Financial Aid for Music Education Students

Financial aid for the music education program is different from the aid offered for traditional programs. There are two basic differences: financial aid for a music education student is based on year-round attendance and on the number of credits that the student takes each semester.

Most traditional programs operate on a two-semester basis: fall and spring. The music education program is based on a summer, fall, and spring academic year. Most traditional programs are billed so that all full-time students are charged the same amount for a range of credits. Students in the music education program are billed on a per-credit basis.

Types of Financial Aid

Students in music education degree programs can use the following types of financial aid to help pay for their education. These include institutional scholarships and grants and federal and private student loans. Some students also choose to pay some or all of their tuition bill in monthly installments, via the tuition payment plan offered by Higher One.

Music Education Scholarships

The music education scholarships are merit based and are determined by the music education admissions committee from a review of all application materials and the interview/audition. They are awarded per credit.


Student loans come in two basic types, federal and private (alternative). Federal student loans available to music education 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 divided between summer, fall, and spring. If the Unsubsidized Loan isn’t enough to pay for your expenses, then you can apply for the following:

  1. Direct Grad PLUS Loan 
  2. Private educational loan (also known as an alternative loan)

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’s the case, students can apply for both loans with a credit-worthy endorser. Please note that interest rates are better for private loans if a student applies with a credit-worthy endorser. The maximum a student can take out on either of these loans is the cost of attendance minus other financial aid.

Students must be taking at least 3 credits or be half time each semester to be eligible for the Unsubsidized and Grad PLUS loans.

Students must accept the award in Net Partner in order to receive the Direct Unsubsidized Loan. Loans cannot be processed after the student withdraws or goes on a leave of absence if the loan has not been accepted.

Tuition Payment Plan

The Tuition Management Systems (TMS) plan allows students to pay expenses in monthly installments, rather than paying all at once or borrowing funds. Since it is not a loan, the tuition payment plan carries no interest payments or other fees beyond its one-time startup fee. Payment plans are per semester and are only available for fall and spring semesters. There is no payment plan for summer. To sign up for the TMS plan, please go to For more information, students may also contact the Bursar's Office at or 617-747-2165.

On-Campus Employment

Boston Conservatory has two on-campus work programs, Federal Work-Study and Conservatory Employment. Federal Work-Study is available only to students who fill out the FAFSA and show need. Work-study is a financial aid award. Priority for work-study goes to full-time students.

Conservatory Employment is not a financial aid award. A student applies for a job and, if he or she is hired and doesn’t have work-study, the student will be paid through Conservatory Employment.

Cost of Attendance

To determine a student’s loan eligibility in any given semester, the Conservatory starts by determining the student’s cost of attendance or budget. The cost of attendance is made up of two types of charges:

  • Direct costs, such as tuition, required fees, health insurance, and on-campus housing. Health insurance can be waived if a student is already covered by a qualified health insurance plan.
  • Estimated costs include off-campus housing, books and supplies, travel expenses, and miscellaneous living expenses.

It is not possible for us to assess and document each individual student’s financial needs for these costs, so average costs are used, which are the same for everyone.

For full-time music education students living off campus, the cost of attendance* is as follows:

  Summer 2018 Fall and Spring 2018/2019
Tuition $1,760 per credit     $1,760 per credit
Fees $586   $2,250
Living Expenses $3,011 $15,055
Travel $193 $967
Books $500   $580

*Full time for Master of Music students is 6 credits.
*Students who live with their parents will have a lower cost of attendance. For more information, please contact the Financial Aid Office.
*Tuition, Fees, Travel and Books will be determined based on the number of credits taken.

The cost of attendance will be different each semester depending on how many credits the student takes.

The Conservatory recognizes that occasionally a student has a special situation that falls outside the average cost estimates. If the cost of attendance calculated by the Financial Aid Office doesn’t accurately reflect the situation, students should contact to discuss their student budget.

Enrollment in Dual Degree Programs

Students enrolled in two programs (the music education program and the B.M., G.P.D., or M.M. in music performance) begin their studies in music education in the summer. They are considered to be enrolled as music education students. During the summer semester, these students are billed and given scholarships as music education students.

During the academic year, these students are considered to be enrolled as students in their B.M., M.M., or G.P.D. program. They take those courses during the day, and they take additional music education courses in the evenings. These students are billed and awarded scholarships as students in their B.M., M.M., or G.P.D. program until they reach the maximum number of credits that can be taken in those programs. Any credits taken over that maximum number of credits are billed and considered for scholarships as music education credits. Students complete their B.M., M.M., or G.P.D. program first, and they graduate from that program. After this point, the students are considered to be enrolled only as music education students. They take the remaining music education courses that they need for their degree program. 

Undergraduate Students

Dually enrolled undergraduate students are in an unusual situation regarding their financial aid eligibility. They become graduate students as soon as they start to take their music education classes in the summer of their junior year. These students will be considered independent and will no longer have to report their parents' income information on the FAFSA. This is a double-edged sword: While dually enrolled undergraduates become eligible for graduate-level loans, they also become ineligible for undergraduate financial aid such as the Pell and SEO grants and the Parent PLUS Loan. Dually enrolled undergraduates become ineligible for undergraduate financial aid even during the regular academic year when they’re taking their B.M. classes.

Other Important Things to Know

Less than Full-Time Enrollment—Financial aid is reduced when a student takes less than a full-time number of credits. Students are responsible for knowing at all times of whether their enrollment status is full time, half time, or less than half time. Once a student drops below half time, he or she is no longer eligible for any federal loan aid (Direct Unsubsidized Loan and Direct Grad PLUS Loan). The student also becomes subject to loan repayment.

Teaching Internship—This is especially important for students in their final semester who have completed their class work and are enrolled only for a teaching internship. The teaching internship by itself doesn’t carry enough credits to qualify a student for federal student loans. Students who are enrolled less than half time may still be eligible for private student loans.

Temporary Leave—If a student doesn't attend for a semester or longer, he or she is considered to have withdrawn for the purposes of federal financial aid. If the student has taken out federal loans, he or she will be reported to the federal government as withdrawn and the loan grace period will start as of the student's last date of attendance.

Repaying Student Loans—When a student graduates or drops below half-time status, his or her loan status changes. Some loans, such as the Direct Student Loans, go into a grace period and then into a repayment status. Other loans, such as the Grad PLUS and many alternative loans, go directly into repayment.