Harvard Financial Aid App

Discuss various money matters here. Loans (federal and private), scholarships, lottery winnings, or other school finance related information and queries.
FutureInLaw
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Harvard Financial Aid App

Postby FutureInLaw » Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:02 pm

On the off-chance I get into Harvard, I'd like to have my ducks in a row.

Harvard's financial aid website is a labyrinth of confusing information. Do they require FAFSA? Does the whole process basically begin once admitted (if admitted)?

flepper
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Re: Harvard Financial Aid App

Postby flepper » Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:06 pm

FutureInLaw wrote:On the off-chance I get into Harvard, I'd like to have my ducks in a row.

Harvard's financial aid website is a labyrinth of confusing information. Do they require FAFSA? Does the whole process basically begin once admitted (if admitted)?


I believe they want both the FAFSA and the NeedAccess application. They may have deadlines coming up soon, so I'd get on them.

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tgir
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Re: Harvard Financial Aid App

Postby tgir » Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:17 pm

I'm not sure about the general procedure, but I know that for admitted students, Harvard has its own special financial aid web portal, which will go online on February 17th. People are supposed to fill out a basic questionnaire, which will then generate a list of required documents tailored to their circumstances. Presumably, for most people that list will include FAFSA and NeedAccess.

I'm not sure whether or not people whose applications are still pending will be able to access the portal in the future. I do know, however, that I only got my login for the portal (and other HLS stuff) once I was admitted.

Oh, and DON'T worry about a deadline. Like I said, they haven't even gotten their financial aid process ready yet. More importantly, I'm pretty sure I remember reading that they do financial aid on a rolling basis--i.e. there isn't any fixed deadline, except for getting your loans/grants in order before you enroll in the fall.

HTH

FutureInLaw
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Re: Harvard Financial Aid App

Postby FutureInLaw » Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:28 pm

Thanks tgir. That's the sense I got from the website (that there is no hard deadline).

Not that it will likely matter, but just in case!

rundoxierun
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Re: Harvard Financial Aid App

Postby rundoxierun » Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:26 am

Everyone has to do Fafsa and NeedAccess. You might as well just do that now and send it to Harvard to get it out of the way and speed up the process. They also have a portal that has other Harvard and individual specific forms and documents. Descriptions of these documents can be found on the Harvard sfs website.

FWIW, Harvard has a bunch of stuff on their website because their process is really, really transparent. In fact, you should be able to get a pretty accurate estimate of what amount of grant aid you should expect before you even turn in all your info.

jonfen
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Re: Harvard Financial Aid App

Postby jonfen » Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:33 pm

.
Last edited by jonfen on Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sarahh
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Re: Harvard Financial Aid App

Postby sarahh » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:53 pm

When you fill out the main form, it will tell you what else you need to fill out. I applied as a loan-only applicant, and I did not have to fill out Need Access. Jonfen, the grants are determined based on a formula, basically, total student budget minus minimum required loan amount minus assessed student contribution minus assessed parental contribution. I doubt they will give you more grant money because you got scholarships at other schools.

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tgir
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Re: Harvard Financial Aid App

Postby tgir » Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:29 pm

jonfen wrote:I know Harvard doesn't give merit scholarships, but will they increase their grant offer if we try to negotiate? Has it been done before?

Will big $ from Top 6 schools be enough for Harvard to give more grant money, not just based on financial need?

Harvard's paltry grant offers and huge loans scare me.


From what I've heard, they don't negotiate grants very often, and certainly not simply on the basis of someone's having received more money at another T6. If you could demonstrate special need-based financial circumstances warranting an increase, that might work.

jonfen
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Re: Harvard Financial Aid App

Postby jonfen » Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:35 pm

Thank you! :)

delusional
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Re: Harvard Financial Aid App

Postby delusional » Fri Apr 08, 2011 5:24 pm

I've been trying to understand this and I've been in contact with the SFS office as well as several students who have been recipients of Harvard grants, so I'll try to lay out the information that I think I know, and others with some experience can proof it.

Harvard's aid premise basically is that if you don't have enough money to go to school (essentially, enough money to pay the assessed COA of 72,000-ish, they will fill in your gaps. but they have certain "conditions" to that. One condition is that you need to be willing to borrow. The across-the-board amount you need to be willing to borrow is 42,500-ish. Another condition is that you be willing to work over the summer, and thus contribute at least $2,500 and then 90% of everything over $9,700. IF - AND I AM CAPITALIZING THIS ALSO BECAUSE IF IS A SHORT WORD - you do not have another dollar to your name or your family's name, then you will get the rest of the COA in free cash money. Because this is about a $30,000 grant, single students with no children and no money in their name or their parents' name would tell you that the maximum grant is about $30,000.

