Entering Students: July 1, 2014 is the first day you can begin this process for the 2014-2015 academic year. If you purchase a computer prior to this date, we cannot help you finance it.
Continuing students: You may apply for a computer reimbursement or advance between the months of July 1, 2014 and April 1, 2015. We cannot process computer loans after April 1, 2014 and before June 30, 2014.
What is a computer reimbursement/cash advance?
A computer reimbursement/cash advance is a budget increase which will allow you to purchase a computer for academic use. Each student is eligible for a one-time LIPP-eligible budget increase of up to $2,000 to purchase a computer and related accessories. You must apply for an additional supplemental loan to cover this cost and provide specific documentation regarding the purchase. This page will give you step-by-step instructions for completing this process. Please read it carefully before buying your computer and applying for a reimbursement or cash advance.
IMPORTANT: Someone else cannot purchase this computer system for you. All purchases must be made in your name.
Any computer purchased prior to July 1st of the summer before you enter HLS cannot be considered as an educational expense and therefore, we cannot help you finance it. Returning students note: the last day to submit a computer advance or reimbursement is April 1. No computer loans will be processed between April 15 and July 1 of any given year.
What is the difference between a computer reimbursement and a computer cash advance?
The Student Financial Services Office uses two main processes for granting computer loans and budget increases:
- A COMPUTER REIMBURSEMENT will be granted to any student who purchases a computer system out-of-pocket and wishes to use a supplemental loan to reimburse him/herself for the purchase.
- A COMPUTER CASH ADVANCE will be granted to any student who cannot or chooses not to purchase a computer system out-of-pocket and instead wishes to use anticipated loan funds to receive an advance check.
What items are eligible for a computer reimbursement/cash advance?
Each computer system purchase MUST include one and only one computer (laptop OR desktop, not both). Additionally, the following approved accessories are eligible for inclusion in a computer system purchase for reimbursement/cash advance AS LONG AS their prices are included in your initial computer reimbursement/cash advance request. We will not make additional adjustments to your budget should you decide to purchase any of these approved accessories after your original application. Only one computer loan will be approved per student throughout his/her entire enrollment at HLS.
- Monitors (Note: You may purchase a monitor with both desktops and laptops.)
- Netbook (if purchased with a desktop computer and subject to the $2,000 limit)
- iPad (as long as no other desktop is purchased)
- Ink Cartridges
- Basic Computing Software i.e. Microsoft Office/Windows, MAC OS, Firewalls, Antivirus (Note: For specific software inquiries, please contact Student Financial Services. If you purchase software that is not specifically listed here without prior written approval from Student Financial Services, inclusion of that software in your approved computer loan amount will be at the discretion of the office.)
- Computer Speakers
- Carrying Cases
- Extra Memory/Wireless/Video/Sound Cards
- External Hard Drives or CD/DVD Drives
- USB flash drives/UPS/Cables/Adapters
- External Battery Charger for Laptop Battery
- Notebook Computer Docks
- Notebook Computer Locks
- Warranty (Note: Since students are approved for one computer loan throughout his/her entire enrollment at HLS, we recommend purchasing extended warranties whenever possible.)
You may purchase components of your system separately, but since Student Financial Services can only permit each student ONE computer reimbursement/cash advance, you must include all of these components in one request. Again, only one computer loan will be approved per student and Student Financial Services will not increase supplemental loan amounts once they have been approved.
- iPods/mp3 Players
- Fax/Copy Machines
- Palm Pilots/PDAs/Handhelds
- Gaming Systems/Software
- Paper (Should be budgeted by student out of the Books & Supplies portion of the standard student budget)
Approval of items not on the list of approved accessories or of items on the list of ineligible accessories is at the sole discretion of Student Financial Services. If you purchase one of these items without receiving prior written approval from a Financial Aid Officer, that item may not qualify for computer loan coverage.
What is the deadline to apply for a computer reimbursement/cash advance?
The deadline to apply for any new supplemental loan funding (including funding for a computer purchase) for each academic year is April 1st. ALL computer reimbursement/cash advance applications must also be complete by April 1st.
