Types of Funding

Funding for MD Students

At HMS, 1 in 5 of our financial aid recipients comes from a family whose annual income is $50,000 or less, and 50 percent of our MD student body benefits annually from the Middle Income Initiative

Scholarships/Fellowships

Institutional

Harvard Medical School Scholarships

Financial need is the only criterion used to determine the amount of HMS scholarship a student receives. This program is funded from endowed funds, current fundraising, and unrestricted income.

For a full-need student, the HMS scholarship funding covers both tuition and mandatory fees. Scholarship eligibility is determined by subtracting the institutional expected family contribution from tuition and mandatory fees. Eligibility for institutional scholarship funding is limited to eight semesters of full tuition charges.

HMS scholarship support is derived from many resources, most notably the result of donor gifts. Donations to financial aid are from individuals, foundations and organizations through the establishment of endowed funds, the giving to current use financial aid funds, or through annual gifts to the HMS Alumni Fund. These funds are monitored by the HMS Office of Resource Development. HMS scholarship recipients may be asked to write thank you notes to scholarship donors. Recipients of these funds may also be requested to provide information consisting of premedical background, residency preferences, personal and professional interests, and academic progress. Failure to comply with these requests may result in forfeiture of HMS scholarship support.

General Restricted Scholarships

HMS shares certain endowed scholarship funds with other units of the University. The Harvard University Committee on General Scholarships administers these multi-school funds. The HMS Financial Aid Office will nominate eligible HMS Scholarship recipients for these funds on the basis of the information provided on the Restricted Fund Survey submitted in the fall of each year.

If an HMS scholarship recipient is selected to receive a general scholarship, the general scholarship funds ordinarily will be used to fund a portion of the student’s regular HMS scholarship award. Thus being selected for a general scholarship changes only the source of funds for the student’s scholarship award; the total amount awarded ordinarily remains unchanged.

Yellow Ribbon Program

Harvard Medical School provides qualifying post-9/11 veterans the maximum assistance available through the Department of Veterans Affairs Yellow Ribbon Program.

Under this program, the Department of Veterans Affairs matches school aid contributions made to eligible veterans. Harvard Medical School will contribute the maximum amount to be matched by the VA for all eligible veterans.

You will be requested to submit a copy of your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to the Financial Aid Office prior to the start of the academic year in order to process your Yellow Ribbon benefit. Veterans who choose to receive the Yellow Ribbon benefit will waive their eligibility for need-based HMS aid, and will not be required to complete an application for HMS aid.

Additional VA benefits for veterans provide substantial assistance for living expenses. These benefits should cover academic year living expenses for most Yellow Ribbon recipients. However, Yellow Ribbon recipients may also apply for federal student loans to meet living expenses costs, if needed.

Resident Tutor Policy

Students who serve as a Resident Tutor for Harvard College receive free housing and a free meal plan as part of their compensation for service. This in-kind compensation will be treated as a resource for financial aid purposes and will be reflected in a student’s financial aid package. Generally, the resident tutor resource will equal one-half of the annual HMS housing components of the cost of attendance budget.

External

Outside Scholarships

The HMS Financial Aid Office maintains a list of Outside Scholarship Opportunities and coordinates a limited number of private scholarships.

Private Scholarships Coordinated by the HMS Financial Aid Office

External (or outside) scholarships are a great way to help students subsidize their Harvard Medical School education because they can help minimize educational loan debt. External scholarships can replace the calculated expected parent contribution or replace loans, beginning with the least favorable loan in the student's financial aid award package. Institutional scholarship is the last source of funding to get replaced by outside awards. The Financial Aid Office also has a small library of resource directories to help students in their search for external sources of aid.

Joseph Collins Foundation Scholarship

The Joseph Collins Foundation offers a limited number of scholarships for MD students who demonstrate financial need, intend to specialize in neurology, psychiatry, or general practice, and who demonstrate an accomplishment in cultural pursuits (art, music, theater, writing, etc.). Candidates must be nominated by the Financial Aid Office. In 2018-2019, new recipients received an award of $15,000, renewable for each year of medical school.

Preference is given to second-year students and the Collins Foundation ordinarily prefers nominees who plan to obtain the MD degree over four years without interruption. The Financial Aid Office will solicit nominees for the Collins Scholarship from the student body in January of each year.
 

