Harvard is more than a university. It’s a tradition. No other American institution of higher learning has such a prominent place in the nation’s history or imagination. Harvard University, founded in 1636, is the oldest university in the United States. (And the oldest corporation in the Americas.) It is perhaps the U.S. university that is both closest to the British model of university education, yet distinctly American in identity and outlook.

Harvard was founded as a small institution with the mission of educating Protestant clergy. It grew as the United States did, expanding in size and scope, and diversifying its student and teaching communities. Today a Harvard University degree commands respect not only in the United States, but around the world – Harvard counts seven U.S. presidents among its alumni. And over 40 Nobel laureates among its current and former faculty.

Harvard is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, just across the Charles River from Boston. This is a highly urban setting that joins colonial-era buildings and landmarks with Massachusetts’ burgeoning hi-tech industry. Harvard is a large university, with high-profile graduate and professional programs. About two-thirds of its nearly 21,000 students are enrolled in its professional and graduate schools. (These include the world-renowned Medical School, the Business School, the Law School, the John F. Kennedy School of Government, the Divinity School, the School of Public Health, and the Graduate School of Education.)

Despite the university’s size, the Harvard educational experience is usually an intense and companionable one, with students benefiting from low student-to-faculty ratios and opportunities to get involved with the local community. Connections made at Harvard University often last a lifetime, with graduates becoming part of a vigorous network of over 330,000 alumni spread out around the world.


Acceptance Rate

Harvard acceptance rate

Academic Qualifications

Harvard academic qualifications

SAT Range (25 to 75 Percentile)

Harvard SAT score range

ACT Range (25 to 75 Percentile)

Harvard University ACT test score

Application Deadlines

Early action: Nov. 1 (Decisions made by December 15)

Regular decision: Jan. 1 (Decisions made by late March)

Admissions Criteria

Freshmen Admissions
Number of 2020 (Class of 2024) applicants: 40,248
Enrolled: 1,604
Yield: 81%
Acceptance rate: 4.9%

Early Action Admissions
Number of 2021 (Class of 2025) EA applicants: 10,086
Enrolled: 747
EA acceptance rate: 7.4%

Transfer Admissions
Transfer applicants: 1,547
Admitted: 17
Transfer acceptance rate: 1.1%

Academic Qualifications
Average GPA: 4.18
Top 10% of High School: 93%

Middle SAT Range (25 to 75 Percentile)
SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 710-770
SAT Math: 750-800

Middle ACT Range (25 to 75 Percentile)
ACT Composite: 33-35
ACT English: 34-36
ACT Math: 31-36

Standardized Test Requirements

Harvard does not require the SAT/ACT SAT/ACT not required

Harvard does not require the writing portion Writing portion not required

Harvard does not require the SAT subject tests SAT Subject Tests not required

* Student-athletes must still take either the ACT or SAT in accordance with Ivy League recruitment requirements.

Score Card

Graduation Rates

Harvard graduation rate

Loan Defaults and Rhodes Scholars

Harvard college score card

Salary After Attending

R&D Expenditures

Campus Safety

Score Card Information

Graduation Rates
4 years: 84.8%
5 years: 94.7%
6 years: 97.1%

Loan default rate: 0.8%

Transfer out: 0.0%

Total Rhodes Scholars: 375

Salary after attending: $89,700

R&D Expenditures: $1.173 billion

Campus Safety
Sex offenses: 43
Robberies: 2
Aggravated assaults: 5
Burglaries: 47
Car thefts: 6

Financial Aid

Net Cost and Total Expected Cost of Attendance

Harvard financial aid

Average Net Price By Income

Student Debt

Additional Information

Tuition, room and board (2020-2021): $72,391

Total estimated cost of attendance (2020-2021): $80,041

The average parent contribution is $12,000 and about 20% of families pay nothing to send their student to Harvard.

Net Cost
Average: $18,030

By income
$0 to $30,000: $2,973
$30,001 to $48,000: $1,010
$48,001 to $75,000: $3,411
$75,001 to $110,000: $15,553
$110,001 and more: $46,160

Graduates with student debt: 7%

Average student debt at graduation: $6,170

Student Body

Student Residence

Undergraduate Class Sizes

Harvard undergraduate class sizes

Student to Faculty Ratio

Harvard student to faculty ratio

Student Population

Additional Information

Student to Faculty Ratio: 6 to 1

Women: 50%

Undergraduate Class Sizes
Under 20: 74%
20 to 39: 12%
40 to 99: 10%
100+: 4%

Student Population
Total: 20,970
Undergraduate: 6,755

Student Residence
In State: 14%
Out of State: 73%
International: 13%
Unknown: 0%

Harvard University student population

Harvard University seal

Harvard University

This page was last updated in December 2020.