Financial Aid at Eastman

Returning Undergraduate Students



(Students First Enrolled for Fall 2017 or earlier)

Merit Scholarships

Eastman merit scholarships are awarded at the time of admission and are based on the applicant’s musical and academic merits, the school’s enrollment needs and in some cases the applicant’s financial need (as of the 2015 admission cycle, merit scholarships are need-informed).  Merit scholarships are generally awarded as a Howard Hanson Scholarship.  At a later time, the funding source (donor) may change resulting in a differently named merit scholarship; however, the total amount of your merit award will remain the same.  A select number of students are offered Dean’s awards, recognizing exceptional promise in performance (Dean’s Performance Award) or scholarship (Dean’s Scholar Award).

Eastman’s merit scholarships are 4 year awards (up to 5 years for Dual Degree). You will receive one half of the annual scholarship amount for up to eight semesters (up to ten semesters for Dual Degree) of full-time undergraduate enrollment provided you remain in good standing, make satisfactory academic progress towards your degree and maintain a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 3.0 or higher.  An undergraduate’s merit scholarship will have a monetary reduction each semester if the CGPA falls below 3.0 or these expectations are not met.

Need-Based Scholarships

Eastman need-based awards are generally awarded as a George Eastman Grant.  Eligibility for this institutional need-based award is determined by calculating a student’s need using the financial information provided on the FAFSA for domestic students and the International CSS PROFILE for international students.  The FAFSA and International CSS PROFILE are required to be completed annually, as need may vary from year to year, and the Eastman Financial Aid Office will review eligibility for the George Eastman Grant and will adjust awards accordingly.  Students who continue to meet the need criteria may receive the grant for up to eight semesters (up to ten semesters for Dual Degree) of full-time undergraduate enrollment.

Though we are focused on making Eastman as affordable as possible, we are not able to meet need for all admitted students.  If a student is released from his/her housing contract, the Eastman Financial Aid Office reserves the right to review the student’s eligibility for Eastman need-based aid.



The Federal Pell Grant is a need-based grant awarded to students by the federal government and does not have to be repaid. The U.S. Department of Education uses a standard formula, established by Congress, to determine eligibility based on the information reported on the FAFSA ( and the number of degree required credits you are enrolled in. All Pell eligible students must complete the verification process before any Pell Grant funds will be credited to their student account.  An undergraduate student can only receive the Federal Pell Grant for a maximum lifetime limit of 12 semesters.

The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG) is a campus-based aid grant funded by the federal government, administered by the school and does not need to be repaid.  This grant is awarded to Federal Pell Grant recipients with the highest calculated need. The SEOG grant will be credited to the student account upon completion of the verification process.


The Federal Work-Study program provides full-time undergraduate domestic students an opportunity to earn money towards educational expenses through on-campus and off-campus employment. The hourly pay for each position is determined by the University of Rochester pay rate based on the type of work and the skills required. Most FWS program eligible students at the Eastman School of Music obtain employment within the school.

Students are responsible for seeking available positions on campus if the student wishes to earn work-study funds. Available positions are posted to JOBLINK.

The number of hours a student can work will be determined by the class schedule, supervisor, and the amount of FWS funds offered to a student on the financial aid package. Students must be enrolled full-time to be eligible for work-study.


Our Loan Information page has more in-depth information about each of these loan programs.

The Federal Direct Subsidized Loan is a low-interest educational loan for undergraduate students attending school at least half-time (6 credits). This loan has a fixed interest rate and an origination fee is subtracted at the time of disbursement. Interest will begin to accrue on the loan after graduation. There is a 6 month grace period before repayment begins. Eligibility for the Federal Direct Subsidized Loan is based on financial need as determined by the information provided on the FAFSA.

The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan is a low-interest educational loan for undergraduate and graduate students attending school at least half-time (6 credits). This loan has a fixed interest rate and an origination fee is subtracted at the time of disbursement. Interest will begin to accrue on the loan after disbursement. The government does not pay the interest; the student can choose to either pay the interest while in school or have the interest added to the loan principal to be repaid later. There is a 6 month grace period before repayment begins after graduation. Eligibility for the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan is not based on need and a student can qualify regardless of income.

The Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan program provides credit-based loans at a fixed interest rate and allows parents to borrow up to the cost of attendance minus other financial aid awarded. An origination fee is subtracted from the requested loan amount at the time of disbursement, so the dollar amount disbursed will be less than the amount borrowed. Repayment on the principal and interest can be deferred while the student is enrolled in college. However, interest will accrue and be capitalized back into the loan.

State Funds 

Certain states, outside of New York, will allow their grant programs to be used at colleges in New York. Contact your state agency for more information.