National Medical Fellowships (NMF)

NMF offers scholarships to African American, American Indian, Mexican American, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiian and Mainland Puerto Rican first- and second-year MD students who are US citizens and demonstrate financial need. For more information, please contact NMF.


Federal Programs with a Commitment of Future Service

F. Edward Hebert Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program (AFHPSP)

The Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program is intended to recruit personnel to alleviate the shortage of physicians serving military personnel and their dependents. The program is offered through the Air Force, Army, and Navy. The program offers support to MD students for their tuition and required fees, and provides a monthly stipend for living expenses. The stipend is subject to state and federal taxes and must be reported on the recipient’s tax returns. In addition, each year the student is required to spend 45 days on Active Duty for Training (ADT) with full pay and allowances.

The minimum service obligation incurred by participants in AFHPSP is two to three years depending upon specialty; a year of obligation is required for each year the student receives financial support. Participants must apply for residency programs in military facilities. Residents are selected for military or civilian programs based on the future needs of the military. Time spent in graduate and post-graduate training is not credited towards the fulfillment of a program obligation for AFHPSP or ROTC.

To be eligible for participation in military scholarship programs, a student must be a U.S. citizen who is enrolled in, or who is in receipt of a firm letter of acceptance from medical school. The student must meet the eligibility requirements for appointment in the U.S. Armed Forces. Students must complete the application process through the military branch that interests them.

Since the AFHPSP provides support that covers most of the expenses in the standard budget, students generally do not apply for additional financial aid. Students who determine that they have a shortfall between their AFHPSP funding and the standard budget may apply for student loans to meet this gap. Funds from the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan Program are generally used for this purpose.

National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Scholarship Program

The National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program was created to address the shortage of health professionals in certain areas in the United States. Scholarship recipients receive 12 monthly stipends, a single payment to cover books, supplies, and equipment for the year, and payment to the School of tuition and required fees for the year. The scholarship may be renewed throughout medical school without additional competition. A maximum of four years of support is available.

For each year of support, participants owe one year of future service providing primary care services in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) as assigned by the NHSC. The minimum obligation is two years. These assignments are most often as salaried civilian employees of community-based systems of primary health care.

These awards are targeted for students who intend to train and practice in primary care specialties. To request an application, call (800) 221-9393.

Tips on Applying

Helpful Hints: Applying for Scholarships


Who are you? When looking for external scholarships, you should look for the award funds that best describe you and your interests.

  • Think individually, academically, locally, and globally.
  • Consider multiple identities - female, veteran, religious affiliation, LGBTQ, fraternity, sorority, service memberships, athlete, differently abled, or first generation college student.
  • Think geographically - where do I have or have had residency?
  • Consider your research and academic interests.

How much time do you have? You should decide how much time to put into your scholarship search because there is no guarantee that it will yield results.

Get organized. Create an Excel template. Know when scholarships are due.

Get connected.

  • Google search
  • Financial aid websites at other schools
  • Contact your academic advisor or grant managers in your department
  • Local library
  • Let as many people know that you are looking as you can. Someone may be aware of an opportunity that is perfect for you.

Every little bit counts. Larger scholarships are more competitive. Consider applying for smaller scholarship awards. They tend to be less competitive and are also less likely to use strict cutoffs for grades and test scores.

Have your application ready to go.

  • Always have your resume and transcripts ready.
  • Spell check is never enough.
  • Have your personal statement ready.
  • Make it easy for others to help you. When you ask for letters of recommendation, always provide a resume, your most recent transcript, and a brief statement of your career goals.

Show gratitude. Be certain to send a thank you note or email to the scholarship committee, as well as to your recommenders for taking the time to write a letter on your behalf.

Loans

Institutional

HMSRL (Harvard Medical School Revolving Loan)

The Harvard Medical School Revolving Loan is funded by the income from several endowment funds and the repayments made to the fund by previous borrowers.

The HMSRL program does not require the borrower to fill out a loan application; the student need only sign and return the financial aid award letter (incoming students) or confirm acceptance of the award electronically (returning students) to begin the origination process. Master Promissory Notes for HMSRL loans will be made available for signing by August and September of the first year that a student borrows an HMSRL loan at HMS. Ordinarily, the loan funds will be credited directly to the borrower’s Harvard term bill account within a few days after loan signing; subsequent disbursements will automatically be credited at the start of each term.

