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Financial Aid

Financial Aid Appeals

Appeals of a financial aid package are rare and only considered when significant extenuating circumstances occur after the academic year has started. Such circumstances must have a financial component and must be thoroughly documented. 

Examples of extenuating circumstances include:
  • Unforeseen emergencies
  • Significant medical or adaptive expenses not covered by insurance
  • Change in family size due to the birth or adoption of a child
  • Dependent childcare expenses*
  • The cost of dependent health insurance if elected through the Harvard Student Health Insurance Plan.*
  • One-time cost of a computer purchase after August 1 of the year enrollment begins at HGSE, if such expense is not already included in the standard student budget*

* If approved these expenses only increase the standard student budget and student loan borrowing eligibility.

Examples of circumstances that cannot be considered in an appeal include:
  • Competing financial aid offers from other graduate schools
  • Not working full-time in order to attend graduate school (this is assumed for all students)
  • Relocation and moving expenses
  • Consumer debt (credit cards, mortgages, etc.)
  • Car ownership expenses
  • Private school tuition for school-aged dependents
  • Expenses for travel or extra-curricular activities (vacations, family travel, attending a conference, etc.)
  • Any expenses that occur outside the 9-month academic year from September to May

Financial aid funding is to be utilized to meet direct educational costs for an individual student over the 9-month academic year from September to May. Family expenses and support often cannot be considered in determining financial aid eligibility, nor can expenses that occur outside the 9-month academic year or the standard student budget. While we will do everything possible to help identify options, regulatory and funding limitations may prevent us from offering additional financial aid even in the case of a successful appeal.

Submitting a Financial Aid Appeal

Please contact our office to start a discussion regarding a potential appeal, we will assess individual circumstances and provide further information regarding potential options.