Frequently Asked Questions




How is financial need determined?

Sarah Lawrence subscribes to the practices and procedures of federal and institutional methodology. The formulas consider necessary family expenditures including living costs, outstanding medical expense, and costs for siblings’ college tuitions.

Financial need is determined by subtracting the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the total cost of attendance (COA).

The EFC is determined by the information collected from the Free Application for Federal Student aid (FAFSA) and financial documentation. The EFC is made up of two parts, the Student Contribution and the Parent Contribution.

The student portion of the family contribution is calculated as 50% of student's income and 25% of student's assets. The minimum expected contribution from a first year is $2,000. For all other years, the minimum expected contribution is $3,000.

How does one apply for financial aid?

US citizens, nationals, and permanent residents are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). When filling out the FAFSA, please refer to the FSA ID Info Sheet to set up a secure username and password. All families are strongly encouraged to use the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Data Retrieval Tool (DRT). 

All applicants who filed with the IRS in 2020 must also submit a copy of their 2020 federal tax return. Any additional required documents will be listed in the applicant's customized financial aid checklist.

See all financial aid deadlines»

For international applicants, see requirements»

For additional information, see our Family Status page»

How is aid affected when a sibling attends college at the same time?

As long as the sibling is enrolled at least half-time in an undergraduate degree program, the family contribution is divided between the two students. Siblings attending graduate or professional programs should not be reported on the FAFSA as family members attending college.

What if my family situation is complicated?

Our financial aid counselors are happy to help students navigate any situation. Please visit the Family Status page for more information.

Can I expect my awards to be renewed each year?

Students must apply for financial aid every year. The FAFSA is available starting October 1st.  Renewal of financial assistance will be based upon changes to a family’s income, assets, and number of siblings attending colleges for each application year.

Scholarships are automatically renewed as long as the Committee on Student Work determines that the student is making satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward a degree. 

Merit scholarships from Sarah Lawrence will be forfeited if a student is suspended for any reason or if they do not meet SAP. Merit awards will not be re-instated.

How can I become an independent student?

Sarah Lawrence College follows the Department of Education’s rules and regulations in determining dependency. If considered dependent at the time of admission, the student remains so throughout the undergraduate years (for Sarah Lawrence funds only).

What are the standard elements of a financial aid package at Sarah Lawrence?

Federal and institutional grants, student loans, and student employment (on-campus work opportunity) are the three elements of a typical Sarah Lawrence financial aid package.

Learn more about:

What institutional aid is available?

Sarah Lawrence offers a limited number of merit scholarships to students who demonstrate an exceptional fit for Sarah Lawrence’s curriculum and community. These are awarded at the discretion of the Office of Admission at the time of acceptance and are retained for all four years if the student maintains satisfactory academic progress. Every student who applies to the College is automatically considered for a merit scholarship.  

Additionally, the College awards need-based grant funding called Sarah Lawrence Gift Aid. This is similar to a scholarship in that it does not need to be repaid. The student is not required to accept a loan or work opportunity in order to receive gift aid. 

What federal grants are available?

Federal Pell Grants and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG) are awarded to students who meet the eligibility criteria as established by the Department of Education. All financial aid applicants who are US citizens, nationals, or permanent residents apply by completing the FAFSA. SEOG is awarded after the Office of Financial Aid obtains the official results of your FAFSA from the Department of Education and based on the availability of funds.

What state grants are available?

The FAFSA offers a link to each state’s online application. This is the best way to complete a state aid application. However, it can only be done when the student first submits that year’s FAFSA. State aid applications may also be acquired by contacting the student’s home state’s Higher Education Office.  

New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) is available to all eligible New York residents attending Sarah Lawrence College.

Vermont offers a state grant to their residents who attend New York colleges. Students should contact the state Higher Education Office or high school guidance counselor for further information.

What federal student loans are available?

A student loan is an obligation that must be repaid after a student completes a degree, or ceases to be enrolled, or drops below half-time status. Sarah Lawrence most commonly awards the Federal Direct Student Loan.

Learn more about federal student loans

How does one apply for federal student loans?

Completion of the FAFSA will determine eligibility for a Federal Direct Student Loan. If eligible, these loans will be offered as part of the financial aid award letter from the Office of Financial Aid. The student must then complete a Federal Direct Student Loan Authorization Form and submit it to the Office of Financial Aid via the application checklist. This form must be completed even if the student chooses to decline the loans.

Should the student choose to accept the loan, an Entrance Counseling interview and Loan Agreement for a Subsidized/Unsubsidized (MPN) must be completed at

What about federal loans for parents?

The Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) is a program through which credit-worthy parents may borrow up to the cost of attendance, minus any financial aid awarded to the student.

What is Federal Work Study?