Interest Rate
Harvard Medical School Subsidized Revolving Loans carry an interest rate of 5%. No interest is charged during in-school enrollment and the grace period.

Grace Period
All HMS Revolving Loans have a six-month grace period that begins once the student ceases to be enrolled at least half time.

Deferment
During periods of deferment, interest ceases to accrue on subsidized HMSRL loans and the repayment of principal is not required. All HMS Revolving Loans are eligible for deferment if the borrower is one of the following:

  • A student enrolled at least half-time at an institution of higher education
  • A graduate fellow under an approved fellowship program
  • Enrolled in an approved rehabilitation training program (one-year maximum)
  • A member of the U.S Armed Forces (three-year maximum)
  • A volunteer under the Peace Corps or Domestic Service Act of 1973 (three-year maximum)
  • An officer in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S Public Health Service (three-year maximum)
  • Conscientiously seeking, but unable to find employment over a twelve-month period
  • Temporarily totally disabled or has a spouse who is temporarily totally disabled (three-year maximum)

Forbearance
If a borrower is temporarily unable to meet the repayment schedule for the HMSRL and is not eligible for a deferment, s/he can request a forbearance for a limited and specific period. During periods of forbearance, repayment of principal is postponed or reduced, but interest continues to accrue on the loans. Forbearance is granted on an annual basis and the borrower must submit a request in writing to the Harvard University Student Loan Office.

All HMS Revolving Loans are eligible for forbearance during the following times:

  • Periods of serious financial difficulty
  • Up to 24 months of internship/residency training

HMS Wolfson Loan

The Wolfson Loan is another HMS institutional loan fund. The fund was established from the bequest of the late Dr. Louis Wolfson. A graduate of Tufts Medical School, Dr. Wolfson had an interest in helping medical students. In the two years before his death, Dr. Wolfson made generous contributions to the medical schools of Harvard, Boston University and Tufts for student loans. Thus, a substantial annual gift in perpetuity for student loans has been assured in Dr. Wolfson's name.

The Wolfson program does not require the borrower to fill out a loan application; the student need only sign and return the financial aid award letter (incoming students) or confirm acceptance of the award electronically (returning students) to begin the origination process. Master Promissory Notes for Wolfson loans will be made available for signing by August and September of the first year that an MD student borrows a Wolfson loan at HMS. Ordinarily, the loan funds will be credited directly to the borrower’s Harvard term bill account within a few days after loan signing; subsequent disbursements will automatically be credited at the start of each term.

Interest Rate 
The Wolfson Loan interest rate will be fixed at the annual percentage rate of the prime lending rate as published in the Wall Street Journal two months prior to the expiration of the grace period +1%, not to exceed 7%. Interest will not be charged during in-school enrollment and the grace period.

Grace Period
All Wolfson Loans have a six-month grace period that begins once the student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time.

Deferment
During periods of deferment, interest ceases to accrue on the loan and repayment of principal is not required. All Wolfson Loans are eligible for deferment if the borrower meets one of the following requirements:

  •  A student enrolled at least half-time at an institution of higher education
  •  Engaged as an intern, resident or postgraduate fellow (54-month limit)

Forbearance
If a borrower is temporarily unable to meet the repayment schedule for the Wolfson Loan and is not eligible for a deferment, s/he can request a forbearance for a limited and specific period. During periods of forbearance, repayment of principal is postponed or reduced, but interest continues to accrue on the loans. Forbearance is granted on an annual basis and the borrower must submit a request in writing to the Harvard University Student Loan Office.

Federal

Federal aid programs are commonly administered by the Financial Aid Office. Federal aid comes from the US Department of Education Title IV Aid Programs. International and DACA-eligible students are not eligible to receive funds from any federal aid programs below.

TIP: Student borrowers are advised to refer directly to the promissory note(s) for loan terms on an existing loan obligation. Program terms are subject to change, the promissory note is the reliable source of loan terms.

Federal Direct Loans

Federal Direct Loans are the most common source of education loan in the United States. Students apply for these loans by completing the FAFSA form; no separate loan application is required.

Federal Direct Subsidized Loans

Per the Budget Control Act of 2011, Federal Direct Subsidized loans were no longer available to HMS students after 2012-13. Information in this Guidebook regarding Direct Subsidized loans (formerly referred to as Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford/Ford Loans) borrowed at HMS refers to loans issued prior to this regulatory change. All Direct loans borrowed at HMS during 2019-20 are unsubsidized. See the following section for information concerning Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans.

