2016-2017 Student Handbook

Financial Aid Office (Student Financial Services)


University Hall, 1815 Massachusetts Avenue, 3rd Floor


617.349.8667 Fax
sfs@lesley.edu Email

Scott Jewell, Director of Student Financial Administrative Services and Financial Aid

The Lesley University Financial Aid Office is a centralized student support service available to both undergraduate and graduate students. The Financial Aid Office assists students seeking financial aid consideration; coordinates various sources of funding at the federal, state, and institutional levels; and administers and develops programs of student financial assistance including several on-campus student employment programs.

The Financial Aid Office is committed to helping students and their families receive the financial assistance for which they are eligible. The philosophy of student aid is to provide access and choice to students who without such assistance would not otherwise be able to attend Lesley University. The purpose of the Financial Aid Office is to help students and their families finance their education at Lesley University. Students are expected to contribute from their assets and earnings, including appropriate borrowing against future earnings and their families are expected to contribute according to their means, taking into account their income, assets, number of dependents, and other relevant information.

Financial aid consists of demonstrated need-based grant aid, self-help aid, and, in some cases, merit-based scholarships. Awards are made to students in the form of demonstrated need-based grants and merit scholarships, employment opportunities, and educational loans. Demonstrated need-based grant aid is aid that does not need to be repaid and is meant to assist in paying educational costs. The sources of this funding could come from Lesley University, the student’s state of residence and/or the federal government. Self-help aid takes the form of loans (which must be repaid) and federally subsidized employment (work study) which pays students wages for hours worked at acquired jobs which can be either on or off campus.

Students are first considered for federal and/or state demonstrated need-based grant eligibility and then for self-help aid in the form of loans and employment. Students are then considered for Lesley University funded, demonstrated need-based grant aid as determined by remaining need, availability of funds, and eligibility for the funds. Merit-based scholarships are awarded under special circumstances and are not linked to financial need. A description of all federal, state and institutional financial assistance programs available to students can be found at www.lesley.edu/financial-aid

How to Apply for Financial Aid Consideration
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is required of all applicants for financial aid consideration. It is submitted directly to a federal processing center by utilizing the www.fafsa.ed.gov website. You must indicate "Lesley University, 29 Everett Street, Cambridge, MA" and the Title IV School Code "002160" on the application. Students and (if determined necessary by the U.S. Department of Education) parents should complete the entire FAFSA application. Lesley University will receive this information electronically from the U.S. Department of Education within three to five business days after completion.

An institutional application for financial aid is required for PhD Low-Residency programs, bachelor degree completion students enrolling in an on-campus program, and students enrolling in the Collaborative School or Urban Initiative programs. Upon receipt of the FAFSA, the Financial Aid Office sends the corresponding institutional financial aid application for your program if one is required.

Priority FAFSA Filing Dates

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Starting semester................................Priority Filing Date
September New Students.....................February 15
January New Students..........................November 1
Currently Attending Students.................April 1


The College of Art and Design

Starting semester...............................Priority Filing Date
September New Students....................February 15
January New Students.........................November 1
Currently Attending Students...............April 1

The Lesley University Financial Aid Office encourages all students to apply for financial aid consideration even if the date of the application is past the above-listed priority dates.

Bachelor degree completion students and graduate students are encouraged to apply for financial aid at the same time as applying for admission. This will provide sufficient processing time to determine eligibility before course registration is required. The priority FAFSA filing deadline for work-study consideration is April 15. The FAFSA filing deadline for undergraduate students who are residents of Massachusetts to qualify for the Mass Grant is May 1.

Students must reapply for financial assistance each academic year.

