Harvard University does not offer merit-based scholarships or athletics scholarships to undergraduate applicants. The only financial aid that Harvard University grants is need-based. Therefore, it is important to carefully gather your and your family's financial information and submit it along with your application for admissions, carefully following the instructions in the financial aide application. However, in addition to the tuition reduction that Harvard will allot based on the applicant's need, it is also possible to apply directly for scholarships from various organizations. In order to do so, you must research the opportunities available based on your residence and your academic, athletic and leadership achievements.

Submit the Financial Aid Application

Collect all the financial information from your parents.

Complete your financial profile on collegeboard.com and designate Harvard as one of the recipients by using the CSS code of 3434.

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Once you have filed your CSS profile form, you will receive communication from the College Board's Institutional Documentation Service providing you with instructions on how to submit your federal tax forms and any other supplemental forms that might be required.

If you, your parents or other siblings are beneficiaries of an estate or trust, submit the appropriate schedule K-1 of Form 1041 or Form 4970, along with the other parent tax returns, to the College Board's IDOC Service.

If you worked and have filed a tax return for the previous year, send that information to College Board's IDOC Service as well.

File the FAFSA form at fafsa.ed.gov. Designate Harvard as one of your recipients by using “Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138.” Harvard's federal code number is E00468.

Even if you do not have all the financial information available to you, complete the application with as much information as possible and send the remaining documents when you have them.

Keep photocopies of all the documents that you send for your own records.

Explore Other Scholarship Opportunities

Schedule a meeting with your high school guidance counselor or college counselor to discuss what scholarship opportunities might be available to students in your region.

Write down a list of your academic, athletic and leadership achievements and focus on what makes you unique among your peers. Bring this list to your meeting with your counselor.

Browse the collegboard.com website to research legitimate scholarship opportunities. Taylor your search and narrow down your list of possible scholarships. Apply only to those scholarships that are relevant to you. For example, don't apply for the Siemens Competition scholarship if you do not have outstanding grades in mathematics and science.

Create a spreadsheet to contain a master list of all the scholarships that you and your guidance counselor agreed would be a good fit for you. In separate columns include the application due date and requirements such as letters of recommendation for each scholarship.

Apply to the scholarships following the unique directions for each scholarship precisely. Be sure to include all the requested information (transcripts, letters of recommendation, your parents' financial statements, etc.)


Applying for financial does not jeopardize a student's chances of being accepted to Harvard University. Financial aid is need-based and admissions are need-blind.

Admitted students will receive information about their financial aid award along with their admission notification at the beginning of April.

Your choice in whether to submit your financial aid application to Harvard online or in paper form will not impact in any way your financial aid award.

Harvard University guarantees that each student's demonstrated financial need will be fully met with a combination of jobs and scholarship assistance.

If your parents are divorced, use the financial information for the custodial parents.


Be aware of scholarship scams, many of which claim that "millions of dollars of unused money in private funds goes unused every year." In fact, nearly all available financial aid comes from the federal government or from individual colleges.

Applying for financial aid is different for students who are not citizens of the United States or Canada. Please follow the specific instructions that Harvard University provides for foreign citizens on its website.

About the Author

Based in New York City, Irina Paley has been writing education-related articles since 1999. Her articles have appeared in "AACE" and "Comparative Education." Paley received a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering from Columbia University in 2002, and a Master of Arts degree in instructional technology from Teacher's College in 2005. She is currently working toward a PhD in cognitive psychology.