Under the Federal Direct Loan Program, qualifying HMS students were eligible to borrow up to $8,500 per year, up to the lifetime borrowing limit of $73,000 for undergraduate and graduate loans combined.
 
Origination Fees
The federal government charged an origination fee equal to 1% of the loan amount.
 
Interest Rates
Effective July 1, 2006, the interest rate was fixed at 6.8%. Interest is subsidized by the federal government while enrolled in school at least half-time and during periods of eligible deferment.
 
Grace Period
All Federal Direct Subsidized Loans carry a six month grace period that begins once the borrower ceases to be enrolled at least half-time at a qualified institution of higher education. During this grace period, interest accrues (on loans disbursed between July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2014) yet no loan payments are required.
 
Grace periods are loan-specific; thus each Direct Loan borrowed has only one grace period. However, if the borrower returns to school at least half-time before the grace period expires, a full grace period will be available the next time enrollment ends. If the entire grace period is used before studies resume, no further grace period will be available and the loan will enter repayment immediately after half-time enrollment ends.
 
Deferment
Under certain conditions, Direct loans may be eligible for deferment benefits. During periods of deferment, interest ceases to accrue on subsidized loans and the repayment of principal is not required. All Federal Direct Subsidized Loans are eligible for deferment if the borrower meets one of the following conditions:
  • A student enrolled at least half-time at an institution of higher education
  • Unemployed;
  • Experiencing financial hardship as defined by the U.S. Department of Education (three-year maximum)
  • A graduate fellow for at least six months under an approved fellowship program
  • Enrolled in an approved rehabilitation training program
Forbearance
During periods of forbearance, repayment of principal is not required, but interest continues to accrue on the loans. All Federal Direct Subsidized Loans are eligible for forbearance during the entire internship/residency period. Forbearance must be requested on an annual basis from the Direct Loan Servicer.
 

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans

For students in medicine (MD) and certain other health professions, the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan annual borrowing limits are determined by the number of months covered by the standard student budget. For students on 12-month budgets, the 2019-20 annual limit is $47,167. Students on 11-month budgets in 2019-20 are eligible for up to $44,944. Students on 10-month budgets in 2019-20 are eligible for up to $42,722. In any case, the student’s total aid (Direct Unsubsidized loans plus all other aid) can never exceed the standard student budget. Students in master’s programs are eligible to borrow up to $20,500 annually in the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan program. Similarly, students in the MD/MMSc combined degree program are eligible to borrow up to $20,500 annually in the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan program during the MMSc portion of the program.

The maximum aggregate Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan limit for MD students is $224,000, less any Direct Subsidized Loans borrowed. The maximum aggregate Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan limit for master’s students is $138,500.

Origination Fees
For 2019-20, the origination fee for loans disbursed before October 1 is 1.062% of the loan amount.

Interest Rates
The interest rate is set annually each academic year and is based upon the 10-Year Treasury Note Index plus a spread of 3.60%. The 2019-20 interest rate is 6.1%.

The interest on a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan accrues from the day the loan is disbursed and is always the responsibility of the borrower. Students can choose to let this in-school interest accrue or pay it quarterly. In order to minimize the cost of borrowing, students are encouraged to pay the quarterly interest if at all possible. Unpaid accrued interest will be capitalized (i.e. added to the outstanding principal balance) at the end of the grace period, prior to the onset of repayment.

Master Promissory Notes for Federal Direct Loans will be made available for signing by August/September of the first year that a student borrows via HMS. Ordinarily, the loan funds will be credited directly to the borrower’s Harvard term bill account within a few days after loan signing; subsequent disbursements will automatically be credited at the start of each term.

Grace Period, Deferment, and Forebearance: Same as Federal Direct Subsidized Loan above.

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans

Due to the high borrowing limits allowed under the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan program, most HMS MD students will not need to borrow additionally from federal fixed rate loan programs or from private, market-rate loan programs. However, the Graduate PLUS loan is a Federal Direct Loan Program that is offered to graduate students who have reached the annual or lifetime maximum Direct Unsubsidized and Subsidized loan limits. This loan program serves the function of a private loan with the benefits of a federal loan program, such as deferment, forbearance, consolidation, and death and disability cancellation. The Direct Graduate PLUS loan program offers a six-month post-enrollment deferment period that begins once the student ceases to be enrolled at least half time. In addition, options to postpone the repayment of a Direct Graduate PLUS loan during a residency program are available. Borrowers must pass a credit check, and as with other federal loan programs, will need to complete a master promissory note to receive the loan funds.

