We award all domestic students Federal Direct Stafford loans. International students are awarded Harvard Law School Loans. As a domestic or international student you may borrow additional money, to the maximum amount of your financial aid student budget, through a variety of student loan programs according to your eligibility.
Loan sources for which you may be eligible
Federal Direct Stafford Loans - awarded to all U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens
All students who are U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens are guaranteed a maximum of $20,500 per academic year in Direct Stafford Loan funding. There is no separate application for this loan. Your FAFSA submission gives us the authority to award you these funds. International students receive Harvard Law School loans in the same amount of $20,500 in lieu of federal loans.
Direct Stafford Loans have the following program features, as set by federal regulations:
- Maximum loan amount is $20,500 per year of unsubsidized funds (interest accrues from the date of disbursement)
- Cumulative debt limit of $138,500 including any prior Stafford Loans.
- Loans taken during the 2017-18 academic year will have a fixed interest rate of 6% for the life of the loan
- Origination Fee: 0.00% with a Guarantee Fee: 1.069% which is deducted prior to disbursement
- Guarantee Fee will change for new loans disbursed on or after October 1, 2017 (not yet announced)
- Six-month grace period: (repayment begins in the seventh month following the last day of enrollment at HLS)
- Repayment options: Standard, Graduated, Extended, Income Contingent and Income Based
- Deferment provisions: continued education, military service, service in various volunteer programs, VISTA, Peace Corps
- Forbearance provisions: up to 36 months for periods of financial hardship
- Cancellation due to death or permanent and total disability
Additional Application Requirements:
In order to accept the loan, the student must sign an electronic master promissory note. A master promissory note generally only needs to be signed once while at HLS, and future Direct Stafford loans can be disbursed based on the original promissory note. You can sign your Direct Stafford promissory note once you have been awarded the funds by going to www.studentloans.gov. To decline the loan, you’ll need to complete a loan adjustment form.
Harvard Law School Loans - awarded as part of the base loan package for HLS grant recipients, and for students with exceptional need as determined by SFS staff
Harvard Law School has a limited amount of its own academic year loan funds which have the following program features:
- Fixed interest rate 5.0% or 6% depending on need (other rates between 5 and 7% are for summer funding)
- Funding is unsubsidized (summer loan is subsidized)
- No loan fees, no separate application
- One Master Promissory Note for all three years of law school
- Six-month grace period (repayment begins in the seventh month following the last day of of enrollment at HLS)
- Ten-year repayment period ($50 minimum monthly payment), no cumulative debt limit
- Deferment and forbearance provisions similar to the Direct Stafford Loan Program
- Cancellation due to death or permanent disability
Additional Application Requirements:
In order to accept the HLS loan, the student must sign an electronic master promissory note. A master promissory note generally only needs to be signed once during your time at HLS, and future HLS loans can be disbursed based on the original promissory note as long as the terms of the note does not change. If you are awarded an HLS loan, you will be notified, via e-mail,when your promissory note is available for you to sign – usually during the month of September. Your Harvard Law School Financial Aid application gives us the authority to award you these funds and no separate loan application is needed.
Supplemental Student Loans - credit based loans for students who need to borrow beyond the need-based (federal and/or institutional) loan limits
The term “supplemental loan” describes a type of student loan that you could borrow in addition to any need-based loan funds (i.e. Direct Stafford and/or HLS loans), if needed. A supplemental loan is often used to finance any remaining costs not covered by grants and need-based loans–for example, in replacement of a parent or student resource assessment. Students may apply for a supplemental loan to the maximum amount of their financial aid student budget minus other financial aid (such as HLS grant, Stafford loan and/or HLS loan).
Supplemental loans can be broken down into two categories; federal supplemental student loan and private supplemental student loans.
Federal Supplemental Student Loans
The federal supplemental loan is called a Federal Direct GradPLUS loan and features a fixed interest rate which for 2017-18 has a fixed rate of 7%. Like other federal loans, they include provisions for deferment, forbearance, and death/disability cancellation that are generally not available through private supplemental loans. Federal Direct GradPLUS loans are applied for and borrowed through the Department of Education.
Private Supplemental Student Loans
The private supplemental loans are education loans that are financed through banks, credits unions, or other non governmental lending agencies. While some private supplemental student loans offer a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan, most private supplemental student loans have a variable rate that changes periodically, typically quarterly. Variable rate loans may be offered at a current rate that is lower than that of fixed rate loans, and can increase with market fluctuations to levels higher than fixed rate loans. Your choices will vary depending on your citizenship status and credit history.
Private supplemental student loan information for DOMESTIC students (on ELM Select at Harvard University’s i-site for Graduate and Professional Students)
Private supplemental student loan information for INTERNATIONAL students (on ELM Select at Harvard University’s i-site for Graduate and Professional Students)
Choosing a supplemental loan program
You will want to compare the Federal Direct GradPLUS program to private student loan programs in order to determine which loan best meets your financial needs, personal preferences, and future financial goals. Harvard has no financial interest in your choice of lender or loan program. In order to help you make an informed decision, we recommend that you review the information on the sites listed below as well as the terms listed for the Federal Direct GradPLUS program and Private Supplemental loan information listed above.