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Financial Aid

Bringing the best and brightest young scholars to campus and helping them thrive—no matter their backgrounds—is the foundation of Harvard’s excellence.

Our undergraduates come to Harvard from around the globe, from as many lives and places and economic circumstances as one could imagine, and for a multitude of reasons. What they have in common is the talent and desire to make a difference in the world—and, because of their Harvard experience, they do make a difference.

Financial aid enabled Gresa Matoshi ’13 (left) to attend Harvard.

Financial aid enabled Gresa Matoshi ’13 (left) to attend Harvard.

Harvard’s industry-leading financial aid program makes it possible. Our undergraduates come from all 50 states and more than 80 countries; from cities, suburbs, small towns, and farms; from every ethnic and religious background; and from across the economic spectrum. Whether our talented applicants come from Minnesota or Kenya, whether they have a passion for computer science or poetry, their place in Harvard’s classrooms should be and is determined on merit alone.

Our financial aid program encourages students who would otherwise never consider Harvard to see the College as a real option and to apply. Once a student is admitted, cost of attendance is never a barrier.

The Harvard Campaign for Arts and Sciences must ensure that Harvard remains within the reach of every extraordinary student, through the need-based financial aid program that is an expression of our community’s most enduring values. Investing in financial aid through this campaign moves the entire Harvard community forward by supporting the excellence of our student body and fostering a rich and dynamic learning environment. Harvard’s future—as a source of discovery, of ideas, of leadership—depends on it.

By the Numbers Since 2008, the expansion of Harvard's financial aid program has tripled the unrestricted budget for financial aid

Financial Aid

For all of our students, the financial aid program means four years of the most amazing classmates imaginable. Our students draw upon their varied life experiences and distinctive talents to challenge one another to question deeply, reason carefully, debate respectfully, and respond creatively—the hallmarks of a liberal arts education. It’s a lifelong community, one that extends far beyond graduation and frequently inspires alumni to give back so that future students can experience it for themselves.

Financial aid at Harvard is a partnership between generations. All students work incredibly hard to come to Harvard. Young scholars arrive in the Yard with abundant ability and promise; the financial aid program—through the generous gifts of alumni and friends—ensures that these students have the resources they need to succeed. Harvard believes it is critically important that every student share in the financial responsibility for his or her education through term-time and summer earnings. Robust support for financial aid enables students to meet this obligation in a way that complements, rather than competes with, their academic responsibilities.

In the absence of heavy financial burdens, our students have the freedom to explore the endless avenues for intellectual and personal growth available at Harvard. They form start-ups, conduct research abroad, create new art, prepare for graduate school, and consider varied career paths. Without big debts looming after graduation, students are able to reenvision what is possible, follow their passions, and take greater risks.

If it hadn’t been for alumni support, I wouldn’t be here.

— David Su ’14

Through financial aid, alumni and friends extend the transformational opportunity of a Harvard education to future scholars, who will do the same for those who follow them. Supporters of financial aid ensure that all students are empowered to achieve their promise as individuals and that they leave Harvard ready to make a difference in the world. The collective impact of these partnerships is immeasurable.

Harvard has already made bold investments of discretionary resources to support its commitment to need-blind admissions and need-based financial aid. In the 2013–2014 academic year alone, Harvard allocated more than $182 million for financial aid, approximately 41 percent of which will be covered by unrestricted funds. It will take significant financial support to ensure that the gates of Harvard Yard remain wide open to students of exceptional ability and promise. We must guarantee that Harvard’s financial aid program and the community it creates will endure for future generations.

Together, we can create a legacy that will make a difference in the lives of young scholars and their families for generations to come. An investment in financial aid is guaranteed to yield immense returns to our students, to our university, and to a rapidly changing world in need of determined new leaders with bold ideas.

Priority Stories

Tessa Wiegand '15 May 22, 2015

Relishing Diversity

For Tessa Wiegand ’15, financial aid makes Harvard a richer college experience.
Maja Shabangu '14 May 22, 2015

A Lifetime Opportunity

Financial aid has helped Maja Shabangu '14 to give back and make the world a better place.
Ken Griffin ’89 Oct 10, 2014

Financial Aid Office Renamed

Recent gift from Ken Griffin ’89 supports need-based aid for undergraduates.
Jesse Sanchez ’14 Apr 18, 2014

Celebrating Scholarships

The effects of the Financial Aid Initiative reach far beyond Harvard Yard.

Giving Opportunities

When you choose to support Financial Aid, your gift ensures that affordability is never a barrier to any admitted student in choosing a Harvard education.

  • Keystone Undergraduate Scholarships

    Keystone Undergraduate Scholarships

    Keystone undergraduate scholarships support a cohort of four or more students each year.

  • Foundational Undergraduate Scholarships

    Foundational Undergraduate Scholarships

    Foundational undergraduate scholarships support one or more students annually.

  • Gateway Financial Aid Funds

    Gateway Financial Aid Funds

    Gateway financial aid funds provide broad support for Harvard’s financial aid program.

Contact us for more ways to get involved


Harvard Alumni Affairs and Development
124 Mount Auburn Street
Cambridge, MA 02138