Origination Fees
For 2019-20, the origination fee for loans disbursed before October 1 is 4.248% of the loan amount.

Interest Rates
The interest rate is set annually each academic year and is based upon the 10-Year Treasury Note Index plus a spread of 4.60%. The 2019-20 interest rate is 7.1%.

Post-Enrollment Deferment Period
Effective July 1, 2008, Graduate PLUS loans are eligible to receive a six-month post-enrollment deferment period that begins once the student ceases to be enrolled at least half time.

Grace Period, Deferment, and Forebearance: Same as Federal Direct Subsidized Loan above

Debt Limits: Annual maximum equal to student budget less other aid received, no cumulative debt limit

Loans for Disadvantaged Students (LDS)

Congress authorized the LDS Program in 1990. To be considered for this program, students must be MD candidates and meet the federal definition of disadvantaged, either coming from a family whose income falls below specified benchmarks or demonstrating a background of economic, social, and/or educational disadvantage that hinders the pursuit of a medical education. Students who believe they qualify for this program should identify themselves by answering the appropriate questions on the online HMS financial aid application.

Ordinarily, awards are made by the Financial Aid Office following the start of the academic year after reviewing the entire pool of eligible candidates. Funding is very limited and not all eligible students can be assisted. The size of awards varies, and the assistance is used to replace portions of the student's existing loan package. Students who think their background is particularly compelling are welcome to discuss their eligibility with their Financial Aid Officer.

The Loan for Disadvantaged Students (LDS) carries the following terms:

Interest Rate
All LDS loans carry an interest rate of 5%. No interest accrues during in-school enrollment, the grace period, or periods of deferment.

Grace Period
LDS loans have a twelve-month grace period that begins once the student ceases to be enrolled at least half time.

Deferment
During periods of deferment, interest ceases to accrue on the loans and the repayment of principal is not required. LDS Loans are eligible for deferment if the borrower is:

  • In a program of advanced professional training, including internship, residency, and up to 2 years of fellowship
  • Serving full-time as a member of a uniformed service (three-year maximum)
  • A full-time volunteer under the Peace Corps Act (three-year maximum)
  • Engaged in a full-time educational activity at a school that is eligible for participation in the LDS program

The LDS program does not require the borrower to fill out a loan application; the student need only confirm acceptance in writing (incoming students) or electronically (returning students) to begin the loan origination process. Master Promissory Notes for LDS loans will be made available for signing by August and September of the first year that a student borrows a LDS loan at HMS. The loan funds will be credited directly to the borrower’s Harvard term bill account within a few days after loan signing; subsequent disbursements will automatically be credited at the start of each term.

Federal Carl D. Perkins Loan

IMPORTANT UPDATE ON THE FEDERAL PERKINS LOAN PROGRAM: In 2015-2016, Legislation passed to eliminate the Federal Perkins Loan program. As a result, students who entered in the Fall of 2016 and beyond were not eligible to receive this loan.

For those who borrowed the Federal Perkins Loan in prior years, the terms were:

Interest Rates 
Federal Perkins Loans carry a 5% interest rate. No interest is charged during in-school enrollment, the grace period, or deferment periods. Interest begins to accrue upon the completion of the grace period.

Grace Period
All Federal Perkins Loans have a nine-month grace period, which begins as soon as the borrower ceases to be enrolled on at least a half-time basis.

Deferment
During periods of deferment, interest ceases to accrue on the loans and the repayment of principal is not required. All Federal Perkins Loans are eligible for deferment if the borrower is:

  • A student enrolled at least half time at an institution of higher education
  • Unemployed
  • Experiencing financial hardship as defined by the US Department of Education

Post-Deferment Grace Period
Loans issued after September 30, 1980 are eligible for a six-month grace period following any granted period of deferment.

