At Harvard Kennedy School, we apply a “modest but livable” standard when determining the student budget or cost of attendance. We estimate your monthly living expenses will be about $2,900. This may require you to live more modestly, have roommates and cook more meals at home.

The student budget applies only to the current academic year.

Academic Year Timeline

To calculate living expenses for the academic year, please use the following time frames:

MPP, MPA/ID and MPA students 9-month academic year (late August-May)
MC/MPA students 10-month academic year (July-May)
MC/MPA Mason Fellows 11-month academic year (late June-May)
Student Budget Calculator

We urge you to use our Student Budget Calculator to help map out your finances for the academic year


We realize you may incur expenses before the academic year gets underway, but they cannot be included in your cost of attendance. For example, if a two-year student has a lease with Harvard University Housing beginning in July, her July and August rent payments cannot be included in her cost of attendance. 

See the listing below for expenses that can and cannot be included in your cost of attendance.

Not Included
Tuition and fees Credit card payments
Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) Dependent care, excluding child daycare
HUHS Student Health Fee (SHF) Expenses before the academic year
HKS activity fee Gym memberships
Books and supplies Smartphones, iPads, tablets
Child daycare Travel unrelated to coursework
Local travel, excluding car/car insurance payments  
Personal computer for coursework  
Unreimbursed medical expenses (from academic year)