Costs and Aid FAQ

Is AUBG affordable?

AUBG is committed to making it possible for every qualified student to afford an AUBG education. The University’s resources alone are not sufficient to provide full support for every student with need, but we will help students identify the necessary resources which include family resources, loans, Student Assistant positions, and work-travel programs. The Admissions Counselors can provide advice on deadlines and application procedures for financial aid for entering students. Higher education is one of the most important investments a family will make, and will provide a lifetime of dividends. Let us work with you to put an AUBG education within your reach.

How does a student apply for financial assistance?

The University provides financial assistance based on both the academic merit of the applicant and the financial need of the applicant. Students are automatically considered for financial assistance based on academic merit when they apply. Some additional financial support is available to help students with high levels of financial need. In order to be eligible for financial-need-based assistance, students must complete the Application for Financial Aid (AFA) by the filing deadline. There is also first-year financial aid intended to help students in the first year of study when they have limited ability for internships, summer work, etc. All students who complete their applications by the early deadline receive the first-year award. Entering students who have submitted complete Applications for Financial Assistance are automatically considered for available scholarships for first-year students. Over 80% of our enrolled students receive some AUBG financial assistance.

What is the difference between “financial aid” and  “scholarship”? 

AUBG financial aid is based on either the academic merit or the financial need of the student. It covers a portion of tuition and remains the same percentage of tuition for the duration of the studies, as long as the student maintains satisfactory academic performance. Only full-time degree-seeking students are eligible to receive financial aid. Financial aid awards are subject to a maximum of eight semesters of enrollment. Scholarships are funded by external agencies and donors who may set restrictions on eligibility, such as academic major or nationality. Scholarships usually have a higher grade point requirement in order to maintain the scholarship award. Scholarships may cover housing, student activity fee, food and textbooks in addition to tuition. The admission letter will indicate what portion of the financial assistance award consists of AUBG financial aid and what portion is in the form of scholarship support. The letter will also include details of any other conditions of the award.

Can a student receive both financial aid and scholarships?

Yes, it is possible to receive financial aid and scholarships. 

How does AUBG determine the amount of financial assistance a student receives?

First AUBG determines the award of financial assistance based on academic merit as evidenced by the English language proficiency test score and high school grades. If the student filed an Application for Financial Assistance (AFA) form, the financial need is determined by the evidence on the AFA and associated documents. The funds available to support academic merit and address financial need are limited. All applicants should expect to pay some part of the tuition and fees.

How is academic merit determined?

The Admissions Committee reviews English language proficiency test scores and overall high school grades to determine academic merit.

 How is need determined? 

Financial need is determined through an analysis of the Application for Financial Assistance and the supporting documents submitted as part of the application package.

 When a student applies for AUBG financial assistance, are the documents revealing family income kept confidential by AUBG?

The financial information provided by applicants is confidential. The American University in Bulgaria obeys the Law for Protection of Personal Data. The information collected is kept strictly confidential and is used only by the Financial Aid Committee to determine a grant amount for the prospective AUBG student. Documents submitted in support of the Application for Financial Assistance become the permanent possession of AUBG and will not be returned.

 Exactly how does AUBG determine the amount of the award?

Since the information provided to us about family circumstances is strictly confidential, AUBG’s deliberations are not made public.

What can be done to improve an applicant’s chances for financial aid or scholarship?

Strong performance on the English language proficiency tests and strong overall grades in high school are the most important variables in the determination of academic merit. Completion of the Application for Financial Assistance Form with all of the necessary backup documents enclosed is necessary for a complete evaluation of financial need. Incomplete information or missing documents can make an applicant ineligible for need-based financial assistance.

Are there any scholarships that are based solely on academic
merit?

Some of the named scholarships, listed annually on the website and in recruiting materials are funded by donors and give priority to merit. The Admission Committee will automatically consider every eligible applicant for consideration.  

Are there any scholarships that are based solely on financial need? 

Some of the named scholarships, listed annually on the website and in recruiting materials are funded by donors and give priority to need. Students who meet the admissions criteria and have submitted a complete Application for Financial Assistance will automatically be considered for these scholarships.

Does the financial aid or scholarship have to be repaid? 

All AUBG financial aid and most scholarships do not need to be paid back. In cases in which there are additional conditions, these will be specified in the offer letter.

In addition to financial aid from the University, what other sources of funding are available? 

Students are eligible for scholarships, loans, and Student Assistants, in addition to AUBG financial aid. Many AUBG offices have Student Assistants positions that allow students to earn up to 360 hours per academic year of credits applied to their accounts. Most students take advantage of summer Work and Travel programs and paid internships after their first year. Many students find that the money they earn on Work and Travel will pay the entire cost of their education for that year. Bank loans offer another option to families.

Are there other sources of funding for families that do not qualify for financial-need-based assistance? 

All students are eligible for bank loans based upon their status as full-time students. In addition, there are no restrictions for participation in summer Work & Travel programs for continuing students.

Do financial assistance awards require the student to maintain certain grade point averages? 

