Harvard Financial Aid docs


Harvard asks for these extra financial docs in IDOC in addition to the 2019 tax return. One of the requirements is:
If you or your parents are the beneficiary of an estate or trust, submit:
The full Trust Tax Return.
A letter explaining the contents of the trust or estate, value, and accessibility.

My parents own a bunch of real estate property, the details of which I’ve already given on the CSS Profile. As far as I know, beneficiary means someone who will inherit, so will this requirement apply to them?

No, what they mean is if someone is already deceased and, in their estate plans, has set up a trust and named you or your parents as recipients of the trust and/or of their estate.

This question does not apply to you unless your parents are deceased (or unless your parents are beneficiaries of a deceased person’s trust/estate). Good luck!

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This is usually bad news in terms of need based financial aid, and Harvard does not have any merit based financial aid.

Are you okay being full pay?


You would have to send investment property tax returns if they are in trusts (where you and/or your parents are the beneficiary), as well as any other trusts (whether the person is deceased or not) where any of you are the beneficiary. Sounds like they already have the investment property financial documents, so if they are in a trust, you would have to note that.

I agree with the above comment about affordability, run Harvard’s net price calculator to get an estimate of costs: Net Price Calculator | Harvard

Anything else @kelsmom @belknappoint @thumper1?

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I’m not sure this is true. We were told that if we were beneficiaries of a trust, we had to include our share of the value of the trust.

I don’t think the person setting up the trust has to be dead.


In addition, you mention real estate other than your primary residence. The equity in any additional real estate is an asset, and if rentals the rents are income. Many folks who own substantial real estate other than their primary residence find this DOES affect need based aid.

And because of this other real estate, the net price calculators will likely not be accurate.

Send Harvard the documents they have requested. But I hope you have an affordable back up just in case…


That’s what I was thinking too. Besides, all real estate details (including their value and income) are already included in our national tax returns. They ask for those details in the CSS Profile as well, so I doubt Harvard will need them twice. My theory is that it applies to people who don’t own real estate, but probably will in the future.

Don’t think my parents would agree to that. I applied for fin aid anyways, and am just hoping for the best.

I heard the net price calculator is usually designed for US students so they don’t provide accurate results for internationals.

Am looking for backups at the moment, considering most LAC net calculators don’t consider me eligible for aid sigh


Do those LACs give need based aid to international students?

Your parent income and assets will determine the amount of need based aid you will receive. Schools like Harvard have deeper pockets than many others, but if your family income is over a certain threshold, you won’t receive need based aid.

I didn’t know that you were international, and think the NPC is likely to be inaccurate then. Just know that many schools will expect parents to sell investment property and/or farm land, etc. to fund college expenses.

Many LACs do give need based aid to internationals (all but Amherst are need aware for internationals), you need to look on their websites to understand the policies. What LACs are you talking about?

I believe Harvard is also need blind for admissions for internationals.

“ Among more than 4,000 degree-granting institutions in the U.S., there are actually only five four-year colleges who are truly need-blind for international students: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, and Amherst .”

And all four of these guarantee to meet full need as they calculate it to be.

Yes, all the LACs I’ve applied to gives aid to internationals. As for income, I’ve seen Yale and Stanford websites say that they even give aid to families with $200k income as well…so I figured I’d try my luck.

Guess those schools aren’t in the cards for me then.

Bates, Grinnell, Tufts, Davidson, Wesleyan and the like. Applied to a couple of Ivies as well.

If your parent income is near $200,000 AND they have real estate assets in addition, you may find need based aid is challenging at most of the schools you listed.

Hoping you have some sure things in terms of affordability on your application list.


“As they calculate it” is the key phrase here. The few people that I know who own rental property (and the larger number I know who own farms or small businesses) found that their own perception of “need” was wildly different from the university’s perception of “need”.

@bumblebeetights needs to have applied to affordable alternatives ASAP.



You did the following thread in November. You said your parent contribution could be a max of $40,000 a year. You also said you would be retaking the SAT and aiming for 1500.

So…did you apply to SUNY schools? Did your SAT improve sufficiently to make you a competitive international applicant (%age of international admits is lower than the overall %age)?

I had suggested you look at Alabama, New Mexico and Arizona where you would receive automatic merit aid. Did you? IIRC, the Alabama deadline has passed. University of New Mexico (Amigo Scholarship) deadline is very soon. Arizona might have passes as well, but check.

Do you have an affordable option on your application list where you WILL get accepted.

Also you mention the very generous need based aid policies at Stanford and Yale. Neither school is on your application list. Their very generous need based financial aid policies are not the norm at most colleges.

@thumper1 is correct. It doesn’t matter if the funder of the trust is living or deceased. The funder doesn’t even have to be a human. Trusts can be established by a “fictional”(aka corporation) person for the benefit of real or other “fictional” people. If a student or the parent of a student, or a business or corporation owned by a parent or student is a beneficiary of any trust, Harvard expects to be told about it.


Didn’t apply to SUNY, but I do have other safeties which give merit scholarships. Couldn’t retake the SAT, so I’m sadly stuck with the previous score.

I did apply to Stanford, but not Yale, since there were already way too many reach schools on my list. Thanks again for your help!

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