Harvard University’s leadership-oriented culture has been a welcoming environment for current and former military personnel since its founding. The challenges of military service can be profound, both for service members and loved ones. At Harvard, we have many internal resources and connections to external resources to offer to our military personnel and their families.
How Harvard Supports Military Service
Harvard is grateful for your service, and wants to make it as easy as possible for you to work here even as you continue to serve in the armed forces. You can get more information about the policies below here.
Harvard grants leaves of absence for active military duty. We also give our employees the job and benefit protections they deserve so that reservists and National Guard personnel are eligible for reemployment.
Harvard pays the difference between your base salary at Harvard and your base military pay for up to 90 days of service per year.
You can continue your medical, dental, disability and life insurance programs, and other benefits while you are on paid military leave. Your benefits continue automatically unless you decide to change them.
You can also continue participating in your retirement plan. When you return from leave, Harvard will restore your contributions and service as though no leave was taken.
- Active military, veterans and their families who are interested in learning more about the military benefits Harvard provides can do so here. You can also contact the different schools to learn about their specific military benefits administration processes.
These organizations help Harvard students, alumni, staff and/or faculty who are current and former military to network with and support each other. Contact the organization directly if you’re not sure whether you’re eligible to join.
The Harvard Veterans Alumni Organization is open to all faculty, staff, alumni, and students of Harvard University who have served or are serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. The Harvard Veterans Organization is the on-campus chapter of HVAO, and is for Harvard students who are veterans or on active duty.
The Harvard Law School Armed Forces Association (AFA) is for veterans, active duty military service members, and those who are either interested in joining or supporting the armed forces. The AFA connects members of the Harvard Law community who have served or presently serve in the armed forces, to support one another in dealing with issues unique to veteran students.
- Advocates for Harvard ROTC is for faculty, staff, alumni and current students of Harvard, Radcliffe and all affiliates; as well as military officers connected with Harvard ROTC. The organization seeks to foster a supportive atmosphere for Harvard ROTC.
Support at Harvard
The challenges of military service can be profound. Harvard’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers individualized assistance to any employee or adult household member who needs help with issues relating to military service. Counselors do a thorough initial assessment and can offer help to employees and household members in a variety of ways:
- Short-term counseling for any concern, including stress-related issues around military deployment (you must log into the EAP to view) and the effects on family members.
- Consultation for you when your son or daughter is exploring a career in the military.
- Research and referrals for places to live and work.
- Having a baby when your spouse is deployed.
- Building resiliency in your military family.
- Support when you lose a loved one.
- Support when your son, daughter, or spouse is deployed.
- Coping skills around returning from active duty.
Resources for Military Veterans with Disabilities
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly a third of veterans between the ages of 21-64 are reported to have a physical or mental condition that can be considered a disability. The University is committed to supporting military veterans with disabilities through inclusive practices and policies including equal employment opportunity and nondiscrimination.
Harvard employees, faculty, and researchers who wish to learn about or request workplace adjustments, called reasonable accommodations, should contact local faculty affairs, human resources office or University Disability Resources (UDR), which serves as a central resource on disability-related information, procedures and services for the University community and provides expertise in the development, implementation, and acquisition for best and promising disability-related University practices, procedures and resources.
- The Veterans Law and Disability Benefits Clinic at Harvard Law School represents veterans in wrongful denials of federal or state veterans’ benefits, estate and financial planning, and wrongful denials of Social Security benefits.
Students who wish to learn about or request reasonable accommodations should contact their school's Local Student Disability Coordinator (LDC) or University Disability Resources (UDR) to initiate the reasonable accommodation exploration process.
Resources in the Cambridge/Boston Area
Other organizations outside of Harvard are also ready to support our military service members.
Jobs for Veterans and Their Spouses/Partners
For veterans who want to rejoin the civilian workforce after their service, there’s Hire Our Heroes, an organization whose mission it is to help veterans and corporations connect for employment. At their Corporations page, you can read a story about a veteran who is trying to enter the work force after exiting from active military duty, and the thoughts of other veterans as they transition from military duty to civilian employment.
- For veterans and their spouses/partners who are considering a career in higher education, the Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC) offers military-specific resources, as well as access to the largest database of higher education and related jobs in the world. Harvard is the host for the consortium’s New England region.
Non-Harvard Support Organizations
Military service demands difficult work, and it’s sometimes hard to ask for help. But these organizations are standing by, ready to assist you with the challenges that come with service.
- If you would like guidance for how to handle sensitive or difficult situations, The Red Sox Foundation’s Home Base program provides clinical care, support, and education for military service members and their families.
- Team Red White and Blue seeks to enrich the lives of Boston-area veterans by connecting them to the community with physical and social activity.
- Massachusetts Military Support Foundation provides a number of programs that support veterans, military members, and their families.
- Community Rowing Boston offers free rowing programs (singles to eights) for veterans and active-duty military personnel.
- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has information about veterans’ health care, benefits, memorials, volunteer opportunities, and numerous other resources.
- Veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan can connect with other veterans, take part in group get-togethers and one-on-one help, and advocate for veterans with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran’s Association.
For LGBTQ+ Veterans
Although the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law has been repealed and the Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriage is constitutional, LGBTQ+ veterans may face challenges that their heterosexual counterparts do not.
The American Military Partner Association is a resource and support network for parents, spouses, families and friends of LGBTQ+ service members and veterans. Their Legal Services provides free, direct legal assistance to any service member or veteran on a range of issues, incluind those affected by the repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law. This includes assistance with discrimination based on one's perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender presentation, regulations governing military service by HIV+ people, regulations addressing military service by transgender persons, and veterans seeking to upgrade or correct their discharge paperwork.
Information on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs LGBTQ+ policies and programs can be found here.
Free for active duty military with their families in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Humanities Blue Star Museums program. Year-round free admission is offered to the Peabody Museum and Harvard Museum of Natural History using the Blue Star Museums guidelines with valid ID.