Introduction to Financial Aid to New Students
Introduction to Financial Aid to New Students
The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences offers a comprehensive program of financial support, including grants and fellowships from internal and external sources, traineeships, teaching fellowships, research assistantships, other academic employment opportunities, and several types of loans.
For PhD students, Harvard awards full financial support for at least five years, typically for the first four years of study as well as the completion year.
Across the disciplines, students are also encouraged to pursue opportunities to secure grants, fellowships, and other sources of external funding. Writing a winning fellowship or grant proposal is a cornerstone of professional development in the Graduate School, an essential skill that can bolster not only financial stability but academic success.
Overview of Financial Support
The financial aid program at GSAS provides an adequate living stipend and tuition, in order to make graduate school possible for academically qualified applicants.
Awards may include grants for living expenses, tuition, and fees, along with teaching fellowships or research assistantships, which are ordinarily available to second-year students in the natural sciences and to third- and fourth-year students in the humanities and social sciences. Teaching requirements and opportunities vary widely from department to department.
International applicants should seek information at their universities about Fulbright grants and other grants and loans provided by their home governments. International applicants are advised that US visa requirements state that sufficient funds must be available to support the student and all accompanying dependents.
Completion of the Supplemental Data Section of the online application is an important part of applying to the Graduate School, allowing the Office of Financial Aid to coordinate your funding package. This form should be completed whether or not you are applying for financial aid.
Financial support is always subject to a candidate maintaining satisfactory progress towards the degree.
As part of the comprehensive program of support that GSAS offers its students, all applicants for admission are encouraged to apply for fellowships from organizations outside the University. Many GSAS students have achieved distinction as recipients of competitive non-Harvard awards, including the National Science Foundation, the Soros Foundation, the Fulbright Program, and the National Defense Science and Engineering Fellowship Program. Please consult the GSAS Graduate Guide to Grants (www.gsasgrants.fas.harvard.edu) for a sample list of opportunities.
These awards — which represent significant professional achievements — are sponsored by both public and private agencies and often provide multi-year support that is more generous than that offered by the University.
If awarded an external fellowship, students are expected to accept it and inform the Graduate School. The Office of Financial Aid will determine the coordination of the outside award with the Harvard fellowship.
Grant Reference Books
The Graduate School revises and updates the Graduate Guide to Grants, which lists possible sources of support for graduate students. Advice on writing winning proposals can be found in Scholarly Pursuits.
Most libraries and career planning offices include useful publications, such as Grants for Graduate Students. In addition, faculty advisors are often helpful in suggesting funding sources appropriate to an applicant’s particular field of study. We suggest that you plan ahead as many fellowship application deadlines are in the early fall.
Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships (FLAS)
Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowships, funded by Title VI of the Higher Education Act and available to US citizens and permanent residents, support graduate training in modern foreign languages for those who wish to combine world area studies with an academic discipline. Eligible world areas are: East Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. The FLAS application is available on our website and should be submitted separately with academic transcripts and a letter of recommendation to: FLAS Coordinator, Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Holyoke Center 350, 1350 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138. The application deadline is December 31, 2012.
National Science Foundation Fellowships
The National Science Foundation (NSF) offers graduate fellowships through a national competition each year. Awards are made for study leading to master’s or doctoral degrees in the mathematical, physical, biological, and social sciences, and in the history and philosophy of science. Eligibility is limited to individuals who are US citizens, nationals, or permanent residents at the time of application. Contact: (866) 673-4737 from the US and Canada; (202) 331-3542 from international locations.
Ford Foundation Diversity Fellowships
Minority applicants in the humanities and social sciences should seek information here: Ford Foundation Diversity Fellowships, National Research Council, 500 Fifth Street NW, Washington, DC 20001;
National Defense Science and Engineering Fellowships
The National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship Program (NDSEG) is intended for students at or near the beginning of graduate study for doctoral degrees in mathematical, physical, biological, and engineering sciences. It is open to US citizens and nationals of the United States. Contact: National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship Program, American Society for Engineering Education, 1818 N Street NW #600, Washington, DC 20036; (202) 331-3516; ndseg@asee. org.
National Physical Science Consortium Fellowships
The National Physical Science Consortium (NPSC) awards fellowships to US citizens for graduate study at participating NPSC institutions. Contact: NPSC, USC_RAN, 3716 S. Hope, Suite 348, Los Angeles, CA 90007-4344; (800) 854-6772;
Ford Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
A student can borrow up to $20,500 per year from this loan program. Total borrowing under the Ford Federal Direct Loan Program (including both Unsubsidized and Subsidized Ford Federal Direct Loans for both undergraduate and graduate education) cannot exceed $138,500.
Beginning July 1, 2006, the Ford Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan has an annual interest rate of 6.8 percent. The borrower is responsible for interest that accrues while s/he is in school. While a student is in school, grace period, or period of deferment, s/he may make interest payments or request the interest to be accrued.
A one percent loan origination fee will be deducted from the face value of the direct loan, which is required to be disbursed in two equal parts, normally in September and February. Each disbursement equals half the amount borrowed minus loan origination fees.
Direct GradPLUS Loan
Beginning July 1, 2006, graduate students may borrow from the Direct GradPLUS loan program. This loan is unsubsidized, at an interest rate of 7.9 percent, and is credit-based. A 4 percent loan fee will be deducted from the face value of the loan, which will be disbursed in two equal parts, normally in September and February. There are no aggregate limits on this loan, nor is there an annual limit; the limit is determined by the student’s cost of attendance. The application process for this loan is the same as for the Ford Federal Direct and the Perkins. The loan goes into repayment (and begins accumulating interest) 60 days after the second disbursement, but is deferrable throughout attendance of at least half-time study at a post-secondary institution. There is no grace period for this loan.
Federal Perkins Loan
Federal Perkins Loans are available to those who demonstrate the greatest financial need. The maximum loan varies according to need and is generally disbursed in two equal installments. The aggregate loan limit is $60,000 (including undergraduate Federal Perkins Loan borrowing).
The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences participates in a number of non-federal student loan programs. Information may be obtained from the Office of Financial Aid after the student has been admitted. A co-applicant is ordinarily required of non-US citizens.
Federal Work-study Program (FWSP)
The FWSP Program is a federally funded program that provides eligible students with employment opportunities in public and private nonprofit organizations. Work-study eligibility is determined by the Office of Financial Aid.
Free Application for Federal student Aid (FAFSA)
A graduate student must file a FAFSA to apply for a Ford Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, Direct Grad Plus Loan, Federal Perkins Loan, and the Federal Work-Study Program. The FAFSA is available at www.fafsa.ed.gov.
Students who are eligible for veterans benefits need to submit their Certificate of Eligibility (which the student gets from the Department of Veterans Affairs) and a Notice of Student Enrollment to the GSAS Financial Aid Office in order to begin the process of receiving these benefits.
Please visit the GI Bill website and the Harvard Veterans Affairs & Military Education Benefits website for complete information.