Rules governing application, eligibility for financial assistance
The Financial Aid Program Summary chart outlines the major financial aid programs offered through the university. While the filing priority date for the 2020-2021 academic year may have passed, you are welcome to contact the Financial Aid Office to ask about any funds that might still be available.
To apply for financial aid, you must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form is available online at www.fafsa.gov. All information should be as complete and accurate as possible; however, it is not necessary to have a completed tax return to submit the FAFSA. Estimates are acceptable, and corrections can be made later. The FAFSA must be submitted after November 1 and received by the processor by March 1 to receive priority consideration for all types of financial aid. Students may still apply for aid after the priority date; however, aid will be awarded on a fund's available basis.
Initially, to apply, simply file the FAFSA, listing Bridgewater State University (school code 002183) as a university to receive information. You may be asked to verify certain information that was submitted to the Department of Education or you may receive letters/email communication from the Financial Aid Office requesting additional documentation to clarify conflicting information on the FAFSA. Be sure to respond immediately to these requests to insure your eligibility for all aid. Families that utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, and have a successful match, will not be required to obtain and submit a copy of the IRS Tax Return Transcript. In rare cases (to clarify other items, or due to the use of professional judgment), the Financial Aid Office may request a copy even after a successful match.
You must reapply for financial aid each year. If a valid email address was provided on your current FAFSA, the Department of Education will send a Renewal Reminder in the beginning of the year prompting students to file their 2020-2021 FAFSA. Any student who has a current FAFSA may complete the renewal application by accessing the federal website at www.fafsa.gov.
Code 002183 must be used on the FAFSA/Renewal FAFSA to ensure that the student’s information is released to Bridgewater State University.
Bridgewater State University does not require an institutional application but may request tax transcripts and/or other documents at a later date to assure that all information is accurate. To qualify, a student must be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen and must also maintain satisfactory academic progress. To be eligible for any type of financial aid, a student must be accepted into a degree or eligible certificate program and must not be in default of any student loan or owe a refund on a federal grant.
IMPORTANT DEADLINE NOTICE: To be considered for the maximum financial aid available, you should file your FAFSA or Renewal Application form after November 1 but before March 1. The FAFSA form will show a June 30 deadline, however, June 30 is the final date of the award year for receipt of applications, not the priority deadline. All applications received after March 1 will be considered for financial aid on a funds available basis. Notification of eligibility prior to the university billing due date is not guaranteed for late applications.
Important Financial Aid Dates and Deadlines
- March 1, 2021
- Priority Financial Aid Deadline for 2020-2021 academic year
- December 2020
- Exit Counseling/Interviews for December graduates who have received any type of loan while attending Bridgewater State University
- April 2021
- Exit Counseling/Interviews for students who have received any type of loan while attending Bridgewater State University
- May 2021
- Exit Counseling/Interviews for students who have received any type of loan while attending Bridgewater State University
Satisfactory Academic Progress and Student Financial Aid
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is a federal policy that measures two components: quantitative and qualitative progress.
The quantitative portion requires students attending an institution that awards federal financial aid be making progress toward the completion of their degree within a reasonable period of time. All attempted credits count toward the calculation (BSU and transfer credits are calculated separately); and withdrawals, failures and incomplete grades will all negatively impact a student's progress. Both the state of Massachusetts and Bridgewater State University's institutional financial aid programs adhere to the same federal standards. Since standards are applied to all students, one does not necessarily have to be a financial aid applicant to fall under the auspices of this regulation.
The maximum time frame for completing an undergraduate degree is 150 percent of the published length of the program. For programs that are 120 credits, a student would be allowed to attempt no more than 180 credits before completing the requirements for their degree. Generally, for full time students, this is equal to six years. Students who have not completed their degree within this parameter would be deemed ineligible for financial aid.
Transfer credits affect the maximum timeframe in which a student must earn their degree. For example, a student who transfers 60 credits toward an undergraduate degree would presumably have to earn 60 more credits to complete their BSU degree. Using the federal 150 percent rule, the student would be allowed to attempt only 90 more credits before losing financial aid eligibility. The same calculation applies to students pursuing a second degree.
Since a student has 150 percent of the published length of a program to complete their degree, one must complete at least 67 percent of all credits attempted to maintain compliance with the satisfactory progress standards. Courses that do not carry credit, but are successfully completed, are not considered punitive under the calculation. Repeating a course to obtain a higher grade may negatively impact compliance and eligibility. The credits will be counted as attempted, but not as earned since they have been previously earned. New regulations prohibit receiving financial aid for the repeating of a previously passed course more than once. Students who received credit for a course and repeat the course to earn a higher grade can have that repeated course counted in the enrollment level for financial aid purposes only one additional time. (See details in Repeat Course Work Policy). Progress is measured over time, and the entire academic record is reviewed at the end of each academic semester. Students who do not meet the university's standards are notified of the loss of financial aid eligibility prior to the start of the next semester or when the FAFSA is filed. When a student is notified of their ineligibility, they are also given the opportunity to appeal, in writing, based on mitigating circumstances. Summer classes are included as attempted and/or completed credits in the following academic year (unless a special condition is imposed by the Satisfactory Progress Committee).
