Cost of Living

When calculating your annual budget, it is important to understand that the cost of living in the Boston/Cambridge area is among the highest in the United States. Because individuals vary in their personal tastes and needs, it is difficult to predict exact expenses.

If you are a student, by now you should have received estimates for tuition, fees, and living expenses for the coming academic year from your school. Before the University is able to issue the appropriate visa document (Form I-20 or DS-2019), you must demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to support yourself. If you are accompanied by family members, the amount to be certified will increase accordingly.

If you are a scholar (researcher or faculty member), your living expenses will probably be higher than those for a student because you will not have the benefit of dormitories and meal plans. We estimate that a single scholar coming to Harvard for a year should have approximately $30,000 available for living expenses. Many scholars have found their actual living expenses to be much higher based on their individual circumstances and lifestyles. If family members accompany you to the United States you will need approximately $5,000 more per year per person. Health insurance in the United States, in particular, is very expensive. Keep in mind that these are guidelines and that certain parts of the University may require more than $30,000.