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

We recently held another virtual financial aid Q&A session, during which applicants could submit questions about applying for financial aid. Here are some of the questions and answers from that session—we hope these responses are helpful for the many HKS applicants working on their financial aid applications.

Applicants, the deadline to submit your HKS application for financial assistance is Friday, January 6, 2023 at 3 p.m. ET. To access the financial aid application, you should visit your application status portal and select the Financial Aid tab. 

I accidentally uploaded a draft of an essay. Can I delete and replace it?

Please do not select any fellowship essays for upload until they are finalized. Once uploaded, you will not have the opportunity to upload new versions. If you mistakenly upload a draft version, you will need to contact us at to delete your previous version so that you can then upload your amended essay. Please note that any documents you have selected for upload will be uploaded if you save the application via the “Save For Later” button.

I don’t see a particular fellowship listed on the application. Will I still be considered?

On the financial aid application, you’ll find several scholarships and fellowships that require additional application materials, such as essays or personal statements. Please be aware, however, that are many fellowships and scholarships for which you will be automatically considered by virtue of submitting the financial aid application.

Is it okay if there is repetitive information in my fellowship essays or if I repeat information from my admissions essays?

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. Approach your essays with the idea that the fellowship committee is learning about you for the first time through your essay(s).

What advice do you have for crafting a strong fellowship essay?

  • Avoid bright font colors or elaborate fonts. Fellowship committee members are reviewing many essays in a short time period—make it easy for them to read your essay by sticking with black font and a simple font style (Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri, etc.).
  • Follow essay instructions and answer given prompts.
    • For those fellowships without a specific listed topic, please read the description and focus your essay to highlight how you are a worthy candidate for the fellowship in question.
    • 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. If a fellowship description asks for responses to several prompts, please combine multiple essays into a single PDF.
  • Focus on your experience in public service. If you are describing your goals after HKS, please be as specific as possible.
  • Be authentic in your voice, tone, and writing style. We want to get to know you and your goals and ambitions.

Am I guaranteed financial assistance if I submit the financial aid application?

Though Harvard Kennedy School is housed at Harvard University—known for, among many things, its significant endowment—we have very limited scholarship and fellowship resources. While we would love to be able to award financial assistance to support all students’ studies, that is not the present reality. Nonetheless, we are focused on distributing as much financial assistance as possible to our talented students so they can make a difference in the world.

About 30% of HKS students are awarded HKS or Harvard aid. We strongly encourage all applicants to explore opportunities for external funding, in addition to submitting the HKS application for financial assistance.

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. Please note that our office will be closed for Winter Recess starting Friday, December 23; we will re-open on Tuesday, January 3. Responses during this time will be delayed, but we will do our best to respond to emails as quickly as possible upon our return.

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