We have a number of scholarships and fellowships available for both U.S. and international students. Each year, we offer institutional aid to roughly 30 percent of our admitted applicants. Scholarship amounts vary but typically do not cover the full cost of attendance. Accordingly, we strongly encourage you to research all possible funding resources, including HKS and Harvard aid, as well as external scholarships resources.

Scholarship & Fellowship Funding Opportunities

Harvard Kennedy School scholarships and fellowships are based on a combination of merit and financial need. Some institutional funding is restricted to specific criteria such as students’ area of study, citizenship, or region.

You will apply for HKS scholarships and fellowships after you have completed your application for admission, but before you have received your admission decision. There are very few opportunities to apply for fellowship or scholarship funding after you are admitted to or enrolled at HKS.

To apply for scholarships, you must complete the following:

Several fellowship and scholarship opportunities are listed below that you will automatically be considered for as part of the financial assistance application process.

Kennedy Fellowships and Presidential Scholarships

You may be considered for a  Kennedy Fellowship or Presidential Scholarship if you demonstrate exceptional academic ability and professional distinction. The amount of these fellowships varies depending on your financial need.

Public Service Fellowships

These are among our most prestigious student awards, and they typically cover the full HKS tuition and fees up to need. These fellowships were established by former Harvard president Lawrence Summers, alumni, and donors to support students committed to careers in public service. Recipients must be professionally employed in the public sector, broadly defined, for three years after graduating from HKS. 

HKS Public Policy & International Affairs (PPIA) Scholarship

Harvard Kennedy School has a limited number of scholarships for alumni of the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) program. To be considered for this fund, students must have participated in the PPIA program and submit the HKS Application for Financial Assistance.

There are a number of scholarships administered by research centers at the Kennedy School. To apply for these awards, you must complete the HKS Application for Financial Assistance, including required essays. Recipients of these fellowships are selected by the respective research center.

Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation

Roy and Lila Ash Fellowship in Democracy
Awarded to meritorious students with financial need. Leading candidates will demonstrate the commitment and capacity for leadership in strengthening democracy in the United States and beyond, including electoral reform, tribal and Indigenous governance, organizing, community engagement, political participation, and justice and antiracism. Scholarship recipients will be invited to join the Ash Center in co-curricular activities such as seminars and conferences.

Ford Foundation Mason Fellowship
Awarded to meritorious MC/MPA Mason Fellows with financial need. Leading candidates will demonstrate the commitment and capacity for leadership in strengthening democracy around the globe, including electoral reform, tribal and Indigenous governance, organizing, community engagement, political participation, and justice and antiracism. This fellowship is open only to Mason Fellows. Scholarship recipients will be invited to join the Ash Center in co-curricular activities such as seminars and conferences.

Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Belfer Young Leaders Fellowship
Supports students with a demonstrated interest in science, technology, national security, diplomacy, international relations, or global affairs

Roy Family Fellowship
For students with an interest in energy and environmental policy issues

Carr Center for Human Rights Policy

Carr Center Scholarship in Human Rights
For students who demonstrate a strong background and commitment to human rights policy

Center for Public Leadership

Black Family Fellowship
Supports up to 25 students annually at Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Business School, and Harvard Law School who are veterans and active duty military students from the United States

Emirates Leadership Initiative Fellowship
For students with a demonstrated interest in developing leadership and public management skills in countries within the Arab League

Equity Fellowship
For students who plan to devote their careers to understanding and dismantling barriers to equity across society

George Fellowship
Supports selected students in the third year of the joint degree program offered through Harvard Business School (HBS) and Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Gleitsman Leadership Fellowship
For students with a strong background in, or potential for, leadership in social activism

Rubenstein Fellowship
Supports students admitted to the HKS/HBS joint degree program with demonstrated commitment to public service

Zuckerman Fellowship
For students who have completed, are currently enrolled in, or are accepted and will enroll in an MBA, JD, MD, or DMD/DDS degree from an accredited U.S. institution. Note that candidates wishing to be considered for the Zuckerman Fellowship should  apply for the fellowship through the Harvard Committee on General Scholarships  

Taubman Center for State and Local Government

Program on Education Policy and Governance (PEPG) Master's Fellowship
For students with a strong interest in educational entrepreneurship, reform, and policy in the MPP program or an equivalent master’s program at Harvard University

The Committee on General Scholarships (CGS) administers special financial aid, scholarship, and fellowship programs that support full-time, in-residence Harvard University graduate and undergraduate students, including HKS students. CGS funding is very competitive—admitted applicants and current students from across Harvard are eligible.

CGS Restricted Scholarships

CGS restricted scholarships are awarded to recipients who live in specific cities, states, or regions, or are descendants of a particular ancestry or family. These scholarships range in amount—typically a few thousand dollars—and are meant to provide supplementary funding. You will be considered for CGS restricted scholarships based on the information you provide in your HKS Application for Financial Assistance.

CGS International Fellowships

CGS international fellowships are country specific. They are not awarded through HKS and require a separate application. Application details, contact information, and a full list of fellowship and restricted scholarship opportunities are available on the CGS website.

There are many external scholarship opportunities available to graduate students that are not affiliated with Harvard Kennedy School. We strongly encourage you to research possible funding resources offered by:

  • Affinity organizations
  • Former employers
  • Government agencies
  • Nongovernmental organizations
  • Philanthropic foundations
  • Previous schools, colleges, or universities
  • Private organizations

There are a number of scholarship search engines that may be helpful.

Military Branches

HKS has developed partnerships with these branches of the United States Armed Forces:

  • United States Air Force (Air Force Academy)
  • United States Army (Military Academy West Point)
  • United States Coast Guard (MC/MPA Program only)

Yellow Ribbon Program

We are proud to participate in the Post-9/11 GI BillTM’s Yellow Ribbon Program, which provides additional financial assistance to veterans who qualify for 100 percent of the Post-9/11 GI BillTM’s educational benefits.

Veterans who are eligible will receive up to $7,500 in scholarship assistance from HKS for the upcoming academic year. The U.S. government will match this amount, providing veterans with up to $15,000 in Yellow Ribbon funding.

Yellow Ribbon applications will be accepted starting on June 1 for the upcoming academic year. We will not accept applications before this date.

If you are a qualified candidate and plan to apply, you will need to submit:

  • A Notice of Enrollment Form (available in the “Forms” section on MYFAID) and
  • A copy of your Certificate of Eligibility issued by the VA or your DD 214 (report of separation)

Scholarship assistance cannot exceed tuition and fees from all sources. If you receive scholarship assistance from HKS, $7,500 of this scholarship amount will be designated as the Yellow Ribbon match. If the total of scholarship assistance from HKS, the Yellow Ribbon Program, and Chapter 33 benefits exceeds tuition and fees, the scholarship assistance offered by HKS will be reduced commensurately.

For more information of the Yellow Ribbon Program, review the terms on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website or contact the Office of Admissions & Financial Aid.

If you are a Harvard University employee, you may be eligible to use TAP to pay for your tuition if you are enrolled in the MC/MPA Program on a part-time basis, eight credits per semester at most, and received advance approval of the Office of Admissions & Financial Aid.

Visit the Tuition Assistance page in HARVie to see if you are eligible.

Fellowship Perspective

“The funding I received from the Kistefos Foundation provided me with a wonderful opportunity to learn and hone essential leadership skills that are crucial for me to pursue my professional goals in South Africa. I am passionate about making a difference and shaping a positive future for my country and for the African continent with my newly acquired knowledge and skills.”

Priya Singh MC/MPA 2018