Financial aid •

May 6, 2022

Emerson financial aid: a complete guide

Read all about financial aid at Emerson, including scholarships, loans, and grants.

Financial aid at Emerson

Founded in 1800, Emerson College is a small, highly regarded liberal arts college. It is home to just over 3,800 undergraduates and 600 graduate students studying topics in communication and the arts. The school’s campus is located in Boston’s Theatre District.

Emerson’s mission is to educate students to assume leadership positions in communication and the arts while promoting civic engagement, respect for diversity, and ethical practices.

If you’re thinking about attending Emerson College but aren’t sure how you’ll pay for school, here’s what you need to know.

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A snapshot look at the Emerson 

As a small liberal arts college, Emerson emphasizes preparing students for the world by giving them a broad education in the arts. The school’s vision is to “educate leading professionals in the arts and communication; to inspire generations of students to think boldly and creatively…and brighten the cultural, social, political, and civic life around us.”

Located in the heart of Boston, students will study blocks away from major venues and museums in the city, including the Boston Opera House, the Boch Center Wang Theatre, the Museum of Science, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. 

Access to these institutions will give students an opportunity to deepen their cultural education outside of class.

In class, students can choose from more than 24 majors and 30 minors, such as comedic arts, acting, creative writing, journalism, sports communication, and theatre. The school also has nearly 100 clubs and organizations for its students to join.

Ranking: 8th in Regional Universities North

Size: 3,813 undergraduates, 633 graduates

Demographics: 65% female, 35% male

Tuition: $50,240

Acceptance rate: 40%

Average GPA of accepted student: 3.64

Key dates and deadlines (2021):

Application: February 15

Financial aid deadlines: February 1

A look at scholarships offered by Emerson 

College is expensive! Many families spend years saving for college, but it can be hard to save up enough to pay for even 1 year’s tuition. One of the best ways to get extra funds to pay for college is to apply for scholarships.

Scholarships are awards that you can apply toward tuition and other education expenses—with no expectation that you pay the money back. You can earn scholarships in many ways, including based on academic achievement, athletic prowess, or financial need.

Emerson offers many scholarship programs to its students. For example, honors students can earn the Trustee Scholarship, which awards $28,000 annually. Top applicants can receive the Aspire Scholarship, which awards as much as $40,000 annually!

Other programs offered by Emerson focus on success in specific fields and award amounts ranging from $5,000 to the full cost of attendance.

Whether or not you receive a scholarship from Emerson, you should also take some time to apply for scholarships from other groups. Businesses, charity groups, and other organizations often operate their own scholarship programs. 

If you look carefully, you can find scholarships for almost everything you can think of!

If you’re looking to fund your college education by earning scholarships, Mos can help. Visit our financial aid tips and tricks page for advice on how to get the most aid possible.

Student loans

While savings and scholarships are generally the best way to pay for your education, it’s difficult to cover the full cost of college with those alone. If you need some extra funds to pay your tuition bills, you might want to consider turning to student loans.

A student loan is a special type of loan designed to help pay for the cost of college. Like any loan, you have to pay it back eventually. However, borrowing money and dealing with the interest charges can be worth it if you’re investing in your education.

Emerson’s financial aid website has information about the different loan programs available. 

The best way to borrow money for most students is through the Federal Direct Loan Program. This program is a student aid program run by the US government. It offers both subsidized and unsubsidized loans to students.

Subsidized loans are the better of the 2 options. With these loans, interest won’t build up on the loan until after you graduate. Interest starts to accrue on unsubsidized loans right away.

Another reason federal loans are a good choice is that they have a few programs that make them easier to deal with. For example, borrowers can sign up for income-based repayment and can qualify for loan forgiveness in some cases.

Private student loans are another option. These loans come from banks, credit unions, and specialized student lenders. However, they usually don’t have the same perks as federal loans and are often more expensive, meaning you should try to max out federal loans before turning to private ones.

Student loans are complicated, and choosing the right one for your needs can be difficult. If you’re still wondering how they work, take a look at our article about the different types of financial aid you need to pay back.


When you apply to college, you’ll have to submit a financial aid application to be eligible for things like scholarships and loans. The most important financial aid application you can fill out is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The FAFSA is a universal student aid application. That means it’s used by almost every school and program out there to help them make decisions about financial aid. The government and schools review the info included to determine what kind of need-based aid you’ll receive.

Aid providers can determine your financial need through the FAFSA because you provide a lot of your family’s financial information with the application. This can include things like your family’s income and the amount you’ve saved for college.

One important thing to note is that while the FAFSA helps schools determine your financial need, most schools do not guarantee that they’ll meet 100% of their students’ needs. That means some students will need to find other sources of funding, like private loans.

You can fill out the FAFSA starting on October 1 for aid awarded in the next academic year. The deadline is the end of June, but Massachusetts has a state deadline of May 1, meaning you should fill out the form as soon as you can.


For more information on the FAFSA, you can check out our article on how long it takes to complete the FAFSA.

Emerson financial aid FAQs 

Let’s answer a few questions you may have about financial aid at Emerson College.

What is Emerson’s cost of attendance?

Emerson’s cost of attendance in 2021 was $71,834. Of that amount, $52,190 covered tuition and fees, and the remaining amount went toward room and board and other expenses.

Cost of attendance

How many students pay no tuition at Emerson?

Emerson doesn’t publish information about how many students get a full ride, but 49% of first-year students received need-based aid, with the average aid amount totaling $27,101.

Can out-of-state students receive financial aid?

Yes, out-of-state students are eligible to receive financial aid.

Universities like Emerson that you might be interested in 

Consider these alternatives if you’re thinking about going to Emerson but aren’t sure it’s right for you.

Schools similar to Emerson

Suffolk University

Suffolk University is another school located in Boston, Massachusetts. The school focuses on experiential learning, giving students real-world experience through the relationships it’s built with employers and other organizations across the city.

At Suffolk, students can study the arts or choose to study other programs, such as accounting, politics, and law.

Wesleyan University

Located in Middletown, Connecticut, Wesleyan is a private liberal arts college.

One focus at Wesleyan University is interdisciplinary learning, encouraging students to study across subjects instead of focusing on one specific field. The school is home to roughly 3,000 undergraduate students and 200 graduate students.

Elon University

Located in Elon, North Carolina, Elon University is a mid-sized private university that focuses on experiential learning. The school’s educational programs are grounded in the liberal arts, giving students a broad base of learning that they can apply to their work and life after college.

Elon’s stated goal is to create an “academic community that transforms mind, body, and spirit and encourages freedom of thought and liberty of conscience.”


If you’re interested in theater or the arts, Emerson College is one of the top places to get an education. With its location in the heart of Boston, students will be surrounded by a city with a vibrant history and a strong arts scene. Though the school can be expensive, the available financial aid can help you cover the cost.

College is expensive, but working with Mos can help. With Mos, you can get help paying for college through access to a huge scholarship pool, 1-on-1 financial aid assistance, and more. Explore memberships today.

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