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2016-17 “How To Apply” Video Links

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.

Timing of this step

For admitted students there is no deadline to complete this step. We will open access to the main online HLS financial aid application in late February and the sooner after that date you complete your file by submitting all of your required documents, the sooner you will have your provisional HLS financial aid award offer from us. Throughout the spring we generally have a two week (10 business days) turnaround time from the point your last document is received to the point you will receive your award notification.

For returning students, the deadline to complete your 2016-2017 financial aid application is 5PM on MONDAY, MAY 2, 2016. Once the application process is up and running you will receive an email communication from Student Financial Services. Generally, the application season opens for returning students in late-March of each academic year giving ample time for you to complete your application by the application deadline. We typically process returning student awards during the months of May and June, and we release provisional awards to all returning students at the same time in July around the time when fall semester charges are billed.

Submitting the main online HLS financial aid application form

To begin the financial aid application process, submit the main online HLS institutional aid application. The main online HLS financial aid application is part of our secure online financial aid system, known as “My HLS Financial Aid”, and requires a secure login. To successfully authenticate into our online system you will need to follow the login instructions outlined on the “My HLS Financial Aid” authentication page.

Once you login, your accurate completion of this online form is an extremely important step in applying for aid at HLS. The answers you provide are used to dynamically generate the list of other documents that we will require from you. Inaccurate answers may generate an incorrect list of required documents and can lead to delays in the processing of your financial aid.

Some of the questions on the form may require you to get both personal and business tax filing information from your parents. Please be sure to read through the entire form and gather all of the necessary information from your parents BEFORE attempting to complete the form. Do not guess the answers to the questions that pertain to your parents’ tax filing information; this can also delay the processing of your application. If needed, this form has a SAVE button which allows you to save your progress if you need to stop and gather additional information before actually submitting your data to our office.  Once you are sure you have all the information you need and are ready you should hit the Submit button. This will transfer your data to our office.  Once transferred, the form automatically locks and you will not be able to make changes or additions without first contacting our office for assistance.

Reviewing your personalized list of required documents and completing your preliminary application

After successfully submitting the online HLS financial aid application, close your Internet browser completely. Then, you can immediately log back in and you will find that a “Documents” tab has now been enabled. On this tab, you will now be able to view your personalized list of required documents as well as links to either the documents themselves or web pages that describe what is required from you to successfully complete each document.

Depending on your circumstances, there may be numerous required documents that you will need to collect and submit to complete your application. Some documents will be actual paper forms, such as tax documents, while others will be web forms that you can submit electronically.

Once enabled, the “Documents” tab becomes a live, real-time web function. As soon as a required document is reviewed and someone in our office marks it “Received” in our system, you will see it as “Received” on your “Documents” tab. Please allow us at least two business days (or longer from mid-March to early May) to review the materials and update the status. You can check back on the status of your application regularly throughout the process.

Here are a few 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 2016-2017 preliminary financial aid application deadline for returning students is 5PM on MONDAY MAY 2, 2016. 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.