Financial Aid Eligibility
The most basic eligibility requirements to receive financial aid consideration are that you must:
  • Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen (as defined by the U.S. Department of Education),
  • have a valid Social Security number,
  • register (if you haven't already) with the Selective Service, if you're a male between the ages of 18 and 25,
  • maintain satisfactory academic progress as defined by your school (the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the College of Art and Design, the Graduate School of Education, or the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences),
  • demonstrate financial need (except for certain loans such as the unsubsidized loan for graduate students),
  • be accepted by the Admissions Office for enrollment as a regular student working toward a degree or certificate in an eligible academic program,
  • certify that you are not in default on a federal student loan and do not owe money on a federal student grant,
  • if a graduate student, have completed at least 3 years of full-time undergraduate study,
  • and certify that you will use federal student aid only for educational purposes.
The Financial Aid Office will make every attempt to complete the application review process in a timely manner when the FAFSA application is filed prior to the above filing dates. The Financial Aid Office will notify students about their financial aid eligibility as well if the U.S. Department of Education mandates that other materials (such as copies of citizenship documentation, federal tax return transcripts or other corroborating documentation) are required to be supplied to the Financial Aid Office before an official award announcement can be made.

In applying for financial assistance, a student is considered for any and all types of federal, state, and institutional aid programs for which they may qualify. A financial aid package is designed for each student and is mailed to the student in the form of a financial aid award letter. All financial aid is to be used to help the student defray the costs of tuition, fees, room and board, and other educationally related expenses incurred during the academic year. In order to receive financial aid consideration, a student must register at least half-time per semester. Half-time status for undergraduate students is six (6) credits per semester. Half-time status for graduate students is three (3) credits per semester. The only exception is the Federal Pell Grant, which offers limited grant consideration to undergraduate students enrolled at less than half time status. A description of the application process can be found at www.lesley.edu/financial-aid.

If a student is attending a second institution to complete courses for his/her degree, a Consortium Agreement must be completed by the student, the student’s advisor, and the host institution. The Consortium Agreement is used to factor the tuition costs for courses taken at the second institution which will allow Lesley University to properly determine financial aid eligibility. The Financial Aid Office will confirm enrollment at the second institution prior to disbursing any financial aid funds. Any financial aid received from a second institution while receiving financial aid from Lesley University will jeopardize the student’s overall financial aid eligibility.

How Financial Aid Eligibility is Determined
For undergraduate students, financial aid is awarded based on financial need as determined by the Lesley University Financial Aid Office. Financial need is the difference between Lesley University’s projected educational costs for an academic year and the Estimated Family Contribution number (Educational Expense Budget - Family Contribution = Financial Need) as determined by the completion of the U.S. Department of Education’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application each academic year. Projected direct expense information can be found at www.lesley.edu/financial-aid and indirect expenses for undergraduate students enrolled in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences or the College of Art and Design is included with the mailed financial aid award letter.

For graduate students, federal work-study is awarded based on financial need and if interest in work-study is indicated on the FAFSA. The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan is awarded if basic eligibility requirements are met.

Disbursement of Financial Aid
Disbursement dates vary by academic program. Specific dates may be obtained by reading the disclosure letter provided by the Department of Education at the time of loan origination or by contacting Student Financial Services. General speaking, for undergraduate students enrolled in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the College of Art and Design, financial aid is disbursed twice a year; at the beginning of the fall semester and at the beginning of the spring semester after enrollment has been confirmed following the conclusion of the add/drop period. For graduate students enrolled in an on-campus program, financial aid will disburse each semester after enrollment has been confirmed following the add/drop period.  For graduate students enrolled in an off-campus cohort or online program, financial aid will disburse during each of the six 8-week terms following the start of each term, following the conclusion of the add/drop period. For graduate students enrolled in a low-residency program, the first financial aid disbursement will occur after July 1 or following the start of the residency (whichever is later). For bachelor degree completion students enrolled in an on-campus program, financial aid will disburse once per semester following the conclusion of the add/drop period. For bachelor degree completion students enrolled in an online program, financial aid will disburse once per term during the 8-week term that brings the student to half-time status (6 credits). Per federal regulations, Federal Direct Loan funding must be disbursed equally between all semesters or terms. If a student is enrolled for only semester, only one disbursement is required. Prior to the scheduled disbursement, all loans must be accepted by the student on the LOIS network portal at www.lesley.edu/LOIS, all promissory notes must be signed and initial entrance counseling completed at www.studentloans.gov. Federal Perkins loans and MA No Interest Loan promissory notes and entrance counseling information and directions are e-mailed directly to award eligible students and must be completed prior to disbursement. All financial aid, including student loans, will be applied as a credit to the student’s billing account after registration is verified for that semester. A disbursement email will be sent to the student’s Lesley email address. Once all financial aid is posted to the account, tuition and fees will be deducted from the disbursement. Any remaining credit balance will be refunded to the student within 10-14 business days by the Student Accounts Office. A student has 14 days from the date of the disbursement to request that any extra funds be returned to the lender. A credit balance resulting from a Parent PLUS Loan will be sent to the parent borrower. (Note: A credit balance from a current semester may not be used to pay for tuition and fees incurred from a previous semester.)

