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Funding for International Students

You worked hard and got accepted to Lesley University. Now, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to pay for your education.

While only U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible for federal and state Financial Aid, there are a few funding options for international students.

Take a look at our scholarships, tuition discounts, and work options. Or, find a lender that offers loans to international students. We can even help you set up an interest-free payment plan.

Let's get started.


Scholarships & Grants

Scholarships & Grants

As an international student, there are some scholarships you may be eligible for.

Undergraduate Scholarships

  • Lesley Merit Scholarships

    We have a limited number of merit scholarships available for international students. Not all international students will receive a merit scholarship.

    You’ll be considered for a Lesley University merit scholarship when you apply as a first-year or transfer student. You don't need to fill out additional application forms.

    Merit scholarships are awarded based on the strength of your academic record and your demonstrated potential for further success. For students applying to the College of Art & Design, we also consider the strength of your portfolio.

    Your scholarship may be renewed each year, as long as you take at least 12 credits/semester (full-time status), remain a student in good academic standing, and continue to make satisfactory academic progress toward your degree.

    Merit Scholarship Exceptions

    Lesley undergraduate merit scholarships are not available to students who:

    • Already have a bachelor’s degree
    • Are enrolling in a bachelor’s degree completion program through our Adult Learning Division
    • Are participating in the Tuition Exchange Program (TE) or the Council of Independent Colleges Program (CIC), and have been awarded a tuition scholarship through the programs
  • Urban Scholars Initiative (USI)

    50 percent off tuition

    Lesley University has partnered with several community organizations to provide scholarships for students with financial need.

    Through the Urban Scholars Initiative, first-year and transfer undergraduate students from our partner community organizations are eligible for 50 percent off of their Lesley tuition.

    How to Apply

    Eligible high students must have participated in, and be recommended by, one of Lesley’s USI partner organizations. Submit the Free Application for Federal & Student Aid (FAFSA). Get accepted to Lesley University to receive the award.

  • Community Scholarships for First-Year Students

    There are also a few undergraduate scholarships available for students from certain communities or schools.

    Cambridge Rindge & Latin Merit Scholarship
    Full tuition/year for 4 years

    We award up to 2 of these scholarships each year.

    Minimum Criteria

    • Students must be graduating from Massachusetts Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School.
    • Applicants to Lesley's College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, or applicants to both undergraduate schools at Lesley (College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and College of Art & Design) must have a minimum 3.0 academic GPA in a strong college prep curriculum.
    • Applicants applying solely to Lesley's College of Art & Design must have a minimum 3.0 academic GPA in a strong college prep background and an outstanding portfolio.


    How to Apply

    1. The school's principal and guidance team nominate 6 students, in the form of a letter of recommendation.
    2. Students apply to Lesley University by February 15. The school should also send their nomination letters by this date.
    3. The University Scholarship Committee reviews all nominations, then selects and interviews finalists.
    4. We’ll notify finalists of their status after March 1.


    Boston Arts Academy Scholarship
    Full tuition/year for 4 years

    We award 1 of these scholarships each year.

    Minimum Criteria

    • Students must be graduating from the Boston Arts Academy’s Visual Arts program.
    • Applicants applying solely to Lesley's College of Art & Design must have a minimum 3.0 academic GPA in a strong college prep curriculum and an outstanding portfolio.

    How to Apply

    1. Boston Arts Academy nominates up to 4 students for consideration.
    2. Students apply to Lesley University by February 15.
    3. The University Scholarship Committee reviews nominations and interviews finalists. If selected, the students present their portfolio at the interview.
    4. We’ll notify finalists of their status after March 1.

Graduate Scholarships

  • Graduate Merit Scholarships for Applicants

    At Lesley, we offer several merit scholarships for graduate students.

    These awards are based on the strength of your application to Lesley University. You’ll find out if you’ve received a merit scholarship in your acceptance letter.

    You might receive a merit scholarship as well as a private award from an outside source or a tuition discount.  In that case, you will be eligible to retain the larger of the awards.

