Introducing the Bard Baccalaureate

Building on its 150-year history of innovation in undergraduate education, and in response to the crises of unemployment and inequality touched off by COVID-19, Bard College introduces the Bard Baccalaureate. This new initiative creates full scholarships for adult students to pursue bachelor’s degrees on the Annandale-on-Hudson campus, starting in August 2020.


Admissions for Fall 2020 have now closed. Admission for the 2021-2022 academic year will begin this spring. If you would like to receive an email notification about that process, please sign up for our mailing list.

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The Bard Baccalaureate

The Bard Baccalaureate students are adults aged 24 and older who have had their college degree paths interrupted or put on hold for a variety of reasons: the need to work, family obligations, student loan debt, structural racism or other forms of inequity. Bac students enroll in at least three courses each semester on the Annandale campus, and are eligible to transfer up to 64 credits earned at other institutions towards their degree. The program is non-residential. Tuition and books are fully covered by scholarships and grants that do not have to be paid back; students are also eligible for federally subsidized student loans to cover living expenses while they are enrolled. Admissions opened for the Bard Baccalaureate in June 2020; classes began in mid-August.

In this time of civic and social transformation, the Bard Baccalaureate is an example of how a liberal arts college education can prepare students for careers, civic leadership, and a lifetime of intellectual inquiry. Each semester, students take a Baccalaureate Seminar specifically focused on engagement with the local region, including a curricular focus on the history of Kingston, NY.

About Bard

A private institution in the public service, Bard College enrolls approximately 5,000 students in its global affiliates worldwide, including 2,000 undergraduates in Annandale, nearly 1,000 students in Bard high school/early colleges around the country, and over 300 students across the six in-prison campuses operated by the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI). In all of its programs, the college seeks to provide both a demanding academic program and a supportive environment for the exchange of ideas. Bard is fervently committed to the liberal arts and to democratizing access to them.

The College has long known that there are brilliant potential students across the Hudson Valley who would thrive in intimate, rigorous liberal arts classes, and whose presence would strengthen Bard College as a whole, but who have not been able to step away from their lives to enroll full-time in college. The dramatic shifts in employment and social life caused by the pandemic are an opportunity for Bard to make good on this premise, by actively recruiting students who may have considered full-time college impossible, and removing the financial obstacles that would otherwise prevent them from enrolling.

Student Voices

“I’m in a position, because of Bard, to be able to really see the world in the way that I should have seen it years ago… It’s a little bit easier for me to navigate through society because of how Bard prepared me. That’s what a liberal arts education can really do for a person such as myself, or anybody who is trying to find their own way in life.” —Donnell

“Nobody had ever pushed me, or expected so much of me as Bard.” –Milessa