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Harvard University is known for being one of the oldest (if not the oldest) institutions of higher learning in the United States. Harvard tuition, which is $55,587 a year, is above the national average for four-year private nonprofit institutions of $35,807, though a high number of students receive student loans or scholarships to cover this cost.
Costs for 2021-22
Tuition & Fees
Books & Supplies
Room & Board
Total Cost of Attendance
Approximately 84% of the admitted students get some sort of financial aid to assist with Harvard tuition, whether that is a grant, a scholarship, or a loan. Harvard is need-blind, which means that students who require financial aid aren’t discriminated against in the application process. Anyone, regardless of income, may qualify for acceptance.
Generally, financial aid is monetary assistance awarded to students based on personal need and merit. Students that qualify for financial aid can use it to pay for college costs like tuition, books, and living expenses.
The federal government is the largest provider of student financial aid. However, aid can also be given by state governments, colleges and universities, private companies, and nonprofits. The different types include:
• Scholarships: These can be awarded by schools and other organizations based on students’ academic excellence, athletic achievement, community involvement, job experience, field of study, and financial need.
• Grants: Generally based on financial need, these can come from federal, state, private, and non-profit organizations.
• Work-study: This federal program provides qualifying students with part-time employment to earn money for expenses while in school.
• Federal student loans: This is money borrowed directly from the U.S. Department of Education. It comes with fixed interest rates that are typically lower than private loans.
Colleges, universities, and state agencies use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine financial aid eligibility. The FAFSA can be completed online, but note that state and federal and school deadlines may differ.
You can find other financial aid opportunities on databases such as:
While 3% of incoming undergraduates at Harvard get federal student loans, twice that receive private student loans to help with Harvard tuition. On average, students receive $10,151 in private student loans.
Private loans are funded by private organizations such as banks, online lenders, credit unions, some schools, and state-based or state-affiliated organizations. While Federal student loans have interest rates that are regulated by Congress, private lenders follow a different set of regulations so their qualifications and interest rates can vary widely.
What’s more, private loans have variable or fixed interest rates that may be higher than federal loan interest rates, which are always fixed. Private lenders may (but don’t always) require you to make payments on your loans while you are still in school, compared to federal student loans which you don’t have to start paying back until after you graduate, leave school, or change your enrollment status to less than half-time.
Private loans don’t have a specific application window and can be applied for on an as-needed basis. However, if you think you may need to take out a private loan, it’s a good idea to submit your FAFSA first to see what federal aid you may qualify for as it generally may have better rates and terms.
If you’ve missed the FAFSA deadline or you’re struggling to pay for school throughout the year, private loans can potentially help you make your payments. Just keep in mind that you will need enough lead time for your loan to process and for your lender to send money to your school.
The Harvard costs for a four-year degree, including books, tuition, and all other expenses, would be approximately $312,112, based on the 2021-22 school year. In comparison, the average cost for private school tuition and room and board in the U.S. is $54,880 a year (also based on ‘21/22), totaling $219,520 for four years, according to CollegeData.com.
Students spent approximately $55,587 for Harvard University tuition in the 2021-22 school year. Additionally, costs for room and board totaled $18,941, bringing the total cost of attendance to $74,528.
This is substantially higher than the average for private schools in the U.S. of $54,880.
Graduate Tuition and Fees
Costs for 2021-22
Total Cost of Attendance
Tuition for graduate school at Harvard was $50,928 in 2021-22, with additional fees of $1,242, bringing the total to $52,170. The average cost for tuition for graduate school at a private institution in the United States was $19,493. Many students at Harvard opt for graduate loans to help cover these costs.
Cost per Credit Hour
Full-time students pay the full tuition, but some students attend part-time, and in that case, they pay per credit hour. The Harvard University cost per credit hour is $1,622. Multiply that times the number of credits you’re taking. If you take six credits per semester, your tuition would be $9,732. If you took 12 credits, the cost would be $19,464.
Campus Housing Expenses
Costs for 2021-22
Books & Supplies
Room & Board
*Based on studio pricing. Average rate based on available apartments on Harvard’s off-campus housing website in 2022.
In addition to Harvard University tuition, room and board is the next highest expense. View our student loans guide for help paying for it.
