Requirements

The process to apply for financial aid is essentially the same for all prospective students. Regardless of your citizenship or when you are applying, you will need to submit a CSS Profile and an IDOC Packet.

US Citizens and Permanent Residents will also need to submit the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA is a free form and if you only wish to apply for federal aid it is the only form you need to submit.

Applying for Financial Aid at Harvard

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Screenshot of Financial Aid Video

Video description: an illustrated guide to applying for financial aid

Deadlines

​Our goal is to provide you with a decision about financial aid at the time that you are admitted. For Early Action applicants that means an estimate of financial aid in mid-December, and for both Early and Regular Action applications, a financial aid decision around April 1. Although we’ll accept a late application, we may not be able to get back to you as quickly as we would if your application was submitted along the timeline below. Please note that you cannot access IDOC until you have completed the CSS Profile.

Financial Aid Application Deadlines
  Early Action Regular Decision Transfer
CSS Profile November 1 February 1 March 1
FAFSA November 1 February 1 March 1
IDOC November 1 February 1 March 1

FAQs about Deadlines

CSS Profile

File the online 2019-2020 CSS Profile via the College Board. Make sure to include Harvard as a recipient using the code 3434. If your parents are married or live together, they will file one CSS Profile. If they are separated or divorced, each parent will fill out their own CSS Profile.

The CSS Profile asks questions about your family’s financial situation including numbers you will find on your family’s tax returns. If you have not yet filed your tax returns, feel free to estimate. We’ll update the CSS Profile after you’ve submitted your actual tax returns.

The CSS Profile has a built in fee waiver for US students, based on their financial circumstances. If you are an international student who cannot afford the CSS Profile fee, or if you live in a country from which the College Board cannot process payments, you may follow this alternate set of instructions.

CSS Profile FAQs

FAFSA

The FAFSA is a free form that determines your eligibility for federal aid. Only students who are US Citizens, Permanent Residents, or other eligible non-citizens will file the FAFSA.

File the 2019-2020 FAFSA, which is available online or as a mobile app, starting October 1. Remember to include Harvard’s code E00468 so that we receive the FAFSA. 

FAFSA FAQs

IDOC

We require submission of tax and other documents through the College Board IDOC Service, which is a fast and secure way to upload your information for review. The IDOC Service opens in late October/early November to all applicants who have already completed a CSS Profile.

IDOC will show a list of basic documents to be uploaded, but their list is not the definitive list of what you need to submit. Additional required documents are listed below. Gather together all of the following that apply, and submit them to IDOC. Please do not send draft or estimated taxes. We need the actual 2017 tax return as filed with the government. If your documents are not in English, please be sure to translate them.

Parents’ 2017 income tax document for both parents: for US students, this is usually the signed 1040 Federal Income Tax Return with all pages and schedules, including W-2 Forms. For many international students, this will be whatever documentation of income your parents submit to their national government. If your parents do not file tax returns, please submit a Tax Non-Filer Statement, and whatever documentation they do have, such as a wage statement, salary certificate, or letter from their employer(s) stating annual income.

Student’s 2017 income tax document: if you do not file a tax document, please submit a Tax Non-Filer Statement, and a copy of any W-2 Forms, if you received any. Students who submit tax returns should be sure that they are signed.

Business documents: if either of your parents has an interest in a business or farm, submit:

  • Business/Farm Supplement Form for each business and/or farm.
  • The 2017 business tax return for each business and/or farm. In the US, this refers to the full 1065 Partnership Return, 1120 S Corporate Return, and 1120 Corporate Return, along with K-1 Statements.

Trust or estate documents: if you or your parents are the beneficiary of an estate or trust, submit:

  • The full Trust Tax Return.
  • A letter explaining the contents of the trust or estate, value, and accessibility.

Additional information: if you have any unusual expenses or special circumstances to share, feel free to submit a letter with the rest of your documents.

Frequently Asked Questions