Join us for Fall Open House - Oct. 15 and Nov. 18
This event will feature programming for our undergraduate, graduate, and Threshold programs. A vibrant campus community and access to endless opportunities—Lesley has it all. It's where student cohorts become lifelong catalysts, solving for today's complexities with full hearts and open minds.

Lesley University was founded in 1909 and is recognized as a nonprofit organization under Massachusetts law and as a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Lesley University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). Many individual programs are also accredited or endorsed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and other organizations. See school-by-school accreditation information.

The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education has given Lesley University degree-granting authority for the following degrees: Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor, Master, Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts, and Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in the fields of professional education and related educational services, general education, human services, mental health, management and organizational behavior, Associate in education and human services, Doctor of Philosophy in Expressive Therapies, Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Studies, and Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling and Psychology.

Financial Statements

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has implemented new legislation, specifically M.G.L. c. 69, s.31B, that requires each institution of higher education in Massachusetts to post on its website a copy of its audited financial statements along with a summary report of those statements.

In accordance with this new requirement, here's a copy of Lesley University's audited financial statements for the Fiscal Year 2022 (PDF), the audited financial statements for the Fiscal Year 2021 (PDF), and the audited financial statements for the Fiscal Year 2020 (PDF).

Read the University's summary report 2022 (PDF).
Read the University’s summary report 2021 (PDF).
Read the University’s summary report 2020 (PDF).

State Authorization

Lesley University is an approved SARA institution. As described by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, the SARA portal entity for Massachusetts, SARA is an acronym for the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, which is an interstate agreement that allows colleges and universities located in a SARA member state to offer online classes in other SARA member states without needing to obtain authorization to do so from each state individually. SARA consists of a national network of member states, districts, and territories that agree to comply with the rules, policies, and procedures set forth by the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA).

According to NC-SARA, membership in SARA includes 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and California is the only state that has not joined SARA.

Lesley University's distance education programs are offered to residents of California and are not subject to approval or exemption by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education.

  • Licensure and Credentialing Information

    Lesley University strongly encourages prospective applicants who intend to pursue licensure or credentialing to review the Licensure and Credentialing Information documents for the respective program of interest prior to applying to the program, in accordance with Lesley University’s participation in SARA (State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement) and with federal regulations.

  • Complaint Process for Online and Low-Residency Students

    At Lesley, we strive to resolve student complaints within our academic and administrative departments. Online and low-residency students who have a complaint about a University process or procedure may submit a written complaint at We'll forward the complaint to the appropriate academic or administrative department and email you to let know that the complaint been received and is being reviewed. We'll attempt to resolve the complaint as quickly as possible. Please note that this type of complaint is not confidential.

    The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE) reviews and evaluates student complaints regarding online and distance learning programs offered by Massachusetts-based institutions that are members of SARA. Students must first attempt to resolve their complaints using Lesley’s internal complaint process. After exhausting this process, students may submit a complaint to the Massachusetts DHE.

    For Online or Low-Residency Students located in SARA Member States and Territories

    If you are located in a SARA member state or territory (other than Massachusetts) and your complaint is not resolved at the institutional level, you may proceed to the DHE’s SARA complaint form. Complaints about student grades and student conduct violations are expressly excluded from SARA review. 

    For Online or Low-Residency Students in Massachusetts or Non-SARA Member States and Territories

    If you are located in Massachusetts or in a non-SARA member state or territory (like California or Guam), and your complaint is not resolved using the complaint procedures available through Lesley University, you may file a complaint with the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education by using the Consumer Complaint Form.

    More information about DHE’s complaint processes can be found here.

    Students residing in California may also file a complaint about distance education as follows:

    California Department of Consumer Affairs
    Consumer Information Center
    1625 North Market Blvd., Suite N-112
    Sacramento, California 95834
    Telephone: 833- 942-1120

    If your complaint is based on an incident involving discrimination or harassment, including sexual misconduct and sexual violence, we encourage you to complete the Community Incident Report or send an email to the Equal Opportunity and Title IX Office at

  • Credit Hour Policy

    Lesley University follows Federal regulation and the New England Commission for Higher Education (NECHE) guidelines in the definition of credit hours.

    Such regulation defines a credit hour as an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalence that reasonably approximates not less than:

    1. One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately 15 weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or 10 to 12 weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time

    2. At least an equivalent amount of work as required in this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

Additional State Approvals

  • Washington State

    For Washington State residents seeking information and resources about student loan repayment or seeking to submit a complaint relating to your student loans or student loan servicer, please visit or contact the Student Loan Advocate at

    The Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) has authority to investigate student complaints against specific schools. WSAC may not be able to investigate every student complaint. Visit for information regarding the WSAC complaint process.

School-by-School Accreditation Information

  • Graduate School of Education

    All programs are encompassed under our institutional accreditation by the New England Commission of Higher Education. 

    The Graduate School of Education is also affiliated with:

    • American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
    • National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification Interstate Agreement
  • Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences

    All programs are encompassed under our institutional accreditation by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

    Accreditations for the Department of Expressive Therapies

    • The Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Art Therapy is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) upon the recommendation of the Accreditation Council for Art Therapy Education (ACATE).
    • The Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Art Therapy Program is approved by the American Art Therapy Association.
    • The Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Dance Therapy program is approved by the American Dance Therapy Association.
    • The Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Drama Therapy Program is accredited by the North American Drama Therapy Association.
    • The Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Music Therapy Program is approved by the American Music Therapy Association
  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • College of Art and Design
    • All programs are encompassed under our institutional accreditation by the New England Commission of Higher Education and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.
    • Member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design.

Inquiries regarding Lesley’s accreditations and state authorization should be emailed to