There are 17 freshman dorms and 12 Houses for upper-level students. Freshmen generally live in suites with a common room and two to four bedrooms. Roommates are chosen by the University. Upperclass students are assigned to one of Harvard’s historic Houses, each of which serves as a residence to 350-500 students.
Only a small percentage of students choose to live off-campus, and there are many apartments and homes for rent near campus. Harvard has partnered with private landlords and real estate agents to provide affordable housing to students. The average price for a studio in Cambridge is $2,000, though many are even higher. Keep in mind that leases may be for a full year, not a school year.
With just 5% of applicants accepted, the Harvard acceptance rate is extremely competitive.
To be accepted as a student at Harvard, there are certain considerations you must meet. Some, like secondary school record, recommendations, and admission test scores, are required, while others, including secondary school GPA and school rank, are recommended. There is not a required GPA minimum to qualify.
• Secondary school record
• Admission test scores
• Secondary school GPA
• Secondary school rank
The deadline to apply as a Restrictive Early Action candidate for the 2023-24 school year is November 1. You will receive notification by mid-December. The deadline for Regular Decision candidates is January 1, with notification sent by the end of March. You can apply here. .
SAT and ACT Scores
Harvard no longer requires SAT or ACT scores for classes of 2027-2030. Students who do not submit test scores will be considered equally for admissions as those who do.
Though there are no required test scores for admissions, here are the scores by subject at the 25th and 75th percentile:
SAT Evidence-Based Reading/Writing
Popular Majors at Harvard
Harvard offers 50 areas of concentration for students to study, and 49 secondary fields. Here are a few of the most popular majors offered.
1. Social Studies
The most popular area of study at Harvard is that of social studies, which includes courses in history, political science, economics, sociology, and anthropology. Students also learn to analyze, research, and write, and are assigned a thesis their senior year.
Undergraduate degrees in 2020-21: 186
2. Applied Mathematics
Another popular major is applied mathematics. In this program, students learn about computation, probability, discrete, and continuous mathematics.
Undergraduate degrees in 2020-21: 166
Harvard’s economics major provides background in social systems including markets, corporations, legislatures, and families.
Undergraduate degrees in 2020-21: 154
4. Computer Science
Another of the most popular areas of concentration, the computer science program teaches students to design and code correct solutions to problems, design and reason about algorithms, and develop and analyze the ways computation interacts with other systems.
Undergraduate degrees in 2020-21: 131
Harvard offers several degrees in history, including anthropology, comparative study of religion, east Asian studies, history and literature, and more. These areas of concentration examine the social life, the economy, culture, thought, and politics of the past.
Undergraduate degrees in 2020-21: 110
If politics and critical thinking appeal to you, you may be interested in Harvard’s government major. Students learn to analyze arguments, write, and speak persuasively.
Undergraduate degrees in 2020-21: 71
Students majoring in Neuroscience will learn about cells and circuits, physiology, learning and memory, cognitive science, development, genetics, computational modeling, and disease and therapeutics.
Undergraduate degrees in 2020-21: 62
8. Experimental Psychology
Harvard’s psychology program teaches students to understand the human mind, as well as critically assess data and speak and write about topics concerning the mind.
Undergraduate degrees in 2020-21: 60
9. Human Evolutionary Biology
Human Evolutionary Biology provides a working knowledge of human and organismic biology, including genetics, physiology, anatomy, behavioral biology, and paleontology.
Undergraduate degrees in 2020-21: 59
In the sociology program at Harvard, students look at the study of society, from individual relationships to great civilizations.
Undergraduate degrees in 2020-21: 42
Find out about all the fields of study Harvard has to offer here .
The Harvard graduation rate is fairly high. Here are the graduation rates of students who began their studies in 2014:
• 4 years: 86%
• 6 years: 98%
Post-Graduation Median Earnings
Curious how much money you could make after graduating from Harvard? Median earnings after graduation in 2022 are $84,918, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard. In contrast, the average for four-year schools, in general, is $47,976.
At $78,028 a year, Harvard’s tuition and fees are relatively high for the country, but in exchange, you’ll get a world-class education. And Harvard isn’t just for the rich and elite: because it’s need-blind, applicants from all financial backgrounds are welcome. The hard part is getting in.
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