    Counseling and Psychology Master’s or PhD

    The division awards $1.2 million in merit scholarships each year, in amounts up to $12,000 for master’s degree candidates and $16,500 for PhD candidates. Master’s candidates are also eligible for the Eleanor Roffman Community Counseling Scholarship.

    Creative Writing MFA

    The program awards $490,000 in merit scholarships each year.


    Applicants may be eligible for a one-time Dean’s Merit Scholarship. We give preference to applicants with a strong written personal statement and a 3.5 or higher GPA in their most recent degree-granting program.

    Expressive Therapies Master’s

    The division awards $2.2 million in merit scholarships to master’s degree candidates each year, in amounts up to $20,000.

    International Higher Education

    The program awards $40,000 in merit scholarships per year.  Applicants are eligible for the Sylvia Cowan Scholarship.

    Mindfulness Studies

    The program awards $63,000 in merit scholarships per year in amounts up to $3,150.

    Photography MFA & Visual Arts MFA

    The College of Art and Design awards $500,000 in merit scholarships each year, in amounts up to $15,000 for Photography and up to $21,000 for Visual Arts.

  • Expressive Therapies Program Scholarships

    There are 5 scholarships for Expressive Therapies graduate students who are in their last year of study.

    Available Awards

    Community Engagement Award

    For a student who demonstrates applications of music therapy in the community.

    Creativity and Innovation Scholarship Award

    For a student who demonstrates creativity and innovation in art therapy.

    Distinguished Expressive Arts Therapy Award

    For an Expressive Arts Therapy student who distinguishes his or her work in graduate studies, internship, or community.

    Minerva Drama Therapy Research Award

    For a student who proposes to build upon his or her thesis research, or who presents a strong vision for the application of drama therapy after graduation.

    Norma Canner Dance/Movement Therapy Award

    For a Dance/Movement Therapy student who demonstrates passion, involvement, and creative vision in bringing dance/movement therapy to the community and celebrating its culture.

    How to Apply

    Write a 2-page essay. Include:

    • Your name
    • Contact information
    • Name of the award you’re applying for
    • Description of how you meet the criteria

    Email your essay to: Gilda Resmini-Walsh at grwalsh@lesley.edu. Put the name of the award in the subject line.


    • Nov. 1: Deadline
    • Dec. 1: Award notification
    • Spring: Awards given
    • May: Student event for award recipients
  • Special Education Program Scholarship

    The Anne Larkin Scholarship is awarded to newly-accepted students in an on-campus special education master’s degree program for the Fall semester. This one-time award is based on the strength of your application to Lesley University. You’ll find out if you’ve received a Larkin scholarship in your acceptance letter. We give preference to applicants with a strong written personal statement and a 3.5 or higher GPA in their most recent degree-granting program.

    With the support of founder George Weiss, Say Yes to Education, Inc. (SYTE) established an endowed scholarship fund honoring Anne Larkin, Lesley University professor emerita and former director of the SYTE Cambridge Chapter, which was housed at Lesley from 1991-2008.  Throughout her tenure at Lesley, Dr. Larkin’s program affiliation was with the Special Education Division, and she has dedicated herself, both professionally and personally, to serving individuals with disabilities from birth through adulthood. This scholarship will be under the direction of the Graduate School of Education and will be awarded to graduate students who have been accepted into the Special Education program.

  • Specialist Teacher of Reading Program Scholarships

    Our Language and Literacy Division offers two scholarships and one paid assistantship for students in our graduate Specialist Teacher of Reading programs.

    We’re looking for applicants who:

    • Are in good academic standing.
    • Are enrolled in at least 6 credits on campus.
    • Have outstanding academic achievement, leadership potential, and a commitment to a career in literacy education.
    • Can provide evidence of collaboration with colleagues and peers.

    Francis Conley & Bernard J. Conley Memorial Scholarship

    Francis Conley (Dunton) was a Lesley College graduate who had a long career in teaching. This need-based scholarship is for a newly-enrolled graduate student in our Specialist Teacher of Reading master's degree program.