Yes. AUBG reviews the academic performance of all students after every semester. Students who maintain a grade point average above 2.5 on a 4.0 scale are guaranteed that their financial aid will be maintained. Students with poor academic performance receive written warnings that they must improve their grades to safeguard their financial aid. Students who receive warnings but do not improve their academic performance may lose some or all of that support. Many of the more generous financial awards, such as Open Society awards, America for Bulgaria foundation scholarships and Trustees scholarships, require the student to maintain a higher grade point average. These additional conditions are specified in the offer letter.

If a student loses his or her financial assistance because of poor grade performance, can he or she get it back at a later time?

If a financial aid or scholarship is lost, the award is given to another student. The award cannot be recovered by the original holder.

If a student does not qualify for financial aid as a first-year student, are there any awards for academic merit that can be received after the first year?

There are several competitive scholarships for upper class students that are based on merit. In addition, a small amount of AUBG additional financial aid is available to recognize students with exceptionally good academic performance after four semesters. There is no need to apply for these awards.

What happens to the financial aid award if tuition or other expenses increase?

AUBG adjusts financial aid awards proportionately with tuition increases. However, students should plan on some increase in tuition, housing, books, food and other expenses. The document that accompanies the letter of acceptance outlines the anticipated costs of education for the four years. 

What happens to the financial aid for students who do not finish in four years? 

Financial aid covers 8 semesters of full-time study. Students who decide to take a semester off for an internship or to work are still be eligible for 8 semesters of financial aid. Students who go on an approved AUBG exchange program such as Erasmus are supported and that period of time counts in the 8 semesters of study. It is very important to receive prior approval to transfer courses back to AUBG so that progress towards the degree is maintained. Students who take more than 8 semesters to complete the degree do not have financial aid for that additional semester.

What options are there if a student’s family’s financial situation changes while at AUBG? 

Generally, AUBG does not increase a student’s financial aid after initial enrollment. Student appeals will be reviewed only after two completed semesters at AUBG. A student can request a review of the financial aid award by submitting another Application for Financial Assistance and submit it along with the required documents. The University maintains a “hardship fund” to provide some amount of aid to a student in an emergency, usually a one-time grant for one or two semesters and dependent upon available funds. There are some scholarships available for continuing students, and bank loans are always an option. Usually students are able to work during the summer after the first year and support their own education.

Can a student apply for AUBG financial aid after the first year if he/she did not apply at the time of application to AUBG?

Yes, a student can apply after the first two semesters of enrollment at AUBG provided that he or she has a minimum CGPA of 2.50 on 4-point scale and submits an Application for Financial Assistance.

Does it make any difference when a student applies for financial aid?

AUBG has rolling admissions and a limited amount of AUBG financial Aid. As a result, applicants before March 1 for fall admission are likely to receive the most favorable financial aid package. 

When should someone begin preparing the documents to support to the Application for Financial Assistance? 

All certificates and other documents should be for the most recently completed 12- month period as of the time of application for admission. For fall semester applicants, one should start preparing documents in order to meet the early deadline March 1, or the regular deadline, June 1. For spring semester applicants the deadline is October 1 (for non-EU students) or November 1 (for EU students).

How does one become an on-campus Student Assistant?

 At the beginning of each semester, Student Assistants positions are posted outside the Financial Aid Office specifying the positions available, required skills, and hourly rate. Students Assistant positions are limited to 360 hours per academic year. Students find positions as varied as helping in the library, developing web sites, tutoring in accounting, and helping faculty with research projects. Students are often invited to apply for a specific position because of their advanced skills in writing, photography, computing, and mathematics. Many students are able to find a Student Assistants position that complements their academic and career interests.

Can the University help me apply for a summer job?

The Career Center has a variety of services to help students identify what kind of work they would like to do and how to go about applying. For example, the staff can help you prepare a resume and learn interview skills. The Career Center also regularly posts internships and other job opportunities. Several of the Work & Travel companies come to campus each year during the fall semester and provide full information about how to secure summer Work-Travel employment.

Are the Bulgarian Government-guaranteed student loans for EU students available at AUBG?

Yes. Raiffeisenbank, DSK Bank, Allianz Bank, Postbank, and First Investment Bank provide government-guaranteed loans with an interest rate of 7% per year for Bulgarian and EU students in all accredited universities in Bulgaria up to the full amount of tuition. Please check the AUBG website at www.aubg.edu/loans for the most recent information and details on these loans.

Is it possible to change banks after signing up with one bank?

Yes, it is possible to change the bank.

Are veterans of the U.S. military eligible for the G.I. loan program? 

Yes, AUBG is currently listed among the institutions at which you can use your benefits.

 How does one apply for a Work & Travel program? 

There are many companies that sponsor Work & Travel programs to the U.S. and the U.K. Although the programs are not sponsored by AUBG, many companies come to campus to present information on their program. The sponsoring company will help with visa requirements and locating a job. In some cases, students arrange their own positions directly based on contacts made the previous summer. Almost all AUBG students in good academic standing are able to get the appropriate visa. Financing may be available for Work & Travel program to Bulgarian students only.

Can the AUBG financial aid award be used to go abroad for a year of study? 

No, AUBG financial aid awards apply only to what is owed to AUBG. However, many students are eligible for some support under the Erasmus program. Some of the institutions hosting AUBG students studying abroad have financial aid for visiting international students.

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