Federal Work Study is a campus-based aid program awarded to students who demonstrate the greatest need, as defined by the federal government. To receive funds, students must acquire a job on-campus. The first four weeks of the fall semester are reserved for the hiring of Federal Work Study students. The Federal Work Study funds listed on the student’s award letter are earned over the course of the year and are not deducted from either semester’s bill.  Unfortunately, Sarah Lawrence College is not able to guarantee employment for every student.

To be paid, students must have on file a Student Employment Contract, a verified I-9 Employment form, and a W-4 form. Students cannot begin working until these three forms are completed. Students will receive a check for wages earned from the Payroll Office on a bi-weekly basis. 

Access Student Employment forms on MySLC (login required)

How does student employment work?

All students are welcome to seek employment on campus. After the first four weeks of the semester, which are reserved for the hiring of Federal Work Study students, campus jobs are available to all students. The Office of Student Employment is available to assist you in the job search process.

To be paid, students must complete a Student Employment Contract, I-9 Employment Form, and a W-4 form. Students cannot begin working until these three forms are completed.  Students will receive a check for wages earned from the Payroll Office on a biweekly basis.

Access Student Employment forms on MySLC (login required)

When will students receive notice of financial aid awards?

If a student is an incoming applicant (first-time Sarah Lawrence student) and all necessary forms are filed by the stated deadlines, notification will arrive along with the admission decision. Returning applicants will be notified by the end of the spring semester and aid will be posted on MySLC if all necessary forms are filed by January 1st.

Late applicants for financial aid will be notified on a rolling basis depending on when their application was completed. Since our financial aid resources are limited, funding may not be available to late applicants.

How are financial aid awards accepted?

To accept an award, and have the aid credited to the student’s account, all documents requested by the Office of Financial Aid must be submitted no later than the stated deadlines. For a full list of required documents visit the application portal.

Renewal of financial aid is not automatic. Applications, including the FAFSA and other required forms, must be filed by the stated deadlines each year of attendance. Recipients must continue to demonstrate financial need and maintain satisfactory academic progress in order to remain eligible.

What does “satisfactory academic progress” mean?

To be eligible for federal student aid each year, students must make satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward completion of the degree requirements. Students must earn two-thirds of their attempted credits at all times after the first year. Students must also maintain a GPA of at least 2.0 at all times after sophomore year.

  • Courses that are incomplete are not counted towards credits earned.
  • Approved transfer credits count towards credits earned.
  • If a student withdraws from a course during the drop/add period, it is not counted as attempted.
  • Sarah Lawrence College allows students to repeat a course only if they failed it the first time (unless the course has substantially different content in subsequent semesters, for example, piano lessons).
  • Courses that are graded pass/fail count as attempted credits. If the grade is Pass, the course counts as earned credit. Neither a Pass nor Fail grade is calculated in the GPA.
  • Undergraduate students have a maximum of 6 years to complete their degree from initial enrollment to graduation. If a student is on leave for an academic year, that year will be excluded from maximum timeframe (MTF) calculations

Merit scholarships from Sarah Lawrence will be forfeited if a student is suspended for any reason or if the student is not meeting SAP. Merit awards will not be re-instated.

Students may re-qualify for federal aid by improving their academic record to meet the standards.

What about other non-Sarah Lawrence based financial assistance?

In addition to the aid components available from Sarah Lawrence, there are plenty of other financing options. Many foundations, civic and religious organizations, and affinity groups award scholarships to academically talented students. Please visit our Non-Sarah Lawrence Scholarships page for links to several scholarship search engines.

Students should report any financial assistance awarded from an outside organization to the Office of Financial Aid as soon as possible. Adjustments to financial aid awards may be required. In most cases, our office will reduce the loan portions of a financial aid award so that the total award does not exceed the student's need.

Are their other payment or loan options available?

Yes. Sarah Lawrence offers payment plans administered through the Office of Student Accounts. 

Students and parents of students are also welcome to apply for non-federal loans.  Many lenders offering private or alternative loans do not require that a student meet demonstrated need. 

What happens to financial aid when studying off campus?

If a student is studying overseas at one of Sarah Lawrence’s programs, all aid for which the student is eligible will be applied to the cost of the program, including institutional aid.

If a student plans to study at another college or through another school’s program, the student and a representative of the host institution will need to complete a Consortium Agreement with the Office of Financial Aid. Through this agreement, Federal Direct Student Loans, PLUS loans, and Pell Grant monies will be applied to the cost of that program. Sarah Lawrence institutional aid cannot be transferred to the host institution. The Office of Financial Aid will prepare the consortium agreement when the Office of International Programs notifies us that they have approved the student’s plan to study abroad. We will email the agreement to the student along with instructions on how to proceed.

What happens to financial aid when a student takes a reduced course load?

If a reduced course load is granted by the Dean of Studies, financial aid will be adjusted based on the number of credits a student is enrolled for, in accordance with federal guidelines.  Click here for more details.

Does Sarah Lawrence College offer financial aid for summer courses?

No. Financial aid is only offered for the fall and spring semesters.