Harvard bears the distinction as the oldest college in the United States. Established in 1636 by the early government of Massachusetts, the college was named after a minister named John Harvard who lived in Charlestown. In addition to its claim as the oldest university in the country, the school also lays claim to a variety of other interesting facts related to its long history. For example, soldiers from the Continental Army lodged inside several buildings on the campus in 1775.

The lauded Harvard Medical School opened in 1783, and Harvard Law School was established in 1817. Incredibly, the school celebrated its bicentennial, or two-hundred year anniversary, in 1836. Since its founding, the school has amassed the largest endowment of any university in the country and has routinely found itself on top of lists of the best universities in the country.

Harvard University Accreditation Details

Harvard University is regionally accredited and also maintains accreditations for specific programs with industry organizations and accrediting bodies. The New England Assoc. of Schools & Colleges (NEASC) accredits Harvard to grant degrees. The NEASC is part of the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. The last time the university was reviewed for accreditation was 2009.

In addition to institutional accreditation, several of Harvard’s schools are also accredited by national and professional organizations. For example, Harvard Business School is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Harvard Graduate School of Design is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board, the American Institute of Certified Planners, and the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board.

Harvard University Application Requirements

Harvard University is one of the most competitive colleges in the country, and the school admits students from all over the country who have extremely high test scores and GPAs. According to the school’s Admissions & Financial Aid Department, Harvard receives more than 39,000 applications each year, but they only admit around 2,100 students. Like most highly selective universities, Harvard requires application requirements like an official application, an application fee, and standardized test scores for the ACT and SAT.

The school also requires a supplemental questionnaire called the Harvard College Questions for the Common Application, as well as extra standardized test scores for at least two SAT subject tests and multiple school reports. Harvard offers a unique opportunity for students who attend Harvard for a single semester or one year called the Visiting Undergraduate Students program, and those applicants must submit extra items like a statement of purpose and recommendations from faculty at the student’s present school, as well as university transcripts and a CV or resume.

Tuition and Financial Aid

With tuition, room, board, and fees costing $66,950 a year, it’s expected that students will receive financial aid from a variety of sources including parental contribution, summer work, term-time work, and financial aid from Harvard, federal loans, and outside scholarships. Tuition alone at Harvard University costs $43,280, and tuition is the same for all students because Harvard University is a private school. In addition to tuition, fees, room, and board, students may also need to pay a health insurance fee of $2,630 if they aren’t covered on a parent’s health insurance policy.

Harvard offers excellent financial assistance to its students through grants that average $50,000, as well as scholarship aid. The school spends around $170 million a year on financial aid investment. Students whose families earn less than $65,000 a year may pay nothing in tuition, and students from families earning between $65,000 and $150,000 may only end up paying up to 10 percent of the cost to attend. Financial aid is also available to students from families that earn more than $150,000. Students will not only have the opportunity to earn scholarships and aid through Harvard’s financial aid department, but they will also have access to private loans and federal student aid. Students must submit their FAFSA in advance of enrolling in classes to qualify for federal student loans, grants, and work-study.

Degrees Available

Many people associate Harvard University with STEM fields and professional work in health and law; however, the school also boasts a long tradition of offering excellent degree programs in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Some of the fields of concentration available to students include African and African American Studies, Linguistics, Psychology, East Asian Studies, and Music. Students may even seek degrees in Slavic Languages and Literatures, Theater, Dance, and Media, or Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. Many of the degrees offered by Faculty of Arts and Sciences are considered multidisciplinary and touch on many academic fields.

For example, Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality encompasses fields as diverse as sociology, anthropology, psychology, political science, and biology. The program encourages “sustained intellectual inquiry,” as well as fosters critical thinking skills. Similarly, students in Theater, Dance, and Media will experience a diverse program that features study of a variety of creative, theoretical, and historical topics. As is not surprising of an ivy league school, study in any field at Harvard requires extreme dedication and a willingness to meet the challenges of a rigorous curriculum.

One of the unique things that students may experience when they choose to attend Harvard is a lower overall cost to attend versus other, much less expensive schools. Although the tuition at Harvard is quite expensive at face value, the school often surprises its accepted applicants with generous financial aid letters. According to the university, ninety percent of students who attend Harvard are given enough financial aid that their cost to attend is relatively the same as attending a state school. Although the school has some of the most rigorous application requirements of any university in the nation, the institution is generous in its financial aid assistance and efforts to make sure all students who are accepted can attend.

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It goes without saying that students can choose virtually any discipline or degree offered at Harvard and benefit from the superior combination of respected programs, a historic institution of higher learning, and excellent opportunities for financial aid and monetary assistance. Harvard has produced more than 45 Nobel Laureates, more than 45 Pulitzer Prize winners, and has educated more than 30 heads of state. Harvard University has around 21,000 students in its colleges, as well as in its graduate and professional programs, and students wishing to join those ranks should prepare for a rigorous education starting immediately with the admissions application the student submits to the university.