Heller School Admissions

The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University

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FAQs for U.S. Citizens

Scholarships

Does the Heller School offer any scholarships to students?

We do our best as a program to award generous partial tuition scholarships to admitted students to help defray the overall costs of our programs. We rely on students to use our offer of a partial tuition scholarship and search for outside funding opportunities to account for the rest.

What happens to Heller scholarships during the second year of the Master’s SID program?

Your partial tuition scholarship is for the first year of the master’s program. If you choose to participate in our advanced study program during your second year (this provides a second year of academic course work), the renewal of your merit award is contingent upon successful completion of coursework and all program requirements as outlined in the SID program's policies and procedures, as well as remaining a student good academic standing at Brandeis University. 

If you opt for the internship track during your second year, the University will not charge full tuition. There is a continuation fee, which is significantly lower than full tuition, and we therefore do not provide any scholarships. Please refer to the cost of attendance sheet for your specific degree program for more detailed information.

How does financial aid work for those in the MBA program part-time?

The Social Justice Award of $125/credit for any semester in which you enroll in at least eight credits is a scholarship that is available through the school. Most of our part-time students use educational loans or employee benefits to cover the rest of their course charges.

What alternative funding opportunities are available?

We strongly encourage you to look into other outside scholarship opportunities from organizations such as the World Bank, Fulbright, the Ford Foundation, or the American Association of University Women (among others). We maintain a list of outside scholarship opportunities to assist you in your search for supplemental funding. Please note that the list is not comprehensive, and that there are most likely additional opportunities that exist of which we are not aware. Use it only as the beginning of a broader and more comprehensive search.

Loans

For what types of loans am I eligible?

Domestic students are eligible for both private and federal loans. The Brandeis University Office of Student Financial Services webpage has basic loan information. More detailed information is at Borrow Smart. The link provides information on educational loan options geared toward Brandeis students.

What types of federal loans exist?

Brandeis offers two types of federal loans for U.S. citizens:

The Stafford Loan is a guaranteed student loan with a limit of $20,500 per academic or calendar year. In order to request this loan, you will need to complete the application form on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) website, www.fafsa.ed.gov. It will help to have your previous year’s income tax return available when completing the application, as many of the questions asked are the same as on your return. You will also need to submit a Brandeis University Stafford Loan Request form to the Financial Aid office, which allows us to disburse the funds to your student account.

The other type of federal loan for U.S. Citizens is the Graduate PLUS loan. Students again will need to fill out the FAFSA as mentioned above, and are encouraged to use their Unsubsidized Stafford Loan eligibility first. For step-by-step instructions on how to apply for the GPLUS loan, please visit: http://www.brandeis.edu/sfs/loans/GradPLUSAppIns.html. After the Master Promissory Note is signed, a credit check will be processed. If approved, please note this credit check is only valid for 90 days. If the loan is not processed within those 90 days, applicants will need to reapply for the loan. This is important: if you are looking for a loan in the fall, you would not want to apply for the GPLUS loan in the beginning of the summer, but rather closer to the semester.

How and when are these loans processed?

You may apply for the Stafford Loan at any time, since it is guaranteed and your eligibility will not change. As far as the FAFSA goes, it is easiest to complete the online application at the same time you do your annual taxes, as many of the questions asked are the same. Once you are finished, which is confirmed by email, the file is sent to us electronically. You will then need to complete the Brandeis Stafford Loan Request Form. Since the Stafford Loan is guaranteed, we can let you know your eligibility as soon as we have the form and the FAFSA information.

Private educational loans depend upon applications sent directly to the lending organizations. Each private lending organization has its own policies governing when the approval can be made, so the best way to check this out would be on the organizations' individual websites.

What loans are available for the second year SID program?

All students are eligible for private loans during their second year in the MA/SID program. Domestic students also continue to be eligible for federal loans. Tuition for the second year of the SID program is much lower, so your cost of attendance at the university is lower, while you continue to be entitled to loans for the cost of living. Our second-year domestic SID students are usually eligible for at least the Stafford Loan, and occasionally a little more in supplemental educational loans. In our experience, however, students have not normally taken out more than the maximum allowed Stafford Loan to finance their second year.

