HBS Increases Eligibility for Full-Tuition Scholarships

full-tuition scholarships

Harvard Business School has announced it will boost its financial support for students with the greatest economic need. Roughly ten percent of students qualify for full-tuition scholarships, which will cover $76,000 in tuition and course fees for each year of the two-year program. In addition, HBS will offer scholarship support to more students from middle-income backgrounds. Right now, about half of all students receive some sort of scholarship assistance.

For several years now, HBS has worked to make the MBA program more affordable for students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. Recent approaches include:

  • Holding the cost of tuition flat since 2019
  • Launching the Forward Fellowship, which offers additional funding to students who provide financial support to family members while attending school
  • Revising the financial aid formula to factor in socioeconomic background in addition to personal income, assets, and undergraduate debt
  • Instituting a need-based application fee waiver

“We know that talent is much more evenly distributed than opportunity,” said HBS Dean Srikant Datar in a press statement. “Harvard Business School should be a place where the most talented future leaders can come to realize their potential. We want to remove the financial barriers that stand in their way and alleviate the burden of debt so they can focus on becoming leaders who make a difference in the world.”

Other Efforts to Level the Playing Field

HBS has advanced socioeconomic inclusion by further expanding outreach to first-generation college graduates and prospective applicants from diverse backgrounds. In 2020, a student-led effort resulted in the formation of a Socioeconomic Inclusion Task Force comprising students, faculty, and staff, and the launch of a First-Generation Students Club.

In 2021, HBS expanded financial wellness programming, including personal financial management events and workshops for prospective and current students. This recent announcement signals the school’s ongoing commitment to affordability and socioeconomic inclusion.

“We recognize that financial concerns may keep exceptional potential applicants from considering business school as an option,” said Chad Losee, Managing Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid at HBS.  “Given the impact they are having in their companies and communities, that is a loss not only for them, but also for society as a whole.

“By funding the full cost of tuition for students with the greatest financial need, we aim to ensure that prospective students from all socioeconomic backgrounds, industries, and parts of the world have access to the HBS experience.” —HBS Admissions Director Chad Losee

Cost Will Not Be a Barrier to Attending HBS

HBS has long granted financial aid through a need-based approach, which is unusual for graduate business schools. The school uses a formula that considers pre-MBA income and assets, socioeconomic background, and undergraduate debt in determining financial need for both domestic and international students. Scholarship recipients will continue to be responsible for their own living expenses.

Approximately 50 percent of students receive a need-based scholarship from HBS. These awards range from a few thousand dollars to more than $60,000 per year. The average annual need-based scholarship in 2021-2022 was $42,000 ($84,000 over the two years of the program). The school’s annual MBA financial aid budget exceeds $45M as a result of annual gifts and more than 750 named fellowship funds from generous HBS alumni and friends committed to supporting the next generation of students at HBS.

“Affordability is of paramount importance because it enables people from all backgrounds, experiences, and interests to enroll at HBS,” said Matthew Weinzierl, Senior Associate Dean of the MBA Program. “Our case-based approach to teaching and learning relies heavily on exposing HBS students to a wide variety of perspectives because we’re preparing them to be leaders in organizations and in a world marked by vast human difference and diversity.”


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