Basic Financial Aid Information

In this section, we provide a general description of all the federal, state, local, private, and institutional need-based and non-need-based financial assistance programs available to Harvard Undergraduates. We also discuss the rights and responsibilities of students receiving this assistance.

Contact information for the Harvard College Griffin Financial Aid Office can be found here.

How Awarding Works

Need-Based Program

Procedure: Students must first complete an aid application according to the following guidelines. You need to provide information about your family income and assets, outside awards, and unusual or changed financial circumstances. Once we have reviewed your information and determined your demonstrated need, you will be notified of your award for the coming year.

Forms: In order to apply for aid, all families have to submit a complete financial aid application. US Citizens/Permanent Residents must complete the CSS Profile form as well as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is a free form and if you only wish to apply for federal aid it is the only form you need to submit. The CSS Profile helps us to determine eligibility for Harvard financial aid. Click here to see the complete financial aid application instructions.

Eligibility: Our generous financial aid program—bolstered by the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative, which seeks to increase low- and middle-income students’ awareness of Harvard’s affordability—aims to make Harvard accessible to any student who is admitted.

  • Our program requires no contribution from Harvard families with annual incomes below $65,000. About 20% of our families have no parent contribution.
  • Families with incomes between $65,000 and $150,000 will contribute from 0-10% of their income, and those with incomes above $150,000 will be asked to pay proportionately more than 10%, based on their individual circumstances.
  • Families at all income levels who have significant assets are asked to pay more than those in less fortunate circumstances.
  • Home equity and retirement assets are not considered in our assessment of financial need.

Families can use our Net Price Calculator to quickly estimate their aid package and expected family contribution.

Awarding

In determining your need-based Financial Aid award, your package will consist of a work component and a Grant component that could be made up of the following funds:

Types of Aid

Requesting Loans

Students are not expected to take out loans as part of their financial aid package. Our aid packages are designed to cover financial need without additional borrowing. However, students may choose to pursue loans to help cover the student and/or family contribution. Once a student has requested a loan, our office will award the following loan:

  • Institutional (Harvard) Loan: This need based loan is awarded dependent on your federal and institutional eligibility. It is important to understand the terms of any loan you borrow as well as how to manage your debt and repayment

Other Aid Options

Continued Eligibility Guidelines

Financial Aid is re-determined each year based on a number of criteria. Eligibility for one school year does not guarantee future eligibility. To determine eligibility for:

Disbursements

The various forms of aid (grants, scholarships and loans) administered by the Financial Aid Office are applied directly to your student termbill account as an anticipated credit to pay billed expenses (ie. tuition, fees, room and board). There are institutional and federal guidelines for checking eligibility prior to disbursement. If you have any outstanding documents that need to be completed in order to disburse your aid, they will be listed on your my.harvard.edu webpage. When students are registered and meet eligibility requirements for disbursement, our aid is disbursed as follows:

Aid Disbursed by the Financial Aid Office

  • Grants: For students who have met eligibility requirements, Fall institutional and federal grants are removed as anticipated aid and replaced with actual disbursements for the November termbill. Spring grants are removed as anticipated aid and replaced with actual disbursements for the December termbill. After the initial disbursement, aid for both terms is then disbursed weekly, as additional students meet the eligibility criteria.
  • Loans: Students must sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) for each loan program. Once an MPN is signed, loans will be disbursed in equal installments for the Fall and Spring.

Aid Disbursed by Outside Agencies

The grants, scholarships and loan funding students receive from outside agencies (state, local, private) are disbursed to the termbill as they are received from the outside agency.

Terms and Conditions of Employment

All students, regardless of their financial aid status, may work during the academic year—and in fact, around two-thirds of our students do. When students are awarded need based aid, their financial aid package includes a “Term Time Work Expectation”. All students are encouraged to go to the Student Employment Office website, which hosts a jobs database to assist them in finding a job. By working 8-12 hours a week a student can earn approximately $2,000-$4,000 over the course of the year. All wages earned are to be paid directly to the student, rather than appearing on their term bill.

Federal Work Study: If a student is eligible for Federal need based financial aid by filing the FAFSA form, their Term Time Work Expectation will be designated as “Federal Work Study”. For a detailed understanding of the Federal Work Study program including the requirements please visit the Federal Work Study section of the Student Employment Office website.

Exit Counseling

All student loan borrowers who graduate or drop below half-time enrollment are required to complete Exit Counseling, which details the repayment of student loans.

The following information is provided during Exit Counseling:

  • The anticipated average monthly repayment amount;
  • The available repayment plan options;
  • The options for each loan to prepay, pay on a shorter schedule, or change repayment plans;
  • The effects and repercussions of loan consolidation;
  • Debt management strategies designed to facilitate repayment;
  • Information on how to contact the borrower’s Direct Loan Servicer;
  • The consequences of default;
  • The terms and conditions under which a borrower may obtain full or partial forgiveness, cancellation, deferment, or forbearance.
  • Details on the availability of the Department’s Student Loan Ombudsman’s office;
  • Details on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) and how it can be used to obtain Title IV loan status information;
  • An explanation of how the borrower’s maximum eligibility period, remaining eligibility period, and subsidized usage period are determined; and the sum of the borrower’s subsidized usage periods;
  • The consequences of continued borrowing or enrollment;
  • The impact of becoming responsible for accrued interest;
  • A general description of the types of tax benefits available to borrowers;
  • Disclosure of the borrower requirement to provide current contact information;

Though not required, the Financial Aid Office has also expanded the scope of our Exit Counseling conversation to include information on budgeting and money management. Borrowers with Federal Loans can find complete information for Direct Loan Exit Counseling online.