The New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) is a grant program for students who are residents of New York State.  It is based on a family’s taxable income and the student’s level of study.  In addition to the FAFSA, a separate TAP application is required by the state.  The Eastman (University of Rochester) TAP code is 1016.


You do not need to complete any additional forms regarding merit aid.  You only need to make sure that you are in compliance with the requirements listed below.

In order to renew your Merit Scholarship for the 2018-2019 academic year, you must:

  • Be registered for at least 12 credit hours each semester.
  • Be making satisfactory academic progress towards the completion of your degree.
  • Be maintaining a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 3.0 or higher.

Merit Scholarships are awarded for a total of 8 semesters (10 semesters for dual degree students) unless you are a transfer student.

Merit Scholarships are determined at the time you are accepted to Eastman and cannot be appealed.


Continuing International Students receiving the George Eastman Grant need to complete the 2018-2019 CSS PROFILE each year. Eastman’s CSS Code is 2224. The George Eastman Grant is a need-based institutional grant. Student and family need often varies from year to year, so a student’s eligibility will be reviewed and awards may be adjusted upon receipt and review of the CSS PROFILE for International Students.  If you need to amend the information on the CSS PROFILE, you will have to print out a copy of the PROFILE, make the changes and forward a copy to the Eastman Financial Aid Office.

Domestic Students (US Citizens or Permanent Residents) need to complete the 2018-2019 Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Make sure to use the Eastman School Code on your FAFSA008124.  The Eastman FAFSA Application deadline is April 1, 2018. 

Failure to complete the FAFSA by the April 1st deadline may result in a reduction of need based financial aid.

Tips for Completing the 2018-19 FAFSA

Common Errors to Avoid When Completing the 2018-19 FAFSA


An email will be sent to you by the Eastman Financial Aid Office with a link to your Financial Aid Package on ESM FAOnline.

Your need-based financial aid awards will not be offered to you until your processed FAFSA or CSS PROFILE for International Students is received electronically by the Eastman Financial Aid Office. In cases where a FAFSA or CSS PROFILE for International Students at Eastman has not been received, you will receive a Financial Aid Package listing the merit scholarship and identifying the “missing” financial aid documents.

We will start to process financial aid packages for all returning Undergraduate students in late May.


Verification is the process of confirming the information you provided on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as required by Institutions participating in Federal Financial Aid programs. Not all students are selected for verification.

If you are selected, in order to comply with Federal regulations, we may ask you to provide information that verifies the data you provided on your FAFSA. Please note that the need-based portion of your financial aid offer is only an estimate until verification of your financial aid file is completed. 


Outside Scholarships

We encourage students to search and apply for outside scholarship funding throughout their degree program. Receiving the greatest amount of outside scholarship funding requires students to consider scholarships beyond the music realm (clubs, religious organizations, ethnic groups, groups that parents or other relatives may be involved with, etc.) and to keep the search broad (start with the general scholarships, then try the arts, etc.). Please visit our Forms and Links page to begin your search.

State Educational Loans

Some state governments offer an educational loan program. These programs:

  • are available to both undergraduate and graduate students (and possibly to parents and relatives), as long as the student is matriculated and enrolled at least half time in a degree program.
  • are credit-based and offer interest rates and terms which are very competitive with alternative loans.
  • may have both fixed and variable interest rates available, depending on the state.

To learn if your state has a loan program contact your State Education Agency through the Department of Education’s Educational Resource Organizations Directory.  Read carefully the loan criteria and contact your State Education Agency with questions.

Private Alternative Loans

Some students and families choose to borrow a private loan to cover a portion of the cost of education not already paid for by scholarships and federal grants/loans. We encourage students and parents to exhaust all federal loan options prior to applying for a private loan. The federal loan programs generally offer lower interest rates and fees than the private loans.

If a student chooses to pursue a private loan, we recommend comparing the costs associated with various lenders before completing an application. Interest rates, fees, repayment periods, and other benefits can vary significantly between lenders. Often these loans are based on credit-worthiness and approvals are not automatic. The website provides some comparative information regarding private loans. When selecting a loan through a comparative website, be sure to go to the lender’s website to ensure the most up-to-date information about the loan.

The Eastman School of Music does not maintain a preferred lender list. As such, the University has no agreements or relationships with any lenders and does not receive any benefit, financial or otherwise, from the use of private loans by students. For more information on the University’s policies, please see our Student Loan Code of Conduct.

Appeal for Additional Assistance

If the family’s financial circumstances of an undergraduate student have changed drastically due to unemployment, medical expenses, loss of personal funding (Social Security or Child Support), etc., then the student/family may contact the Eastman Financial Aid Office to ask about an Appeal for Special Circumstances.