Student Financial Services

Tuition and Expenses

At Harvard Kennedy School, we apply a “modest but livable” standard when determining the cost of attendance, and the domestic, international and Mason Program student budgets. Students are generally expected to maintain modest living standards than when they were employed, which may involve having roommates or cooking more meals at home. Living expenses are calculated at about $2,900 per month.

The HKS cost of attendance applies only to the current academic year. Two-year students have a nine-month academic year, beginning in late August and ending in May. Students in the one-year MC/MPA Program have a 10-month academic year, starting in July and ending in May, while Mason Fellows have an 11-month academic year, beginning in early July and ending in May. 

We realize some students may incur expenses before the academic year gets underway but they cannot be included in the cost of attendance. For example, if a two-year student begins a lease in July with Harvard University Housing, July and August rent payments cannot be included in the cost of attendance.

The list below summarizes expenses that can and cannot be included in the HKS cost of attendance.

Cost of Attendance Expenses


Do Not Include

  • Tuition and fees
  • Student Health Insurance Plan
  • HUHS Student Health fee
  • HKS activity fee
  • Books and supplies
  • Day care
  • Food
  • Local travel, excluding car and car insurance payments
  • Personal computer bought for classes
  • Rent (up to a maximum)
  • Unreimbursed medical expenses incurred during the academic year
  • Credit card payments
  • Dependent care expenses, excluding day care needed to attend classes
  • Expenses incurred before the beginning of the academic year
  • Gym memberships
  • Smartphones, iPads, tablets
  • Travel unrelated to attending classes

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