2018-2019 Student Handbook

Financial Aid Office

University Hall, 1815 Massachusetts Avenue, 3rd Floor

Student Financial Services


617.349.8667 Fax

sfs@lesley.edu Email

Scott Jewell, Director of Student 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

First, students should create an FSA ID at https://fsaid.ed.gov. Then, students should use the FSA ID to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Indicate "Lesley University, 29 Everett Street, Cambridge, MA" and the Title IV School Code "002160" on the application. Students and parents of dependent students 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 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, Traditional Undergraduate Students

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, Traditional Undergraduate Students

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's 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 provided to the student in the form of a Financial Aid Award Letter & Cost Analysis Worksheet. 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. The Award Letter will include Estimated Direct Annual Costs, such as tuition, room & board for those living on-campus, and fees. There is a separate section for Estimated Indirect Costs, such as books, supplies, and living expenses.

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 towards the 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. 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 U.S. Department of Education and 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 expenses are included in 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 a community college partnership or in an online program, financial aid will disburse once per term during the 8-week term. 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 and all promissory notes 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 emailed directly to awarded 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 or 8-week term. 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. 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 unless otherwise noted on the Parent PLUS Loan application. (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.


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 online at https://lesley.edu/students/internships-careers/student-jobs.

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, at 617.349.8550, or visit https://lesley.edu/students/internships-careers/student-jobs 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 visit www.lesley.edu/financial-aid/ and select “Private Scholarships.” Private Scholarships are divided into undergraduate and graduate categories..

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  https://www.lesley.edu/students/academic-resources/study-abroad.

Financial Aid & Academic Progress Policy

Students receiving financial aid need to work toward fulfilling their degree requirements by earning attempted credits and maintaining positive grades.

The satisfactory academic progress (SAP) policy is applied consistently to all students within each academic program whether graduate or undergraduate, full time or part time. All periods of enrollment, including those periods for which a student may not have received federal aid will be reviewed to confirm continued academic progress. Lesley University is responsible for establishing the specific requirements for satisfactory academic performance, tracking students' progress, and enforcing the consequences of unsatisfactory progress.

To maintain eligibility for federal student assistance, students must maintain satisfactory progress in their academic programs. Progress has both qualitative and quantitative aspects; meaning, students must be attaining acceptable grades over a limited time period in order to complete the academic objective. Satisfactory progress considers both the Grade Point Average (GPA) and the completion rate of courses attempted.

Undergraduate students are eligible for financial aid through their first 180 attempted credits their 120-credit degree program. Graduate students are eligible for financial aid through a period of attempted credits not to exceed 150% of the published length of their academic program.

To meet these federal guidelines, Lesley University students need to maintain academic progress as defined by their program in the course catalogue:

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Degree Completion Undergraduate Students

  • Minimum GPA: 2.0
  • Minimum Completion: 75% of Attempted Credits

Online Management Students

  • Minimum GPA: 2.0
  • Minimum Completion: 75% of Attempted Credits

Graduate Students

  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Minimum Completion: 75% of Attempted Credits

Graduate Students in Pass/Fail Programs (MFA and Individually Designed)

  • Minimum Completion: 75% of Attempted Credits

Process: Each summer, the Financial Aid Office officially reviews all students' academic work to confirm that they are meeting the qualitative and quantitative requirements so as to confirm continued eligibility for federal, state, and Lesley institutional funding for the next academic year. Students who are not meeting the academic requirements of their program are emailed a notification that all federal financial aid eligibility has been cancelled until the student is once again meeting their program's requirements. Students are notified in the email that at the end of a period of enrollment, they should contact the Financial Aid Office so that an academic progress re-evaluation can determine if, based upon the most recent completed academics, they have reestablished their eligibility to receive federal financial aid. The student will then be reinstated to an eligible status for a subsequent term.

  • Withdrawals, incompletes, and failures (W, I, and F grades) are considered attempted but not completed (or not earned) hours and are not considered passing grades.
  • Passing credits received for pass/fail courses are considered attempted and completed (or earned) credits; failing grades in pass/fail courses are considered attempted but not completed (or not earned).
  • Repeated courses are included in the calculation of both attempted and completed (or 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 (SAP) as defined by their academic program can submit an appeal.

The appeal application availability is announced in the failure to meet progress notification emails.

The appeals application will request the student explain why the student failed to meet the satisfactory academic progress (SAP) standards and what circumstances have changed that will allow the student to make SAP at the next evaluation period. Examples of unusual circumstances can be, but are not limited to, documented personal injury, illness, health problems, family difficulties, and emergencies. A student must document the reason for the progress issue and what has changed to allow the student to regain academic progress.

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, the student will be placed on "probation" which shall continue for as long as the student meets all requirements of the appeal approval communication and follows the academic plan, if applicable.

