Financial Aid & Scholarships

A guide for Threshold students.


You’ve decided to pursue higher education. Now it’s time to figure out how you’re going to pay for it.

That’s where Lesley’s Financial Aid Office can help. Use our step-by-step guide to apply for government and university funding. Scholarships, grants, Work-Study, and loans. It’s all right here. We’ve even included private sources of funding you can apply for on your own.

Don’t think you qualify for aid? We recommend applying anyway. There are many types of aid you may not have considered, and it’s always a good idea to explore all of your options.

Let’s get started.

International Students

International Students

If you're an international student, you are not eligible for federal or state funding, and so, you won't file the Free Application for Federal and Student Aid (FAFSA).

Learn about scholarships, private loans, and student jobs you're eligible for.

Apply for Federal & State Financial Aid

Apply for Federal & State Financial Aid

Your eligibility for federal and state aid, and even some types of school-based aid, is determined by your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In addition, there are other non-government aid programs that require the FAFSA.

So, we recommend you start there.

  • Step 1: FAFSA & Deadlines

    Begin your pursuit of all financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

    Submit the FAFSA when you apply for Lesley University admission, and each year to renew.

    Use Lesley University’s school code: 002160

    Need help? Watch these videos on how to fill out the FAFSA.

    Preferred Deadlines

    First-Year Undergraduate Students

    • February 15 for Fall start
    • November 1 for Spring start

    Transfer Undergraduate Students

    • March 1 for Fall start
    • November 1 for Spring start

    All Massachusetts Undergraduate Students

    Apply no later than May 1, before the beginning of the award year, to be eligible for the MassGrant. If you miss this deadline, Lesley University grant funding won’t replace forfeited funds.

    Threshold Program

    • February 15
    • Threshold always starts in Fall
  • Step 2: Additional Documents

    Submit additional documents, if asked.

    The U.S. Department of Education randomly selects 30 percent of applicants to complete a verification process.

    We’ll contact you if we need more information. Current students should check their Lesley email account.

    Once you’ve been accepted, log into your LOIS account to view your required documents under “My Documents.”

  • Step 3: Financial Aid Award Letter

    Tentative Award Letter

    You’ll get a Tentative Award letter first, which is an early estimate of your financial aid.

    If you filed the FAFSA early with estimated tax information, the aid offered in your tentative award letter may change based on your, and your parents’, actual tax return.

    The closer your estimates are to the actual amounts on the tax return, the closer the tentative award will be to the final award.

    Final Award Letter

    You’ll get an official Financial Aid Award letter that has:

    • Types of aid that make up your package
    • Estimated costs for your education
    • Estimated out-of-pocket costs
    • Financing options

Types of Funding

Types of Funding

There are many types of financial aid that students can use for higher education. Several funding options are based on the results of your FAFSA.

Other types of funding, such as private or school-based scholarships, or alternative loans, are sources you apply for separately.

We’ve included all the types of aid you may be eligible for, and how to apply for each one.

Scholarships & Grants

Scholarships & Grants

Scholarships and grants are free money that you don’t pay back, making them a great way to help finance your education.

There are several sources of scholarship and grant money. Here’s what’s available to you and how you apply for each type.


  • Threshold Scholarship Fund

    This is a private scholarship fund for students who are eligible for the Threshold Core Program. Students can use the scholarship to complete their 2-year certificate program. The fund is created through the generosity of donors and the amount available for scholarships varies from year to year. We'll award scholarships based upon the availability of funds. Completing the application does not guarantee that an applicant will receive a scholarship award.

    • Scholarships will be awarded annually on the basis of economic need and academic merit.
    • The Director of the Threshold Program will announce the applications and awards for the scholarship each year.
    • Applicants must apply for this award every year.
    • Students can use the funds from the scholarship for tuition or room and board.
    • Full-time enrollment in the Threshold Core Program is required.
    • If the student withdraws from the program during the academic year, the remaining funds will need to be returned to the scholarship. If a student is reinstated into the program, he or she will need to complete the application process again.

    How to Apply

    All Threshold students are encouraged to complete their FAFSA application, which begins October 1 each year, to be considered. Students will be notified by letter of their award. If the financial aid application is complete, returning recipients will be notified by December 1 of every year. Incoming Threshold students will be notified of their award by March 1.

    1. Complete the Free Application for Federal and Student Aid. Use Lesley's school code 002160.
    2. Send an email to the Director of the Threshold Program, Ernst VanBergeijk, at
    • Put "Threshold Scholarship Fund" in the subject line of the email.
    • Include a statement in the email announcing the student's intent to apply for the scholarship fund.
    • Include a one-page essay, attached to the email as a Word document, about the student's goals in life, and how completing the Threshold Core Program will help the student reach these goals.

