Harvard Business School » Social Enterprise » MBA Experience » Academics » Independent Projects » Awards

Independent Projects


Reimbursement grants are awarded on a case-by-case, funds-available basis.

  • For a team with one HBS student: maximum grants will be $1,000 for eligible expenses, based on student demand and funds available.
  • For a team with more than one HBS student: maximum grants will range from $1,000 - $2,000 for eligible expenses, based on student demand and funds available.
  • We expect that you will receive a percentage of your request, based on student demand and funds available.

Award Process

The Social Enterprise Independent Project Reimbursement Grant payments will be processed as checks, made payable and mailed to eligible team members. The reimbursement grant amount given to team members is based on actual expenses incurred and therefore may be less than the amount of the original grant, and will never exceed the original grant. The team lead is responsible for ensuring that the individual expense reports do not exceed the total grant awarded to the team. Failure to meet all program guidelines and to provide SEI with the necessary expense receipt documentation and/or to get approval for expenses in advance may result in the forfeiture of your project grant award.

Timing: Students will receive payment at the end of the semester. It can take 6 weeks or more from the date you submit your paperwork for you to receive a reimbursement check. For Spring term participants: please submit your Expense Form and related documents to align with when you will need to receive payment.

NOTE ON GRANT: For Non-U.S. Citizens, the grant may be subject to tax withholdings and reported to the IRS by Harvard. For U.S. Citizens/permanent residents, students do not receive a 1099. All students should consult with a tax advisor to determine how to report it on their taxes.

All approved budget line items eligible for grant funding will be the sent by email to the team leader with the subject line "SE Independent Project - Application Status", along with the total team grant amount. To request changes to budget line items (i.e. travel destination) students must send an email to se@hbs.edu detailing the changes and the reason(s) for the request prior to incurring the expense. You will be notified by email about the status of your request within a week of the application deadline.

Budget Expenses

  • To be eligible for grant funding project expenses must be incurred during the academic term in which the Independent Project takes place. Please note if any of your expenses cover a service that extends beyond the duration of your Independent Project then your reimbursement will be pro-rated.
  • All expenses listed on the budget must be accompanied by original itemized receipts or invoices that at a minimum include: student name, date of purchase, item purchased, amount paid, and if appropriate, method of payment.
  • Expenses paid by credit card may be incurred by eligible team members only. We cannot fund expenses incurred on a credit card of a family member, or friend.
  • All receipts should map to approved budget line items identified in the "Application Status" email.
  • In general conference expenses are rarely eligible for funding. To be considered, the conference must be integral to the research and analysis component of the project. All requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Honorarium, gifts, or financial incentive payments are not eligible for grant funding (including gift certificates, chocolates, etc.).
  • Meals, per diems, and stipends are not eligible for reimbursement.

Requirements For Travel-Related Expenses

Note on current Harvard University travel guidelines [updated 10/1/21]: Students should refer to Harvard University Covid-19 Travel Guidance

Travel should be directly related to the project. Travel to or from non-project sites is not eligible for grant funding. Please note: Packaged deals for hotel/airfare/car rental are not fundable unless each component of the expense can be identified. For foreign travel, exchange rates must be included, and the amounts must be calculated into U.S. dollars.

Airline & Train Expenses

  • Airline tickets must be purchased for coach/economy class only.
  • Air travel receipts must include: traveler's name, origin and destination, dates of travel, travel class, cost of the air ticket, type of ticket, method of payment, and a zero balance.
  • Upgrades, ticket exchange fees, and frequent flyer miles applied towards a ticket purchase are not eligible for funding.
  • Train receipts must include: traveler's name, point of origin and destination, dates of travel, travel class, total cost, and a zero balance or method of payment.
  • Lodging Expenses
  • Hotels should be moderately priced.
  • The original hotel bill folio/invoice/receipt must show the rate per night, the address and telephone of the hotel, the name of the guest, the total amount due, itemized miscellaneous expenses, and a zero balance or method of payment. Miscellaneous expenses (movies, food, dry cleaning) are not eligible for funding.

Rental or Personal Car Expenses
If you use your personal vehicle for Independent Project travel, the funding award rate is $.625 per mile as of 07/01/22 set by the IRS. This rate includes the cost of gas. NOTE: this rate is subject to change.