Harvard charges $73,440 in MBA tuition fees for the academic year 2021-22. For the two-year, full-time MBA program at Harvard, you can expect to pay double that; $146,880 in tuition.
However, to calculate the total cost of the Harvard MBA in 2021, you need to look beyond Harvard’s MBA tuition fees and consider living expenses, healthcare cover, and the cost of the materials and books you’ll need for the duration of the program.
That’s what we did when putting together our BusinessBecause Cost of MBA Report 2021, which calculates the total cost of an MBA at the world’s top business schools.
Harvard MBA Cost Breakdown
To come up with our Harvard MBA cost estimate, we broke down the total cost of the Harvard MBA, considering cost of tuition, living expenses, healthcare cover, and books and materials. Any extra fees at Harvard are included in the cost of tuition.
Based on our research, the total cost of pursuing an MBA at Harvard in 2021 is around $223,000.
Harvard MBA students will get involved with extra-curricular activities, international trips abroad, and the variety of MBA clubs on offer at Harvard. Membership of a student club can cost upwards of $300 in annual registration fees.
Our living expenses for the Harvard MBA however are minimum estimates based on the lifestyle of a single student, covering on-campus accommodation and transport, and excluding these additional social activities.
Harvard MBA students going to business school with families or partners will also incur higher living costs.
Harvard’s healthcare costs include the Harvard University Student Health Fee, which costs $1,242, and the Harvard Student Health Insurance Plan, which costs $4,040.
We’ve doubled these costs to get a two-year estimate on healthcare cover at Harvard of $10,564.
Harvard charges a course and program materials fee of $2,550 ($5,100 for the two years), covering the cost of textbooks and cases.
Harvard MBA cost comparison
The Harvard MBA is the sixth most expensive MBA program in the world in terms of overall cost, according to our Cost of MBA Report 2021.
While Harvard is more expensive than Columbia and Kellogg and any non-US business school, you’ll still pay more to pursue an MBA at MIT Sloan, NYU Stern, Stanford, Wharton, and Dartmouth Tuck.
MIT Sloan, the world’s most expensive MBA program, costs $18,900 more than the Harvard MBA in terms of total cost.
In terms of MBA tuition fees, Harvard charges the lowest tuition fees out of the prestigious M7 business schools.
Cornell Johnson, Dartmouth Tuck, NYU Stern, and Yale also charge higher MBA tuition fees than Harvard.
In fact, Harvard MBA tuition costs are slightly below the average for top-ranked US business schools (around $149,000).
Living costs for Harvard MBA students are relatively high—only living expenses for MBA students at Stanford or at London Business School cost more—while healthcare insurance fees are competitive with other US schools.
Funding your Harvard MBA
Harvard MBA scholarships
At Harvard, 50% students get a scholarship, and that percentage is reported to be even higher among international students.
The typical process for getting financial aid at Harvard is as follows:
1. When admitted, you may receive a financial aid award letter with your acceptance letter including information about your merit-based scholarship. This is based on your academic performance and GMAT score.
2. After that, you can also submit a financial aid request for a needs-based scholarship.
3. You will be asked to answer questions about your income, assets, and liabilities.
4. You will then be told how much needs-based financial aid you’re legible for—in many cases this will come in the form of a tuition fee discount.
“Harvard dispersed $6 million in financial aid in the last year, so the net cost for many students is lower than tuition would suggest,” explains David White, founder of admissions consulting firm Menlo Coaching. Harvard has also frozen its MBA tuition fees since 2018.
If you receive an MBA scholarship from Harvard, you should also look to negotiate your scholarship offer. Business schools keep money in reserve, so there’s an expectation that you will ask for a larger scholarship award—if you don’t someone else will!
Harvard MBA loans
The remaining amount (or net cost of your MBA) after financial aid is what you’ll need to figure out how to pay yourself, using your savings or student loans.
Most MBA students take out a loan, and the average loan amount borrowed per MBA student in the US is $60-70,000.
When Chris Abkarians was admitted to Harvard, he joined forces with a group of students to try to negotiate a bulk discount on student loan rates, gathering 700 students from 10 MBA programs in the United States.
“We reached out to dozens of lenders, and after lots of rejection, found several who were intrigued by the concept. Finally, we secured a deal that saved our classmates $15,000 each, on average,” he says.
That’s how Chris’ company Juno was born, which uses group buying power to negotiate the best student loan rates possible for MBA students.
Chris (left) with Juno co-founder Nikhil Agarwal
A former Harvard MBA student himself, Chris knows how to save money during your MBA: negotiate your scholarship offer; don’t go too crazy in your first year and sign up for every activity going; if the company you’re interning with in the summer offers you a full-time job, see if you can negotiate a signing bonus ahead of time.
“Cost is a valid concern that almost everyone I know had at the beginning of the Harvard application process, but don’t let that deter you from finding out what the price actually is” he says.
Paying $200k+ to go to Harvard is scary, but most people don’t pay the sticker price.