Changes to enrollment status may impact eligibility of students receiving financial aid, causing a reduction or cancellation of the financial aid award, or a delay the scheduled disbursement. Students are encouraged to notify the Financial Aid Office of enrollment plan changes in order to avoid delays in disbursement. Half-time enrollment is required for the Direct Loan program. A student is not eligible to receive Direct Loan funds as a less-than-half-time student. It is the student’s responsibility to apply for the Federal Direct Loan(s) and to complete all necessary paperwork or online processes in a timely manner.

Employment programs offer students the opportunity to work part time and earn a paycheck every two weeks. All on-campus student employment is listed through the Financial Aid Office. Students may obtain general conditions and terms applicable as well as a listing of available positions on the Financial Aid Office website at www.lesley.edu/financial-aid/.

Federal Work Study Program (FWSP): This need-based, federally subsidized program provides part time employment on campus or at nearby off-campus non-profit community service sites for eligible students. Eligibility is announced in a student’s financial aid award letter and instructions regarding employment opportunity are emailed to the student in August and January. Eligible students are encouraged to choose jobs which meet their interests, relate to their course of study, and fit in with available free time. Earnings through FWSP are taxable income.

Lesley Works Program (LWP): Students who have not applied for financial aid or who did not receive Federal Work Study consideration are still eligible to obtain on-campus employment at Lesley through the Lesley Works program. Instructions regarding employment opportunities are e-mailed in August and January. Earnings through the LWP are taxable.

Students may also wish to contact the Career Resource Center on the fourth floor of 23 Mellen Street or at 617.349.8550 where a listing of off-campus employment opportunities can be found.

Outside Scholarships

Outside scholarships (scholarships awarded from non-Lesley University sources) are an important resource. When a student receives an outside scholarship, please forward photocopies of the official, non-Lesley notification letter and or the scholarship check to: Lesley University Financial Aid Office ATTN: Outside Scholarships, 29 Everett Street, Cambridge MA 02138.

To search for outside scholarships opportunities please go to www.lesley.edu/financial-aid/.

Financial Aid & Study Abroad
If you are considering a study abroad component as part of your academic experience at Lesley, it's important to consider the financial implications of such a decision. Lesley University offers a variety of study abroad programs around the globe.

Although grants and scholarships are not available for use during your time abroad, there is Federal, State and private funding that may be used to pay for your abroad costs. The Financial Aid Office can help you determine which options may be best for you and assist you with the required paperwork. For most programs, tuition and housing costs will be paid directly to the program provider. For more information please refer to http://www.lesley.edu/study-abroad/.

Financial Aid & Academic Progress Policy
Students receiving financial aid of any type are required to make satisfactory academic progress toward their degree. “Satisfactory Academic Progress” (SAP) is defined by federal regulations of the U.S. Department of Education as “proceeding in a positive manner toward fulfilling degree requirements.” Academic progress is measured using qualitative (GPA) standards and quantitative (credit completion rate) standards. An excessive number of incompletes or withdrawals in a given semester could result in not meeting satisfactory academic progress requirements. This is different from “good standing,” which describes someone who the institution allows to continue to enroll. Students are reviewed on an annual basis in June with regard to their continued eligibility for federal, state, and Lesley University sponsored financial aid for the following academic year.

