fbpx Funding Your Master's Education | Harvard Kennedy School

Financial assistance is a partnership between you and Harvard Kennedy School.

We assist as many students as we can with our limited scholarship and fellowship resources—learn more about our funding resources and how to apply. At the same time, we will also work with you to ensure that you can complete your degree program without feeling overly burdened by debt. There are simple steps you must take to make that happen:

  • Create a financial plan well in advance
  • Eliminate your consumer debt
  • Maintain realistic expectations for a graduate student standard of living
  • Investigate all possible outside funding resources
  • Save as much as possible to cover costs not included in the cost of attendance
Funding Your Graduate Education: A Partnership
A Guide on Financing Your Education
Budgeting, Consumer Debt, and Credit Cards

Every year, some of our students discover they haven't budgeted sufficient funds to meet their expenses. Often this happens because of their lack of awareness that some expenses and obligations cannot be financed through educational loans and financial aid. That's why it's important to have a good understanding of what these expenses are to ensure that you begin your program with sufficient resources. For example, credit card debt is not included as an expense covered by financial aid. If you have credit card debt, you should make every effort to pay off the balance.

Limited HKS Endowment

It might surprise you to know that HKS has limited scholarship and fellowship resources. How can that be possible at Harvard? It's very simple: each school at Harvard maintains a separate endowment. Schools with long histories and many alumni have substantial endowments. Newer schools like HKS have fewer alumni and more modest endowments (HKS was established in the 1930s; Harvard College dates back to 1636!). That means the majority of our scholarship funding comes from current income. As a result, our aid is more limited than many other Harvard schools.

Loan Repayment Assistance

Even with proper planning and support, attending HKS may require significant borrowing. To help relieve some of the debt burden, our Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) assists graduates who take modest-paying positions in the public or nonprofit sectors. Funding is limited, and you can only be eligible for assistance for a maximum of five years.


If you decide to bring your family to Cambridge—and a number of our students do—it's important to know U.S. regulations prohibit us from including day-to-day expenses for your dependents in your expense budget. You must have sufficient savings to cover those expenses.

Summer Costs

If you're enrolled in one of our two-year degree programs (MPP, MPA/ID, or MPA), you must account for the expenses you will incur during the summer between your two years. Since this period is not part of the academic year, we will not be able to increase financial aid or allow you to borrow.

“The Mid-Career MPA Program is a hub for developing substantive relationships with future leaders, alumni, and the Harvard community as a whole. I was honored to be a Mallinckrodt Fellow. The support not only allowed me to advance my own education, but also to push for conversations about the Roma within the broader HKS community.”

Margareta Matache MC/MPA 2019