Skip to Main Content
All financial aid is awarded using the standard student budget established by a Financial Aid Committee made up of HLS faculty, students and administrators. The standard budget establishes the annual limit on financial aid (grants and loans from all sources) available to each student under ordinary circumstances. The Committee ensures that the standard budget fairly represents average costs for most students. Each year the Committee considers Bureau of Labor Statistics data in conjunction with local area rental rates and student-reported expenses to arrive at a reasonable budget that allows for a moderate standard of living for all students. Please carefully review the standard student budget and use it as a guide to plan for your expenses.
|Tuition||$ 49,950||$ 52,350|
|Room/Board/Personal Allowance||$ 19,502||$ 19,922|
|Mandatory UHS Student Health Fee||$ 930||$ 958|
|Waivable Student Health Insurance Plan Fee||$ 2,168||$ 2,190|
|Optional Dental Insurance Fee Allowance||$ 395||$ 350|
|Books and Supplies Allowance||$ 1,200||$ 1,225|
|Travel Allowance||$ 1,450||$ 1,500|
|Stafford Loan Fees||$ 205||$ 205|
|TOTAL BUDGET||$ 75,800||$ 78,700|
Note: International students do not pay Stafford Loan Fees. The travel allowance for international students is increased by $205 to produce the same total budget.
The Financial Aid Committee anticipates that some first-year students will spend more than the allowance for books and supplies, since book costs for first year students are typically higher than those for second and third year students. Moreover, book costs for the first semester of the first year are typically higher than those for the second semester. The Committee believes that the Books and Supplies Allowance is sufficient to cover these costs for most first year students, but some students may find that they need to allocate some funds from their Room/Board/Personal allocation to meet their book and supply costs.
Please note that the standard 2012-13 budget includes a nine-month Room/Board/Personal expense living allowance of $19,502, which works out to a monthly allowance of $2,167. We intentionally do not provide our interpretation of how this amount of money should be broken down across various expense categories. This is a highly personal decision; therefore, we leave it to you to allocate this allowance among your living and other expenses based on your particular needs and priorities. As indicated above, some first year students may need to allocate a small portion of the Room/Board/Personal Allowance toward book and supplies expenses, and therefore may have a lower remaining monthly allowance for living expenses.
The Mandatory UHS Student Health Fee is required as part of enrollment at Harvard, and covers most services at Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) with no copay. Waivers of the Student Health Fee are generally not available, except in very limited cases, as described at the bottom of this page on the HUHS website.
Massachusetts law requires that any full-time student enrolled in an institution of higher learning in Massachusetts participate in a qualifying student health insurance program or in a health plan of comparable coverage. All students are automatically enrolled in the Harvard University Student Health Insurance Plan (HUSHP) to provide this required level of insurance coverage. The HUSHP fee may be waived by students who document coverage under a comparable health insurance plan. Students who already have comparable coverage -- for example, under a parent's health insurance plan -- are advised to waive HUSHP coverage. The deadline to waive HUSHP coverage for an upcoming academic year without incurring a late fee is July 31.
Enrollment in the Dental Insurance plan is optional but recommended for HLS students. The enrollment period for the dental program closes for the academic year on September 30. Fee-for-service dental options are also available through Harvard University Health Services Dental Services. Students are advised to allocate part of the standard Room/Board/Personal allowance to the cost of basic dental care available through the fee-for-service options; an allowance toward the additional cost of the Dental Insurance plan is included in the standard budget.
Harvard Law School does not have a separate budget for married students or for single students with dependants. The same standard budget is used for all students. However, married students and students with dependents are afforded higher living allowances against income in the calculation of their student contribution from income. For more detailed information see the section Married Students and Students with Dependents.
In extreme circumstances, students occasionally incur expenses during the year that may be legitimate reasons to warrant an increase in our standard budget listed above. Examples of allowable budget increases include higher travel expenses due to unforeseen family emergencies and un-reimbursed medical expenses. In order to request a budget increase, you need to submit our Appeal/Change of Status web form found on the Financial AId Forms section of our website.
Whenever possible, you should also provide original receipts of your additional expenses directly to our office. Generally, should a budget increase be allowed, the increase would be met in the form of additional supplemental education loan assistance.
Student budgets may also be increased for the purchase of a computer. The maximum computer budget increase allowed is $2,000. Students may receive only one computer budget increase during their three years at Harvard Law School. The increase may include the cost of all approved hardware and software needed, as described in the Computer Reimbursement/Cash Advance page. This budget increase will be met with Federal (the maximum is $20,500 in Stafford Loans) or supplemental education loan borrowing. We do not offer HLS need-based grant assistance to cover computer expenses. Instructions on the Computer Reimbursement/Cash Advance process are in the Computer Reimbursement/Cash Advance section of the website.
While in school, students should use credit cards as minimally as possible. A credit card can be more convenient than using cash, but be wary of using credit cards unless you can pay off the full balance each month. The standard student budget allows for a moderate standard of living that does not include an allowance for revolving credit card payments. We can not increase the budget for consumer debt payments. All students are strongly encouraged to clear all of their consumer debt before entering law school, even if this means depleting assets to do so.
Using credit cards wisely will help you maintain a good credit record. Creditworthiness is a requirement for students seeking financing through supplemental education loans.
The Law School's full policy regarding leaves and withdrawals, including the financial implications of taking a leave, are contained in the HLS Handbook of Academic Policies section on Leaves and Withdrawals.
Students who take a leave during the academic year are charged tuition for the period of enrollment, plus full insurance and health fees for the term in which the leave occurs.
For example: a student taking a leave in November will be charged tuition through the end of November, plus full Blue Cross/Blue Shield and University Health Services fees for the fall term, and the living expense budget will be adjusted to 3/9ths of the full budget based on a nine-month academic year beginning in September. Tuition is charged until the Registrar receives the leave of absence request form. Students who provide written notice of withdrawal by the dates listed below will be charged as follows:
|September 30||1/9 total annual charges|
|October 31||2/9 total annual charges|
|November 30||3/9 total annual charges|
|December 31||4/9 total annual charges|
|January 31||5/9 total annual charges|
|February 28||6/9 total annual charges|
|March 31||7/9 total annual charges|
|April 30||8/9 total annual charges|
|after April 30||Full Tuition|
Once the student's e-bill has been adjusted, Student Financial Services will prorate any aid package based on enrollment, adjusted tuition, and fee information received from the Registrar’s Office, in accordance with both federal and institutional regulations. Students who take a leave during the academic year may be required to repay a portion of the financial aid award since cash advances/refunds are disbursed at the beginning of each term in anticipation that students will be enrolled for the entire term. Students receive written notice of any outstanding balance that results from a leave of absence and are responsible for payment in full prior to re-enrolling at the Law School.
Back to Top