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Financial Aid Policies

Changes in your enrollment or failure to make progress toward earning your degree can put your financial aid at risk.

Get familiar with these 2 U.S. Department of Education regulations so you can maintain your financial aid eligibility while studying at Lesley.

Contact Lesley’s Financial Aid office if you have any questions.

  • 1. Satisfactory Academic Progress

    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 in 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 in their program’s course catalog:

    College of Art and Design Undergraduate Students

    • Minimum GPA (Less than 30 credits attempted): 2.0
    • Minimum GPA (30 or greater credits attempted): 2.3
    • Minimum Completion: 75% of Attempted Credits

    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


    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 canceled 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.

    Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal

    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.

  • 2. Title IV Refund Policy

    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 the 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 their 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 on 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.

    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.


    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 Lesley University of intent to withdraw;
    • The midpoint of the enrollment period for a student who leaves without notifying Lesley University (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 canceled. 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 to 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.


    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.

    However, effective July 1, 2021, if a student is enrolled exclusively in courses that do not span the entire semester, that student is considered to be enrolled in modular courses. Students who are enrolled in modular courses are not considered to have withdrawn if they successfully complete one module that includes 49% or more of the number of days in the payment period, or a combination of modules that when combined contain 49% or more of the number of days in the payment period. Scheduled breaks of five or more consecutive days and all days between modules are excluded from the number of days in the payment period used to calculate whether the modules(s) completed by the student comprise 49% of the payment period.

    If a student drops courses, we will need written confirmation of future attendance. Students must indicate a date on which they will resume attendance. The written confirmation must be submitted no later than 60 calendar days after the student ceased attendance. If we obtain written confirmation from students, no adjustments will be made to their federal aid. If the student withdrawals or never attends the future course, their federal aid could be subjected to R2T4 review/recalculations.

    The term "Title IV Funds" include the following programs.

    • Federal Pell Grant
    • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
    • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
    • Federal Direct Subsidized Loan
    • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
    • Federal Direct Plus Loan (Parent and Graduate)
    • Federal Perkins Loan
    • Federal TEACH Grant

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

    1. Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
    2. Federal Direct Subsidized Loan
    3. Federal Perkins Loan
    4. Federal Direct Plus Loan (Parent and Graduate)
    5. Federal Pell Grant
    6. Federal SEOG Program
    7. Other Title IV programs (i.e. Federal TEACH Grant, Iraq 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 for which the student was determined to be ineligible to receive 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.