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Step 1: Apply for Financial Aid

In this step you will submit the main online HLS financial aid application, which will then create a personalized list of required documents to be submitted. Once all of your documents are received, we will begin reviewing your application.

Wasserstein Hall exterior

Credit: Brooks Kraft

Helpful hints about getting your file complete as fast as possible

  • SFS is paperless and stores data electronically in a document imaging system. Please read our Document Submission and Imaging page for more information about how to get data to us most efficiently.
  • If you submitted the FAFSA application before you were notified of your admission to HLS, or before you submitted the online HLS financial aid application, we should have already received your data electronically. However, it may take up to 48 hours before we are able to load your data and track these documents as “Received”.
  • Contact our office if you notice a document in your list that you believe you should not be required to submit. You may have answered a question incorrectly on our main online form, and we will need to correct your response in order to adjust your document list.
  • Contact our office if you have submitted a document and it is not marked as “Received” within one week of submission.

Once your preliminary application is complete

  • Admitted Students

    • Completed financial aid applications are distributed to Financial Aid Officers for review on a daily basis throughout the spring as admitted students’ files become complete. The date that the final document was received in our office to complete your file marks the date that your financial aid application was sent for review. If there are still “packaging” documents listed as “Not Received,” on the “Documents” tab of “My HLS Financial Aid”, then your financial aid application has not yet been sent to a Financial Aid Officer for review. Please check “My HLS Financial Aid” periodically to track the status of your application.
    • On the day your file becomes complete you will receive an email confirmation from us. From this point, it generally takes two weeks (10 business days) for us to review your file and process a provisional financial aid award. During peak processing times or when an individual’s financial circumstances are very complex, it may take a little longer than two weeks. However, it is always our goal to process award packages as promptly as possible.
    • Admitted students must inform the Harvard Law School Admissions Office by May 1st that they intend to take a spot in the Class. We understand that financial aid plays an important role in deciding what law school to attend and HLS wants to ensure that you are able to view your provisional financial aid award prior to making that decision. If you were admitted very close to or after the May 1st deadline, you should contact the Admissions Office about a possible extension of the deadline. Only the Admissions Office can grant approval for an extension. To receive one, you must be actively working with Student Financial Services to complete your application for aid. Again, we will do our best to work with you to expedite the process.
  • Returning Students

    • Returning students have a fixed deadline to complete their preliminary application for aid each year. The 2017-2018 preliminary financial aid application deadline for returning students is 5PM on MONDAY MAY 1, 2017. After the deadline, it will take approximately one week for SFS staff to track your application materials in our database. As soon as we have logged all the application materials received, we will send you an email instructing you to check the “Your Documents” tab and confirm that your application is complete. If any additional documentation is still pending at this time, you will need to turn it in to us as soon as possible so that we can begin our review of your file.
    • We typically process returning student awards during the months of May and June, and we release all provisional award data for returning students at the same time in July around the time when fall semester charges are billed.
    • Students who complete their financial aid applications before the  deadline are guaranteed to receive notice of their provisional aid in July and can expect to have financial aid in place to offset their fall semester charges. Returning student financial aid applications that become complete after the deadline will still be processed, but not until we have completed our review of applications from those who met the application deadline. Although we make every effort to process late applications in a timely fashion, we cannot, in all cases, guarantee to complete our review in time to get anticipated credits on your student bill. If you do apply late, you may need to make other payment arrangements for your fall bill until our review of your application is complete.