Office of Student Financial Services

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.
  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 Information for the Leadership Academy & CAGS: Please note that the Leadership Academy is not eligible for Federal Student Loans. Individuals needing to borrow for the Leadership Academy and/or CAGS 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

School Code: 002187 MCLA CEEB #: 3521

You can complete the FAFSA by going to The FAFSA became available on October 1, 2020 for the 2021-2022 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. Students selected for verification are notified by the Financial Aid Office. If you are unsure what verification documents are required, if any, contact the Financial Aid Office.

3. Review Your Financial Aid offer

Your financial aid offer 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.

New & Prospective Students: 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: You will receive notification via your MCLA email that your package is available to review on Banner Self-Service Account. For the 2021-2022 academic year, this notification will be sent out after the fall 2021 pre-registration period ends.

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.