Emerson offers several need-based financial aid programs. To apply for need-based aid, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and you must follow the application steps below.

View our Eligibility Requirements section for further information. Financial aid funding is based on several factors including, but not limited to: meeting financial aid deadlines; demonstrated financial need; enrollment status; living arrangements; and satisfactory academic progress. Students who live off-campus may see a change in institutional award eligibility as a result of moving off-campus. If interested in remaining on campus due to financial need, please submit housing appeal via the Emerson Housing Portal. The Emerson Housing Portal provides students with everything they need to manage their housing applications and other related services.

How to Apply

Complete the following application: (Please note this is a different process from previous years)

Federal Need-Based Aid

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Form
You may submit this form to the Federal Processing Center beginning December 2023. It must be received and processed by the Federal Processor before the deadline of April 5, 2024. Our FAFSA school code is 002146.

Additional Details

The FAFSA is the only item required by April 5, 2024. Additional documents may be required at a later date. Students will be notified if additional documents are requested. We ask that you do not submit them unless asked for. These could include:

  • Signed copies of your parent(s) 2022 federal tax returns, including all schedules and W2s.
  • Signed copies of student's 2022 federal tax returns, including all schedules.
  • Emerson College Verification Worksheet

Please note: Continuing and/or returning students do not need to submit a CSS Profile after their first year at Emerson.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Financial aid funding is based on several factors including, but not limited to: meeting financial aid deadlines; demonstrated financial need; enrollment status; living arrangements; and satisfactory academic progress. Students who live off-campus may see a change in institutional award eligibility as a result of moving off-campus. If interested in remaining on campus due to financial need, please submit a housing appeal.
  • Students who apply for financial assistance must be matriculated, degree-seeking candidates enrolled with at least 8 credits per semester. Many Emerson College financial assistance programs require students to be enrolled full-time to be eligible.
  • Federal regulations specify that federal financial aid recipients must be U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or eligible non-citizens (U.S. Permanent Residents who have an alien registration card).
  • All aid recipients must maintain Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)as outlined in the Emerson College Handbook (see below for general SAP standards).
  • In addition, all recipients must not be in default on any federal educational loan, owe a refund on any grant, or demonstrate unwillingness to repay any federal educational loan.
  • A federal or state drug conviction can disqualify a student for Federal Student Aid funds. Convictions only count against a student for aid eligibility purposes if they were for an offense that occurred during a period or enrollment for which the student was receiving Federal Student Aid. Students can regain eligibility upon completion of certain rehabilitation programs.

Federal Verification Process

The US Department of Education (ED) selects certain FAFSA files for a review process called verification. When this happens, the Office of Financial Aid is required to ensure that the information reported on your FAFSA is accurate.

If your application has been selected, your financial aid document checklist will be updated with a list of documents that need to be submitted to complete this review process.. Federal verification is an important part of the financial aid application process. We cannot process your financial aid award until the verification review is complete, so we encourage timely submission of all requested documents.

Emerson’s federal verification deadline is the end of the semester or academic year for which the student is enrolled, whichever is sooner.

Returning students should submit all requested documents through their SFS Portal.

Emerson specific forms requested to complete the verification process can be found on our Forms and Instructions page. 

Please note:

  • Federal verification for the 2024-25 academic year requires 2022 income tax information.
  • Federal verification for the 2023-24 academic year requires 2021 income tax information.

Document Submission

Financial aid application materials must be uploaded to the SFS Portal or mailed to:

Emerson College
Office of Financial Aid
120 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02116

Please do not fax or email documents.

Note for Readmitted Students

The College must officially readmit you before your financial assistance application. Please contact the Academic Advising Center for further information.

Need Additional Aid?

The Office of Financial Aid is laser focused on individual student needs and understands that everyone’s financial circumstances are unique to their own family situation. When a student or family undergoes financial changes, our office is here to help.

There are many reasons why you may wish to file an appeal for additional financial aid. You may read through the circumstances below for information regarding how to proceed with the appeal process. Please understand that financial aid appeals will not be processed until an initial financial aid award is released. If you have any questions, please contact our office at 617-824-8655 or via email at finaid [at] emerson.edu (finaid[at]emerson[dot]edu).

For General Appeals:

If you are experiencing changes to your family's situation that are not solely income-based, but would like our office to take into consideration, submit a General Appeal via the SFS Portal.

When there are unusual situations or circumstances that impact your federal student aid eligibility, federal regulations give a financial aid administrator discretion to use professional judgment on a case-by-case basis and with adequate documentation to make adjustments to the data elements on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form that impact your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to gain a more accurate assessment of your family’s ability to contribute to your cost of education. The Department of Education does not have the authority to override a school’s professional judgment decision.

For Appeals Related to a Change in Income:

If you or your parents are experiencing a reduction in earned income, you may appeal for additional financial aid.

To Apply: To file a General Appeal, students may submit a statement of financial need via the SFS Portal. Please visit the portal and click on the “Start a Financial Aid Appeal” button. If parents wish to file an appeal, they can email or call the financial aid office at finaid [at] emerson.edu (finaid[at]emerson[dot]edu) or 617-824-8655 (option 2) to discuss the process.

Our financial aid officers will review your file to determine if any additional documentation is needed. Once review of all necessary documents is completed, your file will be evaluated based on your provided information. Any resulting financial aid increase will be communicated to you as soon as possible.

If you or your family member recently experienced a financial loss and you need help understanding how to apply for financial aid for the first time, please reach out to our office.

Dependency Override

Students under the age of 24 are considered dependent on their parents with a few exceptions. If you do not meet any of these exceptions, there are some circumstances in which the financial aid office can change a student’s FAFSA status from dependent to independent.

The following are circumstances that may be considered for a dependency override:

  • An abusive family environment
  • Abandonment and/or estrangement by your parents
  • Incarceration or institutionalization of both of your parents
  • Your parents cannot be located

The following circumstances would not be considered for a dependency override:

  • Your parents refuse to contribute to your education
  • Your parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for verification
  • Your parents do not claim you as a dependent for income tax purposes
  • You demonstrate total self-sufficiency

If you have questions about your eligibility for a dependency override, please contact the Office of Financial Aid to speak to a Financial Aid Officer. They will help you determine what additional documentation you will need to provide to support your appeal.

Summer Financial Assistance

There is limited aid available for summer. In addition to the FAFSA you must also complete a summer financial assistance application via the SFS Portal.