Returning to College Program

A cornerstone of Bard College's mission
is a commitment to the transformative nature of a liberal arts education and the role of the liberally educated student in a democratic society. This power to transform extends to students beyond traditional college age and, for this reason, the College has historically been committed to its programs that serve this population, specifically the Returning to College Program (RCP).

Eligibility and Financial Aid

Individuals who are 24 years of age or older and have successfully completed at least one year of college work (as determined by the Registrar of the College) may apply to Bard through the RCP as transfer students. Please note, however, those who have already earned a bachelor's degree are ineligible for this program.

RCP students are eligible for financial aid if they register for 12 or more credits in one semester. The FAFSA, CSS PROFILE, and a copy of the most current tax return must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office. If an RCP student registers for fewer than 12 credits in a given semester, the cost is calculated on a per-credit basis and no financial aid is available.

About the Program

The Returning to College Program resists the separation of adult degree students and regular undergraduates. The program is founded on the premise that returning students benefit from participating in the regular undergraduate curriculum, taking their places at the seminar table, the lab bench, and barre, and learning from and with their younger colleagues. 

Within the liberal arts curriculum at Bard, students in the RCP will engage in a rigorous encounter with their courses of study. It is through this process of engagement that the liberal arts enrich our lives and empower us to effect change in the world, and this is true for adult learners no less than their traditionally aged peers.

Applying to the Program

In general, all transfer forms and supplements are applicable for RCP students. However, while we prefer recommendation letters from college instructors, we recognize that this may not be possible for RCP candidates; therefore, personal or employment recommendations are accepted. In addition to the application forms listed on the transfer student webpage, RCP candidates are required to: 

1. clearly specify in the "additional information" section of the Common Application that they are applying to the Returning to College Program (RCP);
2. include a cover letter summarizing employment and academic history;
3. complete a personal interview with an admission counselor.
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Contact the Program

Application to the Returning to College Program
is on a rolling basis.
For more information, please contact
Greg Armbruster at 845-758-7472