GSAS uses a tiered tuition structure which reduces tuition over time as students progress through their degree programs. The GSAS Office of Admissions and Financial Aid publishes Financing Graduate Study, which is designed to familiarize students with the various forms of available financial support. It includes guides to help with multi-year planning and an overview of important financial aid policies and procedures.

Funding for PhD Students

Standard Funding Package

Harvard guarantees full financial support to PhD students—including tuition, health fees, and basic living expenses—for five years (typically the first four years of study and the completion year). This multi-year funding package includes a combination of tuition grants, stipends, traineeships, teaching fellowships, research assistantships, and other academic appointments. In addition, GSAS students are particularly successful in securing grants, fellowships, and other sources of external funding as part of their professional development.

The standard funding package includes:

  • Grant toward tuition and fees—paid in full for years 1 through 4, plus the dissertation completion year
  • Living expense stipend during years 1 and 2
  • A combination of stipend, teaching fellowships, and/or research assistantships during years 3 and 4
  • If noted in your Notice of Financial Support, summer research funding following the first four academic years from GSAS or faculty grants
  • Up to $2,500 of support for professional development (students entering in 2015 or later)
  • Stipend and/or research support during the completion year.

In some programs, the timing and structure of living expense support may vary from this pattern. For example, students in the sciences typically receive funding until they complete their degrees.

Special Note Concerning US Income Taxes

Any grant or stipend amount awarded in excess of tuition, required fees, books, and supplies is subject to federal income tax, as is any funding contingent upon providing service to the University (for example, teaching fellowships or research assistantships). Income taxes are not ordinarily withheld from stipend payments; be sure to incorporate this tax obligation into your financial planning. The US Internal Revenue Service maintains a useful interactive tax planning tool that may help.

Funding for Master’s Students

Because master’s programs are not fully funded, prospective students should be prepared to contribute significantly towards their educational expenses. A limited amount of grant support and research funding is available from GSAS master's programs. In addition, students have access to loans and employment opportunities, as detailed in the following section.

Other Sources of Funding

Student Loans

Federal and private student loans are available to those who meet lender eligibility requirements. The Federal Perkins Loan, the Ford Federal Direct Student Loan, and the Federal Direct PLUS Loan are available to US citizens and permanent residents who demonstrate unmet need towards meeting the cost of attending graduate school.

For those unable to utilize the federal loan programs, Harvard University has compiled information about private loan programs available for both US citizens and international students.

Veteran’s Benefits

Harvard University extends a special welcome to those students who are veterans of the US armed forces. Students who are eligible for veteran and military benefits should procure a Certificate of Eligibility from the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs. Once the GSAS Office of Admissions and Financial Aid has received your Certificate of Eligibility and Notice of Student Enrollment forms, we will work with the VA to activate your educational benefits.

Additional Opportunities

Dudley House Fellows

Dudley House fellows organize intellectual, cultural, athletic, and social activities at Dudley House, the graduate student center. Fellows work closely with the faculty deans, house administrator, GSAS administrators, and each other to engender a sense of community and enrich graduate student life.

Fellows receive up to 10 meals per week in the Dudley House dining hall, guaranteed housing in a GSAS residence hall if they wish to live in one, and a $3,000 stipend. Assistant fellows may receive a small stipend as compensation. Applications for Dudley fellow positions are available in January for the following academic year. For additional information, e-mail Susan Zawalich, Dudley House administrator, or call 617-495-2255.

Graders

Some courses use graders to help evaluate student work, including exams and weekly problem sets. A grader is paid at an appropriate fraction of a TF salary. The Harvard College Office of Undergraduate Education approves grading appointments.

Part-Time Teaching outside Harvard

Graduate students interested in locating part-time teaching opportunities outside Harvard should consult with their department chair, advisor, or staff at the Office of Career Services or the Student Employment Office.