For the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the College of Art and Design, students are eligible for financial aid consideration through their first 180 attempted credits of their 120 credit degree program. Students enrolled in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (including bachelor degree completion) must maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA and complete at least 75% of attempted credits. Students enrolled in the College of Art and Design must maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA with less than 30 credits attempted and complete at least 75% of attempted credits. Students enrolled in the College of Art and Design must maintain a minimum 2.3 cumulative GPA with 30 or more credits attempted and must complete at least 75% of attempted credits.

Graduate students must maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA and complete at least 75% of attempted credits.

The following are considered when evaluating a student's satisfactory academic progress:
  • Withdrawals, incompletes, and failures (“W”,”I”, and “F” grades) are considered attempted but not earned hours.
  • Passing credits received for pass/fail courses are considered attempted and earned credits; failing grades in pass/fail courses are considered attempted but not earned.
  • Repeated courses are included in the calculation of both attempted and earned hours.
  • Accepted Transfer credits are included in the credit completion rate and maximum time frame calculations, but not the GPA.

Students who are not making satisfactory academic progress are allowed to appeal based on unusual circumstances. Examples of unusual circumstances can be, but are not limited to, documented health problems and family emergencies. Appeals and supporting documentation should be made using the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form provided by the Financial Aid Office. A student must document the reason for the progress issue, explain what has changed to allow the student to regain academic progress, and submit an academic plan. Please note that appeals will not be approved more than one time during enrollment at Lesley University nor can an appeal be approved unless it can be calculated by the Financial Aid Office that the student could meet the SAP standards after the first semester of the appeal. If an appeal is granted, progress standards of the academic program must be met or an academic plan must be submitted that, if followed (with passing grades received and without any withdrawals or incomplete grades), would ensure that the academic program’s progress standards will be met by a specific point in time. At the student’s request, the Financial Aid Office will review the academic status of a student who had their appeal denied or who did not appeal their academic status at the end of an academic semester to determine if the academic record now reaches the qualitative and qualitative standards listed above.

Failure to Receive a Passing Grade

When a student does not pass any classes during a completed semester or 8-week term, the U.S. Department of Education mandates that Lesley University must determine if the student ceased attendance or attended through the end of the academic term and “earned” their failing grades.

Title IV financial aid recipients who receive all failing grades for a semester will be identified by the Financial Aid Office and the student will be contacted with the request that they provide documentation to show that a failure(s) was academic in nature. If the student cannot provide such documentation, it will be determined that the student “officially withdrew” and the following procedures will be initiated:
  1. Using the Return to Title IV calculation, a prorate report will be calculated to determine if the student received unearned Title IV aid, either in a refund or as payment for tuition, fees, etc.
  2. The student will then be notified in writing of their revised financial aid ward based upon the calculation performed.
Title IV Refund Policy
Although financial aid is posted to a student’s account at the start of each semester/term, a student actually earns the funds as they complete the semester/term. If a student withdraws from the academic semester/term, the amount of Title IV program assistance that a student has earned up to that point is determined by a specific formula. If a student receives (or your school or parent received on your behalf) less assistance than the amount earned, the student may be able to receive those additional funds. If a student receives more assistance than earned, the excess funds must be returned by the school and/or by the student.

Lesley University has a Financial Aid Refund Policy for students receiving financial aid who withdraw completely from all coursework during an academic semester or stop attending all of their classes. These students may have an adjustment/reduction in their semester or term financial aid award according to calculations mandated by federal regulations and policy. Students considering withdrawing from an academic semester should meet with a representative of the Financial Aid Office to discuss how the decision will impact your finances and to discuss the completion of the Exit Interview process found at http://www.lesley.edu/financial-aid/.

