Student/Parent Financing Options at Bowdoin College

Bowdoin's policy is to meet the full calculated need of every student applying for financial aid. While student loans are not part of our standard financial aid packages, many families elect to use loans to help finance a part of their share of yearly educational costs. When considering your options for financing your education, it is important to become an informed consumer. Understanding the choices available to you will help you pick the program that best meets your family's needs for the duration of your educational career.

Please review the 2017-2018 Financing Options at Bowdoin PDF for students and families.

For more information on your educational costs, please review the 2017-2018 Cost of Attendance.

Building A Plan:

Each family is unique and pays their share of college cost in several ways, including applying for financial aid, receiving outside scholarships, and determining the educational funds that are available from your family's current income and savings. Once the above resources are fully explored, the normal sequence for most families is to then review options that require an extended time to repay (i.e. loans and payment plans). As you build a plan for financing all or a part of your share of educational costs, there are many considerations that you need to take into account. For instance, does your family have other children that are in college or will be in the future? Do your parents expect their income to change in the coming year? What is the student's intended occupation after graduation? Is the amount you need to borrow in line with your expectations for future salaries? Have you carefully considered the amount that you would be able to pay in monthly loan payments?

Paying for college is generally not a single-year event, but rather one that requires plenty of thought, preparation and a multi-year plan. Once you build your plan, you should re-evaluate it at least annually and make necessary adjustments to ensure your plan continues to achieve the desired results.

Understanding your options:

States, federal governments, and private institutions provide educational financing options for students and parents. Selecting a plan that best meets your family's needs requires extensive research, and we encourage you to use repayment calculators (options for federal and other loans are available) as part of your research. A general overview of the different financing options available to students and parents is provided below. For more information, please review our Financing Tip Sheet.

When and How to Apply:

Bowdoin bills by semester: fall semester is due in August, and spring is due in January. If you are planning to use loans to pay your share, we suggest that you apply at least 30 days before the bill is due. Loans are generally processed for the academic year, thus half of your loan request is applied to each semester. You will find application instructions on the FORMS & INFORMATION tab of your MyAid Portal.

Student Financing Options:

  • Federal Direct Loan
  • State Based Financing Options
  • Private Loan (from banks and other financial institutions)
  • International Student Options

Federal Direct Loans:
All U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens can borrow from the Federal Direct Loan program. Annual amounts and borrowing terms vary based on the student's demonstrated financial need. For more information, please click the link above.

State and Private Student Loans:
Generally, because of lower interest rates, repayment options, and cancellation benefits, we advise students/parents to explore federal financing options before considering state-supported or private lending opportunities. However, many states provide attractive lending options for state residents and for students attending school in their state. For more information on options available to you from your state, you need to contact the agency responsible for administering those programs. In Maine, students can contact the Finance Authority of Maine for borrowing options and eligibility criteria.

International Students:
You will often find student/parent financing options available for study in the U.S. from your home country's "Loan Authority." For more information, contact the department that is in charge of administering those programs in your country. Often these agencies ask the College to verify the student's enrollment. You can send enrollment verification information to the College Registrar or the Student Aid Office. Bowdoin College does have limited loan resources for students receiving financial aid who are not eligible for U.S.-backed federal loans.

Parent Financing Options:

The best program for parents interested in financing all/part of their share of educational expenses will vary for each family. We suggest that you review all of the available options before choosing the program that best meets your family's need for the student's entire career at Bowdoin. For some, the most important factor will be the interest rates charged, while other families might be more concerned with the opportunity for flexible repayment terms. We advise that you carefully review the terms of each loan to ensure you understand your repayment responsibilities.

Federal Direct PLUS Loan:
Sponsored by the federal government and available to U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens, this program has a fixed interest rate and parents can borrow up to the cost of education minus all sources of financial aid. Flexible repayment terms and other important options are available to qualifies borrowers. Application instructions can be found on the FORMS & INFORMATION tab of the MyAid Portal.

Home Equity Loans:
Many families choose to use part of their home equity to help finance educational expenses. For more information on the availability of home equity loans, we recommend that you contact your current mortgage provider or other mortgage providers advertising home equity loans. For IRS tax benefits related to home equity loans, we advise that you contact your tax preparer or refer to specific IRS publications.

State/Private and Other Parent Loans:
Many states provide financing options for state residents and for parents of students attending school in a particular state. For more information on loan options sponsored by states, contact the agency in charge of administering state aid for college in your home state or the state where your child is attending college. In Maine, families can visit the Finance Authority of Maine.

Bowdoin does not make specific recommendations for student/parent private educational loans.

Completing the application process – Federal Student/Parent Loans:

In order to complete the loan borrowing process at Bowdoin, you will want to familiarize yourself with the steps for applying for student or parent loans. Log into your MyAid Portal and review the information provided to initiate a Federal Direct or Direct Parent PLUS loan.

Within your MyAid Portal, navigate to the FORMS & INFORMATION tab to find loan instructions labeled as 'Federal Student Loan Instructions' or 'Federal Parent Loan Instructions.'  If after reading the instructions you have additional questions, please contact us at or 207-725-3144.

For an overview of the different loan options available to students and parents, please view the Loan Summary Table.

Installment Payment Plans:

Bowdoin provides access to two commercial installment payment programs for families who want to pay all or part of their yearly expenses within a 10 to 12 month period. For more information, please visit the Bursar’s Office web site.