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Step 1: Completing Your Preliminary Aid Application

In this step you will submit the main online HLS financial aid application, which will then create a personalized list of required documents to be submitted. Once all of your documents are received, we will begin reviewing your application.

Timing of this step

For admitted students there is no deadline to complete this step. We will open access to the main online HLS financial aid application on February 11, 2014 and the sooner after that date you complete your file by submitting all of your required documents, the sooner you will have your preliminary HLS financial aid award offer from us. Throughout the spring we generally have a two week (10 business days) turnaround time from the point your last document is received to the point you will receive your award notification.

For returning students, the deadline to complete your 2014-2015 financial aid application is 5PM on Wednesday, April 30, 2014. Once the application process is up and running you will receive an email communication from Student Financial Services. Generally, the application season opens for returning students in late-March of each academic year giving ample time for you to complete your application by the April deadline. We typically process returning student awards during the months of May and June, and we release preliminary awards to all returning students at the same time in early July. Students completing a financial aid application before the deadline are guaranteed to receive notice of their preliminary financial aid award on this schedule and can expect to have financial aid in place to offset fall semester charges. Although we make every effort to process late applications in a timely fashion, we cannot guarantee to complete our review in time to get anticipated credits on the fall semester bill. If you do apply late, you may need to make other payment arrangements for your fall bill until our review of your application becomes complete.

Submitting the main online HLS financial aid application form

To begin the financial aid application process, submit the main online HLS institutional aid application. The main online HLS financial aid application is part of our secure online financial aid system, known as "My HLS Financial Aid", and requires a secure login. To successfully authenticate into our online system you will need to use a Student ID and PIN that is unique to this system. These credentials are defined as follows: 

  • Student ID:  This has been set to your full HLS email address (i.e. jdoe@jd14.law.harvard.edu).
  • PIN:  This is only set-up and known by you. If you remember your PIN, you can simply enter it and hit the SUBMIT button to gain access. If you do not remember your PIN and need to re-set it OR if you need create a PIN for the first time (new students who have never accessed this system), after entering your full HLS email address as your Student ID, do one of the following. 
      • Click on "Forgot your PIN" - Students who have previously accessed this system should use this link. (i.e. all continuing students classes of 2016 and before who have logged in to this system at a prior point in time - This includes students originally admitted to the class of 2016 (or before) who used this system but then subsequently deferred their admission.
      • Click "First Time User" - Students who have NEVER accessed this system before should use this link (i.e. new admits to the class of 2017, new transfer students logging in for the first time, and any first time aid applicant who has never logged in before).

Both of these links will ask you to enter your Student ID again (full HLS email address) and then present you with a series of security questions.  After you successfully answer these questions you will either be given the opportunity to change your PIN or set up a PIN for the first time. You can select any PIN you want. HLS SFS staff have no access to what you choose as it is stored encrypted and hashed-out in our database. After you re-set/set-up your PIN you can then go back and use it to log into this system. The first time you log in you will also be asked to set up a few more personalized security questions that will be used in the future should you need to change your PIN again.

Your accurate completion of this online form is an extremely important step in applying for aid at HLS. The answers you provide are used to dynamically generate the list of other documents that we will require from you. Inaccurate answers may generate an incorrect list of required documents and can lead to delays in the processing of your financial aid.

Some of the questions on the form may require you to get both personal and business tax filing information from your parents. Please be sure to read through the entire form and gather all of the necessary information from your parents BEFORE attempting to complete the form. (You can also print the form from your browser.) Do not guess the answers to the questions that pertain to your parents' tax filing information; this can also delay the processing of your application.

Finally, this is a single session form. You need to submit it in its entirety in one session. You cannot complete a portion of the form, save your information, and then return at a later date to complete the rest of the form. Once you hit the submit button the form automatically locks and you will not be able to make changes or additions without first contacting our office for assistance.

Technical Requirements: This system requires use of PC with one of the following browsers:

  • PC with Internet Explorer 8.0
  • PC with Internet Explorer 9 (in a Windows 7 Environment only)
  • Firefox 12.0
  • Google Chrome 18.0

APPLE computers, SAFARI web browsers and mobile devices (including ipads and iphones) are not supported. 

Also, to successfully submit data via the online application, found within, DO NOT use a wireless connection and you may need to temporarily lower your internet security setting to Medium or Low.