Title IV Refund Policy

Students "earn" Title IV funds by remaining enrolled for the payment period for which they have been paid federal student aid. Students who begin attendance but, before the end of the payment period, withdraw (either by officially completing the school's withdrawal process or by unofficially dropping out) may lose some of the Title IV funds they received or were scheduled to receive. Depending on circumstances, the school and/or the student may be responsible for reimbursing Title IV programs. The formula that determines the amount of aid a student has earned is outlined in law. It is separate from and independent of any institutional refund policy.

Lesley University has a Financial Aid Refund Policy for students receiving financial aid who withdraw completely from an academic term/semester or stop attending all of their semester classes and who have been awarded federal financial aid. These students may have an adjustment/reduction in their term or semester federal 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.

The Financial Aid Office is notified of students who have received a "W" grade in the previous day of the term/semester through an Informer Report that is generated on a daily basis. The student's registration for that period of time is reviewed to determine if the student has ceased to be in attendance from all Title IV-eligible courses in the term or the semester. If so, a Return to Title IV (R2T4) calculation will be performed.

If a student registered in mini Term 1 ceases attendance in the term, Lesley University will consider the student as enrolled for Title IV purposes if the Financial Aid Office receives written confirmation from the student that they plan to enroll in the second mini Term during the same payment period. No Return to Title IV (R2T4) calculation will be performed at that time; however, registration will be confirmed at the beginning of the second mini Term of the same payment period. If the student is not registered for the second mini Term, the Return to Title IV (R2T4) calculation will be performed using the student's documented last date of attendance from mini Term 1.

Lesley University halts all Title IV disbursements upon learning of a student's withdrawal until a calculation of the amount of aid earned by the student is performed using the Return to Title IV (R2T4) funds formula.

Regarding consortium agreements entered into by Lesley University, the form ensures that the disbursement of Title IV funds will be returned, if required, in the event that the Host Institution reports that the student withdrew before completing the payment period.

Attendance: Lesley University is not required to take attendance. The academic calendar defines for each semester and term the beginning and end dates that will be used in the Return to Title IV (R2T4) calculation.

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.

For students who unofficially withdraw, Lesley University uses the midpoint of the payment period as the withdrawal date unless documentation is received to demonstrate attendance in an academically-related activity as defined by the U.S. Department of Education. The unofficial withdrawal date will be determined within thirty (30) days of the end of the payment period.

Non Attendance: Students who never begin attendance in a payment period receive Never Attended (NA) grades and will have all federal Title IV funds cancelled. No Return to Title IV (R2T4) calculation will be performed.

Failing Grades: Title IV financial aid recipients who receive all failing grades for a semester will be identified by the Financial Aid Office who will contact the student and 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 "unofficially withdrew." The Return too Title IV (R2T4) calculation will determine if the student received unearned Title IV aid, either in a refund or as a payment for tuition, fees, room and board, etc. The student will be notified in writing of their revised financial aid award based upon the calculation performed.

Calculation: Students who cease attendance during an academic term or semester and who have been awarded federal 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.

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. If the student withdraws from all courses after the 60% point in the semester, Title IV aid is viewed as 100% earned. However, if a student completely withdraws prior to or on that 60% point, the student may owe back part of his or her financial aid if the Financial Aid Office determines the student has received an amount larger than the earned amount.

The term “Title IV Funds” includes the following programs:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
  • Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
  • Federal Direct Plus Loan (Parent or Graduate)
  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • Federal TEACH 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 Plus Loan (Parent or Graduate)
  5. Federal Pell Grant
  6. Federal SEOG Program
  7. Other Title IV programs (i.e. Federal TEACH Grant, Iran and Afghanistan Service Grant)
  8. Other state, private, and institutional aid
  9. 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.

Unearned Aid: Lesley University returns its share of unearned aid no later than forty-five (45) days from the date of determination that the student withdrew.

Post-Withdrawal Disbursements: If the amount of earned aid calculated under the return of Title IV funds formula is greater than the amount of aid already disbursed to the student, the funds will be treated as a post-withdrawal disbursement. The post-withdrawal disbursement will be taken from Title IV grant funds before Title IV loan funds.

A letter and email will be sent to the student (or the parent) within thirty (30) days of the date of Lesley University's determination that the student withdrew. The letter and email will request the student confirm they still want the type and amount of the funds. Within forty-five (45) days after determining the student's withdrawal, any amount of the post-withdrawal disbursement of Title IV loan funds not credited to the student's account will be cancelled.

Title IV Credit Balances: The Financial Aid Office will notify the Student Accounts Office to hold any Title IV credit balances until after it has performed the return of Title IV funds calculation prior to the institutional refund policy.

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. 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 individual student loan lender(s) to discuss deferment/ forbearance options until the return to school. Upon return to school, on at least a halftime basis, the student's enrollment status will be updated by the Registrar and loans will re-enter an "in-school deferment" status. Repayment will cease and the government will begin paying the interest again on any subsidized 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, Suite 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

email: sfs@lesley.edu