How to Get a Scholarship for Harvard

by Irina Paley
Harvard University awards scholarships based on the financial need of the applicant.

Harvard University does not offer merit-based scholarships or athletics scholarships to undergraduate applicants. The only financial aid that Harvard University grants is need-based. Therefore, it is important to carefully gather your and your family's financial information and submit it along with your application for admissions, carefully following the instructions in the financial aide application. However, in addition to the tuition reduction that Harvard will allot based on the applicant's need, it is also possible to apply directly for scholarships from various organizations. In order to do so, you must research the opportunities available based on your residence and your academic, athletic and leadership achievements.

Submit the Financial Aid Application

Collect all the financial information

Collect all the financial information from your parents.

Complete your financial profile

Complete your financial profile on and designate Harvard as one of the recipients by using the CSS code of 3434.

Tax forms

Once you have filed your CSS profile form, you will receive communication from the College Board's Institutional Documentation Service providing you with instructions on how to submit your federal tax forms and any other supplemental forms that might be required.

If you, your parents or other siblings are beneficiaries of an estate or trust, submit the appropriate schedule K-1 of Form 1041 or Form 4970, along with the other parent tax returns, to the College Board's IDOC Service.

If you worked and have filed a tax return for the previous year, send that information to College Board's IDOC Service as well.

File the FAFSA form

File the FAFSA form at Designate Harvard as one of your recipients by using “Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138.” Harvard's federal code number is E00468.

Complete the application with as much info as possible

Even if you do not have all the financial information available to you, complete the application with as much information as possible and send the remaining documents when you have them.

Keep copies

Keep photocopies of all the documents that you send for your own records.

Explore Other Scholarship Opportunities

Meet with your guidance counselor

Schedule a meeting with your high school guidance counselor or college counselor to discuss what scholarship opportunities might be available to students in your region.

Write down your list

Write down a list of your academic, athletic and leadership achievements and focus on what makes you unique among your peers. Bring this list to your meeting with your counselor.


Browse the website to research legitimate scholarship opportunities. Taylor your search and narrow down your list of possible scholarships. Apply only to those scholarships that are relevant to you. For example, don't apply for the Siemens Competition scholarship if you do not have outstanding grades in mathematics and science.

Create a spreadsheet

Create a spreadsheet to contain a master list of all the scholarships that you and your guidance counselor agreed would be a good fit for you. In separate columns include the application due date and requirements such as letters of recommendation for each scholarship.

Apply to the scholarships following the unique directions for each scholarship precisely. Be sure to include all the requested information (transcripts, letters of recommendation, your parents' financial statements, etc.)

About the Author

Based in New York City, Irina Paley has been writing education-related articles since 1999. Her articles have appeared in "AACE" and "Comparative Education." Paley received a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering from Columbia University in 2002, and a Master of Arts degree in instructional technology from Teacher's College in 2005. She is currently working toward a PhD in cognitive psychology.

Photo Credits

  • tupungato/iStock/Getty Images
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article