students on commons lawn

MFA Scholarships & Financial Aid

The Writing Seminars offer scholarships to the emerging voices we want to support and read. Awards are made through a combination of merit and need; there is no additional application process. Major funding includes: The Donald Hall Poetry Scholarship (a full scholarship); the PEN/Emerging Voices Fellowship ($10,000), and various others. In addition, we offer the Residential Teaching Fellowship, which provides full tuition remission for one term, plus housing and board.

All Bennington MFA students who demonstrate need as determined by the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan Program receive financial aid. 

The Donald Hall Poetry Scholarship 

Donald Hall (left) President Obama (right)
Donald Hall (l), received the 2010 National Medal
of Arts and Humanities from President Obama.

Thanks to a generous and sustaining gift from an anonymous donor, the Bennington Writing Seminars is pleased to announce the Donald Hall Poetry Scholarship, which provides full tuition support.

One full tuition scholarship will be awarded to the top poetry candidate, as identified by Bennington’s admissions committee, for the January 2019 residency. Another full scholarship will be awarded in June 2019. Applications are open now. The deadline to apply for the January term is September 1, 2018. The deadline to apply for the June 2019 residency is March 1, 2019.

Tuition, including room and board for two ten-day residencies at Bennington, is $20,500 per year, making the value of the full scholarship $41,000.

Hall, former United States poet laureate, and longtime Bennington Writing Seminars writer-in-residence, died recently at the age of 89. His involvement with the Seminars extends to the program’s very beginning. Hall was an old friend of Liam Rector, the Seminars’ founder and first director, and he remained deeply involved with the program.

“Poetry is embedded in the soul of the Writing Seminars,” said Mark Wunderlich, director. “Our poetry alumni have gone on to win the National Book Award, the Guggenheim, the National Book Critics Circle Award, Pushcart Prizes, Stegner Fellowships, and Rona Jaffe Awards, among others. We are grateful to this generous donor for investing in the genre specifically, at a critically important time, and in the program in general.”

PEN/Emerging Voices Scholarship

PEN EV Fellows at Bennington
(l-r) Shari Poindexter, Monica Carter, Davin Malasarn

Thanks to generous funding from the Class of June 2018, Bennington offers a scholarship of $10,000 to an alumni of PEN's Emerging Voices Fellowship program. 

Bennington Writing Seminars offers a $10,000 scholarship in partnership with the PEN America Emerging Voices FellowshipEffective during the September 2018 admissions period (deadline is Sept. 1, 2018) for the January 2019 residency, Bennington will grant a scholarship in the amount of $10,000 across four terms ($2,500 a term), to an Emerging Voices Fellow.

If a candidate is not selected for January admission, the scholarship will be available for an Emerging Voices Fellow for the March 1, 2019 admissions period, with a June 2019 start date. These scholarships are made possible thanks to the generosity of the June 2018 graduating class.

This is the second year that Bennington and PEN have teamed up to offer such scholarships. Thanks to the fundraising efforts of the January 2017 graduating class, the Writing Seminars accepted three talented Emerging Voices Fellows: Shari Poindexter, Davin Malasarn, and Monica Carter.

Deadline for applications is September 1. Please note you are an Emerging Voices Fellow in your cover letter. Read more about PEN’s Emerging Voices Fellowship program (scroll down and click on scholarship opportunities to see our partnership.)

Alumni Fund Scholarships

Each term we award scholarships at varying levels to writers whose work and whose voices we want to support. These awards are made, in part, thanks to generous funding from our alumni. Scholarships are made on the basis of merit, as identified by our faculty admissions committee, and need. There is no application process.

Diversity Fund Scholarship

The Diversity Fund Scholarship was created in 2013 to raise funds to increase access to the Writing Seminars for applicants whose voices and vision have been traditionally underrepresented. Bennington is committed to attracting the most talented writers from all walks of life. Scholarships are awarded based on merit and need across all genres.

Residential Teaching Fellowship 

The Residential Teaching Fellowship is a full-immersion teaching fellowship is open to Bennington Writing Seminars MFA students in their second, third, and fourth terms. One fellow will be selected each term through an internal application and interview process. The Residential Teaching Fellow works for a full term in an undergraduate classroom where they assist a Bennington College literature faculty member. The selected Fellow gains experience in arts administration or editorial work while continuing their regular coursework for the term. 

Students are mentored 1:1 with the on-campus faculty member with whom they are working (in addition to the faculty mentor with whom they have been assigned at BWS.) Benefits include full tuition remission for one term, housing and board, enrollment in one class offered on campus, and experience in arts administration or editorial work with The Robert Frost Stone House Museum, The Bennington Review, and Poetry@Bennington.

Financial Aid

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan Program. Student loans are the primary source of financial aid available to graduate students, and the best source of loans is the Federal Direct Loan Program. These loans are available through the Department of Education. Graduate students, if eligible, may borrow up to $20,500 in federal unsubsidized loans per academic year. Repayment begins six months after you cease to be enrolled or take a leave of absence. Students generally have up to ten years to repay their accumulated loans; however, there are minimum monthly repayments. Once your FAFSA has been processed and your eligibility determined, the Financial Aid Office will send you an award letter.

If you wish to accept the student loans you have been offered, you will need to complete an MFA Federal Direct Loan Response form (found on the financial aid web page under forms) and complete the Master Promissory Note and the Entrance Loan Counseling (both may be found at www.studentloans.gov). You will use your FAFSA ID to sign in to the webpage. Your loan will be applied to your tuition bill when you have completed all the steps to accept it.

Questions about funding your Bennington education, take a look at our resources page and then contact Bennington's Financial Aid office at:

Questions about financial aid should be directed to Heather Clifford at hclifford@bennington.edu