    If you have any questions about the Threshold Scholarship Fund, contact:

    Ernst VanBergeijk, Ph.D., M.S.W.
    Director, Threshold Program
    Lesley University


  • Donor-Funded Scholarships

    Donor-funded scholarships are endowed awards made through the generosity of individuals and corporations. There is no separate application process for these awards. The cumulative amount of a student's existing Lesley University Merit Scholarship may be updated during the academic year to include a donor-funded scholarship; however, the total amount of the Lesley University Merit Scholarship will remain the same.

  • Federal Pell Grant
    • A need-based federal grant for first-time bachelor’s degree students.
    • The U.S. Department of Education determines the eligibility criteria.
    • Maximum amount for 2017–2018: $5,920

    How to Apply

    Fill out the FAFSA. If you’re eligible, the Federal Pell Grant will be included in your financial aid award letter.


  • Scholarships & Your Financial Aid

    You got a private scholarship to help pay for your education. Now you may be wondering how this affects your financial aid package.

    In most cases, private scholarships are added to your existing financial aid, and don’t result in a reduction of the total aid.

    There are a few cases where we might need to make adjustments:

    Need-Based Aid

    Adjusted if the total need-based aid is more than your calculated need (which includes tuition, fees, and living expenses).

    Loans or Federal Work-Study

    Are always reduced before any adjustment to the grant portion of an award.

    Merit-Based Aid

    Adjustment required if the total award is more than the cost of tuition and fees.


Student Employment

Student Employment

Federal Work-Study

Your financial aid award letter will tell you if you’ve received Federal Work-Study funding, and the total amount for the year. This is usually no more than $1,800.  

Find a part-time Work-Study job, then earn your award through the hours you work. Most jobs are on campus in an office, but some are at off-campus locations.

Other Employment

If you don’t get Work-Study funding, you can apply for other part-time jobs on campus through our Lesley Works student employment program. Or, search for an off-campus job through our Career Resource Center.

Search Jobs

Look for Work-Study, Lesley Works, and off-campus employment.

Tuition Discounts

Tuition Discount

You may be eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program for veterans and their dependents.

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill & Yellow Ribbon Program for Veterans

    Lesley University proudly participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, making it possible for veterans and their dependents to earn a degree for a significant discount.

    The Post-9/11 GI Bill, developed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, pays full in-state tuition and fees at public schools. For private schools like Lesley, it covers tuition and fees up to a cap each year. You may qualify for tuition benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill if you’ve served at least 90 days on active duty since September 11, 2001.

    The Post-9/11 GI Bill also pays a portion of veteran’s housing and books, based on the amount of credits you’re taking.

    The Yellow Ribbon Program is a provision of the Post-9/11 GI Bill. It helps close the gap between the amount the Post-9/11 GI Bill covers and the actual amount for tuition and fees. As a participating school, we’ve dedicated funds for veterans-only scholarships that Veterans Affairs matches dollar for dollar.

    You may qualify for discounted tuition through the Yellow Ribbon Program if you’ve served:

    • At least 36 months since September 11, 2001, or
    • 30 continuous days since September 11, 2001 and you were honorably discharged for a service-related injury. 

    Your dependents may be eligible for Transfer of Entitlement under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. We participate fully—there is no limit to how many Yellow Ribbon students we’ll take.


    Thomas Graves, Veteran Affairs Certifying Official



You may be eligible for a few different types of loans. Some federal and state loans are based on the result of your application for federal student aid (FAFSA), and appear on your financial aid award letter if you’re eligible.

Other government loan programs require additional steps to apply for them. And then there are private, non-government loans that you would research and apply for on your own.

Here are the different types of loans and how to apply for each one.

  • Federal Direct Loans

    Federal Direct loans are provided by the U.S. Department of Education, at a fixed interest rate, to help you pay for your undergraduate or graduate education. Because they are backed by the U.S. government, the interest rates are lower than private loans.

    How to Apply

    Fill out the FAFSA. Your financial aid award letter will indicate if you’ve received a Federal Direct loan, and how much. You'll need to accept, decline, or revise (reduce) the loan through your Lesley LOIS account.

    About Federal Direct Loans

    There are 2 types of Direct Loans you could receive—Unsubsidized and Subsidized.

    Unsubsidized Loan

    • For undergraduate and graduate students.
    • The student is responsible for the interest that accrues.
    • You can make voluntary interest payments while in school, or defer interest payments until they enter repayment.

    We recommend you pay the interest when it’s billed each quarter. Otherwise, unpaid interest will be capitalized (added to the principal balance) at the end of the grace period, making the loan more expensive.