Proctoring for Exams and at Fall Term Registration

Graduate students interested in proctoring should e-mail the Office of the Registrar or call 617-495-1542. Proctoring opportunities are also available at Harvard Law School; contact Michelle Pessinis at the Harvard Law School Registrar’s Office for more information (617-495-1707).

The Harvard Extension School

The Harvard Extension School hires a small number of graduate students as support teaching staff. Consult the course catalog for information on courses offered. Individual faculty members are responsible for recruiting and supervising support staff. For additional information regarding eligible courses, e-mail Mark Lax or call 617-495-4867.

Harvard Divinity School Summer Language Program

Positions for teaching assistants in Arabic, French, German, Hebrew, Latin, or Spanish translation may be available through the Harvard Divinity School’s Summer Language Program. For information, e-mail Karin Grundler-Whitacre, director of the HDS Summer Language Program, or call the Office for Faculty and Academic Affairs at 617-384-6598.

Research Assistants

Several departments, especially those engaged in government-funded research projects, employ students as research assistants. Graduate students interested in such employment should contact their departments.

Resident Positions: Resident Advisors, Freshman Proctors, and House Tutors

Resident Advisors

Resident advisors (RAs) are 16 graduate student members of the GSAS Office of Student Affairs team who live on each floor of the four GSAS residence halls. RAs help students adjust to the Harvard community, aid in emergency situations, and serve as liaisons with the GSAS administration. Applicants must be degree candidates in good academic standing and must have lived for at least one term in a GSAS residence hall. Compensation includes a free room and a weekday lunch and dinner meal contract at Dudley House.

Applications for RA positions are available in January for the upcoming academic year. For information, e-mail Ashley Skipwith, director of residential life, or call 617-495-5060.

Freshman Proctors

Freshman proctors provide guidance for first-year students in all aspects of their exploration of Harvard. They live in the freshman dormitories and are members of the College staff with whom first-year students have the most contact. The proctor application deadline is rolling; however priority is given to candidates who apply by early January.

Resident Tutors

Resident tutors are members of the undergraduate Houses and play a vital role in the residential and educational life of undergraduates. The priority deadline to apply to be a resident tutor is typically the last day in January. Houses also appoint several nonresident tutors, who usually receive some meals and an opportunity to participate in House life in exchange for various duties.

The GSAS Office of Admissions and Financial Aid assume earnings of $10,830 in-kind compensation for ten-month resident tutorships and an additional $850 for the summer.

Student Employment

For those students with unmet financial need, part-time employment may be an attractive opportunity to help defray costs. The Harvard University Student Employment Office maintains listings of opening both on- or off-campus.

GSAS participates in the Federal Work-Study program, a program available to eligible US citizens and permanent residents that subsidizes the wages of students working in non-profit settings. The program enables employers to fill part-time positions at reduced cost, thereby increasing employment prospects for federal work-study participants. Students apply for federal work-study via the GSAS Office of Admissions and Financial Aid; once eligibility has been established, students may begin the search for an appropriate job opportunity.

Federal Student Aid for US Citizens and Permanent Residents

The US Department of Education offers several aid programs for graduate students who are US citizens or permanent residents. Details about these programs are listed below and on the US Department of Education Federal Student Aid website.

Students interested in federal student aid should do the following:

  • Contact the GSAS Office of Admissions and Financial Aid to request a GSAS Federal Aid Application Packet. This packet contains information that will help guide the student through the application process and assist GSAS in promptly determining federal aid eligibility.
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The GSAS FAFSA School Code is E00470.
  • First-time borrowers to any federal loan program will be required to complete a Master Promissory Note and participate in Loan Entrance Counseling prior to the first disbursement of their loans.

Given the multiple parties involved in awarding federal aid, it is best to begin the process well in advance of when the funds will be needed. This is especially important for students in traveling scholar status, since it is more challenging to complete the application process from overseas.

