Senior Reflections on Financial Resources at Harvard

Category Student Voices


Nadya, HFAI Coordinator
Authored on November 07, 2021


As a high schooler applying to college a little over four years ago, my main priority was finding an affordable institution for my family and me.

Financial access was my biggest concern. I never thought Harvard was a feasible option for me until I learned about Harvard’s robust financial aid program and the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative. What I didn’t know until I committed, however, was that there are supports put in place throughout your college career to make this space more accessible. I wanted to take this opportunity to share some of the supports I have learned about during my time here.

1.    Student Events Fund 
The Student Events Fund, also known as SEF, is a need-based program on campus that subsidizes the cost of events for eligible students. Students are allotted five SEF tickets per semester, and most theatre productions, sports games, dances, and formals on campus are SEF eligible. I have had the chance to go to some amazing programming on campus thanks to SEF (the iconic Harvard-Yale football game and Fall Sufra, a food and cultural festival put on by the Society of Arab Students to name a few) and I am looking forward to taking advantage of the program again now that we are in person!

2.    The Beneficiary Aid Program 
The Beneficiary Aid Program provides additional financial support for students on financial aid for medical and dental emergencies during the term. This funding is in place for expenses that are often burdensome, unforeseen, and will pose a significant financial hardship. The fund covers a range of procedures, from broken glasses and lost contact lenses to certain medical procedures. This fund is extremely helpful for those situations when an unexpected expense comes up during the school year. 

    3.    First-Year Outside Award Computer Reimbursement 
First-years on Harvard financial aid with outside scholarship awards may be eligible to use up to $1,500 of their outside award, after meeting their term-time work expectation, to purchase needed technology for the start of their college career. This program is extremely helpful at the beginning of your first year when buying a computer is top of mind. This is something that I wish I had taken advantage of as an incoming first-year student!

There are several other financial support opportunities at Harvard, like the Winter Coat Fund and First-Year Start-Up Grant that my fellow HFAI student coordinator Carter Martindale has outlined in his post on additional resources at Harvard. I would highly recommend checking it out here! But these resources, and others, have been an extremely valuable support for me throughout this experience, and continue to enrich my college experience.