You can proceed to the login page of our secure online system by clicking on the "My HLS Financial Aid" link on the right.

Reviewing your personalized list of required documents and completing your preliminary application

After successfully submitting the online HLS financial aid application, close your Internet browser completely. Then , you can immediately log back in and you will find that a "Documents" tab has now been enabled. On this tab, you will now be able to view your personalized list of required documents as well as links to either the documents themselves or web pages that describe what is required from you to successfully complete each document. 

Depending on your circumstances, there may be numerous required documents that you will need to collect and submit to complete your application. Some documents will be actual paper forms, such as tax documents, while others will be web forms that you can submit electronically. The Document Descriptions section contains details about the types of required documents you might see in your customized list. 

Once enabled, the "Documents" tab becomes a live, real-time web function. As soon as a required document is reviewed and someone in our office marks it "Received" in our system, you will see it as "Received" on your  "Documents" tab. Please allow us at least two business days (or longer from mid-March to early May) to review the materials and update the status. You can check back on the status of your application regularly throughout the process.

A special note to admitted students about FAFSA: If you submitted the FAFSA application before you were notified of your admission to HLS, or before you submitted the online HLS financial aid application, we should have already received your data electronically. However, it may take up to 48 hours before we are able to load your data and track these documents as "Received".

Here are a few helpful hints about getting your file complete as fast as possible.

  • Please follow the instructions listed on both the Document Descriptions and Financial Aid Forms sections of our web site when submitting your documents. SFS is paperless and stores data electronically in a document imaging system.
  • Contact our office if you notice a document in your list that you believe you should not be required to submit. You may have answered a question incorrectly on our main online form, and we will need to correct your response in order to adjust your document list.
  • Contact our office if you have submitted a document and it is not marked as "Received" within one week of submission.

Once your preliminary application is complete

Admitted Students
Completed financial aid applications are distributed to Financial Aid Officers for review on a daily basis throughout the spring as admitted students' files become complete. The date that the final document was received in our office to complete your file marks the date that your financial aid application was sent for review. If there are still "packaging" documents listed as "Not Received," on the "Documents" tab of "My HLS Financial Aid", then your financial aid application has not yet been sent to a Financial Aid Officer for review. Please check "My HLS Financial Aid" periodically to track the status of your application.

On the day your file becomes complete you will receive an email confirmation from us. From this point, it generally takes two weeks (10 business days) for us to review your file and process a preliminary financial aid award. During peak processing times or when an individual's financial circumstances are very complex, it may take a little longer than two weeks. However, it is always our goal to process award packages as promptly as possible.

Admitted students must inform the Harvard Law School Admissions Office by May 1st that they intend to take a spot in the Class. We understand that financial aid plays an important role in deciding what law school to attend and HLS wants to ensure that you are able to view your preliminary financial aid award prior to making that decision. If you were admitted very close to or after the May 1st deadline, you should contact the Admissions Office about a possible extension of the deadline. Only the Admissions Office can grant approval for an extension. To receive one, you must be actively working with Student Financial Services to complete your application for aid. Again, we will do our best to work with you to expedite the process.

Returning Students
Returning students have a fixed deadline to complete their preliminary application for aid each year. The 2014-2015 preliminary financial aid application deadline for returning students is 5PM on Wednesday April 30, 2014. After the deadline, it will take approximately one week for SFS staff to track your application materials in our database. As soon as we have logged all the application materials received, we will send you an email instructing you to check the "Your Documents" tab and confirm that your application is complete. If any additional documentation is still pending at this time, you will need to turn it into us as soon as possible so that we can begin our review of your file.

We typically process returning student awards during the months of May and June, and we release all preliminary award data for returning students at the same time in early July. This is in time for us to reflect any anticipated financial aid credits on the first e-bill of the new academic year, which is sent to students in mid-July.

Students who complete their financial aid applications before the April 30th deadline are guaranteed to receive notice of their preliminary aid package on this schedule and can expect to have financial aid in place to offset fall 2014 semester charges. Returning student financial aid applications that become complete after the deadline will still be processed, but not until we have completed our review of applications from those who met the application deadline. Although we make every effort to process late applications in a timely fashion, we cannot in all cases guarantee to complete our review in time to get anticipated credits on the bill. If you do apply late, you may need to make other payment arrangements for your fall bill until our review of your application is complete.

Last modified: December 19, 2014

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