16 Aug 2022

Full-Tuition Scholarships for Students with Greatest Financial Need FAQs


Why is HBS providing full-tuition scholarships to 10% of students?

HBS is committed to helping all students with financial need meet the cost of attending business school. This additional investment in financial aid is designed to reduce barriers for students with the greatest financial need, for whom business school is a significant financial burden.

Why is HBS providing new scholarships to students from middle-income backgrounds?

In 2020, HBS revised its need-based formula to be more inclusive of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. We understand that financial need is a function of several factors including personal income, assets, undergraduate debt, and socioeconomic background. The 2020 change resulted in scholarship increases to many students from low-to middle-income backgrounds. As we continue to grow financial aid funding, we are extending new scholarships to students from middle-income backgrounds who were previously ineligible for financial aid. The goal is to support more students who lack generational wealth and may have additional financial considerations.

When are these changes effective?

These changes are effective immediately and will benefit students in the class of 2023 and 2024 as well as future MBA students. Current students affected by the change will be notified by the financial aid office. No additional applications are required.

Why is HBS doing this now?

HBS is committed to improving financial access and affordability for talented future leaders from all backgrounds. These changes are the latest in a series of efforts intended to make HBS more affordable to students with financial need and to reduce financial barriers for potential applicants.

Who benefits from the financial aid program at HBS?

Approximately 50 percent of students receive a need-based scholarship from HBS, with awards ranging from $2,500 to $76,000 per year. The average annual need-based scholarship last year was $42,000—or $84,000 over two years. Students who are not eligible for need-based scholarships typically fund their MBA through savings, student loans, employer sponsorship, or a combination of these sources.

Which students will be eligible for increased funding as a result of this change?

Students with the highest financial need (10% of current students) will receive full-tuition scholarships. Students from middle-income backgrounds who were previously ineligible for financial aid may be eligible for new scholarships, depending on their pre-MBA income and assets.

How do you determine need?

HBS uses a need-based formula that considers pre-MBA income and assets, socioeconomic background, and undergraduate debt.

Are international students eligible for need-based aid and the new full-tuition scholarships?

Yes. The School applies the same need-based formula to benefit both international and domestic students.

What do full-tuition scholarships cover and what expenses are not included?

Scholarships for the students with the highest need will cover full tuition and course fees ($75,990). Students who receive these scholarships will continue to be responsible for their own living expenses. HBS financial aid is a shared investment in the student’s future. HBS supports this investment by offering need-based scholarships, which are gifts that do not need to be paid back, to both domestic and international students. As part of the shared investment, HBS students meet the remaining cost of their MBA using personal savings and/or outside funding.

How is this increase in financial aid funded?

The annual MBA financial aid budget exceeds $45M thanks to annual gifts and more than 750 named fellowship funds from dedicated HBS alumni and friends. The School has made an additional financial commitment to the annual financial aid budget to fund the full-tuition scholarships.

Does this change affect HBS scholarship recipients who are not eligible for the additional funding?

No. Financial aid awards for these students will remain unchanged.

What does this change mean for future HBS MBA students?

This change is an important step in the School’s commitment to affordability and inclusion of students from every background. Investment from the School and generous support from HBS alumni will allow HBS to continue to increase scholarships to students with financial need.

If you are considering applying to HBS in the future, we invite you to read more about financial aid from the MBA Admissions team.

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