Our goal in admissions and financial aid is clear: We want to bring the best people to Harvard, regardless of their ability to pay — and we do. About 70 percent of our students receive some form of aid, with over 60 percent receiving need–based scholarships.
In the past decade we have increased financial aid for low and middle income families by over 180%, and in 2011-12 we will award $166M in need-based grant assistance. No contribution is expected from parents with incomes under $65,000. Beginning with the class of 2016, those parents with annual incomes between $65,000 and $150,000 are asked to contribute from zero to ten percent of their income. Some families with incomes above $150,000 still qualify for aid. Families at all incomes who have significant assets will continue to pay more than those in less fortunate circumstances. Students are also asked to contribute to the cost of their education through term-time and summer work.
Our experienced staff members are available year–round to speak with families encountering financial difficulty. The Committee on Financial Aid meets regularly to consider appeals for award reconsiderations based on adverse changes in family financial circumstances.
Families with higher incomes facing unusual financial challenges may also qualify for need–based scholarship assistance, yet those with significant assets at all income levels are asked to contribute proportionately more. Home equity and retirement assets are not considered in our assessment of an expected parent contribution.
Our financial aid program includes an array of financing options beyond our need–based scholarship program, such as a parent monthly payment plan, various loan programs and the opportunity to pre–pay tuition for four years at a student's freshman year rate.
There are also other forms of financial assistance such as the Faculty Aide Program, the Harvard College Research Program and the Dean's Summer Research Program that enable students to create paid partnerships with faculty members on academic projects of mutual interest. Over two-thirds of Harvard students choose to work during their time in Cambridge and gain valuable job experience working in a wide array of University settings, including our libraries, dining halls, museums and academic departments.
We hope you will visit the Financial Aid Office web site for a fuller description of our comprehensive program of financial assistance, including a Net Price Calculator which will provide you with an individualized estimate of your eligibility for aid.