The standard student budget represents average costs for most students, and establishes an annual limit on financial aid (grants and loans from all sources) available to each student. Each year, the Financial Aid Committee reviews 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.

Please note that the 2015-16 Cost of Attendance/Student Budget has not yet been set by the HLS Financial Aid Committee. This page will be updated when the 2015-16 Student Budget has been approved.

2014-2015 Standard Budget (9-mo. academic year)

Tuition $54,850
Books and Supplies Allowance (a) $1,250
Room/Board/Personal Allowance (b) $20,722
Mandatory UHS Student Health Fee (c) $992
Waivable Student Health Insurance Plan Fee (c) $2,366
Travel Allowance $1,500
Stafford Loan Fees (d) $220
Total Budget $81,900

Notes on Budget Categories

(a) The Financial Aid Committee anticipates that some first-year students will spend more than this allowance for books and supplies, because 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 student budget includes a sufficient allowance toward these costs for most first year students, but some students may find that they need to allocate some funds from their room/board/personal allowance to meet their book and supply costs.

(b) The standard budget includes a nine-month Room/Board/Personal expense living allowance of $20,722, which works out to a monthly allowance of $2,302. 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. Enrollment in the Dental Insurance plan is optional but recommended for HLS students, and students may choose to allocate a portion of the Room/Board/Personal allowance in the standard student budget toward enrollment in this plan. Fee-for-service dental options are also available through Harvard University Health Services Dental Services. Please note that enrollment in the dental plan and the higher cost of books and supplies for some first year students may necessitate allocating a small portion of the Room/Board/Personal Allowance toward these expenses, and therefore may leave a lower remaining monthly allowance for living expenses.

(c) 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. By state law, students must also enroll in an approved health insurance plan, such as the Harvard Student Health Insurance Plan, to cover emergency services and hospital benefits. Students already enrolled in a comparable health insurance plan (such as a parent’s plan) may be eligible to waive the Student Heath Insurance Plan. Please note that under Federal student aid regulations, an allowance for the Harvard Student Health Insurance Plan may be included in the student’s budget only for students who enroll in the plan. For students who waive this coverage, the allowance will not be given and the total student budget will be reduced by the amount of the plan fee. Students may request upon appeal to have the documented cost of an alternate health insurance plan for which the student pays added to the student’s budget. Harvard University Health Services also provides an informative toolkit on the health care coverage options available to students through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including a comparison chart of important factors to consider when choosing health insurance coverage.

(d) International students do not pay Stafford Loan Fees. The travel allowance for international students is increased by $215 to produce the same total budget.

Please review the policy section of our website for more detailed information regarding student budget policies.