Harvard financial aid helps 70% of students there

mortarboard and diplomaA Forbes story makes it painfully clear that getting into Harvard University is a feat that only the most dedicated students can achieve. Tips for getting into Harvard include things like reading a top list of books for college admission, getting college counseling, taking expensive SAT Prep courses, and, if your child is a legacy, forking over some serious dough if you can't get Harvard financial aid.

With all that said, it just so happens that many students get accepted into Harvard every year who have not jumped through those hoops and are qualified due to plain old academic talent. It's a good thing, too, because most of these students could not afford the expensive prep tactics, let alone the Harvard tuition. With combined tuition, room and board, and miscellaneous fees costing $53,950-$56,750 for 2010-11 school year, Harvard financial aid is a must for students who want to get an education at a university known for breeding success.

Fortunately, the average Harvard financial aid package is close to $41,000.00. In addition, about 70% of Harvard students receive some form of aid, with nearly 60% receiving need–based scholarships. This means that for those students who cannot afford the Harvard price tag, the cost of attending the university is not more than that of a low-cost state college.

In fact, thanks to the March 2004 Harvard Financial Aid Initiative, students in households earning less than $60,000 per year pay nothing toward room and board. This goes for both International and U.S. citizens. The purpose of the Financial Aid Initiative is to broaden the diversity of the student body to include more low income and/or minority students. Of course, these students must still be in the top 10% of high school students, but Harvard financial aid allows the university admissions process to remain blind.

Harvard financial aid is broken down into several components.

Work-study: There are Harvard financial-aid-based work-study jobs as well as on-campus jobs available for students who don't qualify for work-study programs.

Outside monetary awards: If the student secures outside monetary awards, the Harvard financial aid policy is to apply that first to the tuition. It may also be used in lieu of the student having to do the work-study program.

Scholarships: If work-study and outside awards do not meet the students' financial needs, Harvard will give scholarship assistance to meet the remaining needs through Harvard financial aid. These funds come from Harvard financial aid endowment funds, alumni gifts, tuition revenue and federal and state grants.

Loans: Loans have been eliminated from the Harvard financial aid system. However, students may opt to borrow money if they wish. They can choose from the Federal Perkins loan, William D. Ford Federal Direct subsidized and unsubsidized student loans, and the Harvard Loan Program.

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