Paying for College | BCTC

Paying for College

At BCTC, we believe no one should miss out on a college education because they think they can't afford it. That's why we offer the lowest tuition in the state and three ways to pay:

  • Scholarships and Grants: funds that you don't have to repay

  • Work-study: a program where you work (generally at the college) to earn money to help pay for educational expenses.

  • Loans: money that is lent to cover expenses, but MUST be repaid with interest. Keep in mind that you are responsible for repaying your student loans even if you don't graduate.

How do I sign up?

To receive financial aid, you'll need to start planning early and make sure all forms are turned in on time.

To help you get started, we've broken the process into three easy steps:

The first step in applying for financial aid is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, you'll hear it called FAFSA. The FAFSA must be completed each year, and changes to the application are coming.

Gather these documents, and use them to fill out the free application here.

Now that you've applied for Federal Financial Aid through the FAFSA, it's not required, but it's always a good idea to apply for additional scholarships that are offered through BCTC, the state, and other agencies, and that don't have to be repaid.

Let's make sure you haven't missed anything. For some students additional paperwork is needed. It's important to visit your student self-service account and check your To-Do List to make sure you've got everything taken care of.

If there is nothing for you to do, you can use that page to review your awards. Just remember that if more documents are needed, you won't be eligible for federal aid until they are turned in and processed.

Professional Judgment- Unusual and Special Circumstances

Professional Judgment is the authority given to Financial Aid Administrators to evaluate on a case-by-case basis a student/family’s ability to pay for college when unique situations exists. Professional Judgment is comprised of two components, unusual circumstances and special circumstances.

Unusual Circumstances refer to the conditions that justify an aid administrator to make an adjustment to a student’s dependency status based on a unique situation, this is more commonly referred to as a dependency override.

When filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), there are a series of questions asked to determine if the student will file as a dependent or an independent student, known as the dependency questions on the FAFSA. Federal regulations require that financial aid eligibility be determined using legal parent’s income and assets unless the dependency questions determine independent status. Occasionally, there are circumstances that allow financial aid administrators to reevaluate and possibly override the dependency status. Supporting documentation will be required.

Circumstances not considered for a Dependency Override include, but are not limited to:

  • Parents refuse to contribute to the student’s education
  • Parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for the verification process
  • Parents do not claim student on federal tax return
  • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency

Circumstances that will be considered for a Dependency Override include, but are not limited to:

  • Abandonment by parents
  • An abusive family environment threatens the student’s health or safety
  • Parent incarceration
  • Student is unable to locate parents
  • Human trafficking, refugee or asylee status

Special or extenuating situations (such as the loss of a job) that impact a student’s financial condition and support a financial aid administrator adjusting data elements in the COA or in the SAI calculation on a case-by-case basis.

Special Circumstances include but not limited to:

  • Loss or change of employment
  • Reduction in income or assets
  • Loss or change in amount of child support, Social Security, or other benefits
  • Divorce or separation of parents
  • Death of parent(s)
  • Unusual medical expenses (not covered by insurance)
  • One-time taxable income used for life-changing events (e.g. IRA, pension distribution, back-year Social Security payments)
  • Tuition expenses at an elementary or secondary school for siblings of the student
  • Child or dependent care expenses
  • Additional people from the student’s household in college
  • At the discretion of the Director, other circumstances may be considered if they are appropriate, reasonable adjustments, to reflect a student’s situation more accurately

If you are experiencing one or both of these circumstances, please contact our Financial Aid Office.