Frequently Asked Questions


Senior Associate Director of Financial Aid

E-mail Roberta


How is financial need determined?

Sarah Lawrence College bases graduate financial aid awards on the student's data.  Parent information is not considered. For married students, the spouse’s data is also a factor. All students are encouraged to apply for financial aid as soon as they are able to do so. In some cases, late applications will be subject to funds available when the financial aid application is complete. See deadlines and requirements»

A portion of a prospective student's earnings, savings, and assets are expected to go toward their educational expenses. For the College's calculations, a minimum contribution of $3,750 is expected of every student. In practice, students will need additional resources, which may come from savings, family, wages, outside scholarships, and/or loans. Eligibility for financial assistance, or "need", is determined by subtracting the student contribution from the cost of attendance. In addition to tuition, room, and board, the College considers books, supplies, travel, and personal expenses as part of the cost of attendance budget.

How do I apply for financial aid?

To apply for aid, every student who is a US citizen, national, or permanent resident must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In addition, students must submit completed copies of their federal income tax returns for the prior-prior year preceding admission. Married students must also submit their spouses’ federal income tax returns.

International students who have a US social security number may also complete the FAFSA.  All international students must also submit tax returns or statements of income from their employer for the prior-prior year preceding admission. Additional documentation may be requested.

How is financial aid packaged?

A financial aid award, known as a package, typically consists of a Sarah Lawrence graduate scholarship and/or federal student loans for eligible students. Students are not required to take out a student loan to receive the Sarah Lawrence graduate scholarship.

How will I receive my award?

Provided that you have completed and filed the FAFSA and submitted all other documentation by the dates required, and the information contained on the forms is accurate and correctly represented, you will receive a financial award letter with your announcement of admission to your program of interest. Information received after the stated deadlines will be processed on a rolling basis.

How do I accept my award?

To accept your award and have the aid credited to your student account, you must submit all documents requested by the Office of Financial Aid no later than the stated deadlines. Federal student loans are accepted, modified or declined via the Federal Direct Student Loan Authorization Form. 

Do I need to apply for financial aid every year?

Yes. Renewal of financial aid is not automatic. Forms must be filed by the stated deadlines each year of attendance. Recipients must continue to demonstrate financial need and maintain satisfactory academic progress to remain eligible for financial aid.

What is a Sarah Lawrence graduate scholarship?

This grant is a need-based award from the College. The funds come from contributions made by alumni and friends of the College. The amount of scholarship awarded is determined by the amount of your need after applying all other sources of aid for which you are eligible. You must maintain satisfactory academic progress to retain the scholarship.

Are assistantships available to graduate students?

Yes. If you are interested in applying for a non-teaching assistantship, please contact Alba Coronel in the Office of Graduate Studies at 914.395.2371 when the fall semester begins.

General student employment positions are also offered through the Office of Student Employment. The beginning of fall semester is the best time to secure employment on campus. These jobs are part time. In addition to on-campus jobs, employment opportunities in the vicinity of the College are posted on MySLC.

What is a student loan?

A student loan is an obligation that must be repaid after you complete your degree or cease to be enrolled at least half time. 

What types of student loans are available?

A variety of loans are available to any student who is enrolled at least half time. A valid FAFSA is the prerequisite for any federal loan. Students are advised to maximize the unsubsidized loan before turning to a Graduate PLUS or private loan.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan: Eligible students may borrow up to $20,500. The interest on an unsubsidized loan begins to accrue the moment you take the loan, but payments may be deferred until graduation. The interest rate is fixed and set by the federal government. The government withholds an origination fee before disbursement.

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan: This loan requires a credit check. The interest accrues during enrollment, but payments may be deferred until graduation. Students may borrow up to the cost of education minus other aid. The federal government withholds an origination fee before disbursement.

Private Education Loans: These loans are available from many lenders. They are credit based. In some cases, international students with an eligible co-signer may apply for a private loan. Sarah Lawrence does not endorse any particular lender. The lenders on the Elm Select page are listed because the College has dealt successfully with them in the past.

How do I apply for a student loan?

Applications for Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans and Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loans are facilitated by the College. See Federal Aid Options for further information. 

The student initiates obtaining a private education loan. Many lenders will contact the Office of Financial Aid for our certification. In some cases, the student will send loan forms to this office. Remember to report all private, alternative loans to the Office of Financial Aid at