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Dedicated to Affordability

We determine your financial aid award based solely on your family’s demonstrated financial need. Our program is designed to help families across the economic spectrum, from low to upper-middle incomes.

Aid is completely need-based and considers many factors, such as your family’s income, assets, size, and unusual expenses. There are no merit-based awards, and we have no preferential packaging policies that give some students more attractive awards than others.

Parent contribution

The Committee on Financial Aid carefully reviews the information your family provides in the financial aid application, including any additional circumstances brought to our attention, in order to determine your parent contribution.

It is important to understand that the parent contribution is not what we think a family has “left over” after other expenses have been covered, and we do not necessarily expect that the parent contribution will be paid from current income. Rather, the level of contribution reflects our analysis of what parents can afford to absorb in educational costs over time. Parents may choose to provide their contribution from savings, current income, future income (through borrowing), or some combination.

We hope families discuss the cost of going to college and agree that paying for education is a priority. We are unable to provide additional aid for students whose parents arbitrarily withdraw financial support.

Similarly, we cannot provide additional aid for families that have incurred large consumer debts that may make paying for college difficult.

Please be assured, however, that we will work with your family to help you find financing to cover your parent contribution over an extended period of time.

Students’ summer earnings

We expect students, including incoming students, to help cover college expenses through summer employment. We realize you may not be able to find a perfect summer job, but we hope that you will make every effort to find something, even if it is only part-time.

If you are not able to save enough from summer earnings to meet all of the expectation, it may be possible to receive a loan through the Harvard Loan program to obtain the necessary resources. Please contact us if you wish to investigate this option.

Students’ assets

If you have savings or other assets, you will be expected to contribute a small portion toward college expenses throughout your four years.

Facts About Financial Aid


Amount that parents making less than $65,000 are expected to contribute.

Ninety percent of American families would pay the same or less to send their children to Harvard as they would a state school.


Get step-by-step tips for completing your application.