Higher education is an investment that yields magnificent returns. Every day, Emerson students and faculty come together to create, explore, and advance the future of communication and the arts. Emerson offers students an unparalleled opportunity to leap to the forefront of their fields, and we are committed to making an Emerson education possible for all people of talent and ability. Our professional financial aid staff helps students finance their education by providing support and assistance in navigating an array of financial aid processes, deadlines, and opportunities.

Emerson College requires students to submit both the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the CSS PROFILE to determine their federal and institutional need-based aid eligibility. A student’s federal aid award amount is determined by information provided on the FAFSA, while we use the CSS PROFILE to calculate a student’s institutional eligibility for need-based funds. Together, these applications provide a thorough review of a family’s financial situation and, when combined with supporting documents such as federal tax returns, allow us to calculate the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Financial need is the difference between the cost of attendance (COA) and the EFC, and it helps us determine the final award amount. Although Emerson cannot meet the total financial need of every student, we strive to meet as much of each student’s financial need as possible.

Types of Aid

The following types of financial aid are available to Emerson College students. Please note that all renewal requirements must be met in order to continue eligibility.

Gift Aid

Grants and scholarships are considered “gift” aid and do not have to be repaid. Gift aid can be offered by Emerson College, the federal government, and state agencies.

Merit Scholarships

Undergraduate Admission offers select merit scholarships to incoming freshmen based on superior academic records at the time of application. These awards are available for returning students if they were originally awarded one as an incoming student. Students are notified of award details and selection as an Emerson Scholar in their admission acceptance letters.

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Emerson Grant

This grant is funded by Emerson College and awarded based on full-time enrollment, academic achievement, and demonstrated financial need.

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Restricted Scholarships

Emerson College has several restricted scholarships, for which all returning students who apply for financial aid are automatically considered. Restricted scholarships are awarded each year to students with exceptional academic standing who demonstrate financial need and meet the scholarships’ criteria, as established by the donors. There are no separate scholarship applications to complete.

Federal Pell Grant

This federal source of aid is available to students who demonstrate high financial need. The grant amount is determined annually by the Department of Education.

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Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

This federal source of aid is granted to students with the greatest financial need. FSEOG awards are limited and based on fund availability.

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State Grants and Scholarships

State scholarships and grants are awarded by the agency of the state in which the student has established permanent residency. Each state has its own application procedure and deadlines that must be followed for consideration.

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Gilbert Grant

This award is given to Massachusetts residents, enrolled full-time, who demonstrate the greatest need. A limited amount of funding for this program is made available to the College from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

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Private Aid/Outside Scholarship

Outside scholarships and tuition remission are often referred to as “private aid.” Various organizations, civic groups, and foundations award scholarships to help worthy students meet the cost of attending college. Also, some parents’ employers offer tuition remission to children attending eligible institutions. Information regarding outside scholarships is available at local high school guidance offices, libraries, or online. Students are required to report the receipt of any private aid to the Office of Financial Aid as soon as they are notified by the awarding agency. For information regarding tuition remission, families should contact their employers. A list of private scholarships is available on our financial aid website.

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Self-Help Options

Self-help options are not gift aid but they are available to assist in reducing your total costs should you choose to utilize them. Self-help options include Federal student loans and work-study and must be earned or borrowed and repaid.

Federal Direct Loans

The Federal Direct Loan program provides funds for students through the federal government. The government sets a limit on the amount a student can borrow each year. First- year students are eligible to borrow $5,500; for sophomores, $6,500; and juniors and seniors, $7,500 each year. First- time Federal Direct Loan borrowers must complete Entrance Counseling and provide a Master Promissory Note (MPN). There are two types of Federal Direct Loans: subsidized and unsubsidized. Both accrue interest while the student is enrolled, but for subsidized loans, the federal government pays the interest until the student graduates or drops below half-time enrollment. Students with sufficient financial need are offered a subsidized loan. Students without financial need or whose need is already met by other means may be eligible for an unsubsidized loan.

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Massachusetts No-Interest Loan

This no-interest loan program, funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is administered by the College. Students must demonstrate high financial need and state residency to be considered. Repayment consists of principal only and begins six months after a student is no longer enrolled at least half-time. Borrowers must sign a promissory note with the Office of Financial Aid. Program funding varies annually and awards are given at the discretion of the Office of Financial Aid.

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Federal Work-Study

This need-based award consists of federally subsidized part-time employment administered by the College. Students may work up to 20 hours per week when classes are in session. Earnings are paid directly to students in weekly paychecks and may not exceed the awarded amount. Students are only compensated for hours actually worked and must be enrolled at least half-time to participate. Note: This award is not credited toward students’ tuition; students are encouraged to setup direct deposit for their weekly paychecks. Receiving federal work-study does not guarantee employment. Remember to bring proper employment documentation when you come to campus. The federal government requires Emerson students to complete I-9 and W-4 forms before being employed in any paid position. Examples of employment documentation include, but are not limited to, a valid passport, a photo ID and a social security card, or a photo ID and a birth certificate. Please bring original employment documents only. Photocopied, laminated, and faxed documents are not accepted.

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Emerson Employment

A limited number of part-time positions are available on campus, funded by Emerson College. Students may work up to 20 hours per week when classes are in session. Earnings are paid directly to students with weekly paychecks; students are only compensated for hours actually worked. This program is open to all matriculated undergraduate students who register at least half-time. Note: Remember to bring proper employment documentation when you come to campus. The federal government requires Emerson students to complete I-9 and W-4 forms before being employed in any paid position. Examples of employment documentation include, but are not limited to, a valid passport, a photo ID and a social security card, or a photo ID and a birth certificate. Please bring original employment documents only. Photocopies, laminated social security cards, and faxes are not accepted.

