Founded in 1636 Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has the distinction of being the oldest college in America. It has educated Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and John. F. Kennedy, to the current President Barack Obama. Famous Harvard graduates include acclaimed poets T.S. Eliot and Wallace Stevens, and the popular figures of Jack Lemmon and Leonard Bernstein. The Indian industrialist Amand Mahindra, another Harvard graduate, gifted ten million dollars to Harvard in October 2010 for the study of humanities, demonstrating the ties which former students retain with the University.
Aspiring students should not be deterred by the tuition and fee costs of $38,416, as Harvard’s goal is “to bring the best people to Harvard, regardless of their ability to pay.” Harvard is committed to a financial aid package which is entirely needs based and is open to International students as well as Americans. It offers no athletic, academic of merit based scholarships, having chosen to award all financial aid to those with demonstrated financial need.
Harvard needs based scholarships mean that there is no necessity for students to take on student loans, as its policy is to enable graduates to be able to afford graduate school without the pressure of student debt. Harvard also provides the option of prepaying four years of tuition fees at the incoming student freshman rate.
All students who demonstrate financial need will receive financial aid for the full four years of study. This program has resulted in the average student debt upon graduation being reduced to just $8,100, in comparison to the national average of $24,000. The University gives 158 million dollars in needs bases assistance.
Family contribution levels are determined by both income and other circumstances. When assessing family income neither home equity or retirement income are considered, but factors such as other siblings attending school, medical costs and family size mean that there is no set family contribution figure as each case is assessed individually.
However families with an income of less than $60,000 are not expected to contribute, and those with incomes from $60,000 – $120,000 generally contribute between zero and 10 percent of income, on a sliding scale, again determined by the families individual circumstances. Families with incomes of $120,000 – $180,000 contribute an average 10%.
Two thirds of the student body works whilst studying at Harvard in a variety of jobs, which helps them to earn the necessary self help component of student financial aid which is set at $2,500 per annum. There are jobs available on campus in areas such as dining service and libraries, but many students find their own work outside the campus.
60 percent of Harvard students receive needs based scholarships, with an additional 10 percent receiving some kind of financial aid. With the need to take out student loans eradicated by Harvard’s generous financial aid package, lack of ability to pay is no deterrent to aspiring Harvard scholars.