Aiming to support more students from lower-income backgrounds—and aided by a $12.5 million donation—Harvard Business School will launch several scholarships targeted at first-generation college students, the school announced Monday.
The gift, from Jonathan S. Lavine and Jeannie B. Lavine ’88, is the largest-ever donation to the Business School for scholarships. The Lavine-endowed fellowships will be specifically directed towards students who were the first in their family to attend college and may not otherwise be able to afford the Business School’s nearly $107,000 annual price tag.
Under 10 percent of Business School students are first-generation college students, according to Chad Losee, Managing Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid. According to a survey conducted by The Crimson, more than 16 percent of the College’s Class of 2021 are the first in their families to attend college.
The Business School also announced in July that it will launch the Forward Fellowship, a scholarship program that aims to assist students who come from low-income backgrounds. Losee said these students often continue to provide financial support to their families throughout graduate school.
“They may be sending money back. They may be helping a sibling through a tough time, or a parent who’s going through an illness,” Losee said. “It’s our way of helping them meet the financial obligations that they have, but also recognizing how far they’ve come to get to our graduate business school.”
Both the Forward Fellowship and the two Lavine-endowed scholarship programs mark a departure from the school’s traditional financial aid system, which parcels out scholarships based on only individual need, not family and educational history.
The Forward Fellowship will begin for next year’s entering cohort, the Business School's Class of 2020. Losee said he estimates five to 15 students will receive the fellowship in its initial year. Recipients will be selected based on an application, which includes family information and an essay. Awards will range from $10,000 to $20,000 for each year a student applies and will supplement regular need-based financial aid.
“There are people out there who are nervous about taking time off their career…and making an investment in your future,” Losee said. “It’s a big decision to make...Financial aid is here to help people from all different walks of life, no matter their economic background or where they grew up or anything like that, feel like HBS is a place they can come to.”