Financing Your Education
Berea College’s financial aid program is unique among higher education programs in the United States. By partnering with students and their families, Berea makes it possible for many students to graduate from college with very little or no educational debt. Students and parents contribute toward the total cost of education through students’ participation in the labor program, the awarding of outside scholarships, parent savings and earnings, and in some cases loans. However, approximately one-third of our students pay no money toward term bill costs and overall, our graduates have about one-half the total loan debt as other Kentucky students.
The College contributes more than 90% of this cost of education for all Berea freshmen. This is accomplished by the college raising money every year from former students, parents, and other donors who want to see promising students have a chance to succeed at a high quality liberal arts college. Our active fund raising and endowment, along with federal, state, and third-party grants and scholarships, allow us to meet most of the financial need of every Berea student.
The Family’s Part
How much families are asked to pay toward the costs of room, board and fees (known at Berea as the “term bill”) is determined by the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is a federal calculated formula from the FAFSA that all schools use to indicate a family’s ability to pay for a college education. Each family must cover the cost of the term bill according to their EFC calculations. For families with a zero EFC, there is no charge for the term bill. To apply for financial aid and determine the amount owed, all students and their parents are required to complete the FASFA each year. Failure to get the FASFA completed early could result in some loss of federal or state aid.
The cost of education for tuition, fees, room, and board is met by having the student and their family contribute what they can, as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Financial Aid (FAFSA). Then financial aid is applied from scholarships and grants from state and federal sources and Berea College makes up the difference to help finance a college education of up to $31,000 per year.
The Student’s Part
What’s expected of Berea Students:
- Participate in the College Labor Program
- Save at least $1,000 from summer earnings when possible
- In cases where parents are unable to do so, help with paying the term bill
- Graduate with as little loan debt as possible depending on personal choices.
We have found that students who are able to save at least $1,000 from summer earnings and earn their expected amount in the Student Labor Program are better able to pay for their term bill balance, books, transportation, personal and miscellaneous expenses.