The Rock Center Loan Reduction Program helps to reduce the educational debt repayment burden for a limited number of graduating student founders committed to the fulltime pursuit of their for-profit entrepreneurial venture. The Program is designed to support students who were determined by the Financial Aid Office to have demonstrated need during enrollment at HBS and who have filed financial aid applications while at HBS.


The Rock Loan Reduction program supports graduating MBA students founding or co-founding a product- or service-based for-profit venture. The program is competitive and offers one-time loan reduction awards of up to $20,000 to a limited number of graduating students who are selected based on a financial aid assessment, quality of the venture proposal, and demonstrated commitment to the fulltime pursuit of the venture.

Applications are reviewed by the Selection Committee on an annual basis. The next application deadline is April 15, 2024, at noon (ET).

Funds awarded can be used only to reduce existing need-based loans. Eligibility and selection are determined by a Selection Committee and awards are distributed on a funds-available basis. The Program is jointly administered by the MBA Financial Aid Office and the Rock Center for Entrepreneurship. Determinations made by the School and the Selection Committee are final. The School and the Selection Committee reserve the right to restructure or discontinue the Program as necessary.


You may be eligible for one-time loan reduction based on your application if you:

  • Are a second-year MBA student graduating in May 2024, and you are in good academic and community standing (see Policies & Student Conduct).

  • Filed a financial aid application for HBS Need-Based Scholarships and Loans while at HBS. For this program, the financial aid assessment considers HBS need-based scholarship, the recommended loan amount per your initial decision letter, and your current student loan debt. Please see the HBS Loan Assistance Programs site for additional information on loan eligibility and requirements (login required).

  • Will not be sponsored/reimbursed for any MBA-related tuition or expenses now or in the future.

  • Are committed to the fulltime pursuit of founding a for-profit venture following graduation.

    • Eligible ventures include product- or service-based for-profit ventures, both digital and physical. Products may include software, hardware, consumer goods, commercialized technology, etc.

    • The program does not support professional services (e.g. consulting, advisory practices, funds, coaching, etc.).

    • Eligible roles include founders or co-founders in senior executive positions (e.g. CEO, President).

For those founding or joining social impact organizations, pursuing an entirely self-funded ETA search fund, or joining a private sector organization that pays significantly below the HBS average, please see the HBS Loan Assistance Programs site for information on additional program offerings (login required).


In addition to the financial aid assessment, selection is based on the following qualitative criteria:

  • Viability of the venture and quality of plan: As demonstrated through the executive summary and fundraising plan and based on mission/vision, management team, product/market fit, key milestones, etc.

  • Caliber of position: Significance of entrepreneurial and managerial opportunity; function of role; and potential application of business, managerial, and entrepreneurial skills gained at HBS.

  • Demonstrated commitment to the fulltime pursuit of the entrepreneurial venture: Match of applicant’s background and previous experience as evidence of commitment to the venture, potential to succeed in their pursuit, and alignment with long-term career goals.


To be considered for the program, please:

  1. Determine/confirm loan eligibility: Before completing the application, email the Financial Aid office at to confirm your financial eligibility and provide permission to share your eligibility calculation with the Selection Committee.

  2. Submit your application. Complete the online application and upload supporting materials (see below) prior to the deadline of April 15, 2024, at noon ET.
    • Important: Compile all your answers and documents prior to commencing the online application. See preview of application here.

  3. Supporting materials to be uploaded within the online application:

    1. Executive Summary—a narrative summary of your venture and plans (approximately 1,000 to 1,200 words) with a focus on critical milestones and key decision-points. Please address the topics outlined below.

      1. The Idea: Description of your business venture, core value proposition, and stage of development.

      2. The Team: Information on founding team and any other key team members or advisors, including HBS affiliation, relevant skills and experiences.

      3. The Market/Context: Market need, size of opportunity, customer personas and customer journey, competitive landscape, potential risks

      4. The Business Model: Definition of business model and go-to-market strategy; key performance indicators and milestones, particularly over the next 3-, 6-, and 12-month time horizons.

    2. Fundraising Plan: Please submit either a spreadsheet or a Word document to describe how you intend to fund the venture during the six months following graduation. Please address the following topics:

      1. Sources of funds: including estimated amounts from each source (e.g. accelerators, friends/family, angel investors, venture capital, etc.) and funding committed to date.

      2. Primary uses for funds raised: specify critical milestones and measures.

      3. If you do not plan to seek external funding, please outline your plans to generate revenue from customers over the next six months.

    3. Resume: Please submit a one-page resume.

Please note: Applicants who have questions or concerns regarding the materials needed to meet the deadline should contact at least two weeks in advance of the deadline.