How do I request the monies from my loans?

Your Stafford Loan will be split equally between the fall and the spring semesters. You will need to complete a Refund Request form at the beginning of each semester in order to have any credited funds released to you. You may request the monies no earlier than ten (10) days prior to the official start of the semester. If you are not on campus, you may request that a check be mailed to you, or you may make arrangements with Heller Student Services to have your checks deposited into your account (if your bank has a branch in the Waltham/Newton area). You would have to supply Student Services with your completed and signed Credit Release form and bank deposit slips for the fall and spring semesters.

What is the Origination Fee?

The government charges an origination fee of 1.5% for Stafford Loans and 2.5% for the GradPLUS loan. For the Stafford Loan, this would be $307.50 if you request the maximum amount allowed ($20,500). It is prorated for any other amount less than the maximum. The origination fee is not charged by the university, but rather by the government. As an up-front incentive, the government offers a 1% interest rebate off of the Stafford Loan amount. This would be $205.00 if you request the maximum amount allowed ($20,500). It is prorated for any other amount less than the maximum. The rebate is conditional upon timely payment of the loan once the grace period ends. If you default on any of your payments, the $250 would be added back to the loan due amount. Therefore, when issuing the Stafford Loan, the university takes out 1.5% (origination fee), and puts back 1% (interest rebate). The net amount, then, becomes a 0.5% deduction. Additional information about government loans can be found at the Direct Loan website.

Tuition

How do I pay for the tuition deposit?

The $500 tuition deposit may be paid with a credit card, via wire transfer, or with either a personal or bank check drawn on U.S. dollars and made payable to Brandeis University. Complete instructions are found on the Admitted Students page.

Can someone else write my tuition deposit check for me?

Yes, we can certainly accept a check from someone beside you. Please ask the person to make the check for $500.00 payable to Brandeis University and to submit it to the Office of Financial Aid, and make sure that s/he either includes a letter stating that the check is for your tuition deposit, or that s/he clearly marks you name in the memo section of the check.

I have a sponsor who will be covering the tuition of my program. How should they make the payments?

Your sponsor must send in a letter, addressed to the Heller School Admissions Office, indicating that s/he is committing to sponsor you financially for your degree program. The exact amount of the sponsorship must be included in the letter, and backed up by the supporting documentation. The letter must indicate the total committed amount that will be available to you prior to the bill due date (in early August) of the fall semester. The letter must clearly state your sponsor’s full name and contact information (address, phone number and email). It must be signed and dated by the sponsor, and include the sponsor’s bank account information to match the supporting bank statement. The bank statement should be a statement of the person’s account activity and balances. It may be sent to us by email if it is sent directly from an official bank email account. If this is not possible, a printout for the customer (your sponsor) is fine, as long as it is on the bank’s official letterhead.

Deferrals

What happens to my financial aid if I defer for one year?

Students offered admission to one of the graduate programs at the Heller School may defer their admission for one year. We do not guarantee funding for master’s level students, although every effort is made to offer the same level of scholarship aid to students who are deferring. PhD students who defer their admission will not carry their offer of financial assistance. They will be considered for funding as a member of their new cohort of students in the year of their enrollment. 

Students who wish to defer must submit their request in writing to the Office of Admissions by August 1.

Employment

What are my options for working while enrolled in my program?

Many students do work while they are enrolled in one of our programs. However, work study is not available to students at the graduate level as a form of financial aid. Many of our students do find some kind of campus employment, but these positions are not available to a student until s/he is on campus and registered as a full-time student. There is an Office of Student Employment that lists both on- and off-campus job opportunities that you can search.

Can I work as a teaching assistant?

Most of our teaching assistant positions are available to students after their first year in the program. After students have completed a year of coursework, professors have a better sense of their students and can think about suitable options for teaching or research assistantships.

What effect will paid employment have on my loans?

You are allowed to work and be paid without having that amount deducted from your cost of attendance. The only monies that are deducted from your cost of attendance (and therefore decrease your loan eligibility) are funds that are processed through the university, such as scholarships and loans.

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