    Barbara Polk Washburn Endowed Scholarship

    Betsy Cabot created this scholarship in honor of her mother, who was a reading practitioner.

    This scholarship is for a student in the Specialist Teacher of Reading master's degree program who has been awarded financial aid. Preference is given to students nearing their practicum.


    $1000 (one scholarship).

    How to Apply

    Please check here in Spring 2021 for information about the next scholarship cycle.

    Elizabeth & Edmund Cabot Assistantship

    This is a paid assistantship open to students in the Specialist Teacher of Reading master's degree program. Recipients work with faculty or administrators on literacy-related projects during the academic year. Students work 5-10 hours/week up to 100 hours. Hours take place within the typical workday. 

Undergraduate and Graduate Scholarships

  • Early Childhood Education Program Scholarship

    Constance and Lewis Counts, champions of early childhood education and advocates for greater access to higher education, founded a scholarship for students pursuing a degree in early childhood education.

    The Constance and Lewis Counts Scholarship is for:


    In 2020-2021: one scholarship of $4,000 was awarded.

    We’re looking for applicants who:

    • Are committed to the field of early childhood education.
    • Have a strong interest in multicultural issues.
    • Have a documented financial need.
    • Are enrolled in 6 or more credits for the Fall semester.

    How to Apply 

    This scholarship has been awarded for 2020-2021. Please check back next spring for 2021-2022 information.

    Here's what you'll need to do:

    1. File for the Free Application for Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA). Use Lesley University’s code: 002160.
    2. Complete the Lewis and Constance Counts Scholarship application, which includes an essay and your résumé.

Student Employment

Student Employment

As an international student, you can apply for part-time, paid jobs on campus through our Lesley Works employment program.

Find a Student Job.

Or, get authorized to work off-campus through Curricular Practical Training and Optional Practical Training.

Learn more about work authorization for international students.

Tuition Discounts

Tuition Discounts

You may be eligible for a few kinds of tuition discounts.

If you earn your bachelor's degree from Lesley, you're eligible for our biggest discount—The Lesley Dividend—where you get 12 free credits toward your Lesley master's degree.

If you receive a merit scholarship award and are eligible for a tuition discount, we can offer you only the larger award.

  • Lesley Dividend for Graduate School

    If you earn your bachelor’s degree at Lesley, you’re eligible to get 12 free credits toward your Lesley master’s degree.

    And at $650 to $1,130 credit, that’s a huge tuition savings of $7,800–$13,560.

    The award is applied to your tuition over 2 semesters. You’ll get 6 credits of free tuition in your first semester, and 6 free credits in your last semester of graduate study.

    You can even use the Dividend toward an already-discounted dual bachelor’s and master’s degree program, for an even bigger bargain.

    A student cannot use the Dividend in the following instances:

    • For a certificate or non-degree program
    • When advancing from one Master’s program to a second Master’s program
    • When advancing from one Master’s program to a PhD program
    • In conjunction with another discount or institutional scholarship


    The Dividend for your first 6 credits of study will be applied to your account automatically. To apply the Dividend for your last 6 credits of study, you'll need to log in to the Lynx Solution Center and submit a case.


  • City Year Partnership Discount

    We offer City Year’s corps members, alumni, and staff a 25 percent tuition discount on several of our graduate programs.

    This tuition discount applies only to total tuition costs that have not already been discounted by other Lesley partners.  Please check with the Graduate Admissions Office to confirm the tuition structure for your program.

    This tuition discount scholarship is open to City Year applicants who have been accepted into one of Lesley’s on-campus or low-residency graduate programs.


    To qualify, City Year corps members and alumni must complete at least 1 year of service and City Year staff members must be employed for at least 2 years.


    • 25 percent off graduate tuition.
    • Scholarship can be renewed each semester for the entire program, so long as you are in good academic standing.
    • Application fee waiver; a $50 savings.
    • One-year enrollment deferral: Once accepted, you may defer enrollment for up to a year if you serve more time with City Year.
    • Discount is for tuition only, not for fees or books.
    • If you are awarded a Lesley merit scholarship, you will be eligible to receive either the City Year discount or the merit scholarship, but not both.

