Frequently Asked Questions


Who is the Committee on General Scholarships?

The Committee is a standing committee of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. It offers programs that serve students in all of Harvard's graduate and professional schools. Its formal members are the Deans of the graduate and professional schools at Harvard, and of Harvard College, or the representatives whom they designate. Dr. Margot N. Gill, Administrative Dean for International Affairs, is Chairperson of the Committee.

What is the origin of all this funding?

The majority of the Committee’s programs are funded with income from Harvard endowment funds established specifically for this purpose as a result of gifts to the university. Most of these scholarships and fellowships are restricted to students who meet specific eligibility criteria established by the original donors.

CGS funds represent only a small fraction of the financial support available to Harvard students. It is important that all students begin their search for financial support with the Financial Aid Office of the school within Harvard University in which they plan to enroll.

Are the funds listed here all that are available at Harvard?

The funds and programs offered through the Committee on General Scholarships are only a small sample of the support available to Harvard students. Most financial support is managed within the College or the graduate or professional school in which the student is planning to enroll. All applicants should begin their search for financial support with the Financial Aid Office of that school, and then return here to determine whether there are additional or supplemental programs for you at CGS.

How do I get information about admission requirements at Harvard?

Prospective graduate students should contact the Admissions and Financial Aid Office of the particular Harvard graduate or professional school of interest to them. Prospective undergraduate students should contact the Harvard College Admissions and Financial Aid Office.

When does the Committee meet to determine who receives funding?

CGS and its sub-committees meet regularly throughout the year to review applications and determine scholarship and fellowship awards. Specific deadlines and timelines are posted within the guidelines of our individual programs.

How is the amount of each scholarship awarded by CGS determined?

Scholarship awards are based upon several factors, including the scale of the scholarship program, the amount of funds available each year, and the number of students deemed eligible for each scholarship. Many scholarships also consider the financial need of each eligible candidate. A CGS scholarship rarely covers a student’s full costs for an entire academic year.

Do you offer short-term traveling fellowships?

We do not offer short term fellowships or fellowships for study/research during the summer.

What is a Restricted Scholarship?

Restricted Scholarships are individual funds, usually endowment funds, created by alumni and other donors to support specific populations of students within the University. They vary widely in their terms, amounts, and focus and therefore provide an interesting history of the changing interests of alumni and donors over time. The preferences of funds may involve ancestry, residency, or academic interest, for example.

Please note that the funds managed by the Committee on General Scholarships are a varied group, and are in no way representative of all of the funds available at the University; nor are they able to capture the many different populations that make up the University student body.

How do I apply for a Restricted Scholarship?

The Committee on General Scholarships does not accept applications for Restricted Scholarships from students, except in the case of candidates for Harvard College who qualify for ancestry-based funds. All other candidates must be nominated through the financial aid office at the Harvard school in which they are or will be registered. Students should indicate their eligibility through the Financial Aid office of the school in which they hope to enroll.

Harvard College applicants who would like information about ancestry-based funds should click the link for Undergraduates, above.

What is documentation? Why do I need documentation for Restricted Scholarships?

The Committee on General Scholarships is required to ensure that all recipients of scholarship funds meet the terms set forth by the donor and accepted by the University. In some instances, the Committee requires paper documentation to prove eligibility for a potential Restricted Scholarship award.

What documentation do I need?

Applicants for Restricted Scholarships may be asked to supply documentation to verify eligibility. CGS does not accept documentation directly from students. Please follow the instructions for submitting documentation as issued by the Financial Aid Office of the school in which you plan to enroll.

The documentation requirements for each type of scholarship are as follows:

Scholarships based on residency
Residency means long-term residency, the bulk of a student’s childhood or approximately 10 years.
Applicants should be able to prove that they have lived in the area for a significant portion of their lives, usually that they have grown up in the area. Students who live in an area during the period of college, graduate school, or other training are not likely to be eligible for residency-based awards.

Candidates must have two pieces of documentation that establish two different points in time during the residency. Documents that can be used to show a history of long-term residency include combinations of: birth certificates; school transcripts that show the student’s address at the time of attendance or letters from school authorities verifying dates of attendance and the student’s address at that time; letters from clergy verifying membership or affiliation at a house of worship and the family’s address, public records listing the student’s family; tax returns (the first page will suffice); driver’s licenses, etc. It is not necessary to submit more than two items.

Scholarships based on residency in the “region” or “area” of a particular city are restricted to students from that city’s metropolitan area. For example, funds restricted to students from the Boston region would not be available to students from Springfield, Massachusetts.

Scholarships based on ancestry
A genealogical study completed by an accredited or certified genealogist and a birth certificate are required.

Scholarships based on graduation from particular secondary schools or colleges
For scholarships requiring graduation from a particular high school, a diploma with the individual’s name will suffice. A transcript indicating the individual’s name and graduation date is also acceptable. For scholarships requiring graduation from particular colleges, a transcript is required.

Scholarships based on geographic ancestry
Copies of the main pages of their ancestors’ passports from their native countries are required. Documents in a foreign language must be accompanied by an official translation.

Scholarships based on surname
A birth certificate or adoption certificate is required to document surname.

Scholarships based on citizenship
A copy of the main passport page will document citizenship.

Scholarships based on religious memberships
Letters from leaders of churches or synagogues or copies of documentation from those institutions will serve to document religious membership.

Students specializing in subject areas or preparing for specified careers
Nominations for the funds listed below should include a short (3-5 sentences) description of the student’s eligibility, describing with some specificity the student’s area of research, goals, and previous experience, as follows:

*Caroline Cady Hewey Fund
Nominations should include the specific goals of diplomatic service (which agency or type of agency and why) and indicate any past experience supporting those goals.

Jack Meyer University Scholarship Fund
Nominations should include specifics about the student’s research plan, including previous study as well as intended courses or projects demonstrating their intentions.

Thomas E. Upham Class of 1868 Fund
Nominations should include specific information about the office or agency the student intends to pursue and should discuss any past experience supporting this goal. *

Please direct questions about scholarship documentation materials to the financial aid officer at the school in which you plan to enroll.

How do I submit my documentation?

Students do not submit documentation directly to the Committee on General Scholarships. Documentation should be submitted to the Financial Aid Office of the school in which you plan to enroll, according to that office's policy and procedures.

Who should I contact at the Committee for General Scholarships with additional questions?

Our telephone number is: 617-496-9367 and our email is: cgs@fas.harvard.edu.

How do I apply for ancestry-based funding?

Applicants to Harvard's graduate and professional schools should identify themselves as eligible for ancestry-based funding through the Financial Aid Office of the school in which they plan to enroll.

Applicants to Harvard College may apply for consideration directly to the Committee on General Scholarships by submitting a letter requesting consideration for the scholarship, including their Harvard College class, a summary of the genealogy that qualifies the applicant, and address, telephone, and email contact information. The letter must be accompanied by a certified genealogy report demonstrating eligibility as well as a birth certificate. College applicants should also file an application for financial aid with Harvard College if they wish to be considered for need-based financial aid.

Applicants to Harvard College who may be eligible for ancestry-based funds managed by CGS are strongly encouraged to contact CGS to discuss their cases prior to application.

Where do I mail my information to the Committee on General Scholarships?

Our mailing address is:
14 Story Street, 3rd Floor
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
United States of America

What if I don’t qualify for any funding listed on this site?

The Committee on General Scholarships reminds you that most financial assistance is available through the school within the University in which you plan to enroll. We encourage you to begin your search with that Financial Aid Office.