Financial Aid + Scholarships

New and returning students applying for financial aid must complete a Free Application for Federal Student (FAFSA). Students are required to reapply for financial aid each year. Forms will be posted as soon as they become available.

Studio Diploma and BFA

Apply for financial aid at the SMFA at Tufts only.


Apply for financial aid at the SMFA at Tufts only. Please note this is not a graduate program. If students do not meet the requirements to be considered Independent as determined by FAFSA, then parental information must be included.

Combined Degree

New students should apply for financial aid through Tufts. If accepted into the Dual Degree program, your financial aid will be processed through Tufts. Returning Dual Degree students will only apply at Tufts.

Required documents for U.S. citizens and permanent residents

Note: Students who are selected for verification by FAFSA must submit a verification worksheet to the Financial Aid Office and complete the IRS Data Retrieval for parent and/or student. If the student cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval, an IRS Tax Return Transcript for parent and/or student must be submitted. Information on how to obtain the IRS Tax Return Transcript online, please visit the IRS website at

MFA Candidates: Complete the financial aid process for both SMFA and Tufts University. SMFA will award scholarships based on the strength of the applicant's portfolio and financial need. Tufts will process all Federal loans and Work Study.

Include both SMFA and Tufts Federal Code when completing the FAFSA.

SMFA FAFSA School Code: 004667
Tufts FAFSA School Code: 002219

Required documents for U.S. citizens and permanent residents

  • FAFSA (SMFA & Tufts School Code required)*

*FAFSA is required if you plan to work on campus through federal work-study, student employment or as a teaching assistant.

Students who are selected for verification by FAFSA must submit a verification worksheet and complete the IRS Data Retrieval. If the IRS Data Retrieval cannot be used, applicants must submit an IRS Tax Return Transcript. For additional information regarding this requirement and instructions on how to request your transcript online, please visit the Important Announcements section of our website or visit

Tufts will only review MFA students for their Federal Loans and Work-Study after they have deposited.

Required documents for international students

  • No federal forms are required. International students are only eligible to receive aid through SMFA.

International students ONLY complete the aid process at SMFA.

Priority Filing Dates

FAFSA, Verification Form, and Other Required Documents

New Students*
March 15 (entering in the fall)
October 15 (entering in the spring)

Returning Students
April 15 (entering in the fall or following spring)

MFA Students
March 15 (MFA students are awarded grant in their first year for two years)

Note: Please allow 7-14 days of processing time when filing your FAFSA online.

*Post-Baccalaureate students are considered new and only enter in the fall semester.

Below are downloadable forms for SMFA Financial Aid. If you have any questions, please contact the Financial Aid Office.

Financial Aid Handbook
In-School Deferment Form
PLUS Loan Deferment Form
Self-Certification Form
FERPA Release Form

Verification Worksheets:

Worksheet 1
Worksheet 4
Worksheet 5
Worksheet 6 Independent
Worksheet 6 Dependent
Verification FAQs

Loans + Financing Options

Recognizing that meeting the total cost of higher education today can be challenging for students and families, SMFA provides a variety of financing options.

  • William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program (Direct Loan): processes Direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans as well as the Direct Plus loan.
  • Partnerships with many lending institutions to provide private alternative loans to families.
  • Tuition Management Systems (TMS): provides a monthly payment plan option for families and/or individuals.

Many families choose a combination of all options to finance their education. The entire loan process is handled by the Financial Aid staff and can be done almost completely online. Financial Aid staff members are committed to helping you create a financial plan that will allow you to reach your enrollment goals. We are happy to serve the needs of all prospective, current and former SMFA students. If at any time you need assistance with this process please do not hesitate to contact the Financial Aid Office at 1-800-776-0135 or locally at 617-369-3645.

How to Apply for Loans

First Time Direct Loan Borrowers Must Complete a Direct Loan MPN

The MPN is the legal document through which you promise to repay your Direct Loans and any accrued interest and fees to the Department. It also explains the terms and conditions for your loans. A Direct Loan MPN can be used to make loans for up to ten (10) years. You may complete a Direct Loan MPN electronically via the website. You also have the option of completing a paper Direct Loan MPN.

To complete a Direct Loan MPN electronically, you must have a Federal Student Aid PIN. The Federal Student Aid PIN is the same PIN used to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). To apply for a PIN if you do not already have one, or for customer service regarding a previously assigned PIN, visit

First-Time Student Loan Borrowers Must Complete Direct Loan Counseling

In some cases, you may need to complete a Direct Loan Entrance Counseling.

