Posts tagged financial aid

Can you actually find a job after spending nearly $200,000 for a degree? If so, what type of job? — Asked by Anonymous

Nothing’s guaranteed! 

image

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!)

image

This isn’t the 80’s, pal!

Kagan ‘16

Hey, so I'm looking at Bennington's website for the application deadlines and stuff. I'm that rare student that absolutely has her heart set on a school before senior year even begins. Anyway. I noticed that the application deadlines for Early Decision and Early Action (which I'm definitely planning on doing one of) are both before the FAFSA becomes available. How does this work for students like myself that absolutely need financial aid? Is there another form that's sent in later? — Asked by ggordonliddyvevo

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.

$$kagan$$

(you can check all the financial aid deadlines here)

So I was just wondering what weight, if any, Bennington puts on Community Service/Volunteering stuff. I volunteer at a bunch of places in my neighborhood and I was wondering if A) Bennington has any opportunities that can allow me to continue that and B) If that might maybe help me get in/get financial aid? — Asked by Anonymous

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. 

Peace,

Sylvia M. ‘16

So I'm a high school junior looking into Bennington... but insofar as finances, my family makes a decent amount, but I have three siblings going to college around the same time as me. So that makes it a little harder since while I'm in school there will always be at least 2 of my siblings paying a billion dollars for it as well. Will Bennington consider me for aid? — Asked by Anonymous

Hello hello!

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. 

image

Aren’t siblings the best? 

- Julia ‘15

How does Bennington compare to other schools price-wise (either tuition or total cost)? Is it (one of) the most expensive in the US? — Asked by Anonymous

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:

  • Tuition: $46,048
  • Room: $7,328
  • Board: $6,324

But before you start freaking out I want you to look at this helpful graph.

 image

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

I got into Bennington (yay!) with a generous financial aid package. Though my package was significant, it only made my attendance *slightly* more feasible instead of impossible. Basically, I am able to afford Bennington but it is a stretch. I'm worried that when FWT comes around, it will push the cost from ~just manageable~ to ~over the edge~ Are there any FWTs that offer room and board? I know FWT differs with every student, but on average how much does it set students back financially? Thanks! — Asked by Anonymous

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! 

Rachael ‘15

So umm I'm an international student studying at another college, and I just recently fell in love with Bennington, I wanted to transfer here but most colleges don't offer financial aid for to internationals for the spring semester, do you guys? — Asked by Anonymous

Hey there, 

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 »> nforcier@bennington.edu. 

Good luck!

~Doug ‘16~ 

Don’t be Afraid of Financial Aid

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 was accepted but with the financial aid I was offered there is no way I could afford to go, but I still really want to go here. Is it possible to appeal for more aid and if so how would one go about doing so? Thank you. — Asked by Anonymous

Hey, 

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. 

-Glennis

I got accepted and Bennington would be my top choice, however my financial package is not optimal and all of my other colleges are estimating at least half of the expenses Bennington is (one is covering full tuition+books, etc.+intercontinental flights). I come from a low economic background and I can't imagine giving this burden to my family when I have easier options-- basically I just wanted to express my sadness and tell you guys you're super-awesome and I would LOVE to come next year :( — Asked by Anonymous

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

Can you please explain to me how the health insurance works at Bennington? I have read all the info in the webpage but it does not mention anything about the cost or whether it is different for int. students. I am trying to give my family a number of what exactly they would be expected to contribute but I cant because I do not know about the health insurance since it is not mentioned in the financial aid worksheet. Please help me. — Asked by Anonymous

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 (nforcier@bennington.edu), 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

Hi there, I am Nayeem-an international applicant applying under the regular decision. So far people from Bennington College have been the most friendly ones I have encountered. And the more I read about Bennington the more I grow feelings for it. I feel it will be a perfect fit for me. Now the thorn in my way is my financial need. It's creating an anxiety day by day. So I was just wondering if there's someone like me in tapped in who got in with similar circumstances-just for the peace of mind. — Asked by Anonymous

Hey Nayeem!

As a fellow international student, I can try to give you some peace of mind. I didn’t consider attending (or even applying to) Bennington because I had so many worries about my financial need and my potential financial aid. This was a mistake! My advice is this: DO NOT WORRY. If you have a strong desire to come to this school, or any school, do not let financial need prevent you from even trying. You’re allowed to be excited, you’re allowed to grow feelings for a school, but try to not let the financial woes bring you down! Calm down, take a deep breath, and don’t worry! I know how stressful this process can be, but I can assure you that worrying too much about it won’t help anyone, especially yourself and your ~inner peace of mind~.

Once you have your financial aid package figured out, feel free to contact the Financial Aid Office if you want to talk about different options and/or ways to improve your aid.

STAY POSITIVE NAYEEM, EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE AND YOU WILL BE HAPPY!

~Carlos ‘14

What is the highest possible scholarship awarded? how much is it for? — Asked by Anonymous

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

How much do students usually pay to go away for Field Work Term? — Asked by Anonymous

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:

Alan: no
Sarah: yes
Anushka: yes
Eliana: “not really”
Chloe: no

-Alan ‘15

Hey, sorry if this is a dumb question, but does bennington ever provide art supplies to visual art students? Or are students responsible for buying them themselves? — Asked by Anonymous

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.

-Nick ‘14