Harvard Business School has announced a new fellowship called the Forward Fellowship, for students from lower-income backgrounds. Rather than looking only at a student’s current financial situation, the Forward Fellowship takes into account financial history and family background.
Applicants who are awarded a Forward Fellowship will receive between $10,000 and $20,000 per year, on top of any need-based aid given by HBS. The fellowship is designed to help students who have additional financial commitments as a result of their backgrounds.
According to HBS, an ideal Forward Fellowship applicant might be someone who grew up in a lower-income household and is now supporting their parents financially. But the school stresses that this isn’t the only possible scenario where someone would be eligible.
Chad Losee, HBS’s admissions director, said it was “important to acknowledge both where each of our students is now and how far they have come.” He added that the school would use the Forward Fellowship application to “identify incoming students for whom this additional aid will go a long way.”
Taniel Chan, an HBS MBA student, wrote about what the fellowship means from a more personal angle in a blog post published on HBS’s website, sharing the stories of classmates who are trying to balance investing in their education with financial responsibilities like supporting their parents.
In his blog post, he points out that while “things like race or gender can be readily apparent,” it’s also important to acknowledge “a dimension of diversity that isn’t so evident, the socioeconomic one.”
And he concludes that for students with other financial obligations, the new fellowship “may allow us to pursue careers spurred by passion rather than money” and will help ensure that “neither your postal code nor the amount in your savings account precludes you from a transformative two years [at HBS].”
Students in HBS’s Class of 2020 will be the first ones eligible for the Forward Fellowship. Applying for the fellowship involves filling out HBS’s normal financial aid application as well as an additional Forward Fellowship application.
The Forward Fellowship application asks applicants for information about their family and parents. This is because the Forward Fellowship differs from HBS’s need based aid in that, according to HBS, it takes into account “students’ family circumstances and financial history”