Forbearance
If a borrower is temporarily unable to meet the repayment schedule for a Perkins Loan and is not eligible for a deferment, s/he can request a forbearance for a limited and specific period. During periods of forbearance, repayment of principal is postponed or reduced, but interest continues to accrue on the loans. Forbearance is granted on an annual basis and the borrower must submit a request in writing to the school that awarded the loan.

DISCLOSURE: US Department of Education Title IV Aid Programs

Harvard University participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program; the US Department of Education is the lender. Servicing of these loans currently is performed by one of several agencies. The Department of Education selects the servicing agency on behalf of a Direct Loan borrower.

The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the US Department of Education’s central database for federal student aid. It receives data from schools and agencies that guaranty loans, from the Federal Direct Loan Program, and from other U.S. Department of Education programs. NSLDS provides a centralized, integrated view of Title IV loans and grants that are tracked through the entire financial aid cycle; from approval through closure. In order to use the NSLDS Student Access website, the  borrower must provide his/her Social Security Number (SSN), the first two letters of the last name, date of birth, and the borrower’s Federal PIN (Personal Identification Number).

Borrowers may log into the NSLDS website to determine to which loan servicer the borrower’s Direct Loans have been assigned. Direct Loan Servicers

Private

Massachusetts Medical Society Loan

Upon recommendation by the HMS Financial Aid Office, the Massachusetts Medical Society awards loans of $5,000,  $10,000, $15,000 or $20,000 to third- and fourth-year MD students, with $20,000 being the maximum amount lent to any individual borrower. This loan is not included in the initial financial aid packages prepared by the Financial Aid Office; third- and fourth-year students considering additional borrowing may contact the Office to express interest in this program.

Loan recipients are required to pay interest at the rate of 1% per year while in medical school and during the first three years following graduation, 2% for the next four years, and 4% during the subsequent five years. Payment towards loan principal begins in the first year after graduation. The percentage of principal due increases annually, with a payment of principal and interest due on June 30 of each year.

The Society requires a separate application form and the loan is subject to final approval by the Directors of the Society’s Charitable and Educational Fund. Loan recipients must attend a special loan signing session in the fall to sign the promissory note and to pick up the loan check in person. The Society disburses the loan in a single check made payable to the recipient. For more details on the loan program, please review the Massachusetts Medical Society webpage.

Harvard University Private Loans for Graduate and Professional Students

Harvard University seeks proposals from lenders offering non-federal education loans through an open Request for Proposal (RFP) process. The RFP was designed so that Harvard could provide information to its graduate and professional students on private loan products that have competitive rates and other borrower benefits. Please review the Harvard University private loans webpage.

Note: The Harvard University Employees Credit Union (HUECU) Student Loan is available without a U.S. cosigner. This loan program is available only to HMS international and DACA-eligible MD students who qualify for need-based institutional financial aid. Qualifying students interested in this loan program may borrow a HUECU student loan up to the amount of Supplemental Loan listed on their original financial aid award offer.

Residency Loans

Medical residency loans are available to help MD students in their graduating year meet the costs associated with a required medical residency. These costs include residency interview & travel expenses, as well as relocation expenses to the residency program. Students may apply for these loans beginning in their graduating year, up to several months following graduation. Application time length, amount of loan, interest rate, and loan conditions vary by lender. Please contact the Financial Aid Office for more information on these loans.

Research/Work

HMS Research Fellowships

Extensive research opportunities for students are available in the Medical School Quadrangle, throughout Harvard University, within the Harvard teaching hospitals, and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The HMS Scholars in Medicine Office (SMO) maintains a database of these potential projects to keep students informed about new and ongoing opportunities at HMS and beyond. Each Academic Society also has two designated Society Fellows who make up the HMS Faculty Committee on Scholarship in Medicine. The Society Fellows help students identify their research interests, advise students on finding appropriate mentors, and review student research funding proposals. 

Each summer, many HMS students apply for and receive funding from the SMO. In many cases, funding is shared between the SMO and the laboratories or hospitals in which they work. The SMO also co-funds full-time academic year student research projects. Many MD students who began with summer research projects continue throughout the academic year; several pursue the five-year MD option, applying for a year of full-time funded research through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, American Heart Association, or other Harvard and outside granting agencies.