To remain in compliance with the satisfactory academic progress policy, a minimum completion rate of 67 percent is required. Simply stated, a student must complete at least 67 percent of all attempted credits when the review takes place at the end of each semester. To determine the number of credits required to maintain satisfactory progress, multiply the total number of attempted credits by 67 percent.
The following provides an example:
Total of Attempted Credits (All Semesters)
Required to Complete (67 percent)
All appeals are reviewed by the Satisfactory Progress Committee, whose representatives are from the Financial Aid Office. Decisions by the committee are final. A student whose appeal is approved will have their financial aid eligibility reinstated on a probationary basis and must adhere to an academic plan devised by the committee. A signed contract is required before an award is generated. These students must be especially diligent in completing all attempted credits until compliance with the policy is re-established.
When an appeal is reviewed and approved by the committee, in most cases, the student will be required to adhere to a contract/academic plan that is designed to assist the student in regaining compliance with the policy over time. Contracts are generally in place for one academic year, unless otherwise stated. If the student meets all the conditions stated in the contract, they will retain their eligibility for financial aid while they are working toward compliance. Students who do not meet the all of the imposed conditions will not be eligible for financial aid in the next year. The satisfactory progress contract/academic plan is an agreement between the student and the financial aid office and must be respected as a serious endeavor.
Eligibility can be regained in two ways: a student who is deemed ineligible may find an alternative funding source, continue to take classes, and regain eligibility on their own over time, or a student may instead decide to appeal to the Satisfactory Progress Committee. Students who submit their appeal by the deadline that is communicated in their letter will retain their on-time status if their FAFSA was received by the published preferred deadline of March 1 and all other required documents, if any, are submitted to the financial aid office in a timely manner. Appeals received after the deadline, if approved, will be awarded on a funds-available basis regardless of the FAFSA receipt date. Appeals will be reviewed throughout the academic year. An appeal must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the end of a semester for which the student is out of compliance. An appeal submitted after the close of a semester for which the student is out of compliance will be considered for the following semester only, and the student remains ineligible for financial aid for the non-compliant semester. Taking a semester off or paying for classes without financial assistance does not, in and of itself, re-establish financial aid eligibility.
The qualitative component of the policy deals with progress as it relates to the student's Grade Point Average (GPA). Satisfactory academic progress standards adhere to the university’s policy for academic standards (see chart below). Students who are academically separated from the university are not eligible for financial aid funds, unless they successfully appeal to the appropriate Academic Dean and are subsequently reinstated. If such a student has met the quantitative component of the SAP policy, no further appeal is required, and financial aid can be reinstated. However, if the quantitative standard has not been met, the student must present an additional appeal to the satisfactory progress committee.
|Credit Hours Attempted||Probation GPA||Academic Warning||Separation Below This GPA|
Repeat Course Work Policy:
Federal regulations specify that students may not receive financial aid funding for more than one repetition of a previously passed course. Repeating a previously passed course two or more times may result in an adjustment to financial aid eligibility. This recalculation will occur regardless of whether or not a student received aid for the previous enrollments. Any adjustments will typically occur after the start of the semester during which the student is repeating the course. Therefore, students are responsible for monitoring their own enrollment in repeated course work. A passing grade at BSU is defined as D- or higher, P (for pass/no pass course grading) or S/U (for satisfactory/unsatisfactory).
Students can receive financial aid:
- To repeat a course that has already been passed (D- or higher, P or S) only one additional time. Any repeated attempts after that will not be eligible for financial aid. This applies even if a student earns a failing grade (F, N or U) during the second attempt.
- As many times as necessary to repeat a course in which the only previous grade earned has been a failing grade (F, N or U).
- If a passing grade has been earned for certain courses designated by the university as being repeatable for duplicate credit, such as some topics courses (i.e. performance studies or art studios), due to different subject content or level being studied in each term.
