Tuesday, April 17, 2012

FAQs: Your questions answered

We're getting a flurry of questions from admitted candidates. It's only natural. We try our hardest to answer them.

Here are the most common queries:

Q: Will you be distributing more financial aid for 2012-13?
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 all of the money available to us for scholarships. Later, 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.

Q: I have been offered aid for 2012-13. Will I receive the same amount in 2013-14?
A: There is no guarantee the same level of aid will be offered to each non-U.S. recipient in the second year. There is a pool of aid for non-U.S. students in their second year. The pool is greater in the first year than the second, in part because some special fellowships are available to non-U.S. students attending SAIS Bologna. All non-U.S. 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. 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.

For more information on financial aid, click here. For potential alternative sources of funds outside SAIS's control, click here; please keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive and there are funds that we do not know about.

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 SAIS Bologna 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 2012-13. Can I receive some for 2013-14?
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 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 and to pay the 385-euro deferral fee to hold down the spot for the following academic year. The fee is eventually subtracted from the student's first-term tuition. If you want to defer, let us know as soon as possible.

Q: How do I get a visa to study in Italy?
A: If you are from a European Union member state, you do not need a visa. Otherwise, if you are a non-U.S. national, 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. If you get on this early, you should not lose any sleep. But if you hit a snag, be sure to contact us.

Incoming students from the United States should be in touch with Erin Cameron (erin.cameron@jhu.edu) in the SAIS DC Admissions Office about their visas.

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 at SAIS Bologna such as research and teaching assistantships, library employment and the reception. Both the Bologna Institute for Policy Research and the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development employ a certain number of interns. 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'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. 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 the special page for incoming students and the guidebook for incoming students. If you still don't have an answer, please do write or call us.

Also, we'll be holding an online Q&A session on April 25. If you have been admitted and you'd like to participate, please send an email to admissions@jhubc.it. And don't forget our Open House in Bologna on May 3&4. All admitted students are welcome.

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.

Nelson Graves

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