  • If you are an undergraduate student and have not previously received a FFEL or Direct Loan program loan, you must complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling before you can receive a Direct Loan.

You may complete Direct Entrance Counseling electronically via the website. A Federal Student Aid PIN is required to complete online Direct Loan Entrance Counseling.

The Direct PLUS Loan

To obtain a Direct PLUS loan you will need to complete the following steps:

  • Contact the Financial Aid Office at 1-800-776-0135 or 617-369-3645 to make an appointment (in-person or phone appointments are available) with the Loan Officer to discuss the amount you have decided to borrow.
  • Log in to
  • Request a Direct PLUS loan and initiate a credit check (required)
  • If the borrower's credit is approved (results are immediate), the borrower will need to complete a Direct PLUS loan Master Promissory Note (MPN).
    • Borrowers will use the new website to complete a Direct loan electronic MPN. The borrower must sign in with their Federal Student Aid PIN to complete the MPN.
  • If the Borrower's credit is NOT approved, they will be asked how to proceed, such as not pursing a direct PLUS loan, obtaining an endorser, or appealing the credit decision. Regardless of the borrower's choice a paper endorser package will always be sent to the borrower. An endorser promises to repay the loan if your parents fail to do so. This is an important legal obligation so the endorser will need to be "credit worthy" AND the loan will become a part of their credit records.
  • If a parent is denied a Direct PLUS loan due to credit reasons, the student may borrow additional funds from the unsubsidized Direct Loan Program. The School must receive a copy of the Direct PLUS loan denial letter before processing an unsubsidized loan. The maximum amount available under this option is $4,000 for freshmen and sophomores, and $5,000 for juniors and seniors.

Supplemental Financing

In addition to direct financial aid support from SMFA and the federal programs, many families use alternative loan programs to help meet their needs. SMFA has four preferred lenders that offer premier service for our families; however families are free to choose any lender they wish. SMFA's financial aid staff encourages you to compare the loan benefits offered by the different lenders and make an informed decision.

To obtain an alternative loan you will need to complete the following steps:

  • Contact the Financial Aid Office at 1-800-76-0135 or 617-369-3645 to make an appointment (in-person or phone appointments are available) with the Loan Officer to discuss the amount you have decided to borrow.
  • Complete the online process on, where you may compare lenders and apply for your loan.

Once you have completed the application, elmselect will process your application and notify SMFA via an online process that you have applied for an Alternative Loan, at which time we will certify your application and send you a revised award letter.

Direct Loans | Alternative Loans | Direct Plus Loans


Direct Loans

Direct Loans are government sponsored low interest loans. Students borrow these loans directly through the federal government and are charged a net fee of 1%. Based on the student's federal financial eligibility, a Direct Subsidized Loan, a Direct Unsubsidized Loan or a combination of both may be awarded. Check the award to see which type of Direct Loan applies to your needs.


Annual Loan Limits

Annual Direct Loan limits for undergraduate students are determined by grade level. Freshmen can borrow up to $3,500, sophomores up to $4,500 and juniors and seniors up to $5,500.


Direct Subsidized Loans

The interest rate for Direct Unsubsidized Loans disbursed between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015 has not yet been determined. Interest accrual under the unsubsidized program begins at disbursement. No payments of interest or principal are due until after the six month grace period. However, students may choose to pay the interest on the Direct Unsubsidized Loan as it accrues. Any unpaid interest will be added to the principal balance of the loan when it enters repayment.

Year Interest Rate
2014 - 2015 4.66%


Direct Unsubsidized Loans

The interest rate for Direct Unsubsidized Loans disbursed between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015 are below. Interest accrual under the unsubsidized program begins at disbursement. No payments of interest or principal are due until after the six month grace period. However, students may choose to pay the interest on the Direct Unsubsidized Loan as it accrues. Any unpaid interest will be added to the principal balance of the loan when it enters repayment.

To determine eligibility for a Direct Loan, students must apply for financial aid by submitting the FAFSA and all other required documentation.

Year Interest Rate
2014 - 2015 4.66%


Application Process

New Borrowers: A student is considered a new borrower if they have never borrowed a Direct Loan while enrolled at SMFA. All new borrowers must complete the following steps to secure a Direct Loan:

Complete an Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory Note (MPN) at This involves reading information and answering questions about one's rights and responsibilities when borrowing a Direct Loan. The Entrance Counseling must be done prior to the loan being disbursed.

The terms of the loans (maximum interest rate, mandatory fees, and deferment options) are set by the Federal government.



All disbursements generated through The Department of Education are electronic and will appear on the student's account.