Refer to the examples below to view the impact of this repeated course work regulation:
Example with ECED 541
|Term||Eligible for Funding?||Reason||Grade|
|Fall 2019||Yes||First Attempt||W|
|Spring 2020||Yes||Not Passed Before||F|
|Summer 2020||Yes||Not Passed Before||D|
|Fall 2020||Yes||First repeat||D+|
|Spring 2021||No||Second Repeat||C|
Example with ENGL 101
|Term||Eligible for Funding?||Reaons||Grade|
|Summer 2019||Yes||First Attempt||F|
|Fall 2019||Yes||Not Passed Before||W|
|Spring 2020||Yes||Not passed Before||D|
|Fall 2020||Yes||First Repeat||C-|
Example with MGMT 424
|Term||Eligible for Funding?||Reason||Grade|
|Fall 2019||Yes||First Attempt||C-|
|Spring 2021||Yes||First Repeat||F|
|Fall 2020||No||Second Repeat||D-|
|Spring 2021||No||Third Repeat||C+|
Bridgewater State University - Financial Aid Program Summary
|Program||Residency Status||Enrollment Level||Matriculation Requirements||Financial Eligibility||General Application Procedures*||Yearly Filing Priority Dates|
|Federal Pell Grant||None||Minimum 1/4 time||Accepted into undergraduate degree program||Must show need according to FAFSA||FAFSA required||June 30|
|Federal Work Study||None||Minimum 1/2 time, priority given to full time||Accepted into undergraduate degree program||Must show need according to FAFSA||FAFSA required||March 1|
|Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant||None||Minimum 1/2 time, priority given to full time||Accepted into undergraduate degree program||Must show need according to FAFSA||FAFSA required||March 1|
|Teach Grant*||None||Minimum 1/4 time||Accepted into specific graduate and undergraduate programs||None||FAFSA required||None|
|BSU Tuition Waiver||MA resident||Minimum 1/2 time, priority given to full time||Accepted into undergraduate degree courses only program. Applies to state funded undergraduate degree courses only.||Must show need according to FAFSA||FAFSA required||March 1|
|BSU Tuition Grant||MA resident||Minimum 1/2 time, priority given to full time||Accepted into undergraduate degree program||Must show need according to FAFSA||FAFSA required||March 1|
|BSU Fee Grant||None||Minimum 1/2 time, priority given to full time||Accepted into undergraduate degree program||Must show need according to FAFSA||FAFSA required||March 1|
|MASSGrant||MA resident||Must be full time||Accepted into undergraduate degree program||Must show need according to FAFSA||FAFSA required||May 1|
|MA Part-Time Grant||MA resident||Minimum 1/2 time||Accepted into undergraduate degree program||Pell eligible, show need according to FAFSA||FAFSA required||March 1|
|MA No Interest Loans||MA resident||Must be full time||Accepted into undergraduate degree program||Must show need according to FAFSA||FAFSA required||March 1|
|Federal Direct Subsidized/ Unsubsidized Loan (See website for current interest)||None||Minimum 1/2 time||Accepted into undergraduate degree or **graduate degree or eligible certificate program||Must show need (subsidized only) according to FAFSA need analysis||FAFSA required||Rolling Basis|
|Federal Direct Plus Loan (Variable Interest)||None||Minimum 1/2 time||Parent of dependent student in undergraduate degree program or graduate student||Credit- worthy; annual limit equals (=) cost of attendance minus (-) Financial Aid||FAFSA required, submit BSU Plus Loan Application to Financial Aid Office||Rolling Basis|
General Application Information:
- To receive priority consideration for all types of financial aid, your FAFSA or Renewal application must be received by the Federal Processor by: March 1, each year
- Applications received after March 1 will be reviewed and awarded on a funds-available basis.
- Notification of eligibility prior to the university billing due date is not guaranteed for late applications.
- Bridgewater State University does not require an institutional application but may request tax transcripts and/or other documents at a later date to assure that all information is accurate.
- To qualify, a student must be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen and must also maintain satisfactory academic progress.
- To borrow any of the loans listed, the student and/or parent (for PLUS loans) must complete a Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling at BSU.
- To be eligible for any type of financial aid, a student must be accepted into a degree or eligible certificate program.
- Students who are Pell-eligible and enrolled less than full time in either the fall or spring semesters may be able to utilize their grant to offset the cost of summer classes. Pell-eligible students are encouraged to contact the financial aid office during the summer registration period. Other funding (with the exception of an alternative loan) is not typically available for the summer session TEACH. Grants are available for the summer sessions at the request of TEACH-eligible students.
* This program has specific GPA, major and progression requirements - see website for details.
** Graduate students are eligible for only unsubsidized federal loans
|Student Level||Federal Ford Direct Subsidized Loan Limits***||Federal Ford Direct Unsubsidized Loan Limits***|
*** A student may not borrow more than the grade level loan limit for Federal Direct Subsidized, Federal Direct Unsubsidized, or a combination of both, not to exceed total cost of attendance. Independent students, or dependent students whose parents were denied the PLUS loan (and chose option 2) may be eligible for additional unsubsidized loans: Freshmen and Sophomores: $4000 per year; Juniors and Seniors: $5000 per year.
Note: Federal, state or institutional regulations and policies may necessitate revision in the eligibility criteria of the above financial aid programs at any time. The amounts given above are the maximum yearly amounts a student can borrow in both subsidized and unsubsidized loans. You may receive less than these yearly maximum amounts if you receive other financial aid that is used to cover a portion of your cost of attendance.
Updated and Reviewed 8/2020 by Laura Biechler, Financial Aid