Financial Aid Eligibility Requirements for MD Candidates
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Citizenship Status and the Federal Financial Aid Programs
International and Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA)-Eligible Students
Resources for International Students
Combined Degree Candidates
Harvard Medical School does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status, or physical handicap when administering financial assistance to students. In evaluating applicants for admission, the Committee on Admission selects candidates without regard to the candidate’s ability to pay for medical school.
In order to receive funds from federal loan programs, a student must be enrolled at least half time. Virtually all HMS MD students are registered as full-time degree candidates; master’s candidates may or may not be enrolled full time. Should a student’s enrollment drop to less than full time (a rare occurrence in the MD program), s/he must notify the Financial Aid Office as soon as possible so that any necessary revisions can be made to the financial aid award. Federal regulations mandate that when changes to enrollment status necessitate adjustments to federal loans, the adjustments must be made within forty-five days of the date of the status change. It is essential that whenever possible the Financial Aid Office be notified of enrollment status changes before they go into effect.
Federal regulations require that federal aid recipients make satisfactory progress in their degree programs. The conditions for satisfactory progress to the MD degree are detailed in Section 2.19 of the HMS MD Student Handbook or Section 2.17 of the Master’s Student Handbook. If at any time a student feels that his/her financial aid may be in jeopardy because of this requirement, s/he is urged to seek the advice of a Financial Aid Officer before aid has to be withdrawn. The financial aid staff will work to identify a substitute financial arrangement whenever possible. Once the student resumes making satisfactory academic progress, s/he is again eligible for federal financial aid.
A student’s citizenship status must fall into one of the following categories to receive federal student aid from the US government:
- US Citizen
- US National (includes natives of American Samoa or Swain’s Island)
- US permanent resident who has an I-151, I-551, or I-551C (Alien Registration Card)
Foreign national holding an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from the US Immigration and Naturalization Service showing one of the following designations:
- Asylum Granted
- Indefinite Parolee
- Humanitarian Parolee
- Cuban-Haitian Entrant (valid only if issued before April 1, 1980)
- Other eligible non-citizen with a Temporary Resident Card (I-688)
- Foreign national with a suspension of deportation case pending before Congress
If an applicant has only a Notice of Approval to Apply for Permanent Residence (I-171 or I-464A), s/he is not eligible for federal student aid.
Since federal financial aid programs require that the recipient be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, the programs used to fund international or DACA-eligible MD student financial aid awards come from private and institutional sources. The programs used to fund international or DACA-eligible Master’s candidates are derived from private sources only. International and DACA-eligible MD students fill out the standard financial aid application materials and receive financial aid award determinations in a similar manner as US citizens and permanent residents. International and DACA-eligible MD students who qualify for need-based institutional funding are first offered the Unit Loan, a combination of loans from institutional and/or private sources. A variety of private loan options are available; MD students qualifying for the Unit Loan can choose one that does not require a US co-signer. Supplemental, private loan programs are also available to international and DACA-eligible MD students who do not qualify for need-based institutional funding as well as all international and DACA-eligible Master’s students. Generally, these private sources require a US co-signer. To learn more about the Harvard Private Loan options, visit Find a Private Loan. Students inquiring about these programs should contact the Financial Aid Office for additional information.
In order to receive the necessary visa documents to study in the US, international students must demonstrate that they have the resources necessary to meet the expenses outlined in the student expense budget described later in this guidebook. Financial aid awards may be included as resources for this purpose.
The International Education Financial Aid Organization provides a free searchable database of scholarships and awards as well as a number of other resources of relevance to international students.
Canadian students are especially encouraged to apply to their provincial governments for assistance.
Students in the combined MD/MBA program apply through the HMS Financial Aid Office for financial aid funding during years one, two, three and five of the program. In year four, students apply through the HBS Financial Aid Office for financial aid.
Students in the combined MD/MMSc program are considered financial aid clients of Harvard Medical School throughout the duration of the program regardless of course enrollment patterns; they follow the same financial aid application guidelines as HMS Master’s program students.
Students in the combined MD/MPH program apply through the HMS Financial Aid Office for financial aid funding during years one, two, three and five of the program. In year four, students apply to both the HMS Financial Aid Office and the HSPH Financial Aid Office for financial aid. Institutional scholarship eligibility in year four is based upon HMS financial aid policy guidelines; however, awarding will be processed through the HSPH Financial Aid Office.
Students in the combined MD/MPP program apply through the HMS Financial Aid Office for financial aid funding during years one, two, three and five of the program. In year four, students apply through the HKS Financial Aid Office for financial aid.
Most students in the combined MD/PhD program receive full funding administered through the MD/PhD Office at Harvard Medical School and are ineligible for additional HMS aid during the years in which the student is enrolled in the MD portion of the program. Students who determine that they have a shortfall between their MD/PhD funding and the standard budget may apply through the HMS Financial Aid Office for student loans to meet this gap. Funds from the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan Program are generally used for this purpose.
MD/PhD students who do not receive funding from the MD/PhD Program follow the regular application process outlined in this guide. Each academic year, the school that charges the student tuition is considered the school of primary enrollment and is responsible for providing financial aid services to the student. Therefore, during periods when the student is enrolled at MIT or Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, s/he must apply for financial aid through that particular school's Financial Aid Office.
Other Combined Degree Candidates
Students interested in combined degree programs other than those listed must apply to their non-MD school or program for financial aid to cover any non-MD periods of enrollment. While combined degree students are simultaneously enrolled at both schools, each year the school of primary enrollment levies the tuition charge and provides financial aid services and funding according to its own policies and practices.
It is the student’s responsibility to investigate early the financial aid deadlines, requirements, and practices of the non-MD school. Some schools operate on a rolling basis for awarding funds; at such schools, it is possible to meet the school’s admissions application deadline but to be denied financial support because all available funds have been distributed. Students interested in combined degree programs are urged to make their academic plans early, and no later than the January before the anticipated start date at the non-MD program.