Federal regulations governing the Direct Loan program stipulates that the school must not hold a loan disbursement for more than three days after receipt without crediting the student's account. Also, the loan cannot be disbursed to the account until all requirements (registration, entrance counseling, eligibility, etc,) are met. Due to this time constraint, SMFA will receive a pre-disbursement roster, electronically listing all the loans that are ready to be disbursed. SMFA checks each record to make sure that each student has met all regulatory criteria and the disbursement can be accepted. SMFA receives disbursements electronically from the DOE via EFT every Wednesday and Thursday throughout the processing cycle.

Once the disbursement is received, and assuming all regulatory criteria continues to be met, the student's account is credited and the student will be notified of the disbursement.

Loan fees: A net fee of 1.073% will be deducted from each disbursement of your loan.



If the disbursement of the loan results in a credit balance on the student's account, the student will receive a refund check. NOTE: SMFA grants are not applied to the student's tuition account until after drop/add period is over, so the loan may not create a credit balance. Once enrollment has been verified and all aid has been credited to the student's account, refunds will be processed and sent to the account's billing address. Students may request that their refund be sent to their school address by contacting the Business Office.


Exit Interview

An exit interview is required during the final semester if the student has borrowed Stafford or Direct Loans. Instructions for completing the online exit interview will be sent in an email from the Financial Aid Office.

The purpose of the exit interview is to inform the student of their rights and responsibilities based on the student loans borrowed while in attendance at SMFA. The information presented during the exit interview is a summary of the information contained on the promissory note(s) the student has signed. It is recommended that promissory note(s) be reviewed carefully in order to become familiar with interest rates and repayment terms.



Repayment begins after the grace period is completed. The standard repayment term of the Stafford Loans is 10 years, but the repayment term can be extended depending on the total outstanding principal balance. Contact your loan servicer directly for details. Consolidation of all federal student loans may be an option to explore. For more information on this, visit the consolidation page on the Student Loan Web site.


Repayment Calculator

The repayment calculator is available to help students and alumni make informed choices about their student loan repayment options. The calculator shows student loan customers what their monthly payments would be under different repayment plans, including the new Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR) available beginning July 1, 2009. It also enables student loan customers to compare their alternatives, simulate IBR results under different incomes, estimate the likely time to pay in full, and evaluate the total cost for each option.
Repayment Calculator



Students will be billed by The Department of Education. It is important to keep your billing address and contact information up to date with the DOE. Contact the DOE with specific questions about billing cycles, methods of payment or payment amount.

If, at any time, you need information about who your loan lender or servicer is, please do not hesitate to contact SMFA's Financial Aid Office.


Alternative Loans

General Information

Alternative Loans are loans not guaranteed by the Federal Government. The borrower (either student or parent) may borrow such a loan through various participants such as banks, credit unions, or savings and loan associations. There are many different types of alternative loans for different types of borrowers. Alternative loans are not need-based; rather they are based on credit worthiness. Most students will need a credit worthy co-signer such as a parent or other relative in order to obtain an alternative loan. Terms and conditions applicable to these loans vary greatly. Factors such as interest rate, APR, length of repayment, loan minimum and maximum, as well as fees should be carefully considered when researching and choosing an alternative loan.

One feature of many alternative loans is the ability to completely postpone (defer) repayment until you graduate from college. Alternative loans almost always offer lower interest rates than credit cards. While we encourage students and families to pursue federal financial aid before considering alternative loans, there are many student/family situations where an alternative loan is viewed as a preferred alternative. Sometimes parents want their student to be responsible for his/her education. In other cases, the convenience of needing no Federal forms to borrow funds is also a consideration. Whatever your situation may be, borrow only what you need and compare your options before you borrow.


Student Requirements for Private Educational Loans

Effective February 14, 2010, lenders have new requirements for processing and disbursing private education loans. Check with your specific lender regarding their process (i.e. online or paper) for certification and disbursement. For your convenience, we have listed some of the requirements below.

1. Self-Certification Form: Student borrowers are now required to complete a Self-Certification Form for each loan application they submit and return it to their lender as part of the loan application process. Each lender will likely provide you with a copy of this form; or download the form using the above link. Most lenders recommend that you use the form they provide. All Self-Certification forms should be sent to the student's specific lender and NOT the Financial Aid Office. The Self-Certification form requires you to report your cost of attendance and estimated financial assistance in Section 2.

2. Active Acceptance of Loan: Student borrowers are now required to "actively accept" the terms of their loan approval before their school will be notified that school certification is required. The lender's terms for how to "accept" the loan terms can be found on the private loan approval disclosure form that they will provide to the borrower.

