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How to Apply for Financial Aid

Regardless of whether you're an undergraduate, graduate, degree completion, or certificate program student, follow these basic steps each academic year. You must be formally accepted into your program of study and be enrolled at least half time to be eligible, and you must also maintain satisfactory academic progress to keep your aid.

  1. Complete the FAFSA form.
  2. If requested, complete verification documents.
  3. Review your financial aid offer.
  4. If desired, apply for a Federal Direct Parent Plus Loan or a credit-based alternative student loan.

Important info for MBA students, Master of Education,or CAGS, Certificate of Advanced Studies

Important Information for the Leadership Academy:  Please note that the Leadership Academy is not eligible for Federal Student Loans.  Individuals needing to borrow for the Leadership Academy are only eligible to borrow through the Smart Option Loan offered by Sallie Mae. Leadership Academy students do not need to complete the FAFSA in order to apply for a Sallie Mae Smart Option loan.


1. Complete the FAFSA Form

School Code: 002187    MCLA CEEB #: 3521

You can complete the FAFSA by going to www.fafsa.gov.  The FAFSA became available on October 1, 2018 for the 2019-2020 award year.  Financial aid offers are based on a first-come, first-serve basis.


Tips: Complete all sections accurately. To electronically sign before submitting, you and at least one parent (if you are dependent) must have a FSA ID.

When completing your FAFSA, it is strongly recommended that you use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. If that's not possible, "Get Transcript" will be the preferred method for obtaining an IRS Tax Return Transcripts. To request a transcript, go to the IRS website and provide the requested information. Once you receive your transcript(s) bring or mail them to the Financial Aid Office.

Priority Application Date: January 1 for the full academic year. December 1 for spring acceptance.


2. Complete Verification Documents (IF REQUESTED)

You may be asked to verify the accuracy of your information by providing documents such as an IRS Tax Return Transcript. Print, complete, mail or fax (413.662.5105) requested forms to the Financial Aid office. Verification documents can be found here. If you are unsure what verification documents are required, if any, contact the Financial Aid Office.


3. Review Your Financial Aid Offer

Your office describes any grant aid and loans you are able to receive from federal and state governments, and MCLA needs-based resources. It also lists work study opportunities available to you.

Offer receipt: Expect to see this letter after February 1st for the fall and spring academic year, after December 1 for spring acceptance, or April for summer.  Returning students will receive their offer through their Banner Self-Service Account.

Direct Student Loans: You need to complete Entrance Counseling and sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) if you are a first time borrower. Accepted loans will not be applied to your student account until both the entrance counselling and MPN are completed. 


4. Apply for Other Loans (IF DESIRED)

If you need additional financing to cover costs, you may want to apply for a MEFA (Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority) parent or student loan, which is a fixed-rate loan available to students attending a Massachusetts school, or a federal Direct PLUS Loan for Parents.

You may also want to consider an alternative student loan. Many of these educational loans have variable interest rates and are credit based. Their terms are often not as favorable as government-sponsored loans.

Questions? Contact Us!

Bonnie J. Howland
Director of Student Financial Services

Carrie L. Alibozek
Assistant Director of Financial Aid

Lori Keating
Student Loan Coordinator

Jillian Galvagni
Financial Aid Specialist

Phone Number: 413-662-5219
Toll Free: 800-969-6252 
Fax: 413-662-5105

Mailing Address
Financial Aid Office
MCLA
375 Church Street
North Adams, MA 01247

Location & Hours
Main level of Eldridge Hall
M-F 8:30-4:45