Harvard Undergraduates Will Pay Full Tuition for Online Classes This Fall


Harvard said on Monday that it plans to hold all of its classes online for the Fall 2020 semester, and even though only some students will be allowed back on campus, all will be paying full tuition.

Harvard’s faculty of arts and sciences said Monday it is planning to bring up to 40 percent of undergraduate students to campus. These will include first-year students, and those who “may not be able to learn successfully in their current home learning environment.”

The announcement was made through a message written by Harvard President Lawerence Bacow, FAS Edgerley Family Dean Claudine Gay, and Danoff Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana.

“Harvard was built for connection, not isolation. Without a vaccine or effective clinical treatments for the virus, we know that no choice that reopens the campus is without risk,” said Bacow, Gay, and Khurana. “That said, we have worked closely with leading epidemiologists and medical experts to define an approach that we believe will protect the health and safety of our community, while also protecting our academic enterprise and providing students with the conditions they need to be successful academically.”

Tuition will remain at the original 2020-2021 year price, a staggering $49,653. Those who qualify for financial aid and who do not return to campus will receive a $5,000 remote room and board allowance in their financial aid award each semester to support studying at home. 

Students who are on campus will have to undergo COVID-19 testing upon arrival and get tested every three days for the remainder of the semester. All those on campus will be living in single rooms. Those on campus will move out before Thanksgiving and complete reading and exam periods from home.

While on campus, students will be required to sign a community contract agreeing to new health measures. These include mandatory video training, daily symptom attestation, viral testing every three days, participation in contract tracing, and standard safety practices such as wearing masks and physical distancing.

“We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the economy have created a number of challenges for families all over the world. Affording your Harvard education should not be one of them,” said Jake Kaufmann, Griffin Director of Financial Aid. “Harvard’s robust financial aid program and commitment to meeting students’ demonstrated financial need remains as strong as ever.”

Harvard’s COVID-19 plan is much more severe than other colleges in the Northeast.

Boston University announced in June that it plans to have all students and faculty return for in-person classes, as they have adopted the “gold standard of testing” to be able to meet the demand of the university’s 40,000 students.

Yale said last week that it will also hold on-campus education and research, but with strict COVID-19 guidelines in place, including mandatory testing. 

Princeton said today that it will have freshmen and junior students return for the fall semester, and sophomores and juniors return in the spring. 

At Harvard, should only one group be allowed back in the spring, given the possibility of a second wave, seniors will get first priority, said school officials. 

Campus buildings will be barred to outsiders, even including Harvard undergraduates who do not live on campus.