The following table indicates the schedule by which computer reimbursements/cash advances will be processed. The “File By” date refers to the date by which your entire application (including Computer Reimbursement/Cash Advance Request Form, loan application, loan promissory note, and receipt submission, if applicable) must be complete.
|Check Mailed By
- Harvard University cannot release funds to non-registered students. If you wish to purchase a computer system during the summer months, you must purchase it out-of-pocket and apply later for a computer reimbursement. Computer cash advances are not available for summer computer purchases.
- If you have any outstanding charges on your billing account at the time of your application, these charges will be subtracted from your check. If your charges exceed the amount that you are requesting for your computer system purchase, you will not be eligible to receive a check. You will, however, remain eligible for a budget increase and for a loan to cover your computer-related expenses provided you submit the required documentation and apply for a supplemental loan.
Apply for a computer reimbursement/cash advance
There are two separate ways to receive computer loan funding: computer reimbursement and computer cash advance. Important Note: You may not apply for a computer reimbursement/cash advance for a computer purchased during a different academic year.
If you choose to purchase a computer out-of-pocket and then use loan funds to reimburse yourself for the purchase (computer reimbursement), you will need to:
- STEP 1: Purchase your computer system (maximum total cost $2,000) and save the final receipts for ALL components.
- STEP 2: Apply for a supplemental loan in the amount of your purchase (be certain to sign the promissory note at the time of application). If you also wish to apply for supplemental funding to cover your general student budget, you must apply for two separate loans.
- STEP 3: Complete and submit our online Computer Request Form (see below).
- STEP 4: Print the online form’s success page and submit it to Student Financial Services with copies of all final receipts attached. You should circle each item on these receipts but please do not highlight them as it makes it difficult for us to read.
If you cannot or choose not to pay for your computer before receiving funds to pay for it (computer advance), you will need to:
- STEP 1: Research the items that you plan to purchase and come up with an estimate for the total cost of your computer system (maximum $2,000), including itemized prices for each component.
- STEP 2: Apply for a supplemental loan in the amount of your estimate or up to a maximum of $2,000 if your estimate exceeds the $2,000 cap (be certain to sign the promissory note at the time of application). It is to your benefit to get the best estimate possible and apply for a supplemental loan for only the specific amount listed on your estimate. We will only process one computer cash advance for you. If you feel your estimate may be unreliable and your costs might be higher, it is better to apply for slightly more funding in order to avoid a potential shortfall. If you do have a shortfall because your costs end up exceeding your estimate, you will have to pay this out of pocket. Remember, we will still be collecting your actual computer purchase receipts to verify your purchase. If your costs are lower than the amount we advanced you, you will owe the difference back to your billing account. Finally, if you also wish to apply for supplemental loan funding to cover your general student budget, you must apply for two separate loans.
- STEP 3: Complete and submit our online Computer Request Form (below) along with a detailed estimate outlining the cost of your system.
- STEP 4: A cash advance check in the amount of your estimate will automatically be direct deposited into your U.S. bank account (see Direct Deposit) so that you can make your purchase. Your supplemental loan will not yet be approved. The advance check will create a charge on your billing account.
- STEP 5: Purchase your computer system.
- STEP 6: Submit copies of all final invoices/receipts for the computer system within two weeks of the date that your direct deposit was made. Once we receive these receipts, we will approve your loan and request it’s disbursement to your ebill. You should circle each item on these receipts but please do not highlight them as it makes it difficult for us to read
- Other Notes on Computer Cash Advances:
- If you do not submit the follow-up documentation within two weeks of the date that your check was deposited, you will be held for fall registration, spring registration or graduation, be placed on hold for further cash advance checks, and owe the amount of your cash advance back to your ebill. Your supplemental loan for the computer system will not be approved and your budget will not be increased.
- If your computer system estimate turns out to be higher than the actual cost of the system, your loan will be approved in the smaller, final amount and the charge on your billing account will remain in the amount of the difference between the estimated and the actual costs, leaving you to repay the excess portion back when you receive your next monthly e-bill.
- Your computer loan will only be certified once the computer has been purchased and all final documentation of the purchase has been received and approved by the Student Financial Services Office. Your computer cash advance check will create a charge on your billing account that will be covered by the loan once all required documentation has been submitted and the loan has been certified.
To apply for a computer reimbursement/cash advance, please use your HLS email username and password to access and submit our online form. Before submitting this form, make sure that you have purchased your computer system and applied for a supplemental loan as explained in the steps listed above.