A college degree is an investment in your future, but that investment doesn't have to come with piles of debt. In fact, 64% of our new incoming students graduate with zero debt. Bristol's low tuition costs combined with the following common strategies can result in a life-changing degree without saddling student loan debt.

Important note: Massachusetts residents, age 25 or older, with no prior degree, are eligible to receive FREE community college under the MassReconnect program.

Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This is the first step in applying for federal financial aid, including grants, work-study programs, and federal student loans. 

  • Merit-Based Scholarships: awards based on academic achievement, talents or other criteria.
  • Need-Based Scholarships: awards based on financial need, coming from colleges, government programs or private organizations.
    • Full or part-time students in Massachusetts can check out the MASSGrant program to see if they quality for need-based financial assistance.
  • Local Scholarships: The Bristol Community College Foundation awards more than 200 scholarships each year, ranging from $250 to $2,500 each, to help pay for tuition, supplies or books. Use our Scholarships page to browse, search or filter local scholarships by category.
  • Online Scholarship Search Engines: Websites like Fastweb, Scholarships.com, and Cappex can help find matching scholarships.

Bristol's Experiential Education Center helps to match students with internship and work-study opportunities. Students can further their education and degree attainment while earning money.

The American Opportunity Tax Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit are two federal tax credits that can help offset the cost of college. Click here for more information on IRS tax benefits for education.

Bristol Community College is proud to offer Nelnet Campus Commerce Monthly Payment Plan as a convenient budget plan. This is not a loan program. You have no debt, there are no interest or finance charges assessed, and there is no credit check. Learn more about enrolling in a payment plan here.

Frequently Asked FAFSA Questions

Alaina Marcotte, Director of Financial Aid, answers your FAFSA FAQs. View the video or read below to learn more.


Once you have completed your FAFSA, it takes approximately 3 to 5 business days to receive your financial aid award letter or be notified that additional information is required in order to complete your financial aid award.

In most cases, financial aid from FAFSA does help with book expenses. Students can view their available book advances within their myBristol account.

In some cases, what students and families have reported on their FAFSA may have certain inconsistencies. The FAFSA will ask for us to collect documentation in order to make sure that we're calculating your grant eligibility appropriately.

The Federal Pell Grant is based on income and household size of the family members that are being listed on your financial aid application. It is a need based grant, so depending on what you've reported, you may not have enough need to qualify for the Federal Pell Grant, but are still eligible for other grants and scholarships. We look for all funding available to students.

If you don't have a financial aid award on file yet, but you've completed your FAFSA, we could be waiting for your admissions decision to come through. Other reasons could be you haven't applied completely to the college yet, or financial aid needs outstanding documents that are required in order to calculate your eligibility appropriately.

There is financial aid available for summer courses. There are certain funds that are only eligible for fall and spring semesters, but there are grants and loan funds available to students in the summer semester.

The FAFSA requires parent data for any student that's under the age of 24, not serving as active duty military, unmarried and doesn't provide support for children. Even if you're not living with your parent, they still require parental information. For more information surrounding dependency status, please go to studentaid.gov.

If you're a married student and you don't file taxes together with your spouse, the FAFSA will ask for spouse data. This is because they consider your spouse a financial contributor to your household and will look at that information to determine your eligibility.

Yes, students must file a FAFSA every year so that we can determine your eligibility.

Typically, FAFSA opens on October 1st each year. At that point in the year, you haven't filed your most recent tax return. So we go by the prior year to make sure that you can get your FAFSA filled out early.