    Apply for the City Year Scholarship

    1. Apply for a Lesley graduate program.

      Lesley’s Graduate Admissions Office makes all admissions and scholarship decisions, not City Year. Be sure to meet all application requirements and deadlines.
    2. Identify your City Year affiliation.

      Tell our Graduate Admissions Office that you served with City Year (luadmissions@lesley.edu or 617.349.8300). Reference the "tuition discount partnership scholarship."
    3. Request a City Year service verification letter.

      Email alumni@cityyear.org with "Lesley University Graduate Programs" in the subject line. Include the site where you served and your corps graduation month and year. The City Year Alumni Department will send your service verification letter to the Lesley Graduate Admissions Office and add it to your applicant file.
  • Other Lesley Graduate Tuition Discounts
    • In addition to the City Year Partnership Discount, we offer 4 other types of tuition discounts that can be used toward several of our campus-based graduate programs.

      Some restrictions may apply.

      Lesley Alumni Discount

      • 10 percent reduction for most campus-based courses, at the on-campus rate.
      • Receive this discount for eligible courses starting after your Lesley graduation.
      • Does not apply to dual-degree programs that combine a bachelor's and master's degree.
      • Does not apply to Lesley Dividend recipients.
      • If you graduated before 1989: Submit an Alumni Discount Form (PDF) to our Registrar's Office to begin receiving this discount.

      Senior Citizen Discount

      • 10 percent reduction for most campus-based courses, at the on-campus rate.
      • You must be at least 55 years of age by the start of class to receive the discount for that course.

      City of Cambridge Employee Discount

      • 10 percent tuition reduction for most campus-based graduate courses, at the on-campus rate.
      • For City of Cambridge, Massachusetts employees. Includes public school teachers and government employees.
      • Attach proof of your current City of Cambridge employment to your course registration form.
      • Submit your documentation to our Student Accounts office before the last day of Add/Drop for the semester, and for each registration period.
      • We'll credit the discount after the Add/Drop period.

      Cambridge Resident Discount

      • 10 percent tuition reduction for most campus-based graduate courses, at the on-campus rate.
      • Submit proof that you live in Cambridge, Massachusetts, such as a lease with your address.
      • The discount is good for entire the lease. You won't have to submit additional documentation for this time period.
      • Other acceptable documents include any 2 of the following: Utility bills, cell phone bill, credit card bill, or bank statement.
      • Each document needs to show a Cambridge, Mass. address, and be dated within 30 days of when you turn it in.
      • Submit these documents to the Student Accounts Office prior to the last day of Add/Drop each semester.

      Discount Policies

      • The above discounts are not offered for undergraduate programs, Threshold, off-campus programs, Creative Writing MFA, Visual Arts MFA, Photography MFA, low-residency programs, or online courses.
      • Discounts will not apply if other promotional rates or reductions are applied to the tuition charge (vouchers, employee discounts, institutional scholarships, or special offering rates).
      • Discounts will not apply to deferred tuition payments or special payment arrangements.
      • Discounts may not be combined.
      • Discounts will not be applied retroactively.
      • Other restrictions may apply. Policies are subject to change.



As an international student, you may be eligible for private (alternative) education loans.

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 www.wsac.wa.gov/loan-advocacy or contact the Student Loan Advocate at loanadvocate@wsac.wa.gov.

  • Private Education Loans

    Private (alternative) education loans are monies you borrow from a private lender, not from the federal government. Private loans can cover the difference between the cost of your education and the funds you received from other sources.

    Use these resources to determine the best loan product for you or your family.

    Private Loan Options

    Several private loan products are available to students and parents; however, you should research scholarships, grants, work programs, and Federal Direct Loans before borrowing from a private lender.

    Lenders are on our Private Loan List only because they have notified Lesley University that they offer private educational loans for the current academic year.

