The Direct Loan Program offers low-interest loans for students to help pay for the cost of education after high school. The lender is the U.S. Department of Education, rather than a bank or other financial institution. Students can qualify for a subsidized Federal Direct Loan based on financial need, or an unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan regardless of need. Unsubsidized means that the student is responsible for paying the interest while in school, whereas, in the case of the subsidized loan, the federal government pays the interest while the student is in school. As of the 2013–2014 academic year, a student my borrow up to $3,500 as a first-year student, $4,500 as a second year student, and $5,500 third year and beyond. An additional $2,000 in unsubsidized loan funds may be processed upon request.
An independent undergraduate student (or dependent student whose parents are denied a Parent PLUS Loan) can borrow a supplemental amount as an unsubsidized loan in addition to the amount of his or her basic Federal Direct Loan as described above. First- and second-year independent undergraduates may borrow up to an additional $4,000 per year. After two years of study, an independent student may borrow up to an additional $5,000 per year.
A Federal Direct PLUS Loan is a low-interest loan available to parents of dependent students. The lender is the U.S. Department of Education, rather than a bank or other financial institution. PLUS loans enable parents with good credit histories to borrow up to the cost of education minus any financial aid per year for each child who is enrolled at least half time and is a dependent student.
The Federal Perkins Loan Program is funded by the federal government and Bard College and is administered by the College. Recipients are identified as those with exceptional financial need. Because there is limited funding in this program, this loan is the last component in the student’s financial aid package. Further, since a first-year student has a much lower maximum eligibility for a Federal Direct Student Loan than do students who have completed their first year, the majority of these loan funds are awarded to the entering first-year class. The average loan is $1,000, due to limited funds in this program.
The SEOG is a grant program funded by the federal government and Bard College and administered by the College. Recipients are those with exceptional financial need. The grants are given to students who are Pell eligible, but have limited outside support as well. As the funding is limited, not all Pell Grant recipients will receive SEOG and late applicants may find that the funding has been exhausted.
Awards can range from $100 to $4,000 per year, but, due to limited funding, the typical award ranges between $750 and $1,000. Continuing students can expect to have the SEOG award renewed provided that they remain Pell eligible.
As is the case with the Pell Grant, eligibility for the SEOG is limited to the first bachelor degree program.
The federal government and Bard College fund FWS. It is intended to provide meaningful employment to a student on or off campus, thus providing the student a regular paycheck to help meet educational expenses.
Jobs are not assigned to students. The student must apply to the student employment manager in order to be considered for a position.
Eligibility is determined by financial need. The typical FWS allocation is $1,650 per year. This amount provides the student the opportunity to work approximately eight hours per week at the minimum wage.
The Federal Pell Grant program provides need-based grants to assist low-income undergraduate students pay college costs. In 2013–2014, awards range from $605 to $5,645 per year. Pell Grant eligibility is limited to the first bachelor’s degree program. Grant amounts are dependent on the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and the student's enrollment status (full-time or part-time). Note: students must be enrolled full-time to receive their Bard Scholarship unless approved to enroll part-time during their final academic year.