The financial aid application opens after you are admitted to HLS. In Step 1 you will submit your Preliminary Application for Aid, which always begins with the submission of the Student Application. Once the Student Application form is submitted, a personalized list of requirements will be generated for you to complete. If you apply for need-based aid and are under the age of 29 on or before September 1 of the academic year, the submission of the student application will also generate a required Parent Application (and supporting documentation). Once all of your requirements are received, we can begin reviewing your application to determine your provisional financial aid eligibility for the upcoming academic year.
Admitted Entering Students: SFS has the goal of releasing your financial aid eligibility based on the following target dates.
|Date Application Complete
|Target Date Eligibility Sent
|By February 29
|By March 14
|By March 28
|By April 11
|By April 25
|By May 23
|By June 20
|By July 11
|By August 1
*Returning students should refer to the “Application Timeline” section of this page for information about the submission deadline and eligibility release.
For admitted entering students there is no specific deadline to complete this step.
- HLS financial aid is administered on a rolling basis. Because we are need based, the only advantage to applying early is that you will receive your financial aid eligibility sooner. We will do our best to send out eligibility notifications based on the target dates that you see on the chart above. However, depending on the volume of applications, we may release the eligibility sooner or later than what is listed.
- Having said this, we know that some students consider their provisional financial aid eligibility as a factor in their decision to enroll. If this is important to you, please submit your application and all required documentation by April 11th so we can provide you with your provisional financial aid eligibility by the May 1st HLS Admissions enrollment deadline.
- We will open access to the Student Application Form in the SFS Self-Service Portal in mid-February. 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 eligibility from us.
For returning students, the deadline to complete your 2024-2025 financial aid application is 5PM on MAY 2, 2024.
- 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 March of each academic year, giving ample time for you to complete your application by the application deadline.
- We typically process returning student eligibility during the months of May and June.
- Then, we release provisional financial aid eligibility to all returning students simultaneously in July (around the time when fall semester charges are billed).
Application Requirements and Information
About the SFS Self-Service Portal
The entire financial aid application process must be accessed on our application website known as the SFS Self-Service Portal.
- Admitted and returning students are able to log into the SFS Self-Service Portal with their HarvardKey. (If you do not have a working HarvardKey, please use this link to create, change, or recover your login information.)
- After logging in, you will find your personalized welcome page with steps to navigate the portal and messages about your application. Read them carefully for deadlines and instructions.
- The Financial Aid menu at the top left controls the many pages of your application and eligibility.
- All of the forms in the Self-Service Portal have both a SAVE button and a SAVE AND CONTINUE button at the bottom of every page. You do not have to complete forms in a single session, and you may go back and review your answers on any form at any time.
- The system will time out if you are inactive for at least 30 minutes. We recommend clicking SAVE at the bottom of the page if you think you will be away from any of the forms for a significant amount of time.
If you are experiencing technical difficulties, please review our Troubleshooting Guides below.
Submitting the Student Application
The Student Application is required for all students wishing to have their eligibility determined for need-based aid and/or LIPP eligible borrowing. Once the student application is submitted, a personalized list of requirements will be generated.
- Use the “Financial Aid” drop-down to navigate to the Student Application form. Make sure to select the appropriate academic year via the tabs at the top of the page. Take your time, and read the questions carefully. Inaccurate or incomplete answers may cause delays in the processing of your financial aid.
- This form is used to collect data about your financial resources, including both income and assets.
- Toward the end of the Student Application, you will be asked to choose the type of application that you wish to submit: “loan-only” or “need-based”. A “loan-only” application does not require parent information and is appropriate if you know your resources or parent resources are high enough that it is unlikely you will qualify for HLS need-based financial aid. Most of our students will apply for “need-based” financial aid (see “Should I Apply for Grant Aid?”) but you should note that this requires an extensive list of questions about your parents’ financial history, assets, businesses, and properties.
