Financial Aid for M.F.A. in Musical Theater Students

Financial aid for the M.F.A. in Musical Theater program is similar to most of the other programs offered at Boston Conservatory at Berklee. The one difference is in its second year summer semester.

Most traditional programs operate on a two-semester basis, fall and spring. The musical theater M.F.A. program consists of fall and spring semester in the first year, followed by summer, fall, and spring semesters in the second year. As a result, the second year of the program is more expensive than the first year, and the total program cost is accordingly higher.

Students in the musical theater graduate program can use several of the types of financial aid found here to help pay for their education. The following information is specific to the second year summer session:

Summer Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG)

Students in the musical theater graduate program do not receive their Conservatory Scholarship in the summer. Instead, they are awarded a Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG) for summer study. In past years, this grant has been awarded on the basis of $335 per enrolled credit. Therefore, if a student registered for 12 credits, his or her TAG would be $335 x 12, or $4,020. If he or she were registered for 10 credits, the TAG would be $335 x 10, or $3,350. The TAG is only awarded for the summer semester.

Cost of Attendance

Every school that participates in federal financial aid programs must determine how much it costs to attend their institution. This amount is called the cost of attendance (also budget) and it includes direct costs such as tuition and fees and indirect costs such as books and off-campus room and board.  

The summer semester has a different Cost of Attendance because it’s shorter and its tuition is determined differently than the fall and spring semesters. Summer tuition is determined on a cost-per-credit basis while the fall and spring semesters are based on a flat rate. Because the summer is different, it is awarded separately from the fall and spring semesters. Students will receive award letters for the summer semester during late May/early June.

2019 Summer Full-Time Cost of Attendance

Tuition $1,820 per credit or $18,200 for 10 credits*
Fee 5 credits or more: $755                             
Less than 5 credits: $365
Off-campus room and board TBA
Books** TBA
Travel** TBA
Miscellaneous TBA

* $20,020 for 11 credits, $21,840 for 12 credits and so on

** reduced if less than full time

2019-2020 Fall/Spring Full-Time Cost of Attendance

Tuition $45,280                                                   
Fee $2,100
Off-campus room and board $13,850
Books** $474
Travel** $967
Miscellaneous $1,203
Student health insurance $2,391 (estimated)
TOTAL $66,265

** reduced if less than full time


Student loans come in two basic types, federal and private (alternative). Federal student loans available to musical theater graduate students include the federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan and the federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan. The maximum amount students can borrow in the Unsubsidized Loan is $20,500 per year (summer, fall, and spring).

Since the second year of the musical theater graduate program consists of three semesters instead of two, these students often find that $20,500 doesn’t meet their financial needs for the entire second year.

If the $20,500 in the Unsubsidized Loan has been all or partially disbursed in the summer semester, students can apply for a Direct Grad PLUS Loan or a private educational loan (also known as an alternative loan) for the rest of the year. These two loans are based on a student’s credit. Students with no credit may still be eligible for the Grad PLUS but not for private loans. Students with bad credit won’t be eligible for either. If that is the case, students can apply for both loans with a credit-worthy endorser or co-borrower. Please note that interest rates are better for private loans if a student applies with a credit-worthy endorser.

We recommend that students who are considering entering the musical theater M.F.A. program apply for a Graduate PLUS Loan before accepting their admission to the program. This can help to avoid a situation in which the student accepts his or her admission to the program and then finds out he or she cannot borrow loans to help meet education costs.

For more information on financial aid, please contact the Financial Aid Office at or call 617-747-2274.