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We are Here to Help You Plan

The guidelines for securing a Leave of Absence from Harvard are outlined in the Handbook for Students. It is important that you review this section of the handbook and meet with your Resident Dean to discuss the logistics of leaving school. We will help you in any way we can.

Leave of Absence Financial Checklist

There are often financial issues you need to settle and/or consider as you leave Harvard. This financial checklist contains specific information about financial aid and the repayment of any student loans, as well as information about what you will need to do in order to return to Harvard.

This checklist should be used to supplement the information provided by your Resident Dean and the Handbook for Students.

Current year financial aid

Once your termbill charges have been adjusted, we will adjust your current year aid package to the same percentage you are being charged tuition.

Please be aware that students normally receive a maximum of eight semesters of scholarship assistance. As a result of your leave, you may be a semester short of Harvard scholarship eligibility during your final term enrolled at Harvard.

Should you be unable to meet this financial shortfall, you may petition the Financial Aid Committee during the financial aid application process for your final term to request additional assistance. The petition should include an explanation of your special circumstances and financial needs. Should you have questions concerning your financial aid, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


Termbill charges

If you leave during the academic year, you are charged tuition and the student services fee to the end of the period in which you leave; room rent and board charges are calculated on a daily basis.

If tuition is completely canceled for the term, health fees/insurance will also be canceled in full. Otherwise, you are billed health fees/insurance for the entire term. Room rent charges continue to the day you leave college residence. Full-board charges will continue to the day you submit your identification card and the proper paperwork to your House office or the Freshman Dean’s Office.

See the chart in the Handbook for StudentsStudents’ Financial Obligations in the Event of a Leave of Absence or Requirement to Withdraw.

Partial terms

Normally, you are eligible for eight semesters of financial aid. If you have used a portion of your financial aid eligibility in prior terms, you will need to petition the Financial Aid Committee in the year of your final term to be considered for a full semester’s worth of eligibility.

Outside scholarships

Please let your scholarship donor know that you are taking a leave of absence. It is important that you follow any guidelines given to you by the donor so as not to jeopardize your scholarship in future years.

Pay special attention to any action you need to take when returning to school, as there may be renewal paperwork to complete before the donor will reinstate your scholarship.

Student loans (Harvard, Perkins, and Direct Stafford)

If you leave school and have borrowed at least one student loan, you are required by federal and institutional regulations to go through an Exit Interview.

The Exit Interview is a counseling session that will summarize your borrowing, repayment obligations, and rights and responsibilities as a student loan borrower.  Please contact us to set up your Exit Interview.

Future financial aid and termbills 

If you are planning to return to school, please contact us (by March 1 for the following fall term and by October 1 for the following spring term) for financial aid application materials.

You will be expected to earn the normal summer savings amount towards their next academic year expenses. You should be aware that all loan repayments and/or termbill obligations must be current before any financial aid can be granted. 

You should contact us with any questions or concerns about your return to Harvard. You should also contact your Resident Dean for a termbill worksheet before your return to school.

Returning after five or more years

If you have been away from the College for five or more years, you must petition the Administrative Board for permission to register.

Those planning to return to the College after a period of five or more years will ordinarily not be eligible for scholarship aid from institutional sources. Petitions for readmission after an interval of five or more years must include evidence of financial resources necessary to meet all College expenses.


Dedicated to Affordability

Families with incomes between $65,000 and $150,000 will typically contribute from 0-10% of their income.

Current Student Tip

Check out the new Shoestring Strategies Guide! The Harvard Financial Aid Initiative has just launched a handy mobile app with tips for living on a budget at Harvard College. It is produced entirely by Harvard students, for fellow students. Find the App at the Apple App Store or Android Marketplace (search “Harvard Shoestring”), or online.