The Office of Student Financial Services serves as a resource for exploring ways to finance one’s education. Student eligibility for federal and institutional aid is determined by federal and/or institutional guidelines.

Institutional support and aid resources are very limited. Students are encouraged to make a conscientious effort to obtain financial support from outside fellowships, private sources, or from their employing agencies before seeking funds from the School.

The Office of Student Financial Services is located at 124 Mt. Auburn Street, Suite 165, Cambridge, MA.

Financial Matters

Students can find more information on financial assistance and financial assistance policies on MYFAID.

Student Billing

Harvard University’s Student Accounts Office (SAO) sends bills to students each semester.

The first notification of students’ account charges is e-mailed in July. Students will not be permitted to register for fall classes if they do not pay all charges from the previous year as well as their fall charges by September registration. Similarly, students may not register for the spring semester if they have a prior balance on their student account.

Students receive notification of their account status—including new charges—each month by e-mail; they are routed to a secure site where they can view their account using their HarvardKey and password. Payments may be made electronically or by check. Credit cards are not accepted.

Harvard University has instructed banks to redeposit any returned checks submitted as payment for students’ bills; there is a charge assessed for dishonored checks. If a student’s account indicates a history of dishonored checks, the University may also require that future payments be made in cash or by certified bank check.

If students’ scholarships/fellowships and loans are greater than the amount due on the bill (including any rent due for the rest of the semester), they will receive a refund for the credit amount after the beginning of the semester.

Commencement note: Graduating students must pay all billed charges prior to Commencement. This includes rent charges from HRES for June and July if the lease extends beyond May of the graduating year.

Are there fees students should know about?

See our tuition and fees.

Course materials fee

The course materials fee supports the cost of rights and permissions clearance for those readings that are not otherwise freely available. Most course materials are made available through Canvas, our learning management software at Harvard.

Student activity fee

The student activity fee supports student-run events for HKS students throughout the year, including formals and other student government-run events, student organization events, and student conferences.

Active file fee

The active file fee enables for the student file to remaining active during a leave of absence.

If students take a leave of absence or withdraw from HKS, they will not have their fees refunded. The Harvard University Health Services Web site includes details about the student health insurance fee if they take a leave of absence or withdraw.

Leave of absence or withdrawal (required or voluntary)

If a student is placed on a leave of absence or must withdraw, how much tuition will he or she owe for that semester?

If You Leave: % of Tuition Owed
Fall Term  
After the first day of class up to and including add/drop deadline 0%
After the add/drop deadline but before October 15 25%
On or after October 15 but before November 5 50%
On or after November 5 but before the final drop deadline 75%
On or after the final drop deadline 100%
Spring Term  
After the first day of class up to and including add/drop deadline 0%
After the add/drop deadline but before March 15 25%
On or after March 15 but before April 5 50%
On or after April 5 but before the final drop deadline 75%
On or after the final drop deadline 100%

In addition, a leave of absence or withdrawal may have significant impacts on financial aid, specifically federal educational loans may need to be returned and you will need to complete Student Loan Exit Counseling, more complete information is available here.

Is there a monthly payment plan?

Yes, a monthly payment plan is available for a fee. If students receive financial assistance and choose the monthly payment plan, they can deduct the amount of their anticipated loans and scholarships/fellowships for the term and pay one-quarter of the balance plus the payment plan fee.

What about third-party billing?

As a courtesy, the Student Accounts Office (SAO) will send an invoice (tuition and mandatory fees only) to a third party only if students have arranged a personal agreement for payment with a sponsoring agency. Students are required to provide documentation of the agreement and complete the external resource verification process outlined on the Office of Student Financial Services KNet page.

  • Students will continue to receive monthly billing announcements regardless of payment arrangements; they are ultimately responsible for managing their student account to ensure that all charges are paid. As a result, students should remain in close contact with their sponsoring agency regarding the sponsorship.
  • Sponsored students must pay those charges that their sponsor is not covering. Sponsors will be billed in August for the fall term and December for the spring term; students’ accounts are credited as soon as payment is received. If their sponsor fails to pay the agreed upon amounts, students will be responsible for paying these charges.
  • Harvard housing will be charged to students’ accounts. Even if their sponsoring organization is covering their housing charges, Harvard cannot bill sponsors directly for housing. It is students’ responsibility to arrange housing payments directly with their sponsor.
Does the student budget take into account more than just tuition?

Yes, the student budget is calculated based upon projected educational expenses during a 9-, 10- or 11-month academic program. Estimated annually, budgets include tuition, fees, health insurance, books, transportation and personal and living expenses. Budgets may be adjusted for other education expenses (e.g., computers and daycare expenses).

How is financial aid disbursed?

Financial aid will be credited to students’ accounts each semester as stated on MYFAID. Funds are available on or after registration day of each term. Federal funds will be distributed evenly between semesters of enrollment.

HKS funds will also typically be distributed evenly over the two semesters, but may vary depending on the degree program. Before any funds can be disbursed, students must accept their offer of financial assistance on MYFAID and submit all requested documentation.

Friends of the school—donors, alumni, Visiting Committee members, Dean’s Council and various advisory boards—are sources of financial support for HKS students. The Office of Student Financial Services distributes financial support in keeping with the school’s objectives. Students are prohibited from soliciting the school’s supporters directly.


Students are required to submit a signed promissory note for each loan. The Office of Student Financial Services will notify students when promissory notes are available for signature. Additionally, students should plan on attending an entrance counseling session during orientation week before financial aid can be disbursed and complete exit counseling before graduation. If the proceeds of their loan exceed the balance due on their student bill, a refund will be prepared by the first week of classes for each semester. See the Office of Student Financial Services KNet page for more information.

Consumer Information

Consumer information is available to current students as well as prospective students, in accordance with federal consumer information regulations. They may contact the Office of Student Financial Services to request a hard copy of this information.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and Financial Assistance

SAP is evaluated at the end of each enrollment period. If students are receiving financial assistance and are determined to have failed to maintain SAP, they will receive a financial assistance warning letter to formally notify them of their status. In order to remain eligible for financial assistance beyond the next enrollment period, they must make the necessary academic improvements to regain satisfactory progress status.

If students fail to regain SAP, they will become ineligible to receive assistance; they have the right to appeal. An appeal must detail the extenuating circumstances that resulted in the failure to maintain SAP and explain, in concrete terms, why those circumstances will not prevent them from maintaining satisfactory progress going forward. Appeals will be evaluated by a committee comprised of faculty members and Degree Programs and Student Affairs administrators.

If an appeal is granted, a student is placed on financial assistance probation and is eligible to receive financial assistance for one additional semester. Students will be removed from probation if they have made SAP at the end of that additional semester. As a condition of the appeal, the SAP Committee may create an academic progress plan, which students must agree to and follow in order to continue to receive assistance.

If an appeal is not granted, a student will not be eligible to receive financial assistance. To regain eligibility, the student must regain SAP. If a student is required to withdraw, dismissed or expelled from the school for either academic or disciplinary misconduct, all assistance is forfeited immediately and financial assistance will not be renewed or provided for subsequent periods of enrollment even if the student is permitted to re-enroll.