Policies & Disclosures


All financial aid recipients, including those receiving only NEC scholarship, must reapply for financial aid annually. Financial aid applications for returning students are available on NetPartner.

To be eligible for renewal, students must meet NEC’s academic standards, be registered, and reapply for financial aid on time. Typically, students' scholarship awards are renewed at the same dollar amount from year to year. Changes in financial situation, income, household size, family members’ college enrollment, credit-load, etc. may affect students' financial aid. Scholarship renewal during program extension is not guaranteed and funds may be reduced.

NEC's financial aid renewal policy does not apply to current NEC students applying for a new program. Financial aid decisions for such students will be made in accordance with the applicant’s strengths and financial need relative to the pool of new applicants. Such students include current MM students applying for a second MM in another major. 

Returning from Inactive Status

Students returning from inactive status are included in the renewal policy provided they notify the Dean of Students of their return and complete the financial aid process on time. Current NEC students applying to another degree program (e.g. Bachelor’s students who reapply for graduate programs) are subject to the deadlines and policies set for new students.


Academic Probation & Suspension

Students returning from suspension or who have been on academic probation for two consecutive semesters are ineligible for financial aid until they return to good academic standing.

Example: Jane Doe is placed on academic probation for the Fall 2019 semester. She remains on probation for the Spring 2020 semester. If she returns for Fall 2020, she will not be eligible for aid during that semester. If she is instead placed on suspension for the 2019-20 academic year, she will not be eligible for aid during that year and will also be ineligible for aid during the first semester that she returns (in this case, Fall 2020). In either case, if, by Spring 2021, she has returned to satisfactory academic standing, she will again be eligible for financial aid.


Satisfactory Academic Progress

To qualify for continued financial assistance, students must be making satisfactory academic progress, which NEC defines as the successful completion of at least 67% of all credit hours attempted over the course of the semester, as well as any promotional evaluation. Additionally, undergraduates must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 while graduate students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. Please refer to the Academic Catalog for NEC’s full Satisfactory Academic Progress policy.


Financial Aid Appeal Process

NEC chooses to broadly distribute its scholarship resources to many students rather than concentrating awards on a few; this approach helps us support many young musicians while also assuring a consistently strong student body. 

NEC also tries to make our best offer of financial assistance in the initial award. This is part of our effort to work in partnership with you and your family in order to make an NEC education accessible. 
Requests for additional funding should be based on special circumstances of which the Financial Aid Committee might be unaware. Some examples of special circumstances include: loss of income, medical bills, divorce, or the death of a parent. We do not consider the following to be special circumstances: home repairs, weddings, private school education, cost of living in the Boston area, exchange rates of foreign currencies, and major purchases, including instrument purchases.

All appeals for additional financial assistance must be submitted the online Financial Aid Appeal Form. Faculty recommendations are not necessary for appeals; the Scholarship Committee will consult with faculty as needed. All appeals should also specify a dollar amount of funding requested. Due to budget constraints, not all appeals will be approved. If approved, appeal awards generally range from $1,000 to $5,000. Appeals are reviewed continually and responses are emailed shortly after the Scholarship Committee makes its decision. 

View the Financial Aid Appeal Form


Drug Convictions

By federal law, students convicted of drug offenses may be ineligible for federal financial aid for one or more years from the date of conviction, as shown below:

Offense 1st Conviction 2nd Conviction 3rd Conviction
Possesion 1 year 2 years indefinite
Sales 2 years indefinite  

The law does not apply to juvenile records, and students may regain eligibility by completing an acceptable drug rehabilitation program or by having their conviction(s) overturned.

NEC will provide a timely notice to each student who has lost eligibility for any grant, loan, or work-study assistance as a result of penalties under 484(r)(1) of the HEA and will advise the student of the ways in which to regain eligibility under section 484(r)(2) of the HEA.


State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement Complaint Procedures

Massachusetts became a member of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) in June 2018.  NEC is applying to join via the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (MA-SARA).

