Getting into any college is a major achievement for high school students everywhere and is something about which you should be very proud. Beyond that, getting accepted to an Ivy League school such as Harvard is something that only very few high school students can say they've done. In fact, according to Boston.com, in 2018, Harvard only accepted 1,962 applicants out of the 42,749 who applied. This was only a 4.59 percent acceptance rate, the lowest in the school's history.
There's no question, then, that Harvard is a very competitive school. If you get into Harvard, that's an amazing accomplishment. However, due to the school's high tuition costs, admitted students might worry about how they are going to pay for school. Luckily, Harvard puts a huge emphasis on affordability, and despite the costs, they want to make college accessible to all the hard-working students who have been accepted. Therefore, Harvard scholarships are not hard to come by, especially for those who truly need assistance.
How Much Is Harvard?
The United States has some of the highest college tuition rates in the world. While Ivy League schools are not necessarily considered the most expensive in the U.S., they still cost a pretty penny to attend. Admitted students, whether they be from the U.S. or abroad, will need to pay what they can.
According to the Harvard University website, the cost of tuition for the 2018-2019 school year was $46,340. This is not including extra fees, which can be another $20,000. Harvard is no doubt an expensive school to attend, but no student should have to forgo their acceptance because of the cost. There are options to ease and even erase the financial burden on students and their families.
How to Get a Full Ride to Harvard
The first option for paying for your tuition to Harvard is by earning yourself a full ride. A full ride is when the cost of attendance is completely covered by the university. In general, if you have excellent grades, demonstrate strong athletic abilities or you have a background or story that makes you stand out in the eyes of admissions, then you might be granted a full ride to the school you wish to attend.
Unfortunately, most students who apply to Harvard probably already have at least one of these qualifications because if they didn't, they wouldn't have gotten into the school in the first place. However, there's another way to get a full ride and that's based on your individual family's financial need. In fact, Ivy League schools like Harvard have among the most generous financial aid programs out there.
According to Harvard University's website, households that make a combined income of less than $65,000 a year are not expected to pay any contribution to Harvard. This is great news for families that already may be struggling financially or simply do not have the means to pay for their child's Harvard tuition. This accounts for about 20 percent of students who attend the school. Families that make between $65,000 and $150,000 annually will only contribute between 0 percent and 10 percent of their income depending on the circumstances.
What Scholarships Does Harvard Offer?
If you do not fall within the bracket to receive a full ride or heavily subsidized aid package from Harvard, there are still other ways to afford tuition. According to Harvard University's website, 70 percent of students receive some form of financial aid, and these scholarships and packages do not require students to take out loans. The scholarships come from a combination of alumni donations, endowment funds and federal and state grants.
First, Harvard will evaluate the amount of money you can pay by looking at your parent contribution, employment and outside awards. Once they have determined your need, then they can decide if you're eligible for a scholarship and for how much. These scholarship solutions should cover any remaining need, and Harvard strives to completely cover a student's cost of attendance if applicable.
To achieve this, Harvard offers several of their own scholarships, such as the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Scholarship and the Gilbert Grant, which is offered to residents of the state of Massachusetts. Otherwise, students can apply for federal student aid to potentially earn a Pell Grant and/or a Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, which can also cover the remaining need.
Where to Apply for Harvard Scholarships and Grants
It's important to understand that even though Harvard wants to help as many students as possible in paying for their cost of attendance, you must help Harvard help you. They can only grant scholarships and other types of aid if you actually provide them with the information they need to make their decision. This starts by knowing where to apply for these scholarships and grants.
You can apply for financial aid from Harvard by visiting the Harvard University website at college.harvard.edu. On the home screen, click on the "Financial Aid" tab at the top. You will be taken to a new page. Then, on the navigation bar on the left side of the page, click "Applying for Aid."
On this page, you will see several links such as "Contact Us," on which you can click if you have additional questions before applying, and "Start your financial aid application." This is where you start your scholarship-seeking journey at Harvard.
How to Apply for Scholarships at Harvard University
Once you know where to go to begin your scholarship and financial aid application, it's time to start filling out the forms. Before you even start your application, it's important to be aware of the deadlines for completing these forms so you can finish them on time:
- Early action: November 1
- Regular action: February 1
- Transfer: March 1
When filling out the applications, make sure you have the correct paperwork ready to go. The requirements will differ for each portion of the application, but in general, you will need:
- Copies of your parents' tax returns
- Proof of income if you work
- Copies of your identification
Follow all the steps one by one, and contact the school or the federal student aid office if you run into any problems and need assistance.
Other Places to Look for Scholarships
Even though Harvard does its best to help every student with financial need, they only offer this assistance after seeing what you are able to afford in the meantime. One of the factors they look at to make this determination is whether or not you've earned any outside awards and for how much. Once they see that amount and for how long it will cover you, they can then administer the remaining money that you need. Therefore, you should pursue outside scholarships first.
Harvard offers extensive resources for where you can go to seek outside awards. On the Harvard University website, there is a list of various websites where you can search for scholarships, including CollegeScholarships.com, Fastweb!, CollegeScholarships.org and UNIGO.
- Harvard University: Scholarships & Grants
- Harvard University: Completing Your Application for Aid
- Harvard University: Scholarships and Grants from Outside Harvard
- Harvard University: Types of Aid
- PrepScholar: How to Get a Full Ride Scholarship: 5 Key Tips
- Harvard University: Fact Sheet
- Boston.com: Harvard’s Acceptance Rate Hit an All-Time Low This Year
Hana LaRock is a freelance content writer from New York, currently living in Mexico. She has spent the last 5 years traveling the world and living abroad and has lived in South Korea and Israel. Before becoming a writer, Hana worked as a teacher for several years in the U.S. and around the world. She has her teaching certification in Elementary Education and Special Education, as well as a TESOL certification. Hana spent a semester studying abroad at Tel Aviv University during her undergraduate years at the University of Hartford. She hopes to use her experience to help inform others. Please visit her website, www.hanalarockwriting.com, to learn more.