HOWEVER, that is not completely true. Actually, as stated on their website, the maximum grant is the full cost of tuition - $47,500-ish. So why doesn't anyone get that much? Because the difference between the loans/summer contributions they expect you to make and the full COA is much smaller than that, and that's all they're willing to cover.

The people who would be eligible to get more aid than that $30,000-ish, up to full tuition, are the ones who have a higher COA. But it's not simple to get a higher COA, as I'll explain.

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The flip side of Harvard's calculations are the expected student contribution. As much as Harvard is generous with need based aid, they don't want to give free cash money to people who are financially secure. So, if you have an income, or if you have assets, or if your family does, Harvard expects you to devote that to paying for your education. Assets are pretty simple - take what you have, assume you can hold on to some small percentage of it in case of emergency (Although it's often moot, because a house, for example, is an asset, but being allowed to hold on to 10% of the value of your house in case of emergency is not helpful. it works better with bank accounts) and expect to spend the rest over your three years in Harvard. If you have $45,000 in the bank, you can hold on to something like $6,000 (MADE UP NUMBER - PLEASE CONFIRM YOUR OWN) and be expected to pay $13,000 a year towards your COA.

Soooo, a student with dirt poor parents who has $45,000 of equity in his house would be looking at contributing the following:

The $42,500-ish loan
$13,000 that he can raise by selling his house, or that he is expected to borrow in lieu of actually selling his house
$2,500 that he is expected to earn over the summer
The total is $58,000 that he must contribute, and the remaining $14,500 or so in estimated COA will be covered by Harvard.
_________________________________________________

If your household has other people working, or if you will be working part time during school, you will also be expected to pay some more toward your COA. There are allowances that mean you don't have to give away every dollar you earn. For example, if you have a wife, you can earn $14,400 before you are expected to begin contributing from your income. If your wife works, the two of you get an additional allowance of $14,400 in addition to the simple allowance that you get simply for having a wife. If you are working and you need a car for work, then you would be able to tack on (up to) an additional $3,300 or so for car expenses before you would have to start paying Harvard more.
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Since Harvard determines grant aid by filling in the difference between expected contribution and estimated COA, it is important to understand the difference between allowances, which reduce your expected contribution if and when you have income, and a theoretical higher COA.

Having a wife gives you an allowance against potential earnings - it does not raise your estimated COA. If you do not earn a dollar, you will get no larger a grant because you are married than someone who is single. The same goes for owning a car (which is only an allowance if you or your spouse work). If you earn less than $14,400, then you haven't maximized that allowance, but your COA is still the same, and your grant would still be the same - even if your car costs you the full potential $3,300 allowance.
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The way that some people get a grant up to the cost of full tuition is, as I've been leading towards, by having children. WHEN A STUDENT HAS DEPENDENT CHILDREN (I don't know if this applies to preschool children specifically, or to all dependent children - feel free to educate me) then HLS opens the purse strings. In those cases, once the allowances are greater than the expected student contribution, the COA DOES INDEED GO UP.

For example, if a student is married with one 3 yr. old child, and the couple both work and earn between them, say, $35,000.

Student base COA is $72,500. Student must borrow the first $42,500. Student must contribute $2,500 from summer earnings.

Now here come some exemptions:
$14,400 for spouse
$14,400 because spouse works
$7,200 for child
$2,000 (made up) for additional medical insurance
$3,300 for car expenses.

The total is $41,300. The entire expected contribution was only $35,000, because that was all they earned. The additional $6,300 would be added to the estimated COA, and thus, to the grant - which would total $36,500-ish.

Fiddle around with the numbers a little bit, and you'll see that with another kid, or with less income, full tuition from Harvard is possible, even for people who have been working and making ends meet before beginning law school.

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I hope that the above is true and accurate. All of the information is available on Harvard's SFS website under Financial Aid Policy overview ( http://www.law.harvard.edu/current/sfs/ ... index.html ) , and further under the special populations/married students and/or students with dependent children category. I just felt that I collected the salient parts of the policy in one place, and expressed them a little more clearly, especially those that were relevant to me.

If I made mistakes, let me know and I'll edit them.




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