Does Harvard Give Scholarships to Nigerian Students?

Harvard University is one of the most prestigious institutions of higher education in the world. As such, it receives applications from talented students all over the globe, including many from Nigeria. But does Harvard offer scholarships specifically for Nigerian students?

Let’s take a closer look at Harvard’s financial aid policies and options for international students.

Harvard has a need-blind admissions policy and is committed to meeting 100% of demonstrated financial need for all admitted students, including international applicants. This means admissions decisions are made without consideration of your ability to pay.

Once admitted, Harvard will provide an aid package to cover the full cost of attendance that your family cannot reasonably contribute.

Harvard’s financial aid program is based entirely on financial need, not academic merit or athletic talent. They use a comprehensive review process that looks at your family’s income, assets, expenses, and more to calculate a reasonable family contribution. This determines your financial aid eligibility.

So do they offer scholarships specifically for Nigerian students? Not necessarily. Their aid is need-based for all international applicants. But Nigerian students who demonstrate financial need can absolutely qualify for Harvard financial aid.

Types of Financial Aid for International Students

Harvard offers grants, scholarships, loans, and part-time work opportunities to help international students afford the cost of attendance. Types of aid include:

  • Grants & Scholarships: These are gift aid that does not need to be repaid. Grants are generally need-based while scholarships may be based on specific criteria.
  • Loans: Which must be repaid with interest after leaving school. International students can access federal loans as well as private student loans through Harvard.
  • Work-Study: Part-time employment opportunities on campus during school. Allows you to earn money to offset costs.

All admitted international students receive the same need-based Harvard Scholarship as domestic students. For the 2022-2023 year, this averages around $57,000. Additional scholarships may be available based on specific criteria.

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Estimated Cost of Attendance

What does it cost for an international student to attend Harvard each year? Here are the estimated costs for 2022-2023:

  • Tuition: $53,949
  • Room & Board: $18,682
  • Fees (activities, services, etc): $4,195
  • Books & Supplies: $1,000
  • Health Insurance: $3,974

Total: $81,800

This does not include personal expenses like travel or transportation. As you can see, the total cost of attendance is extremely high for international students. This demonstrates why financial aid is critical.

Harvard’s Financial Aid Application Process

To be considered for Harvard financial aid as an international student, here are steps you must follow:

  • Submit a CSS Profile by the deadline. This provides details on your family finances.
  • Submit parent and sponsor tax documents to verify income data.
  • Ensure you complete all required forms and supporting documentation.
  • If admitted, you’ll receive a financial aid package from Harvard detailing your eligibility.
  • Inform Harvard if you receive any outside scholarships or grants. These must be considered when determining need-based aid.
  • Accept or decline the aid offer and arrange payment for any remaining costs.
  • Each year, you must reapply for aid by completing required forms and documentation again.

Proper planning and prompt submission of materials is essential to get considered for Harvard international student aid.

Tips for Nigerian Students Applying for Harvard Financial Aid

What should Nigerian applicants know when applying for Harvard aid? Here are some top tips:

  • Understand the costs: Carefully calculate the total yearly cost of attendance. This will determine how much aid you need to request.
  • Research funding options: Learn about scholarships and educational loans available specifically for Nigerian international students. These can supplement Harvard’s aid.
  • Document your need: Provide as much credible evidence as possible of your family’s financial situation. Explain any unique circumstances impacting affordability.
  • Apply early: Meet all deadlines for aid applications and required documents. Submit them as early as possible! Timing matters.
  • Communicate with the school: Ask questions, explain your situation, and discuss options with Harvard’s financial aid office. Maintain open communication.
  • Have a backup plan: Apply for aid at other U.S. schools in case Harvard does not offer you sufficient funding. This gives you options!
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With proper planning, researching outside funding sources, demonstrating need, and communicating with Harvard’s aid office, Nigerian students can get financial assistance to make Harvard affordable based on individual circumstances.

Examples of Nigerian Students Receiving Harvard Aid

Don’t just take my word for it—there are Nigerian students who have successfully obtained financial aid from Harvard. Here are a few examples:

Ayodele Odutola (Current student)

Ayodele grew up in Lagos, Nigeria before coming to the U.S. for college. He shared that he received a nearly full-ride scholarship to attend Harvard based on his family’s financial situation, grades, and community involvement.

Folasade Pearse, Harvard Class of 2022

Folasade is a Nigerian student who attended high school in Turkey but returned home to take the SATs. She was accepted to Harvard and received sufficient financial aid in other to cover the majority of her costs based on her economic background.

Chimezie Emeziem, Harvard Class of 2021

Chimezie was raised in Aba, Nigeria and attended a local high school. He applied to Harvard as an economics major and received a financial aid package covering 90% of his tuition and expenses, allowing him to graduate debt-free.

These students’ experiences show that Harvard does award generous need-based aid to qualified Nigerian applicants who demonstrate financial need and meet academic standards.

Common Concerns and Considerations

For many Nigerian students and families, the idea of joining an Ivy League school like that of Harvard is still a far-off dream. Some common concerns include:

  • “It’s impossible for us to afford it”: This mindset prevents many from even applying. But you won’t know your options until you actually apply for aid as an admitted student. With proper documentation of need, Harvard can make it possible.
  • “Aid is very limited for international students”: In truth, Harvard is need-blind and meets 100% of demonstrated need for all students that are admitted, regardless of nationality. Billions are awarded annually.
  • “Harvard aid won’t be enough”: While Harvard may not cover 100% of costs for every student, their aid can make it much more affordable when combined with outside scholarships, work-study, and affordable loans.
  • “We won’t qualify”: You may be surprised! Harvard looks at the full financial profile. Many middle-income families can demonstrate enough need to get substantial aid.
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The bottom line is you must complete the aid application process to determine what Harvard can provide. It’s worth exploring all options if Harvard is your dream school.


While Harvard does not offer specific scholarships earmarked for Nigerian students, those who are admitted and able to demonstrate financial need absolutely can qualify for need-based financial aid. This can make Harvard’s high cost of attendance possible for Nigerian families.

By submitting required documents like the CSS Profile and tax forms, explaining your unique situation, researching additional funding sources, and communicating closely with Harvard, Nigerian students can potentially receive grants, scholarships, work-study and affordable loans to make Harvard significantly more affordable.

Several examples exist of Nigerian students getting large aid packages covering most of their cost. So be sure to explore Harvard financial aid fully before ruling out this world-renowned institution based on presumed cost alone. With the right information and preparation, Harvard can indeed be accessible.


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