Harvard University Scholarships for International Students

Harvard University is synonymous with its reputation for being one of the best universities in the world and is a major part of the Ivy League of universities of the United States. With its history dating back to 1636, Harvard University is also the oldest institution of higher education based in the town of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Currently, the university has a student population of more than 20,000.

Harvard has an academic composition of 10 main faculties of study for undergraduate and graduate-level students, spread across 3 main campuses. With its academic prestige, any student can expect that finances and funding for the university are extremely high. However, Harvard has the largest financial endowment of any institution of higher education in the country; as such, this helps the university to offer to fund to the larger majority of students and provide generous financial aid. In this article, we provide information regarding the numerous scholarships for international students at Harvard University.

How much does it cost to study at Harvard University?

For the last academic year, the total cost of attendance for attending Harvard University as an undergraduate without financial aid is $72,391 which includes tuition fees, room, boarding and other living expenses. However, note that most students do get Harvard University scholarships and the total cost is very much lower than this.

To learn more about tuition fees at Harvard University, click here.

Does Harvard University offer free tuition for its students?

Free tuition is offered only in select cases depending on the financial background of the applicant and the applicant’s family. Outstanding applicants who typically come from a family with less than $65,000 of income on an annual basis tend to be offered full scholarships covering tuition and living expenses. Further information for financial aid in this form can be found here.

See Also: Public Universities in Massachusetts

Is the Harvard University admissions process need-blind for its applicants?

Yes, Harvard University offers a need-blind admissions process so a student’s financial need/ aid application will not affect the decision-making process. Financial awards are offered on a need-based basis and not merit-based (aside from certain exceptions). Additionally, Harvard offers the same financial aid policy as international students.

Harvard University Scholarships for International Students

Undergraduate Scholarships

In the case of undergraduate students, Harvard University scholarships typically consist of a combination of scholarship packages, grants, external awards as well as student employment. Additionally, students also have access to student loans (non-federal for international students) for families that are interested.

It is essential that international students understand that Harvard offers a need-blind admissions process and also considers all students for financial aid and scholarships regardless of citizenship. The admissions department will work closely with the applicant’s family to understand the need of aid and the applicant’s family’s expected contribution. As a result of every student’s application being different, the actual amount of the scholarship will differ. A rough approximation can be received by using the Net Price Calculator on the Harvard Website.

Students who come from a family earning less than $65,000 are entitled to zero contribution and 100% funding through Harvard University scholarships. Families earning between $65,000-150,000 contribute up to 10% of their income to the university funding. Finally, student’s families earning more than $150,000 will receive funding proportional to their situation.

Student employment is an added option through which students earn their own personal expenses and contribute back to their program of study. Assistance is provided by the student employment office which maintains a database of viable employment opportunities for all students (undergraduate and postgraduate) regardless of financial status. On campus, students can also work with faculty members as research assistants, become a student ambassador or externally work as a babysitter or a high school mentor. Further information can be found in this page.

Finally, loans are a type of financial aid that is not typically recommended for students but is still available in various forms. While most students graduate from Harvard debt-free, certain students do have access to particular loans. In the case of international students, the university offers the Harvard Loan scheme irrespective of citizenship or federal aid legibility. Additionally, parental loans are an alternative option offered to student’s families who chose to spread the cost of education across several years. Further information is available under the loan section of this page.

Postgraduate Scholarships

Harvard University includes a variety of professional graduate schools. Each of these schools operate their autonomous funding processes but have several common features which shall be summarised.

In the case of all PhD programs (subject to specific differences so please ensure to check with the relevant department), guaranteed funding is available for the first 5 years of a PhD program. Full financial support is granted for PhD students, including tuition, health fees as well as basic living expenses through Harvard PhD scholarships. Financial support for PhD students includes a combination of tuition grants, fellowships, teaching assistantships, research assistantships, stipends as well as other funding appointments. Once again, this will depend on the nature of the department to which the student is applying to but prospective students are encouraged to check the PhD Funding page out for further information.

On the other hand, prospective postgraduate Masters students have limited financial aid and funding options but there are still various opportunities to be funded. Students are encouraged to look into their perspective department and consider options such as applying for fellowships and independent grants if they require financial assistance. Additionally, various employment opportunities such as Research Assistantships and Teaching Assistantships can be considered as well.

See Also: Columbia University Scholarships for International Students

Scholarship Application Process

Undergraduate Funding

In the case of undergraduate students, the financial aid application is a common application form to all students irrespective of citizenship or nationality. Students are mainly required to submit a CSS profile and an IDOC packet to apply for Harvard Universit scholarships.

The CSS profile includes a declaration of the applicant’s family’s financial background and tax returns. International students should be sure to declare an income tax document from their home country along with this application. The IDOC packet is a compilation of additional financial documents including the previously mentioned income tax forms, trust/estate documents and any relevant financial documents.

Undergraduate financial aid funding operates under 3 main deadlines.

  • Early action – November
  • Regular decision – January

For further information regarding the application process of funding, please refer to the ‘Apply for Financial Aid’ page for prospective students.

Postgraduate Funding

The application process for financial aid will depend on the specific graduate school to which the applicant is applying for. In the case of the majority of PhD programs, students are automatically guaranteed Harvard University scholarships and allocated with fellowships and stipends along with their application to the program.

In the event of applying for research assistantships and teaching assistantships, students are encouraged to liaise directly with their department for such opportunities and contact faculty members immediately upon their matriculation to apply for these positions.

In the case of Masters students, numerous funding options remain available but these will also depend on the department and operate by their own processes. Students are encouraged to enquire their departments about funding opportunities.


I hope that this article was helpful. If you are interested, visit the USA Scholarships Page!