Cost and Financial Aid

Smiling female students in the main lounge sitting at a table.

The Office of Financial Aid assists students who, without financial assistance, would be unable to attend college. Last year alone, we awarded $43 million in financial aid to our students through the following:

  • Merit-based: Awarded to new students through the admissions application process
  • Need-based: Awarded to new and returning students through the financial aid application process—including scholarships, loans, grants, and work study assistance

Apply for Scholarships

Our commitment to making a Fitchburg State education affordable is evident in our annual cost—among the lowest in the state university system for full-time residential students. Learn more on our tuition and fees page.

How the FAFSA Simplification Act Affects You

There have been changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application for the 2024-2025 aid year. Those changes were designed to make completing the application easier and more streamlined than in the past.

The FAFSA Simplification Act was passed by Congress in 2020 and represents a significant overhaul of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid. This includes the FAFSA form, the need analysis that determines federal aid eligibility, changes in terminology, and many policies and procedures for schools that participate in federal student aid programs.

Read a summary of the act on the Department of Education website.

For students looking to continue their enrollment in the next academic year, the 2024-2025 FAFSA is available now; Fitchburg State will receive FAFSA data in April.

  • Students will receive an email from the Department of Education when Fitchburg State has received your processed application.
  • New student award notifications for 2024-25 will be mailed in May.
  • Returning student award notifications for 2024-25 will be available on Web4 in June, after the Spring semester grades are processed.

Getting Started

Financial Aid is a time-sensitive process, so make sure you consult these important pages as you prepare to apply.

How to Apply

We'll walk you through the process of applying for financial aid. 


Not sure you qualify? Our eligibility documentation lays it out for you. 

Important Deadlines

An overview of when you should be applying for financial aid, and what you can expect during each timeframe. 

Additional Information

Demonstrated by our most recent financial aid statistics for our entering class (2022):

  • All admitted students who demonstrated financial need and met application deadlines received an offer of financial assistance.
  • The average financial aid package for students living on campus from Massachusetts is $14,717 (from all funding sources).
  • 91% of the class received financial assistance.

And from our graduates:

  • ​The average student loan debt for those in the class of 2022 is well below the national average at $24,239. This equates to $257 per month in standard repayment.
  • The average graduate’s income is $58,741.

Helpful Resources

  • College Navigator - This site contains information from the National Center for Education Statistics including student loan information and default rates.
  • Loan Repayment Calculator - This site, from the U.S. Department of Education, helps you calculate student loan payments and choose a loan repayment option that best meets your needs and goals. You can also use it to decide whether to consolidate your student loans.
  • Cohort Default Rate (CDR) - The U.S. Department of Education tracks the number and percentage of federal student loan borrowers who default on their student loans within three years of entering repayment. This is the Cohort Default Rate, commonly referred to as “three-year” CDRs. The Department of Education releases official cohort default rates for each school that is eligible to participate in the federal student loan program once per year. The current 2019 national cohort default rate average is 2.6% while Fitchburg State University’s is 1.5% and 4.8% for 2018 and 6.4% for 2017. Should the CDR for Fitchburg State University rise above the national average it is our policy to publicly post such on the University's financial aid webpage.
  • Our investment in you. With a $15 million endowment from alumni and the foundation, both need- and merit-based awards help to offset the actual cost of your education.
  • A realistic budget. We base your eligibility for our financial aid on the total cost of attendance not just direct costs, so that you’ll have a more realistic budget and financial-aid package.
  • Honoring outside awards. We do not reduce our institutional scholarship or grant award to those receiving outside scholarships or grants unless the student's total gift aid exceeds charges for tuition, fees, housing and meal plan / food.
  • Access to distinctive opportunities. To aid our students in making their dreams of study abroad possible, financial aid is portable to approved abroad programs. Students may also benefit from college funding for internships throughout the academic year.

At Fitchburg State University, each financial aid appeal is reviewed on a case-by-case basis within our general guidelines for awarding need-based financial aid. While we don’t negotiate financial aid or match another school’s offer, we are always willing to talk with students and families who are concerned that they can’t afford Fitchburg State University with their award.

If you decide you need to appeal your financial aid award, we ask that you complete the Financial Aid Appeal Form (using a non Fitchburg State email address) and submit that to our office with all necessary supporting documentation.

To provide some guidance, here are some of the most common reasons we may increase financial aid awards:

  • Significant decrease in current year’s income not reflected in your tax return
  • Receipt of a one-time income source on the previous year’s tax return
  • Unemployment of a parent or spouse
  • A change in the number of family members attending college
  • Unusual or unexpected medical expenses
  • Tuition for a child attending a private elementary or secondary school

There is no guarantee that we will be able to adjust your award, but we encourage you to work with our office as we may be able to recommend a financing strategy that supplements your award.

If you would like to speak with the Financial Aid Office, regarding a financial aid appeal, please reach out to our office at 978.665.3156 or by email  

SNAP benefits, formerly food stamps, provide a monthly benefit to assist with purchasing nutritious food. This assistance is available to qualified low-income citizens, including students. You can learn more about the program, determine your eligibility, and even apply online. More information on SNAP and the Falcon Bazaar can also be found online.

For assistance please contact your individual financial aid counselor (see below) regarding any assistance needed in processing your financial aid.

Denise Brindle - Director of Financial Aid

Bridget Hudson
Administrative Assistant

And by caseload at:

Andrea Johnston - Associate Director
Last Name A-E

Alcira Zadroga - Associate Director
Last Name F-Ma

Christopher Cole - Assistant Director
Last Name Mc-Z

Have Questions? Get in touch.