Bowdoin College's financial aid policy is designed to supplement family resources so that as many students as possible can attend the College. Scholarships, grants, and student employment are the principal sources of aid for Bowdoin students who need help in meeting the expenses of their education.
Because Bowdoin believes that students who receive financial aid as grants should also be responsible for a portion of their expenses, student employment will generally be part of the financial aid award. Beginning in the 2008–2009 academic year, the College replaced the loan offer with additional grant funds. While loans will be available to supplement other resources, they will not be included in a typical financial aid package. On-time submission of the required application forms guarantees consideration for all the financial aid available to Bowdoin students, including grants, jobs, and loans from any source under Bowdoin's control.
Bowdoin's policy is to meet a student's full, calculated financial need for each year in which he or she qualifies for aid, as long as funds are available. Financial need is the difference between Bowdoin's costs and family resources. Resources consist of parental income and assets, student assets, student earnings, and other resources, such as gifts, non-College scholarships, and other resources available to supplement educational costs.
The College customarily budgets enough aid resources to meet the full calculated need of all enrolling students without using financial need as a criterion in the admission process. Because spending history is Bowdoin's only guide, there is no guarantee that budgeted funds will ultimately be sufficient to make all admission decisions without regard to financial need. However, for the past decade, financial need has not been a criterion in the selection of candidates for admission, with the exception of students offered admission from the waiting list, transfer candidates, and non-U.S. citizens.
Bowdoin's Financial Aid Resources
Approximately 65 percent of Bowdoin's grant budget comes from endowed funds given by alumni and friends of the College. In 2011–2012, from funds it administers, Bowdoin distributed approximately $30.6 million in need-based grants, loans, and earnings. Grants from all sources totaled about $28.2 million in 2011–2012 to approximately 43 percent of the student body. In the Class of 2016, roughly 47 percent of the entering class received need-based grants. The average award of grant and job was $38,740.
Information on the availability of financial aid is available through the College's Student Aid Office. Questions regarding endowed funds and the establishment of such funds should be directed to the Office of Development.
Eligibility for Aid
To be eligible for grant aid at Bowdoin College, a student must:
1. Be a degree candidate who is enrolled or is accepted for enrollment on at least a half- time basis; and
2. Demonstrate a financial need, as determined by the College through our institutional policies and procedures.
In addition, to qualify for any of the programs subsidized by the federal government, a student must be a citizen, national, or permanent resident of the United States or the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.
A student is normally eligible for Bowdoin aid for a maximum of eight semesters. The College's Financial Aid Committee may, at its discretion, award a ninth semester of aid.
Determination of Need
Financial need is the difference between Bowdoin's costs and family resources. Resources are primarily a function of family income, assets, dependents, and number of dependents enrolled in undergraduate degree programs. Bowdoin determines a student's financial aid award from information submitted on the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE, federal FAFSA, and federal income tax returns (see Aid Application).
Parents or legal guardians are responsible for the student's educational expenses, according to their financial ability to contribute. Divorce or separation of the natural parents does not absolve either parent from this obligation.
Student-owned assets are expected to be available for college expenses in the years leading to graduation.
The College expects students to earn money during summer vacation and/or from academic-year campus employment. The amount will vary depending upon current policies.
The sum of these resources when subtracted from Bowdoin's cost determines the student's need and Bowdoin's financial aid award.
Types of Aid Awards
First-Year Student Awards
About 200 entering students receive financial aid awards each year to help them meet the expenses. Recently these awards have ranged from $3,000 to $56,000. Normally, financial aid recipients receive an award with their letter of Admission to the College. Awards are confirmed after trustees approve the academic year costs and financial estimates provided on financial aid applications are verified with signed tax documents.
All continuing students applying for aid must register as aid candidates with the Student Aid Office by the published deadlines each year. Grant awards change each year as a function of changes in costs, family income, and net worth including home and business equity, family size, and number of children attending undergraduate college on a full-time basis. For a more complete description of Bowdoin's financial aid program, see the Student Aid Web site.
Bowdoin National Merit Scholars
Bowdoin National Merit Scholars who demonstrate financial need each year at Bowdoin receive a renewable $2,000 award. A scholar's remaining need is met with Bowdoin grant, a modest level of employment, and no student loan. Recipients of these awards who do not demonstrate financial need at Bowdoin receive a $1,000 recognition award, renewable each year.
National Achievement Finalists who enroll will receive the same grants and loan-free packages offered to National Merit Scholars.
