Thursday, March 20, 2014

Some more questions we are hearing: aid, deferral, work in Bologna

Yesterday we tackled some of the questions we hear most frequently from candidates admitted to SAIS Europe. Today we take up some more. Remember, there is a wealth of information on the web page for incoming students.

Q: Will you be distributing more financial aid for 2014-15?
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 Europe, if sufficient money is returned to us we may be able to make additional grants, but it is not something to count on. And the situation might not become clear until after the deadline for replying to our admissions offer.

Q: I am a non-U.S. citizen admitted to SAIS Europe and have been offered aid for 2014-15. Will I receive the same amount in 2015-16?
A: There is a pool of aid for non-U.S. students in their second year, and some admitted candidates have been offered two-year packages. However, there is no guarantee the same level of aid will be offered to each non-U.S. recipient in the second year.

The aid pool for non-U.S. students starting in Bologna is greater in the first year than the second, in part because some special fellowships are available only to non-U.S. students attending SAIS Europe. 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.

(SAIS fellowships for U.S. citizens whose applications were managed by DC Admissions generally cover two years. If you are a U.S. citizen and have questions, please contact the Financial Aid Office in DC at

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 Europe 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, 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 to attend SAIS Europe in 2014-15. Can I receive some to attend SAIS DC in 2015-16?
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. Candidates who wish to defer should 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 pay a deferral feel to hold down the spot for the following academic year. If you want to defer, let us know as soon as possible.

We do not recommend that a candidate defer primarily for financial reasons. If you are having difficulty making ends meet but would like to start SAIS in 2015-16, it is better to reapply. You can spend the next year strengthening your profile and in doing so, your chances of receiving financial aid.

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 Europe 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 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?
A: There are plenty of other resources:
  • Web page for incoming students
  • SAIS Europe Guidebook for Incoming Students
  • Online information sessions set for March 27 and April 8; if you are interested, send an email to
  • SAIS Europe Open House on Friday, April 4
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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