graphic reading "financial aid FAQs"
Read below for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about applying for financial aid.

Now that the application for admission has closed, applicants should focus on the application for financial aid. We recently held a virtual financial aid Q&A session where applicants could submit questions about financial aid. Here are some of the questions and answers from that session. 

Can international students apply for financial aid?

Yes, absolutely. Some specific awards may be limited to U.S. citizens, but in general, international students are eligible to apply for financial aid.

Does applying for financial assistance have any impact on my chance of being admitted to HKS?

No, the admission application is reviewed independently of the financial aid application. Applying for financial assistance has no bearing on your admission decision.  

With regards to all the other fellowships that are not included in the financial aid application, is a candidate automatically considered without putting in an application?

If you want to be considered for HKS financial assistance, you should submit the application for financial aid. You’ll see that some awards have specific additional application requirements, such as essays, but by submitting the overall application, you will be considered for all other awards for which you are eligible.

When is the deadline for applying for scholarships? If I apply earlier, am I more likely to receive a scholarship?

The deadline to submit the HKS application for financial aid is Friday, January 6, 2023 at 3 p.m. ET. You are more than welcome to submit your application prior to this date, but you are no more likely to receive funding if you apply before the deadline.

Can I repeat or reiterate things already said in the HKS application in my scholarship/fellowship essays? Are admissions essays shared with the scholarship committees?

It is okay to repeat information from your admission application, but keep your audience in mind. The fellowship committees are trying to determine if you are a good fit for that particular fellowship and the cohort of fellows they are building, whereas the admissions committee is more focused on determining your fit for the Kennedy School more broadly. We advise you to emphasize why you are a good fit for that particular fellowship in your fellowship application essays.  

Admissions essays are not shared with scholarship committees. We encourage you to write your fellowship essays with the understanding that this is the only essay the fellowship committees are reading to learn about you, your experiences, and goals.

If I am enrolling in a concurrent degree with an institution outside Harvard, can I use my scholarship when attending the other institution?

HKS funding can only apply while you are enrolled at HKS.

Should I apply for all HKS fellowships I feel I am competitive for? Or should I just focus on one fellowship application?

You are welcome to apply for as many scholarships or fellowships for which you are eligible. Please keep in mind that you may be required to write individual essays for each scholarship, so it’s important to get started on your financial aid application ASAP—particularly if you plan to apply for multiple scholarships.  

Is there a specific format we should follow for our fellowship essays? Do you have sample essays?

Most fellowships with essay requirements will have the specific format outlined on the financial aid application. If the format is not specified in the description of the fellowship, essays should not exceed two pages in length and should be single spaced. PDF format is preferred for all submissions. Our office does not have sample essays; we encourage all applicants to be authentic in their essays and to follow the prompts provided for specific fellowships.

Who can we contact if we have questions about the financial aid application?

Please email our team at if you have questions about the financial aid application. Another financial aid application Q&A session will be hosted on December 19 at 1 p.m. ET.

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