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Financing Options

A quality education is an investment that pays benefits over a lifetime. For many families, however, financing that education can be a challenge. Emerson College is committed to helping you bridge the gap between college expenses and your financial resources by explaining options so you can determine what is best for you. From flexible payment options to loan programs, the College’s Office of Financial Aid offers comprehensive services to help you finance your education. Our staff is dedicated to helping you complete the application process and choose a financial plan that best suits your needs. Below are some examples of optional financing plans that may fit your individual situation.

Tuition Payment Plan

The Tuition Payment Plan gives students and parents the option to make monthly, no-interest payments. All Tuition Payment Plans must be set up prior to the bill due date. Plan options include a five-month or a four-month semester plan, each with a $50 enrollment fee. Payments are due on the first of each month and are made directly through our bill and payment site. For some families, monthly payments can be easier on the household budget. They can also help save money by reducing the amount students need to borrow and allowing families to retain funds in interest-bearing accounts for longer periods of time.

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Federal Parent Loans (PLUS Loan)

Parents of a dependent undergraduate student may borrow up to the cost of attendance, less any other financial aid. The loan repayment period is extended over ten years, or 120 payments. The parent borrower may choose to begin repayment once the loan is fully disbursed, or payments can be deferred while the student is enrolled at least half-time. During the deferment period, interest can be paid monthly, quarterly, or capitalized quarterly. Eligibility is based on the borrower’s creditworthiness. If parents are denied the Federal PLUS Loan due to credit concerns, the student could become eligible for an Unsubsidized Direct Loan of at least $4,000, depending on grade level.

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Private (Alternative) Loans

There are a variety of loan programs to help parents meet their expected contribution. You can view information about some of these options on our website, ELMSelect, or contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information.

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Other Considerations

Every family's situation is unique and your situation may change from year  to year. It is important to consider all four years when determining how to pay for college, but please keep in mind that what you may do one year does not mean you need to do it each year. We do recommend that you plan for annual increases in tuition as well as room and meal plan expenses, pending board approval. Our team can help you figure out what the best options may be.

Special Programs

Emerson College’s Los Angeles, Valencia, Washington, DC, and Kasteel Well Programs

Students who attend classes in these external programs are eligible to retain their Emerson institutional, state, and federal financial assistance. However, students are responsible for additional costs associated with these programs. The Office of Financial Aid will not increase students’ existing aid packages. Students and parents may apply for alternative funding to cover the additional costs.

Health Insurance

Massachusetts state law requires all students to have health insurance. Please note that if you do not complete an annual insurance waiver, you will be charged for the school-endorsed insurance policy.

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Tuition Insurance

In an effort to help protect the financial investment of our families, we have partnered with A.W.G Dewar, Inc. to offer the opportunity to purchase elective insurance covered for student’s tuition and room and board charges. The Tuition Refund Plan (TRP) is an insurance plan that minimizes the financial loss a student may experience should they need to leave Emerson after the start of a semester. TRP’s refund covers 80% of tuition for medical and mental health withdrawals. This charge will appear on the billing statement automatically each semester, but can be waived at the start of each academic year.

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Terms and Conditions

Estimated vs. Official Awards

Financial aid awards labeled “estimated” indicate that the award values listed are conditional and subject to change pending verification of your financial aid file. If the information used to calculate the tentative award was incorrect, adjustments are made to the award. “Official” financial aid awards should be considered final awards unless there are changes in housing status, changes in funding appropriation, changes in enrollment status, or if additional private aid is received.

Academic Schedule Changes

Unless otherwise noted, all awards are based on students being enrolled full-time (12 to 16 credits toward their academic program) each semester during the academic year. Students must notify the Office of Financial Aid in writing or email if they do not plan to enroll full-time. Credits are verified at the beginning of each semester and awards may be adjusted accordingly.

Withdrawals and Leaves of Absence

All students are eligible to receive full refund of their tuition and fees, excluding nonrefundable deposits, if they withdraw before the first day of classes. Students receiving federal financial aid funds who withdraw on or after the first day of classes have their aid adjusted using the percentage determined by the Federal Return of Title IV Funds calculation. The percentage used for adjustments is based on the amount of time a student attends class, up to the 60 percent point of the semester. After 60 percent of the term, 100 percent of financial aid received is considered earned.

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Satisfactory Academic Progress

Students must comply with the College’s definition of satisfactory academic progress to continue receiving aid. Please note: Some sources require a specific GPA and higher standards. Please refer to your award letter for more details. To be eligible for renewal of financial assistance, students must successfully complete 75 percent of the credits they attempt each semester. Receiving grades or recorded symbols F, NF, W, WF, WP, I, AUD, and DEF does not constitute successfully completing a course. Students must also maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 1.7 for freshmen and 2.0 for upper-class students. The Registrar’s Office reports grades to the Office of Financial Aid within two weeks of receiving semester grades. Students lose financial assistance if they do not meet the required grade point average and/or completion rate of 75 percent for two consecutive semesters. Students denied aid may appeal in writing to the Office of Student Success. A committee rules on the appeal and notifies the student of its decision in writing within three weeks of receiving the appeal.

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Renewal Requirements

Please note that all scholarships and grants are based on established renewal requirements. More information can be found on the Financial Aid website.