Emerson College awards federal assistance based on demonstrated financial need and academic achievement. Funding limits require Emerson College to adhere strictly to application deadlines.

Emerson offers several need-based and merit-based financial aid programs. To be considered for merit-based aid, you should have a distinguished academic record, or demonstrate leadership or outstanding potential either in your school or community. To apply for need-based aid, you must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident and you must follow the application steps below.

Family Contribution Formula

FAFSA & Profile

Federal and institutional formulas are used to calculate families' contributions (EFC) based on the FAFSA and CSS Profile applications and other supporting documentation (e.g. federal tax returns). Family contributions (EFC) are also based on reviews of expected taxed and untaxed income and assets, like savings and home equity.

Cost of Attendance

The next part of the financial aid formula is the determination of the student's annual cost of attendance. The total cost of attending an institution can be broken down into two categories: direct and indirect costs. Direct costs are charges Emerson College bills directly to the student (tuition, mandatory fees, on campus room/board). Indirect costs are other necessary educational expenses (off-campus room/board, books, supplies, travel, and personal expenses). The cost of attendance is an average based on typical expenses of an undergraduate student depending on their college living situation. If you feel Emerson's cost of attendance does not reflect your extenuating circumstances, you may submit a cost of attendance appeal.

Need-Based Aid Calculation

Once the family's EFC is determined, it is subtracted from the cost of attendance and the resulting amount is the student's eligibility for need-based aid, also referred to as "need." This number determines the amount of assistance the family is eligible to receive.

Eligibility Requirements

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 a Permanent Resident Card).
  4. All aid recipients must maintain satisfactory academic progress as outlined in the Emerson College Undergraduate Student Handbook.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Need Additional Aid?

If you are experiencing changes to your family's situation and would like our office to take it into consideration, submit a General Appeal via your Admission 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.

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 the student’s 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.