While loans are no longer part of a standard financial aid offer, most students may borrow to supplement other resources and defray the family’s share of educational costs. Perkins Loan, Stafford Loan, or Bowdoin Student Loan monies are typically available. Bowdoin determines which student loan source best meets a student's needs.
A student who receives aid is expected to meet part of the educational expense from summer employment and from campus earnings. These earning expectations are factored into the financial aid award. The student may choose to work or not; this decision has no effect on the grant offer.
Bowdoin's student employment program offers a wide variety of opportunities to undergraduates, including direct employment at Bowdoin and by outside agencies represented on the campus or located in the community. Employment opportunities are open to all students who are interested and able to work. Commitments for employment are made to first-year students at the opening of College in the fall. There are over 1,000 campus jobs available in College departments and offices. The annual student payroll currently stands at about $1,700,000.
To learn more about student employment, see Bowdoin Student Employment Office.
Bowdoin has a limited number of financial aid awards dedicated to international students. The student must file the College Scholarship Service's PROFILE application for award consideration; the link is available on the Bowdoin Web site. Non-U.S. citizens who do not apply at the time of admission should not expect financial aid during any of their years at Bowdoin.
Federal Financial Aid Programs Available at Bowdoin
The College participates in the Federal Work-Study Program established under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, the Federal Supplementary Educational Opportunity Grants Program established under the Higher Education Act of 1965, and the Federal Pell Grant Program established under the Higher Education Amendments of 1972, along with the Federal Perkins and Federal Stafford Loan programs previously mentioned. The College also works closely with several states that can provide handicapped students and those receiving other forms of state aid with financial assistance to help with their educational expenses.
The degree programs of Bowdoin College are approved by the Maine State Approving Agency for Veterans Education Programs for persons eligible for benefits (G.I. Bill) from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Students who request veterans' educational assistance are required to have all previous post-secondary experience evaluated for possible transfer credit in order to be eligible for benefits. Bowdoin participates in the new Yellow Ribbon program. For more information, contact the Student Aid Office.
Bowdoin is able to offer a number of scholarships for postgraduate study at other institutions. Grants of various amounts are available to Bowdoin graduates who continue their studies in the liberal arts and sciences and in certain professional schools. In 2011–2012, Bowdoin provided $405,800 in graduate scholarship assistance to eighty-six students. Further information about these scholarships is available through the Student Aid Office.
Students who wish to be considered for financial aid must submit an application each year. All candidates for aid who are United States citizens must submit the College Scholarship Service PROFILE form by the date specified. U.S. citizens must also file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
International candidates must file only the College Scholarship Service's (CSS) PROFILE, concurrently with their application for admission.
Whether or not a student receives financial aid from Bowdoin, long-term, low-interest loans under the Federal Direct Stafford Loan program are available to most students. Provided by the U.S. Department of Education, these loans require both a FAFSA and an online loan promissory note to be completed.
When parents and students sign the FAFSA and the PROFILE, they agree to provide a certified or notarized copy of their latest federal income tax return, plus any other documentation that may be required. To verify or clarify information on the aid application, it is a common practice for the College to ask for a copy of the federal tax return (Form 1040, 1040EZ, or 1040A) and W-2 forms each year. Once the financial aid application is complete, the Student Aid Office will review a candidate’s request for assistance.
To be considered for financial aid, applicants should submit their complete application for admission and all required aid application forms by the appropriate deadlines. For additional information, visit the Admissions Web site and the Admissions section of the Bowdoin College Catalogue. Deadlines for financial aid forms as are follows:
Applicants with U.S. Citizenship:
Early Decision I:
November 15: CSS PROFILE and most recent federal tax returns
April 15: FAFSA
Early Decision II:
January 1: CSS PROFILE and most recent federal tax returns
April 15: FAFSA
February 15: CSS PROFILE, FAFSA, and most recent federal tax returns
Non-U.S. citizens must submit the CSS PROFILE form by November 15 for Early Decision I applicants, or by January 1 for all other applicants. Online and phone support is available to the student during the application process through the College Scholarship Service.
March 1: CSS PROFILE, FAFSA, and most recent federal tax returns
April 15: CSS PROFILE, FAFSA, and most recent federal tax returns
Further information about application procedures, eligibility, need calculation and awards, plus descriptions of individual federal, state, and College programs is contained in the Financial Aid Guide available online at bowdoin.edu/studentaid, and upon request. Questions about Bowdoin's aid programs may be addressed to Director of Student Aid, Bowdoin College, 5300 College Station, Brunswick, ME 04011-8444; Tel. 207-725-3273; Fax: 207-725-3864.