growth that I have experienced in the past 3 years here.
But enough sappy talk, hope I helped!
I am (was) a transfer student (I graduated, aren’t-ya-proud). I can speak a little bit to that process. Coming in as a spring transfer isn’t all THAT different from coming in in the fall - of course the timing of your application is different, and you’d arrive on campus in mid-February - but the only significant difference in terms of the adjustment period is that you wouldn’t be at New Student Orientation like fall transfers and freshmen are in August. Student Life does coordinate a little mini-orientation for spring transfers, so you’ll still get the whole Bennington intro, just in a smaller format.
As far as challenges? I mean, it’d be new. It’s probably pretty different from where you’re at now. Which is probably why you want to transfer in the first place. Because Bennington is a small school and transfers are an even smaller subset of the student body, the Dean’s Office, Student Life, and Academic Services take a really directed approach in terms of orienting you to the Plan process, FWT, etc. Coming in as a transfer, I never really felt isolated or ‘different’ from freshmen and other transfers - you’re sorta all lumped in together and you each get individual care and consideration. Before you arrive at Bennington, you’ll have a conversation with someone from the Dean’s Office about your academic history and interests as a way of helping you to pick your spring semester classes in an intentional and thoughtful way. That conversation also serves as a primer for the Plan process. Depending on how many credits you transfer to Bennington, the Plan changes slightly in terms of pace, but not in terms of what it asks you to do: deeply and honestly self-reflect and consider what guiding questions are the most compelling and enriching to you, and consider with equal thought and care how the classes Bennington offers allow you to pursue answers to those burning questions straight to the ends of the earth.
As far as Financial Aid, transfers (fall or spring) are considered on the same criteria as anyone else: merit and need. I won’t go into the gory details here (because now I’m rambling), but for guidance take a look at this post by Liam on how Bennington considers financial aid. Additionally, you can find some basic facts and figures on our Financial Aid FAQs page. And then, if you have further unanswered questions, you can always feel free to email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. They don’t bite.
Anyway, I hope I’ve begun to answer some of your questions. If you have any that are as yet unanswered, you can always email me at email@example.com, or the transfer admissions counselor Sarah McAbee (‘07) at firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck with the transfer process!
Everyone is considered for merit aid based on the strength of the application, whether they be an eager beaver early action-er or an individual without financial need.
As for whether or not its good, to whether or not you can afford to come here solely on merit aid…I really can’t say just because its all relative, so here are some stats that aren’t:
in 2012 - 2013….
-Awards included full scholarships, up to $57,690 annually.
-The average merit scholarship was $12,810, roughly $50,000 over four years.
-14% of merit scholars received an award of $20,00 or more ($80,000 over four years).
Yes. Students owe an average of $25,000 in student loans when they graduate, a statistic that is unrelated to the amount of financial assistance students receive at college.