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My first post here. I am an international applicant for next year, hoping to get into HKS MPA but also appalled by the high tuition. I've read many of the posts here and am surprised that some mentioned receiving $$$ from Harvard after being accepted. I am just wondering: are these $$$ financial aid or scholarship? Or maybe I should ask if they need-based or merit-based? Are international applicants eligible? Do I need to specifically apply for them or will I be automatically considered? Perhaps HKS can give me some official answers but this board may supply some extra insights regarding the chance, usual amount, determinants etc.

Thanks a lot!

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Usually, undergrad and doctoral students get full financial supports at a place like Harvard, whereas the tuition money that master's students pay are regarded as the school's income (or cash cows or cash bags), which they redistribute to undergrad and doctoral students as a form of aid.

So, basically; No money, no Ivy master's degree.

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HKS is a great school, but if finances concern you, make sure you don't limit yourself to just one option. There are a lot of fantastic MPA/MPP-type programs that award substantial aid. From my experience, the programs that hand out the most are Princeton, Chicago, and CMU. I specifically applied to all three of these schools after researching typical aid packages, and I was handsomely rewarded as a result.

To answer your question on HKS, it seems that they consider both need and merit, and probably strongly consider cohort diversity as well. Unfortunately Harvard's funds are rather limited compared to some other programs. On this board there was a pretty sizable contingent of admits last year, but only a small handful received any sort of funding.

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doctoral students maybe, but no way undergrads. completely separate schools.

Usually, undergrad and doctoral students get full financial supports at a place like Harvard, whereas the tuition money that master's students pay are regarded as the school's income (or cash cows or cash bags), which they redistribute to undergrad and doctoral students as a form of aid.

So, basically; No money, no Ivy master's degree.

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  • 4 weeks later...

You will be informed of your loan awards shortly after receiving your admission decision, but those are federal loans, so they are only for US citizens. I assume that you would have to take out private loans as a non-US citizen.

About a month after the admissions application is due, the financial aid application is due, part of which is an opportunity to write up to 30 (!) essays for various fellowships, most (all?) of which are open to international students. I wrote a few essays, didn't get any fellowships/scholarships, accepted ANYWAY, and THEN was awarded a scholarship.

I think it was based on the subject matter I wrote about in my admissions essay, since the scholarship was quite subject-specific. I assume that both domestic and international students would be considered equally for such scholarships that arise at the last minute. I also have huge financial need, but I do not know if that was a factor in the scholarship decision. I tend to think not. The financial aid office will tell you (and I think it's true), that it is very rare for large scholarships to be awarded after you accept to the program.

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