Funding students receive from the SMO for research projects conducted during a period of enrollment must be disclosed to the Financial Aid Office and incorporated into the student’s aid package. In cases where the student has already been funded up to the total amount allowed in his/her current student budget, a dollar-for-dollar adjustment must be made to the aid package to prevent the student from being overfunded. When making this adjustment to the aid package, the Scholars in Medicine funding is first applied toward replacing the calculated parent contribution. After the parent contribution has been fully replaced, remaining funds will be used to decrease the loans in the aid package, beginning with the least favorable loan. HMS scholarships are decreased only if the Scholars in Medicine funding exceeds the total amount of student loans and parent contribution.

Federal Work-Study (FWS)

The Federal Work-Study Program provides an opportunity for students to earn a part of the cost of their education. The federal government, through Harvard, provides a wage subsidy to employers who hire participating students. This makes participants more attractive as employment prospects.

The program encourages community service work and work related to the participant’s course of study. There are options to pursue both on- and off-campus work. A student’s work must be in the general public interest. It may not be primarily for the benefit of members in a limited membership organization. It may not involve sectarian instruction or other religious activities of a church, and it may not involve the construction, operation, or maintenance of any portion of a facility used for sectarian instruction or religious worship. Finally, FWS jobs must be free of partisan political involvement. Students may not work for the Department of Education, a member of the Congress, or in any position that includes lobbying the government.

To qualify as an off-campus work-study employing agency, an organization must be either a federal, state or local government agency, or a private, non-profit organization within the US. The only permissible employment outside of the US is in a US government facility such as an embassy or military base. Privately-owned, for-profit companies are eligible for participation in the program provided the work is directly related to the student’s career goals. The company must also document an inability to hire the student without the FWSP subsidy.

The allowable wage range for graduate students for the academic year 2018-19 is $13.50 - $20.00 per hour. Wage range updates can be found in the Wage Range section of the Student Employment Office website. Employers are generally permitted to set the wage rate for their jobs in accordance with fair labor practices. Work-Study participants are paid through the Harvard payroll systems; employers are then billed for their share of the student’s total earnings, which generally ranges from 30% to 50% of wages paid. Students are eligible to work up to 20 hours per week while classes are in session and up to 40 hours per week during vacation periods.

Students apply separately to participate during the term-time and summer Federal Work-Study employment periods. Application forms are available from the HMS Financial Aid Office. Eligibility is based on financial need as determined by an analysis of the student’s FAFSA data.

A summer FWS award recipient must plan to be enrolled at HMS for the following fall semester. A portion of the gross summer work-study earnings (after adjusting for taxes and living expenses) is required to be used to fund a portion of the calculated student contribution for the following academic year. The exact amount is determined at the end of the summer after actual earnings are known. Federal regulations prohibit students from borrowing additional student loans to fund the Summer Work-Study component of the calculated student contribution.

For term-time work-study, the work-study award will normally replace, dollar for dollar, loans in the student’s award package, beginning with least favorable loan. Alternatively, students may request that the award be used to replace a missing parent contribution.

Once the student is approved to participate in the Federal Work-Study program, s/he is responsible for finding a suitable position. The Financial Aid Office maintains a listing of employment opportunities for students looking for work-study employment. Students may also wish to look for job suggestions at the Harvard University Student Employment Office.

London Society/HST

HMS students in the Health Sciences and Technology (HST) Program are simultaneously enrolled as graduate students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). As such, they are able to participate in MIT’s graduate research and teaching assistantship programs. Teaching and research assistants work in a laboratory or assist in the teaching of a course, and are compensated with a tuition grant and monthly stipend.

In 2018-19, a part-time research assistant (RA) typically received $4,364 in tuition plus $2,364 in stipend payments. Stipends are paid directly to the student on a monthly basis and payroll taxes are deducted. The tuition credit is transferred from MIT to HMS, where it is credited to the student’s HMS term bill at the end of the semester. The teaching assistantship program also offers a stipend and tuition credit to its recipients; compensation rates vary.

As with outside scholarships, funds received from the HST assistantship programs result in a dollar-for-dollar adjustment to the student’s aid package. When making this adjustment to the aid package, the HST funding is first applied toward replacing the calculated parent contribution. After the parent contribution has been fully replaced, remaining funds will be used to decrease the loans in the aid package, beginning with least favorable loan. HMS scholarships are decreased only if HST funds exceed the total amount of student loans.

Recipients of HST funding should notify the Financial Aid Office as soon as their placement is confirmed so they can plan appropriately for the resulting adjustments to the aid package.