Student Financial Aid

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do I have to apply for aid every year?

Yes. In order to register for classes each year, students must complete the FAFSA by February 1 which is the priority filing date. Because Berea College has made a commitment to not have any tuition charged to students, the FAFSA must be filed to determine what federal and state financial aid programs the student is eligible for. Each year the FAFSA is available to complete beginning January 1. To check whether your FAFSA has been received, call Student Financial Aid Services at (859) 985-3310.

What is a SAR?

An SAR is a Student Aid Report, which is compiled from the information provided on the FAFSA by the student and/or parent(s). You can see what your annual Expected Family Contribution is on this form. You need to read the information when you receive your SAR back because it also informs the student and/or parent(s) if the FAFSA has been rejected for reasons such as missing signature(s) or incomplete information. A rejected FAFSA can cause a delay in receiving all of the federal and state financial assistance for which you are eligible.

What is verification and what will happen if it is not completed?

Many Berea College students are selected for FAFSA Verification by the federal processing center. If you are selected for this process, we will send you detailed information regarding what is needed.  Once tax information has been completed, we will need to verify your federal income tax with information reported on the FAFSA. We will be glad to help you through the Data Retrieval Tool provided on the FAFSA website at All verification needs to be completed by May 1 to avoid delays and problems disbursing aid to your account.

What qualifies a person as independent?

There are questions on the FAFSA that determine a student’s dependency status. To be considered independent of parent(s) or guardian(s) by the federal government for financial aid purposes, a student would have to meet at least one of these qualifications:

  • Born before January 1, 1992
  • Have or will have a dependent child for  whom you will provide more than half of their support between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016
  • Have dependents (other than children or spouse’s children) who live with you and you provide more than half of their support
  • Be a Veteran of the U. S. Armed Forces
  • Be serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Be married
  • In legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence
  • Be an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence
  • After becoming age 13:
    • both your parents were deceased
    • you were in foster care
    • you were a dependent or ward of the court
  • Homeless or at the risk of being homeless
  • Please see FAFSA questions and explanation for further details on the above items

Why does the term bill increase every year?

Your term bill for your room, board, and fees is going to vary each year. Many times that amount is going to increase. Here are a couple reasons why your term bill may be adjusted. Each year, you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form calculates your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Depending on what information is provided, such as income, family size, and assets, your EFC can change. If the EFC has increased, the amount of financial aid would decrease. Another reason why your term bill might increase is because, as you progress through your program at Berea, you are expected to earn more money, thereby decreasing other forms of financial assistance.

How are outside scholarships disbursed?

Outside Scholarships (including the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship, or KEES) may be used in several ways:

  1. to reduce term bill costs for housing, meals, and fees
  2. to replace some Berea College term bill grants (E.G. Miscellaneous Endowed Grant)
  3. to replace a portion of the Tuition Promise Scholarship
  4. to assist with other educational costs (e.g. books, art supplies) per Berea College policies.

Due to federal guidelines, scholarships or grants cannot be used to replace the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as determined by FAFSA.  Outside scholarships cannot replace expected summer savings from Berea College summer labor programs.

What aid is available for students who would like to study abroad?

Grants and loans are available for students wishing to study abroad. The amount of grants and loans are dependent upon the program, status, and the Expected Family Contribution of the student. Students are encouraged to talk with a financial aid counselor to see the amounts of aid available before committing to a program.

Is there aid available for the summer?

If you are enrolled at least halftime (1.25 credits) for the summer, you may be eligible for Direct Loans. Whether you are taking classes or not, the greatest financial assistance for summer is the money you will make from your labor position. Students are encouraged to save $800 throughout the summer to use for educational expenses for the upcoming school year.

What if I need additional financial aid after I receive my award notification?

Complete an Additional Financial Aid Application. Our staff will determine if you have eligibility for additional financial assistance, which could be grants or student loans. Please see Types of Financial Aid for a detailed list of various awards given.

When do I have to repay my loans?

Loan repayment starts six months after you have withdrawn or graduated from college. Depending on the type of loan, you will be notified by the appropriate agency collecting your payments. It is very important that you attend an Exit Interview before you leave campus so that your contact information is correct for future communication. If you only borrowed federal loans, you may complete an Exit Interview online.

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