    Research your state's lending agency, local bank, or credit union.

    If you decide to use a lender or loan product not listed on the Private Loan list, notify Lesley’s Financial Aid Office so we can certify your loan of choice.


    Here are some tips for when you research private education loans.

    Know Your FICO Score

    • Lenders use your FICO score to determine your credit risk.
    • The higher the FICO score, the better (lower) the interest rate you'll get on the loan.
    • Estimate your FICO score. Use the Bankrate Free FICO Score Estimator calculator.
    • Obtain your actual FICO score for a fee.
    • FICO scores are a snapshot of your credit risk, and can change.

    Improve Your FICO Score

    • Get a free credit report and check it for errors. Fix mistakes before applying for a private loan.
    • Pay bills on time, settle past due accounts, pay down debt, and reduce the percentage of your total credit card balances to below 30 percent of total available credit.
    • Don't cancel a credit card to boost your score. This can cause an immediate, short-term negative effect.
    • Keep your oldest credit cards. The longer credit history you have, the better your FICO score.

    Research Options and Rates

    • Determine the lenders you are interested in before completing your first credit application.
    • The approval process for a private loan results in a hard inquiry on your credit report.
    • Having many hard inquiries may reduce your credit score.
    • Multiple applications within 30 days will only result in 1 hard inquiry. Apply to several lenders to find the most competitive rates in this 30-day window.
    • If you apply for more than one private loan, let Lesley's Financial Aid Office know which one you want. We’ll certify the first loan application we receive, and may cancel additional requests.

    Questions to Ask About the Private Loan or Lender

    Consider these factors to determine the best private loan product for you.

    Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    • The principal is the amount you borrowed that remains unpaid, before interest and fees.
    • The APR is the annual cost of your loan, including the effect of any fees or charges in addition to interest.
    • Interest rates may be fixed or variable. A fixed interest rate remains the same throughout the entire loan term. Variable (adjustable) interest rates are subject to change. The rates could increase during the life of the loan, making the loan more expensive.
    • Find out if the lender uses PRIME or LIBOR to determine their interest rates. Lenders using LIBOR typically use the 3-month rate.
    • Learn more about how PRIME and LIBOR rates work.

    Interest Capitalization

    When borrowing money, you’ll have to pay interest; it's just a matter of when.

    • Find out when the interest on your loan is capitalized, meaning, when it is added to the principal balance. Ask if this changes during repayment.
    • If you defer paying your loan while in school, you are deferring the principal, interest, and fees. Interest still accrues on the loan while you are in school, and then is added to the principal for you to pay back at the Annual Percentage Rate (APR). This means you will be paying interest on the interest you "borrowed."
    • Making interest-only payments on an alternative loan while in school will drastically reduce the total cost of the loan.

    Calculate the Total Cost of the Loan

    Ask the lender about interest rates and fees, and other questions such as:

    • Are there introductory rates that increase over time?
    • Is there an origination fee deducted from the loan before the funds are sent to Lesley University?
    • Are there any fees added after the entire loan has been disbursed?

    Loan Limits

    Does the loan have an annual or aggregate limit? Ask yourself if you can afford to borrow within the limits.


    • Does repayment begin immediately or after you graduate or leave school?
    • How long is the repayment period? Are there choices, such as 10 years versus 20 years?
    • Are you rewarded for making on-time payments? Or, are there penalties for repaying the loan early?

    Lender Stability

    • How long has the organization been providing student loans?
    • Are they offering alternative loans through the next 4 years?
    • Does the lender sell its loans? If so, how often? To whom? And with what consequences?

    Customer Service

    What services does the lender offer to borrowers?

  • Lender Code of Conduct

    Lesley University does not recommend any particular loan product.

    Review our Lender Code of Conduct for legal information about lending relationships.

Payment Plans

Payment Plans

Divide your tuition and fees into smaller, monthly payments through a flexible, interest-free payment plan.

You can set up a payment plan with our Student Accounts Office. Learn more about payment plans.

Contact Student Financial Services

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