What is Financial Aid?

Federal Pell Grant (PELL) 
Eligibility for this grant is determined by the household and financial information you provided on the FAFSA.  It is generally the largest source of “free money” toward college expenses and does not have to be repaid.   There’s a Pell lifetime limit of 144 attempted credits. You can get other kinds of aid without being eligible for a Pell.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
This grant is awarded to Pell-eligible students with the highest need and also does not have to be repaid.  BCC receives limited SEOG funding.

MASSGrant (MSS) 
This grant is awarded by the Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) to state residents who file their FAFSA by May 1 each year.  The amount printed on your award letter is an estimate only.  If you fail to meet the full-time requirement, we will replace your award with a Mass Part-Time Grant (while funds last). There is a lifetime limit of 4 semesters on receiving MASSGrants.

Mass Part-Time Grant (MPT)
BCC gives first preference to awarding you this grant if you were offered a MASSGrant but were unable to enroll full-time.  You must be a Massachusetts resident and enrolled in 6-11 credits to receive this award. 

Mass Tuition Waiver (TWR) 
Tuition waivers are awarded to residents of Massachusetts.  A waiver can be used to cover day tuition charges for state-supported courses; if your day tuition charge is less than your award, you’ll receive the lesser amount.  A waiver does not cover college fees, books, or charges associated with summer, evening, or non-state-supported day classes. If you enroll in non-state-supported classes, we will convert your waiver to a Cash Grant (while funds last).  However, we can’t replace your waiver if you already have another type of waiver (DCF, Mass Rehab, National Guard, Veterans, John & Abigail Adams Scholarship, etc.)

Mass Cash Grant (CGR) 
This grant is also for state residents and is awarded first to priority, on-time applicants and offered to others on a funds available basis. Like other grants, the Cash Grant provides “free money” that can be applied to college expenses and does not have to be repaid.

Visit OSFA’s website for a complete listing of grants, scholarships, and tuition waivers

Work-Study (FWS, CWS) 
This program provides you with part-time employment opportunities in a variety of job sites both on and off campus.  Student wages range from $11.08/hour to $12.13/hour, depending on the qualifications required for the job.  Most students work the equivalent of 5-8 hours per week based on their award amount. Paychecks are issued every two weeks.  For more about how Work-Study works, contact our Coordinator of Financial Aid & Work-Study Programs, Karrie Trautman.

If you apply for financial aid, BCC will include Federal Direct Student Loans (FDSSL, FDUSL) as part of your financial aid package, and a separate loan application process is involved. Federal Direct Student Loan programs provide low interest loans to help meet expenses related to college enrollment.  Eligibility for a “Subsidized’” or “Unsubsidized’” Direct Loan is determined by the household and financial information provided on your FAFSA. You could receive subsidized, unsubsidized, or a combination of both loans depending on your eligibility.  Most BCC students can qualify for a loan subsidy, which means that the government pays the interest on your loan while you’re enrolled.  Student loan borrowers can defer repayment until 6 months after graduation.  Based on the most recent available data, the average total student loan debt upon leaving BCC (graduating, transferring, etc.) is $8,552. 

If you’re going to take out a student loan, learn about the differences between federal and private education loans and apply for federal first. For more information, contact our Coordinator of Financial Aid & Student Loan Programs, Christopher Weingartner.

In response to concerns at a national level about student lending practices, the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, established a Code of Conduct for Student Loan Program and called on each public institution of higher education in Massachusetts to adopt the Code.  Accordingly, on August 28, 2007, Berkshire Community College adopted the Code as specified and is fully complying with the Code.

A Student Borrower Bill of Rights is a variation on this Code of Conduct that is intended to enhance student understanding of their rights under the Code.