Additionally students who have borrowed:

Institutional Harvard loans are required to complete an online repayment schedule which contains balances, monthly payment amounts, due dates, and interest rates for each of their loans. Students will be contacted in April with links and instructions on how to complete these forms.

Federal Direct Loans will have their repayment schedules mailed to them from their Direct Loan Servicer. We encourage these students to go through online Exit Counseling on their website https://studentloans.gov/.

From a Private Lender will have their loan debt amount included on their summary sheet but must contact their lender for further information.

Academic Programs, Procedures, and Costs

Academic Programs

You have many options when pursuing your Harvard degree. We offer more than 3,700 courses in 48 undergraduate fields of study, which we call concentrations. Many of our concentrations are interdisciplinary. The College website has a complete listing of concentrations with links to each department where you will find the information on faculty, facilities and advising.

Accreditation

Harvard University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). Harvard, like all accredited universities and colleges, is reviewed for reaccreditation generally every 10 years and last received accreditation in 2018. FAQ’s on Harvard’s accreditation can be found at Office of Institutional Research.

School Costs

The Cost of Attendance figure includes both the billed costs of Tuition, Fees, Room and Board as well as estimates for Personal Expenses (including books) and travel. For students who are allowed to enroll less than full time, your tuition figure would be adjusted accordingly (1/2, 3/4)

Study Abroad

Discover new cultures, learn a language, and gain unforgettable experiences by including international travel in your undergraduate degree. Learn about our study abroad programs. A student’s enrollment in a program of study abroad approved for credit by Harvard may be considered enrolled at Harvard for the purposes of applying for federal as well as institutional financial aid.

Textbook Information

Harvard’s online course catalogue lists over 8,000 classes. It includes course descriptions, faculty, meeting times, and links to syllabuses and textbook information. You can search textbook prices via the Harvard Coop. The Financial Aid Office has suggestions for cheaper alternatives to the Coop in their Shoestring Guide.

Transfer of Credit

Please contact the Registrar's Office for details.

Withdrawal Procedures

At some point in a student’s career, they may decide to halt their enrollment and take a leave of absence. Alternately, a student may be required to withdraw from the College. Details on the College’s requirements and procedures regarding leave of absences/withdrawals can be found in the Handbook for Students. Federal funds are adjusted according to these policies. The FAO handles making adjustments to aid and returning any required funds to the Department Of Education.

Policies and Reporting

Annual Fire Safety Report

The Harvard University Environmental Health and Safety Department publishes the Annual Fire Safety Report, which includes fire safety polices, evacuation procedures, and fire statistics.

Annual Teacher Preparation Report

UTEP is a pre-professional teaching program available to all Harvard undergraduate students. This elective program combines coursework at the Graduate School of Education and field work in Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville public schools. Read the annual teacher preparation report.

Clery (Campus Security) Act

The University is required by federal law (The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, 20 U.S.C. 1092(f), known as the “Clery Act”) to publish an annual security report. A copy of the report as well as the disclosure procedures can be found on the Harvard University Police website.

Code of Conduct

Harvard University is committed to the highest standard of ethics and conduct, and financial aid staff are bound to the conflict of interest and commitment policies applicable to all Harvard employees. Harvard has adopted a Code of Conduct relating to educational loan programs.

Copyright Infringement

Harvard University is committed to maintaining the integrity and availability of the Harvard network for the vital educational and research purposes for which it was designed and prohibits the use of its network to violate the law, including the U.S.Copyright Act. Please read the annual copyright disclosure.

Disability

University Disability Services serves as a central resource on disability-related information, procedures and services for the University community and provides expertise in the development, implementation, and acquisition of standard disability-related University practices, procedures and resources.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention

State and federal law, as well as University policy, prohibit the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees.Violators of the law may be subject to heavy penalties mandated by city, state, and federal governments. Potential penalties include the loss of student grants and loans, fines, and prison sentences. The University Police Department maintains and updates our required drug and alcohol abuse materials.

Equity in Athletics

The Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA) requires a school with an intercollegiate athletic program to make prospective students aware of it’s commitment to providing equitable athletic opportunities for its male and female students. Annually, The Report on Athletic Program Participation Rates and Financial Support Data is updated as required on October 15th.

FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (“FERPA”) is a federal law that gives students certain rights with respect to their education records. More information is available on the Registrar’s website.

Immunization Policies

As a student, you must meet Massachusetts’ strict immunization requirements in order to register for classes. We encourage you to receive the required immunizations before you arrive at Harvard, as many private health plans will cover the cost. If you are unable to obtain these prior to your arrival on campus, you may arrange to get immunizations at various locations in the area, including Harvard University Health Services (HUHS). Please note that your health plan may not cover immunizations you receive at HUHS, in which case you will be responsible for the cost of the immunizations. Please check with HUHS for the proper immunization recording procedures.

Retention and Graduation Rates

As required, we have reported our graduation rates of degree-seeking, first-time, full-time undergraduates to the department via the IPEDs website. Additional rates for students in select categories can be found on this chart.