3. Right to Cancel: Borrowers and/or cosigners have the right to cancel or rescind a loan offer within 3 business days after receipt of Final Disclosure. During this time, the lender cannot disburse loan funds. This cancellation period cannot be waived in order for funds to disburse more quickly. This may cause a delay in the disbursement of loan funds to your student account. Be sure to apply several weeks before funding is needed.


Direct-To-Consumer Loans
We strongly suggest students make use of other loan options before using direct-to-consumer loans. A student can contact their Financial Aid Counselor to discuss alternative loan options. Direct-to-consumer private loans are not certified by the school. The student supplies enrollment verification to the lender, and the loan proceeds are disbursed directly to the student. Students must ensure that the funds are in their possession on or before the payment deadline for each semester, as they will not appear as "anticipated aid" on the student account statement.


The Process

The Alternative Loan process is a family-initiated process, in which the family (student or parent) chooses the loan they wish to borrow. To make the selection process easier, the Museum School had identified a group of selected lenders for our Preferred Lender List, available through the ELMSelect Web site. If you select a lender from this list, you can be assured that you will receive outstanding borrower benefits and customer service.



Funds are electronically disbursed by ELMSelect in two equal payments (fall and spring) and will appear on your student account no earlier than ten days before the start of classes for that academic year.



Should any disbursement create a credit balance, you will be issued a refund check by the Business Office. This refund will be mailed to your billing address unless you request it to be mailed to a different address.



Repayment of student alternative loans begin six months after you graduate or fall below half-time (6 credits) enrollment at the Museum School. Interest accrual begins at disbursement and may be paid as it accrues or it may capitalize. Repayment of parent alternative loans begins immediately after the full disbursement of the loan. Some lenders offer deferment options. Please refer to our preferred lender list for more information.


Direct Plus Loans 

General Information

Who can borrow: The Direct PLUS Loan is available to the parent of dependent undergraduate students. It is borrowed in the parent's name.

Loan Amount: Applicants can borrow any amount up to the full cost of education, as determined by the Museum School, less all other resources. The cost of attendance includes tuition, room, board, mandatory fees, and allowances for books, personal expenses, and transportation.

Credit Qualifications: Borrowers must meet the Federal Government's minimum credit requirements to borrow this loan. A credit check will be performed when you begin this process. Undergraduate students, whose parents do not qualify for a PLUS loan, can borrow additional Federal Unsubsidized student loan funds.

Interest Rate: PLUS loans borrowed between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015 will have a fixed interest rate of 7.21%.

Loan Fees: A net fee of 4.292% will be deducted from each disbursement of your loan.


The Process for Parents of Undergraduate Students

Contact the Financial Aid Office at 1-800-776-0135 or 617-369-3646 to make an appointment with the loan officer to discuss the amount you have decided to borrow to determine if this is too much or too little for your yearly expenses at the Museum School.

Once the decision is made to borrow a PLUS loan, parents must choose a lender.  Any lender that participates in the PLUS program can be selected.

Click on to begin the electronic process.

Once you have completed the application, The Department of Education (DOE) will process your application and notify the Museum School via an online process that you have applied for a PLUS loan. We will then certify that application. Certification is the verification of your son's or daughter's attendance at the Museum School, their Cost of Attendance, and any resources. That information is sent back to the DOE via the online process and the application is approved, as long as all requirements are met.

Note: The student must have a FAFSA on file to complete a PLUS loan.



PLUS loans that are borrowed through the DOE are electronically disbursed in two equal disbursements (fall and spring) to the student's account upon approval and guarantee.



Should any disbursement create a credit balance a refund check will be issued to the billing address unless otherwise specified. Please note that refunds will not be issued before the first day of classes for any semester.



For Direct PLUS Loans, repayments begin within 60 days after the loan has been fully disbursed with a maximum repayment term of 10 years.

Walk-in Visitors

The office is open Monday through Friday, 9 am–5 pm. We can answer general questions, distribute applications, accept personally submitted financial aid forms, meet with students or schedule a return visit.

Telephone Calls

Telephone calls are accepted during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 9 am–5 pm). We can answer general questions, accept requests to mail forms, or schedule appointments for visits.

Phone: 617-627-2000
Fax: 617-369-3041


Questions and requests for information can be submitted via email at You should receive a response within 48 hours.

Write to Us

Questions and requests for information can be mailed to us at:

School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University
230 The Fenway
Boston, MA 02115