Students should be aware that providing false or misleading information when applying for federal student aid can result in either a fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment for up to five years, or both. Please be aware that if a student is suspected to have misreported information or altered documentation to fraudulently obtain federal funds, the University is legally obligated to report the student to the Office of Inspector General at the US Department of Education.

William D. Ford Federal Direct Student Loan Program: Direct Unsubsidized Loan

  • Eligible students may borrow up $20,500 per year, with a lifetime borrowing limit of $138,500 (including any Federal Direct Loans for both undergraduate and graduate education)
  • Fixed interest rate (5.31% for loans made in 2016–2017)
  • Interest accrual begins immediately and continues to accrue until the loan is repaid; borrowers may elect to make interest payments while enrolled or have the accruing interest added to the outstanding loan balance.
  • A loan origination fee will be deducted from the face value of the loan (currently 1.068% to 1.069%).
  • The loan is disbursed in two equal parts, typically once per semester.
  • Repayment begins six months after graduation or dropping below half-time enrollment.
  • See the Federal Student Aid website for more details.

William D. Ford Federal Direct Student Loan Program: Direct Grad Plus Loan

  • The annual limit is determined by the student’s cost of attendance, with no aggregate limits.
  • Fixed interest rate (6.31% for loans made in 2016–2017)
  • *Interest accrual begins immediately and continues to accrue until the loan is repaid; borrowers may elect to make interest payments while enrolled or have the accruing interest added to the outstanding loan balance.
  • A loan origination fee will be deducted from the face value of the loan (currently 4.272% to 4.276%).
  • The loan is disbursed in two equal parts, typically once per semester.
  • Repayment begins six months after graduation or dropping below half-time enrollment.
  • Applicants must pass a credit check in order to borrow under the Grad PLUS program.
  • See the Federal Student Aid website for more details.

Federal Perkins Loan

The Federal Perkins Loan program is being phased out. Current students who received Perkins Loans from GSAS prior to October 1, 2015, may still be eligible for additional borrowing; contact your financial aid officer for details.

Federal Work-Study

Federal Work-Study is an employment program that subsidizes the wages of students working in nonprofit settings. The program enables employers to fill part-time positions at reduced cost, thereby increasing employment prospects for federal work-study participants. Students apply for federal work-study via the GSAS Office of Admissions and Financial Aid; once eligibility has been established, students may begin the search for an appropriate job.

Typical work-study jobs include on-campus employment such as research assistant, laboratory assistant, library aide, and clerical assistant; students may want to explore the possibility of working in their academic departments. Off-campus employment is ordinarily with public or private nonprofit organizations whose work performance requirements are not political or sectarian in nature. Typical work settings include hospitals, public schools, youth centers, day care centers, community development centers, consumer affairs agencies, and city and state agencies. Under certain conditions off-campus employment can be arranged in business and industry at a reduced wage subsidy.

Upon review of the federal student aid application materials listed above, work-study eligible students are given a work-study earnings ceiling; students who exceed this earnings cap may have to relinquish other funding due to federal regulations concerning over-awards.

Once students have been notified of their Federal Work-Study eligibility, they are free to begin job searches. The Harvard University Student Employment Office maintains a database of open positions and may be a valuable resource. To complete the awarding process, students who have secured work-study jobs complete a Federal Work-Study Referral Form.

Important Policies and Procedures Concerning Federal Student Aid

Free Application for Federal Student Aid

US citizens and permanent residents applying for federal student aid are required to file the US Department of Education’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). As part of the FAFSA filing process, students need to authorize that their information be forwarded to the GSAS Office of Admissions and Financial Aid. Please note that there are multiple school options listed for Harvard University. GSAS students must select E00470 – “Harvard Univ Grad S of Arts & Scien”.

Students can streamline the FAFSA filing process by filing their tax returns to the IRS at least two weeks prior to filling out the FAFSA. By doing this, students can elect to have tax return data automatically transferred into the corresponding data fields on the FAFSA.

