Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How is financial need determined?
A: Sarah Lawrence College bases graduate financial aid awards on students’ data. We do not use any parent information. For married students, spouses’ data is also a factor. We encourage all students 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.
In determining a student’s demonstrated need, Sarah Lawrence subscribes to the practice and procedures of federal and institutional methodology as published by the US Department of Education and the College Scholarship Service. The formulas consider necessary family expenditures including taxes, living costs, outstanding medical expenses, and costs for family members’ college tuition.
A portion of your earnings, savings, and assets are expected to go toward your educational expenses. For our calculations, a minimum contribution of $3,300 is expected of every student. However, this expected contribution may increase depending on students’ income, savings, family, wages, outside scholarships, and/or loans. Eligibility for financial assistance (your “need”) is determined by subtracting the student contribution from the cost of education. In addition to tuition, room, and board, we consider books, supplies, travel, and personal expenses as costs related to attending college.
Q: How do I apply for financial aid?
A: 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, signed copies of their Federal Income Tax Returns and copies of all W-2 earning statements for the year preceding the one for which the student is applying for admission. Married students must also submit their spouses’ Federal Income Tax Returns and W-2s.
International students use the College Scholarship Service Profile (CSS Profile) and must also submit a tax returns or statements of income from their employer for the year preceding the one for which the student is applying for admission.
Additional documentation may be requested.
Q: How is financial aid packaged?
A financial aid award, known as a package, typically consists of Sarah Lawrence Graduate Scholarship and/or federal student loans. Students are not required to take out a student loan to receive the Sarah Lawrence Graduate Scholarship.
Q: How will I receive my award?
A: Provided that you have completed and filed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or College Scholarship Service Profile (CSS Profile) 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 acceptance. Information received after the stated deadlines will be processed on a rolling basis.
Q: How do I accept my award?
A: 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 via the Student Loan Authorization Form.
Q: Do I need to apply for financial aid every year?
A: 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.
Q: What is a Sarah Lawrence Graduate Scholarship?
A: This grant is a need-based award from the College. The funds come from contributions made by alumnae/i 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.
Q: Are there assistantships available to graduate students?
A: Yes. If you are interested in applying for a non-teaching assistantship, please contact Alba Coronel in the Graduate Studies Office 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.
Q: What is a student loan?
A: A student loan is an obligation that must be repaid after you complete your degree or cease to be enrolled at least half-time.
Q: What types of student loans are available?
A: There are two general types of student loans: need-based loans and non-need-based loans. Eligibility for need-based loans is determined by the Federal Department of Education from the information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). A variety of non-need-based loans are available to any student who is enrolled at least half-time. A valid FAFSA is the prerequisite for any federal loan.
Federal Perkins Loan: This federal loan is awarded to students who demonstrate the greatest need, generally in the first year of enrollment. The amount of the loan is credited to your account, half each semester, after you sign a promissory note at the Office of Student Accounts. This loan has a 5% interest rate, which begins to accrue nine months after you graduate or when you drop below half-time status. Repayment also begins at that time and is typically extended over a 10-year repayment period.
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan: Eligible students may receive up to $20,500. The interest on an unsubsidized loan begins to accrue the moment you take the loan. The interest rate is a fixed rate and set by the federal government. The federal government withholds an origination fee before disbursement.
Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan: This is a credit-based loan through the federal government. 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 only because the College has dealt with them in the past.
Q: How do I apply for a student loan?
A: Applications for Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans, Perkins loans, and Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loans are facilitated by the College. See our Federal Loans page for further information.
Obtaining a private education loan is the responsibility of the student. Remember to report all private, alternative loans to the Office of Financial Aid at firstname.lastname@example.org or (914) 395-2570.
Any further questions should be directed to the Office of Financial Aid at email@example.com or (914) 395-2570 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.