Harvard Kennedy School has a limited number of institutional scholarships. Roughly 30 percent of our students receive scholarship funding from HKS each year. Scholarship amounts vary but typically do not cover the full cost of attendance. Accordingly, we strongly encourage you to research all possible funding resources, including HKS and Harvard aid, as well as external scholarships resources.
Scholarship & Fellowship Funding Opportunities
Harvard Kennedy School scholarships and fellowships are based on a combination of merit and financial need. Some institutional funding is restricted to specific criteria such as students’ area of study, citizenship, or region.
You will apply for HKS scholarships and fellowships after you have completed your application for admission, but before you have received your admission decision. There are very few opportunities to apply for fellowship or scholarship funding after you are admitted to or enrolled at HKS.
To apply for scholarships, you must complete the following:
- HKS Application for Financial Assistance—See the Applying for Financial Aid page for more details about the application.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)—U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and eligible noncitizens only
Several fellowship and scholarship opportunities are listed below that you will automatically be considered for as part of the financial assistance application process.
Kennedy Fellowships and Presidential Scholarships
You may be considered for a Kennedy Fellowship or Presidential Scholarship if you demonstrate exceptional academic ability and professional distinction. The amount of these fellowships varies depending on your financial need.
Public Service Fellowships
These are among our most prestigious student awards, and they typically cover the full HKS tuition and fees up to need. These fellowships were established by former Harvard president Lawrence Summers, alumni, and donors to support students committed to careers in public service. Recipients must be professionally employed in the public sector, broadly defined, for three years after graduating from HKS.
HKS Public Policy & International Affairs (PPIA) Scholarship
Harvard Kennedy School has a limited number of scholarships for alumni of the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) program. To be considered for this fund, students must have participated in the PPIA program and submit the HKS Application for Financial Assistance.
There are a number of scholarships administered by research centers at the Kennedy School. To apply for these awards, you must complete the HKS Application for Financial Assistance, including required essays. Recipients of these fellowships are selected by the respective research center.
Roy and Lila Ash Fellowship in Democracy
For Mid-Career Master in Public Administration (MC/MPA) students with the capacity for leadership and a commitment to the work of the Ash Center to generate deep understandings about how to improve democracy in the United States and around the world
Ford Foundation Mason Fellowship
For MC/MPA Mason Fellows who demonstrate strong interest in the overarching issues of concern to the Ash Center: improving democratic institutions and public participation; transparency and information disclosure; public sector innovations; improving urban and municipal governance; and political and social development
Belfer Young Leaders Fellowship
Supports students with a demonstrated interest in science, technology, national security, diplomacy, international relations, or global affairs
Roy Family Fellowship
For students with an interest in energy and environmental policy issues
Carr Center Scholarship in Human Rights
For students who demonstrate a strong background and commitment to human rights policy
Black Family Fellowship
Supports up to 25 students annually at Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Business School, and Harvard Law School who are veterans and active duty military students from the United States
Emirates Leadership Initiative Fellowship
For students with a demonstrated interest in developing leadership and public management skills in countries within the Arab League
For students who plan to devote their careers to understanding and dismantling barriers to equity across society
Supports selected students in the third year of the joint degree program offered through Harvard Business School (HBS) and Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)
Gleitsman Leadership Fellowship
For students with a strong background in, or potential for, leadership in social activism
Supports students admitted to the HKS/HBS joint degree program with demonstrated commitment to public service
Wexner Israel Fellowship
Supports up to 10 MC/MPA students from Israel
For students who have completed, are currently enrolled in, or are accepted and will enroll in an MBA, JD, MD, or DMD/DDS degree from an accredited U.S. institution. Note that candidates wishing to be considered for the Zuckerman Fellowship should apply for the fellowship through the Harvard Committee on General Scholarships.
Program on Education Policy and Governance (PEPG) Master's Fellowship
For students with a strong interest in educational entrepreneurship, reform, and policy in the MPP program or an equivalent master’s program at Harvard University
The Committee on General Scholarships (CGS) administers special financial aid, scholarship, and fellowship programs that support full-time, in-residence Harvard University graduate and undergraduate students, including HKS students. CGS funding is very competitive—admitted applicants and current students from across Harvard are eligible.
CGS Restricted Scholarships
CGS restricted scholarships are awarded to recipients who live in specific cities, states, or regions, or are descendants of a particular ancestry or family. These scholarships range in amount—typically a few thousand dollars—and are meant to provide supplementary funding. You will be considered for CGS restricted scholarships based on the information you provide in your HKS Application for Financial Assistance.
CGS International Fellowships
CGS international fellowships are country specific. They are not awarded through HKS and require a separate application. Application details, contact information, and a full list of fellowship and restricted scholarship opportunities are available on the CGS website.
There are many external scholarship opportunities available to graduate students that are not affiliated with Harvard Kennedy School. We strongly encourage you to research possible funding resources offered by:
- Affinity organizations
- Former employers
- Government agencies
- Nongovernmental organizations
- Philanthropic foundations
- Previous schools, colleges, or universities
- Private organizations
There are a number of scholarship search engines that may be helpful.
- EduPass: For international students interested in studying in the U.S.
- Fast Web: Financial aid search tool
- Finaid.org: The Go-to Guide to Financial Aid
- Institute for International Education (IIE): Independent, not-for-profit international education and training organization
- International Education Financial Aid: Free searchable database scholarships and other aid for international students
- Scholly: Free scholarship search database for all students
- U.S. Department of Education: Federal website for grant aid
HKS has developed partnerships with these branches of the United States Armed Forces:
- United States Air Force (Air Force Academy)
- United States Army (Military Academy West Point)
- United States Coast Guard (MC/MPA Program only)
Yellow Ribbon Program
We are proud to participate in the Post-9/11 GI BillTM’s Yellow Ribbon Program, which provides additional financial assistance to veterans who qualify for 100 percent of the Post-9/11 GI BillTM’s educational benefits.
Veterans who are eligible will receive up to $7,500 in scholarship assistance from HKS for the upcoming academic year. The U.S. government will match this amount, providing veterans with up to $15,000 in Yellow Ribbon funding.
Yellow Ribbon applications will be accepted starting on June 1 for the upcoming academic year. We will not accept applications before this date.
If you are a qualified candidate and plan to apply, you will need to submit:
- A Notice of Enrollment Form (available in the “Forms” section on MYFAID) and
- A copy of your Certificate of Eligibility issued by the VA or your DD 214 (report of separation)
Scholarship assistance cannot exceed tuition and fees from all sources. If you receive scholarship assistance from HKS, $7,500 of this scholarship amount will be designated as the Yellow Ribbon match. If the total of scholarship assistance from HKS, the Yellow Ribbon Program, and Chapter 33 benefits exceeds tuition and fees, the scholarship assistance offered by HKS will be reduced commensurately.
If you are a Harvard University employee, you may be eligible to use TAP to pay for your tuition if you are enrolled in the MC/MPA Program on a part-time basis, eight credits per semester at most, and received advance approval of the Office of Admissions & Financial Aid.
Visit the Tuition Assistance page in HARVie to see if you are eligible.