As part of the FAFSA filing process, the US Department of Education will match student information to the National Student Loan Data System to verify that the applicant is in good standing with respect to any prior federal aid received.

Satisfactory Progress

Government regulations require that students be registered and making satisfactory academic progress to be eligible for federal student aid (also referred to as federal “Title IV” programs). GSAS satisfactory progress guidelines may be obtained from each academic department and are published in the GSAS Student Handbook. Please note that students in Grace or Unsatisfactory progress are not eligible for Federal Title IV aid.

Satisfactory academic progress standards for federal student aid is based on a combination of both qualitative academic progress determined by the department and quantitative time to degree standards. Because GSAS policy states that students in PhD programs ordinarily will not be permitted to register beyond their tenth year, students registered past the G10 year are not eligible for federal student aid.

US Department of Education Refund Policy for Federal Loan Programs

Federal regulations require that students receiving federal loan assistance toward tuition, fees, and living expenses must refund aid received to the Department of Education in the event that the student fails to register for the period of enrollment for which they were charged and aid was awarded or; the student withdraws, drops out, takes an unapproved leave of absence, fails to return from an approved leave of absence, is expelled, or otherwise fails to complete the period of enrollment for which they were charged and aid was awarded.

This refund must be allocated in the following order:

  1. Federal Direct Graduate Plus Loan
  2. Ford Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
  3. Federal Perkins Loan*

*If a student meets one of the refund conditions and has received a Federal Perkins Loan solely for living expenses, then repayment may be required.

University Tuition Refund Policy for Students Who Withdraw

Registered students who formally withdraw from GSAS and are not subject to the Active File Fee are charged tuition according to the following schedule:

Fall 2016 – Students withdrawing on or before 
October 1: ¼ tuition for the term
November 8: ½ tuition for the term
December 16: ¾ tuition for the term
After December 16: Full Tuition

Spring 2017 – Students withdrawing on or before
February 23: ¼ tuition for the term
March 25: ½ tuition for the term
April 25: ¾ tuition for the term
After April 25: Full Tuition

Please note that the Active File Fee is not prorated.

Office of the Ombudsman

The US Department of Education Office of Federal Student Aid has an Ombudsman available to work with student loan borrowers to informally resolve loan disputes and problems involving Direct Loans, Federal Family Education Loans, Guaranteed Student Loans, SLS Loans, and Perkins Loans. For additional information visit the federal student aid at or call 877-557-2575.

Students are encouraged to contact their financial aid officers with questions about federal student aid or any of these related policies.

Consumer Information

In accordance with Federal Consumer Information regulations the following information is available to current and prospective students at GSAS. Additional basic consumer information can be found at University Student Financial Services.

Financial Aid Staff

Admissions and Financial Aid, Humanities

Missing Headshot
Heather Jacques
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Bob LaPointe
Assistant Director of Financial Aid and Senior Admissions Officer, Humanities
Lisa Simpson
Lisa Simpson
Senior Admissions and Financial Aid Officer, Humanities
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Jake Gray
Staff Assistant

Admissions and Financial Aid, Natural Sciences

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Judy Mehrmann
Assistant Director of Financial Aid and Senior Admissions Officer, Natural Sciences
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Tracey Newman
Senior Admissions and Financial Aid Officer
Missing Headshot
Efe Agho
Staff Assistant
Crystalle Papa U
Crystalle Papa U
Staff Assistant

Admissions and Financial Aid, Social Sciences

Emily Burns
Emily Burns
Assistant Director of Financial Aid and Senior Admissions Officer, Social Sciences
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Alison Van Volkenburgh
Senior Admissions and Financial Aid Officer
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Alex Kent
Senior Admissions and Financial Aid Officer & Manager of the Special Students and Visiting Fellows Program
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Caitlin Cuccia
Staff Assistant
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Jillian Deibold
Staff Assistant
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Karen Lounsbury
Staff Assistant