Following acceptance of NEC’s application by MA-SARA, NEC students enrolled in online courses or programs who are residents of states other than Massachusetts, and when such state is a participant of SARA, may submit a complaint regarding such course or program by email to the Dean of Students.

NEC will follow its established and published procedures in addressing any such complaint.  These procedures are available in the Student Handbook under “Grievances” at the following link:  https://necmusic.edu/student-handbook/non-academic-policies.

The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE) makes available to all students a Student Complaint Process for appeals that can be filed with the DHE based on their residency:

  • For Massachusetts Residents and Online Students in Non-SARA Member States and Territories

    After you have exhausted the complaint procedures made available above, if your complaint has not been resolved, you may file a consumer complaint with the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE) by using this DHE consumer complaint form. This complaint form should be used by students who are located in:
    • Massachusetts
    • Non-SARA Member States or Territories (e.g. California, Guam, etc.)
  • For Online Students Located in SARA Member States and Territories

After you have exhausted the complaint procedures made available above, if your complaint has not been resolved, NEC students enrolled in online courses or programs who are residents of states other than Massachusetts, and when such state is a participant of SARA, may appeal NEC’s decision to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE).  The form for submitting a complaint is available at the DHE’s website:  https://www.mass.edu/foradmin/sara/complaints.asp.  Please note that this process is only available for complaints “…that pertain to distance (online) education provided by Massachusetts-based SARA institutions to students residing in other states pursuant to SARA only” (https://www.mass.edu/foradmin/sara/complaints.asp).

Additional information from the DHE’s SARA complaint website is below:

The SARA complaint process is as follows:

  1. Students must first attempt to resolve their complaint using internal administrative procedures offered by the SARA institution.
  2. After all administrative remedies have been exhausted with the MA-SARA institution, the student may submit a SARA Complaint via the URL above.
  3. The Department shall send a copy of the complaint to the institution that is the subject of the complaint;
  4. Within 30 days of the date that the Department sends a copy of the complaint to the institution, the institution must provide a written response to the student and the Department.

More information about DHE’s complaint processes can be found here.

Contact information for the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education is listed below, and is also available at the MA-SARA links above:

One Ashburton Place, Room 1401
Boston, MA  02108
(617) 994-6950


Tuition Refunds & Return of Financial Aid Funds

Withdrawal Policy

The Conservatory will administratively withdraw students who enroll in, or matriculate at, another institution, no matter what their previous status. Those wishing to withdraw from NEC should submit the Change of Status form to the Office of Student Services.


Refund Policy

The Conservatory uses federal guidelines to determine refunds for new and returning students, as assessed by the Business Office and disbursed by the Financial Aid Office. New and returning students who petition the Dean’s Office in writing by noon on the dates below are eligible for refunds (as stipulated: see "Tuition and Fees" in Academic Catalog).

Refund Tuition Responsibility Fall 2020 Spring 2021
100% 0% before September 9 before January 25
90% 10% September 9-September 17 January 25-February 2
75% 25% September 18-October 5 February 3-February 23
50% 50% October 6-October 28 February 25-March 17
40% 60% October 29-November 6 March 18-March 30
0% 100% November 7 to end of term March 31 to end of term

Return of Financial Aid Funds Policy

A pro-rated refund calculation will be applied to Federal Student Aid recipients at NEC who become inactive or stop attending classes before completing 60% of the semester. Title IV (federal financial aid) refunds will be calculated according to the number of days the student has attended classes, or the date on which he/she became inactive, divided by the total number of days in the semester (up to 60%). NEC (and the student, where applicable) will be required to return to the federal aid programs the amount of aid received that was in excess of the aid earned for the time period that the student was enrolled.

Separate calculations will be done to determine how much institutional financial aid a student is eligible to retain. For students who go inactive/withdraw before completing 60% of the semester, NEC will remove all funding from the student's overall financial aid award. Upon re-entry, students will be reconsidered for NEC funding on a funds-available basis.