Aid for Harvard hopefuls

THE opportunities that come from a liberal arts education with world class faculty and resources should be accessible to anyone regardless of income and socio-economic background, says Harvard Club of Malaysia president Wan Nadiah Wan Mohd Abdullah Yaakob (pic).

Encouraging Malaysian talents to be confident and try applying to Ivy League colleges like Harvard, Wan Nadiah, who is also a Harvard College alumni interviewer, said the institution provides need-blind admission to all applicants with generous financial aid policy for low- and middle-income families.

Established in 1636, Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States.

In Malaysia, there are currently less than 10 alumni of Harvard College, the undergraduate school of Harvard University.

“The question interviewers often ponder on is, ‘What would not have existed if not for this person?

“We are interested in students who demonstrate a deep commitment to their interests and who have expanded their energy in creative ways to build something meaningful.

“They have the intellectual curiosity and inner motivation to become the catalysts for the people and organisations around them to do more and do better,” she said, adding that the cost to attend Harvard College is free for families with annual incomes falling below US$85,000 (RM405,280), excluding home equity.

Nearly 25% of Harvard College students come from families earning below this threshold, she added.

The Admissions and Financial Aid office estimated that 55% of admits will qualify for need-based grants, reducing the average costs for families on financial aid to around US$13,000 (RM61,984) annually.

Since launching the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative in 2005, the varsity has awarded more than US$3bil (RM14.3bil) in support, and its annual aid budget has risen more than 200%, from US$80mil (RM381.4mil) to US$246mil (RM1.17bil) last year.

All first-year students from families with incomes of less than $85,000 with typical assets will also receive a US$2,000 (RM9,536) start-up grant to help with move-in costs and other expenses incurred in the transition to college.

“Harvard admissions is need-blind and financial aid is 100% need-based, meaning that students are admitted solely based on who they are, and not whether they can pay, regardless of socio-economic background.

“If a student is admitted, Harvard is committed to ensuring that they can afford to attend. This gives an opportunity to talented students across the globe, including Malaysia, to be part of the Harvard community”, said Wan Nadiah in a press release.

In the statement dated April 6, the Harvard Club of Malaysia announced that Harvard College has admitted four Malaysian students to the undergraduate class of 2028.

They are Bryan Lim (Kuala Lumpur), Victor Ngow and Thamini Vijeyasingam (Selangor), and Elisa See (Johor). The four are among the 15.4% of international students from across 94 countries to be selected to attend Harvard College.

In total, Harvard College admitted 1,937 students from a total of 54,008 applications, an admission rate of 3.59%.For Harvard Club of Malaysia queries, email or

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