Thursday, April 7, 2011


We promised when we launched this blog in December (how time flies) that it would not only entertain and advise, but also inform.

We will try to be on the entertainment side of the ledger tomorrow with the weekly quiz. We were full of avuncular advice during the application period.

It's about time we informed.

We're getting a lot of questions from admitted candidates, and some from those on the wait list and those who were not offered admission. FAQs might be the last refuge of scoundrels, but they can be useful.

(Did you know that the term "FAQs" is fairly recent? Like the fax machine, it did not exist when I was the age of most of our blog readers.)

Q: I have been offered aid for 2011-12. Will I receive the same amount in 2012-13?

A: There is a pool of aid for students in their second year. Generally the pool is greater in the first year than the second, in part because some special fellowships are available to Bologna Center students. All students in satisfactory academic standing are eligible to apply for aid for the second year. Awards are based mainly on performance during the first semester at the Bologna Center. Need and in some cases fellowship eligibility can also be taken into consideration. Students who perform especially well in Bologna -- whether or not they have received aid in their first year -- can present a strong case for aid in the second year. There is no assurance that a student will receive the same amount of aid the second year -- they can receive more or less. Competition for aid is lively, and we urge students to explore alternative sources for the second year as soon as possible to avoid missing deadlines which can fall one year in advance.

One of the alternative sources of funds for the second year for non-U.S. citizens could be the Fulbright Commission. There is no blanket authorization for the national commissions to accept applications from students who attend the Bologna Center and who are looking for funding for a second year in Washington. Each country applies its own policies. However, a number of commissions in Europe have agreed to accept applications from students for their second year in Washington, and we would encourage those who are interested to try. Please keep us informed of your progress, and if you think that an intervention from us with your local Fulbright Commission might help establish your eligibility (not advance your candidacy), please provide us the name, email and/or telephone number of your contact person, and we will try to help . Also, keep in mind that this applies to funding for a second year in Washington. Fulbright does not offer scholarships to students studying in Bologna.

Q: I received no aid for 2011-12. Can I receive some for 2012-13?

A: Please see the answer to the preceding question. If you perform extremely well in Bologna, you're only doing yourself a favor. Give it a try.

Q: Can I be awarded more financial aid for 2011-12?

A: One of the most difficult aspects of assembling a new class is our inability to fully meet the financial needs of all of the students we would like to welcome. At the moment we have distributed in awards all of the money available to us for scholarships. Later in the spring, when we know which admitted candidates will be attending SAIS, if sufficient money is returned to us we may be able to make additional grants, as we have in the past, but it is not something to count on. We know how difficult the financial challenge is.

Q: Can I defer enrollment?

A: Yes. We ask candidates who wish to defer to write to us, explaining why. You need a good reason to defer. Different people have different reasons for deferring; we will consider each case on its merits. In some cases, it is to work a job that directly enhances your subsequent experience at SAIS. A candidate who defers needs to decide by May 16 to hold down the spot for the following academic year. If you want to defer, let us know as soon as possible.

Q: How do I get a visa to study in Italy?

A: Once you have matriculated (which requires a 385 euro payment), we will send you a letter, in Italian, that allows you to apply for a student visa ("Visto Tipo D" -- in English, Type D visa). You can apply at an Italian embassy or consulate in your home country. From there on, it's pretty straightforward (convicted criminals aside, of course -- just kidding). If you get on this early, you should not lose any sleep. But if you hit a snag, be sure to contact us.

Q: Can I work part-time in Bologna?

A: Italian regulations say full-time students with a visa can work up to 20 hours a week, or 1040 hours a year. There are some jobs in the Bologna Center such as research and teaching assistantships, library employment, the reception. There can be opportunities off campus, especially if you speak some Italian.

Q: When and how do I apply for a job at the Bologna Center?

A: It depends. In general, it's best to wait for jobs to be posted. Some departments send out vacancy announcements over the summer, while others wait until pre-term or the beginning of the academic year to post. In many cases, job openings will be sent to incoming students via email. Research and teaching assistantships are managed by professors themselves, and the processes and timing depend on the individuals. If you are interested in a teaching or research assistantship, have a look at the biographies of professors and consider whether there is someone you would like to work with. Keep in mind that there can be a good deal of competition for these posts.

Q: What if my question is not answered here? Should I dash off an email to the friendly Admissions team?

A: We love email. But could we ask a favor? That you first check out a special page for incoming students. If your answer is not there, try this FAQs page. If you still don't have an answer, please do write or call us.

Q: How do I pronounce "Bologna"?

A: The "g" is soft. If you say "Bo-lon-ya", with the accent on "lon", you're off to a good start.


Tomorrow: Weekly quiz

1 comment:

Ihssane said...

Thank you for this! When receiving the -much awaited and hoped for- letter of admission, a million questions came to my mind. However, I am carefully reviewing all links and documents first before proceeding to anything further. It's a time for important decisions to be made and this kind of information is tremendously helpful, so thank you again for this post and all the other important info the Admissions office has compiled and shared with us.