- HLS requires most need-based student aid applicants to provide financial information regarding all parents, including biological parents, step-parents, adoptive parents, and legal guardians, even in cases where parents are divorced. HLS represents a wide variety of families including widowed parents, step-parents, adoptive parents, and many other unique situations. If your parents live separately for any reason, you will find space to list names and email addresses for two different households on the Student Application. There is also space to describe your family situation, if there is anything you feel our office should know.
- The Student Application will ask the student to designate who is going to be completing the Parent Application. Because the Parent Application is extensive, we strongly recommend it be completed by the parent directly. This will reduce the likelihood that inaccurate information is provided that will delay the processing of your application for aid. However, we recognize that in some cases the student may need to complete the parent application on behalf of the parental household.
- The final page of the student application is an automatically generated list of ALL of your answers on a summary page. Please review this list carefully, click previous to make any edits to your answers if necessary, and scroll to the bottom to click SUBMIT when you are certain all answers are correct.
- Once your Student Application is submitted, several things happen simultaneously.
- Your application becomes active in our system.
- If you have provided parent(s) email address(es) so that they can complete the Parent Application, our database automatically sends an email message with instructions providing them access to their part of the application.
- Your Student Application will generate a personalized list of application requirements that you must submit via the “Application Requirements” page from the Financial Aid drop-down menu. Your Financial Aid application is not considered complete until ALL documents are set as “Received”.
Submitting Other Student Requirements
- Once your Student Application is submitted, it will generate a personalized list of application requirements that you must submit via the “Application Requirements” page from the Financial Aid drop-down menu. Your Financial Aid application is not considered complete until ALL documents are set as “Received”.
- Returning students (rising 2Ls and rising 3Ls) who are working a non-SPIF position in the summer will see the following document requirement after submitting the Student Application: “Summer Employment Offer Letter(s) – All Jobs.” To fulfill this requirement, students must submit their offer letter from every summer job that is not being funded with SPIF. This applies to both paid and unpaid positions (with the exception for positions funded by SPIF). SFS requires this documentation in order to provide students with the most accurate provisional financial aid eligibility.
- All US Citizens and eligible citizens will see a requirement to submit the FAFSA. More information about submitting the FAFSA can be found on webpage “FAFSA, FA-DDX, & Federal Verification.”
- If you submitted the FAFSA 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”.
Submitting the Parent Application
HLS requires student aid applicants to provide financial information regarding all parents, including biological parents, step-parents, adoptive parents, and legal guardians, even in cases where parents are divorced. You will also be asked to number the people in your household and provide information for each person in the household, including relatives and dependents. After documents are submitted, the HLS Financial Aid Committee will determine the appropriate information that will be incorporated into the determined parent resources. It is important that we have a complete and accurate understanding of your family and each household’s finances before determining any aid award.
The Parent Application is extensive and we strongly recommend it be completed by the parent directly. However, we recognize that in some cases the student may need to complete the parent application on behalf of the parental household. Students should be aware that all questions are posed as if the parent were answering, and that the form requires very detailed financial information.
- Parents have unique access to the SFS Self-Service Portal; they may NOT log in using your student credentials. Instead, within your Student Application, you must provide a contact email address for every parent household. It is very important that you provide an accurate email address for your parent(s), as access codes to the application will be automatically generated for them and sent to that address.
- Like the Student Application, progress in the Parent Application may be saved at any time. However, access codes are temporary, and need to be regenerated for each new session when you wish to return to your saved work. Please save all emails for your records and read them carefully before contacting our office with questions.
- Do NOT guess or estimate any answers on the Parent Application; they must be consistent with your tax returns.
- The final page of the application is an automatically generated list of ALL of your answers on a summary page. Please review this list carefully, click previous to make any edits to your answers if necessary, and scroll to the bottom to click SUBMIT when you are certain all answers are correct.
- Once the Parent Application is submitted, the list on “Application Requirements” will update for that household based on the answers that were provided on the Parent Application.