Students who withdraw completely from an academic semester and who have been awarded financial aid may have their financial aid awards adjusted according to calculations mandated by federal and state regulations and policy. The Federal Return of Funds regulations requires that the Financial Aid Office calculate the amount of financial aid that must be returned to the federal government and other agencies and the amount that can be retained to pay Lesley University billable charges. Students who are considering withdrawing are encouraged to contact the Financial Aid Office at 617.349.8760 for more details.

The calculation of the return of Title IV Funds is determined by the date that the student withdraws, which is:
  • The date the student began Lesley University’s withdrawal process;
  • The date the student officially notified the institution of intent to withdraw;
  • The midpoint of the enrollment period for a student who leaves without notifying the institution (an unofficial withdrawal);
  • The student’s last date of attendance at a documented academically related activity.
Title IV aid and all other aid is earned during the time a student is attending Lesley University. The percentage of aid earned is determined by dividing the number of days a student was enrolled by the number of days in the semester, up to the 60% point. Return of Title IV funds is no longer necessary after that point. If the student withdraws from all courses after the 60% point in the semester, Title IV aid is viewed as being 100% earned. However, if a student completely withdraws prior to that 60% point, the student may owe back part of his/her financial aid if the Financial Aid Office determines the student has received an amount larger than the earned amount. The refund policy for state financial aid is the same as the federal policy. A copy of the worksheet used for this calculation can be requested from the Lesley University Financial Aid Office.

The term “Title IV Funds” includes the following programs:
  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
  • Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
  • Federal Direct PLUS Parent Loan (dependent undergraduates only)
  • Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan (graduates only)
  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • Federal TEACH Grant
  • Iran and Afghanistan Service Grant

In accordance with federal regulations, financial aid funds are returned and allocated in the following order:

  1. Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
  2. Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan
  3. Federal Perkins Loan
  4. Direct Parent PLUS Loan
  5. Federal Graduate PLUS Loan
  6. Federal Pell Grant
  7. Federal SEOG Program
  8. Other Title IV programs (i.e. Federal TEACH Grant, Iran and Afghanistan Service Grant)
  9. Other state, private, and institutional aid
  10. The student
Lesley University will also return any funds necessary to Title IV programs upon completing the calculation. The student’s responsibilities in regard to the return of Title IV funds include repaying to the Title IV or state programs any funds that were disbursed directly to the student and which the student was determined to be ineligible for via the Return of Title IV Funds Calculation. The procedures and policies listed above supersede those published previously and are subject to change. Please contact the Financial Aid Office if you have any questions about this policy.

Leave of Absence Policy
A leave of absence is a process designed to allow students to interrupt their academic program for a limited period of time without requiring the student to reapply for admission to the University. During the period of the leave, the student is considered to be on active status with the University.

Students considering taking a leave of absence should meet with a representative of the Financial Aid Office to discuss how the decision will impact your finances and to discuss the completion of the Exit Interview process https://intranet.lesley.edu/financial-aid/withdrawal/”. Students who are on a leave of absence may enter into their grace period for any Federal Direct Stafford Loan, Federal Perkins Loan, Massachusetts No Interest Loan or privately-sponsored alternative educational loan that they may have previously borrowed. If the student qualifies, the grace period will begin as of the last day that the student was enrolled in classes on at least a half-time basis (6 credits). If the grace period expires while on a leave of absence, the student will enter the repayment of the loan(s) and will be required to make payments until such time as a return to Lesley as at least a half time student. If the student is experiencing difficulty in repayment of educational loan(s), the student should contact their lender to discuss deferment/ forbearance options until the return to school. Upon return to school, on at least a halftime basis, the student may request an "in-school deferment" from your lender. Repayment will cease and the government will begin paying the interest again on your loan once the deferment is approved.


Our mailing address is:
Office of Financial Aid
Lesley University
29 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02138-2790


Our office location is:
University Hall, Floor 3, Room 3-001
Student Financial Services
1815 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02140


Our office hours are:
Monday through Friday, 11 AM to 5 PM


Our phone/fax/e-mail is:
(p) 617.349.8760
(p)800.999.1959, ext. 8760
(f) 617.349.8667
e-mail: sfs@lesley.edu