    Subsidized Loan

    • A need-based loan for undergraduate students.
    • Interest is subsidized (paid) by U.S. government, up to a set maximum amount, while the student is in school or during grace periods.
    • Interest doesn’t accrue while the student is enrolled at least half-time (taking 6 credits/semester).

    Example: You get a $5,500 Direct Loan, and the maximum amount that can be subsidized is $3,500. That means you’d have a $3,500 subsidized loan and a $2,000 unsubsidized loan. 



    There is a limit on how much you may borrow each academic year. For undergraduates, the limit is based on your dependency status and how many completed undergraduate credits are on your Lesley transcript. There is also a limit on how much federal loan funding you may borrow in total, called the "aggregate."

    Origination Fee

    The U.S Department of Education deducts this fee off the top of the loan before sending funds to Lesley University on your behalf.

    Example: For a $5,000 loan with a 1 percent origination fee ($50), you’d get $4,950 to use toward your education.

    Learn More

    Learn more about Federal Direct Loans, including annual and aggregate limits, interest rates and fees, and terms and conditions.

  • 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.

Enrollment & Next Steps

Enrollment & Next Steps

Secure your funding and pay your bill.

You’ve applied for federal and state aid, scholarships, and private funding. And you have an idea of your financial picture for the upcoming year.

If you decided to enroll at Lesley, or you are a returning student, you’ll need to complete these steps to secure your funding and to pay your bill.

  • Step 1: Accept your award, when applicable.

    Here’s what to do if you see any of these types of funding in your financial aid award letter.

    Federal Direct Loans

    Complete 3 steps so we can credit the loan to your student account.

    1. Accept or decline the loan in full, or revise (decrease) the loan amount through your LOIS account within 30 days.

      If you revise the loan amount, click “Accept” to finish the step. We’ll notify the U.S. Department of Education so they can certify the loan. If you don’t accept the loan within 30 days, it will get canceled.
    2. Sign a Master Promissory Note (PIN) electronically. This is an agreement between you and the U.S. government. It states you understand your responsibilities as Federal Direct Loan borrower. Once you sign, it’s good for 10 years.
    3. Complete the U.S. Department of Education’s online Direct Loan Entrance Counseling. This takes 20–30 minutes.

    Scholarships & Grants

    No need to do anything. We’ll apply these funds toward your tuition and fees.

    Federal Work-Study

    No need to do anything. These funds will be paid to you for the hours you work in a Federal Work-Study job.

  • Step 2: Report private or other funding you've received.

    Send notification letters from private scholarships to Lesley's Financial Aid Office.

    Let us know if you have tuition reimbursement, alternative (non-government) loans, or state grant money from a state other than Massachusetts.

    Your total resources can’t exceed the budgeted costs for your education, including tuition, fees, and living expenses. Financial aid from outside resources can be used to reduce your need for federal assistance or loans.

  • Step 3: Register for classes.

    Your advisor will register you for your classes.

  • Step 4: Get your bill, and finalize your financial plan.

    If you’ll have a balance due after your financial aid is applied to your tuition, fees, and other charges, you’ll need to find a way to pay it.

    For example, set up a payment plan or get a loan.

    Contact our Financial Aid Office ( for support as you finalize your financial plan.

    Set up a payment plan, or pay your bill.

  • Step 5: We credit the funds to your student account.

    This process is called “disbursement.” We’ll disburse your financial aid funds once:

    • We’ve confirmed your registration
    • You’ve begun classes, and
    • You’ve completed the steps for accepting certain awards

    When will my financial aid be applied to my bill?

    The date you get your funding depends on your program.

    Disbursement dates for the 2017–2018 year.

    If you’re awarded aid after your disbursement date has passed, we’ll credit the funds once you’ve completed the requirements.


    You may have a credit balance if your billed tuition and fees are less than the amount of financial aid applied to your student account.

    In this case, we’ll refund you within 14 days of the disbursement date. Use the refund for living expenses, transportation, or personal expenses you incur as a student.

Financial Aid Policies

Financial Aid Policies

Lesley University is required to follow all federal and state regulations.

Review the 3 Financial Aid policies that could affect your ability to keep your federal and state financial aid while studying at Lesley.

Net Price Calculator

Net Price Calculator

If you’re considering Lesley University, use our Net Price Calculator to get an early estimate of your total annual cost and potential Financial Aid, including scholarships, loans, and other kinds of funding.

The results do not represent any guarantee of cost or your actual financial aid award, but it is a great place to start. Lesley’s Financial Aid Office determines your actual financial aid eligibility, once you submit your official application for federal student aid (FAFSA).

Current students and prospective transfer students should contact our Financial Aid Office at for information on financial aid instead of using this calculator.

Start the Net Price Calculator.

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