Submitting Other Parent Requirements
Once the Parent Application is submitted, it will generate a list of requirements.
- The list on “Application Requirements” will update for each household based on the answers that were provided on the Parent Application.
- For more information about the required income documentation, please review our webpage “Required Parent Tax Documentation.”
- Do not submit tax documentation for any year other than what is requested on the SFS Self-Service Portal.
- Do not password protect documents as SFS staff will be unable to open the documents which will delay the processing of the student’s application. The SFS Self-Service Portal is secure.
Submitting Your Application Requirements
Once your Student Application is submitted, you will be able to access the “Application Requirements” page from the “Financial Aid” drop-down menu. On this page, you will now be able to view your personalized list of requirements as well as links to any outside forms (such as the FAFSA, which is filed electronically with the U.S. Department of Education).
Completed Parent Application forms will also generate additional requirements on the “Application Requirements” tab. Please make sure everyone in your family who is filing an application through the SFS Self-Service Portal is familiar with the following process:
- SFS is paperless and stores all data electronically.
- There is ample space within the “Application Requirements” page for document submission; we do not accept documents by email, as it is not a secure system.
- Each required document listed on the “Application Requirements” page has a yellow submission box for you to drag-and-drop copies of PDFs. You must submit all of your documents at one time in each requirement space. When you have successfully uploaded a requirement, it will post to the list as “Submitted, Not Reviewed” status. There is no need to save the page. These documents are automatically transmitted to our office for review and they become a live, real-time web function. As soon as a required document is reviewed and someone in our office approves it, you will see it labeled as “Received” on your list.
- A “Received” document is complete and accepted. If something is wrong with a document, or it does not have enough information, we will change the status to “Incomplete”. You will receive an automatic message from our office to navigate to the parent application requirements page in the portal to review the changes that we need, and occasionally a question from one of the SFS staff members. When you have corrected the document, upload it again in the same place, and we will repeat the review process. Your Financial Aid application is not considered complete until ALL documents are set as “Received”.
- Contact our office if you have submitted a document and it has not changed from “Submitted, Not Reviewed” within two weeks of submission. You should check back on your application regularly throughout the process, because SFS may adjust your requirements at any time.
- Contact our office if you notice a document in your “Application Requirements” 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.
Following Your Application Status
The status of your application is listed within the SFS Self-Service Portal.
- Your financial aid application is not complete until ALL items in your “Application Requirements” are marked with the “Received” status. This includes the Student Application, Parent Application(s), all affiliated documents, all external forms (such as the FAFSA), or any other requests you may have received from our office.
- Remember to check your application status frequently. Our office may contact you at any time to update a document. The sooner your application is complete, the sooner we can determine your Provisional Financial Aid Eligibility.
Once Your Preliminary Application is Complete
ADMITTED ENTERING STUDENTS:
- Completed financial aid applications for admitted students are reviewed by Financial Aid Officers on a daily basis throughout the spring as the files become complete. The date that the final document to complete your file was marked as “Received” by our office is the date that your financial aid application was sent for review.
- You will know that your file is complete when you receive an email confirmation from us. We will do our best to send out eligibility notifications based on the target dates that you see on the chart above. However, depending on the volume of applications, we may release the eligibility sooner or later than what is listed. Also, sometimes when an individual’s financial circumstances are very complex, we may be unable to hit the stated target date for your eligibility release. If this is the case we will certainly be in touch with you; however, please be assured it is always our goal to process provisional financial aid eligibility 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. 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 have a fixed deadline to complete their preliminary application for aid each year. The 2024-2025 preliminary financial aid application deadline for returning students is 5 PM on MAY 2, 2024.
- Students who complete their financial aid applications and requirements BEFORE the deadline are guaranteed to receive notice of their provisional eligibility in July and can expect to have financial aid in place to offset their fall semester charges.
- 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 account. 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.