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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 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 in lieu of federal loans.

    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 2016-17 academic year will have a fixed interest rate of 5.31% for the life of the loan
    • Origination Fee: 0.00% with a guarantee Fee: 1.068% which is deducted prior to disbursement
    • 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 during your time 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.

  • Federal Perkins Loans - awarded to qualifying returning domestic students who are HLS grant recipients

    Perkins funds are generally awarded to U.S. Citizens and eligible non-citizens who are HLS grant recipients as part of the base loan package. Since the federal government is in the process of phasing graduate students out from this program, only domestic returning students who qualify for Perkins funding and receive HLS grant assistance will be eligible for these funds going forward. Your FAFSA submission gives us the authority to award you these funds. International students and entering 1Ls  who are HLS grant recipients receive Harvard Law School loans in the same amount in lieu of federal loans.

    Federal Perkins Loans have the following program features, as set by federal regulations:

    • Maximum $8,000 per year (actual awarded amount varies depending on amount of funding available)
    • Cumulative debt limit of $40,000 and the funds are subsidized (interest does not accrue until you enter repayment)
    • Fixed interest rate of 5.00% for the life of the loan
    • No loan fees, no separate application
    • Nine-month grace period (repayment begins in the tenth month following the last day of enrollment at HLS.)
    • Ten-year repayment period ($40 minimum monthly payment)
    • Deferment and forbearance provisions similar to Stafford Loan Program
    • Cancellation of loans available for graduates who work in certain professions (law enforcement such as DA, PeaceCorps, teaching)
    • Cancellation due to death or permanent disability

    Additional Application Requirements:
    In order to accept the Perkins 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 Perkins loans can be disbursed based on the original promissory note. If you are awarded a Perkins loan, you will receive an email when your promissory note is available for you to sign – usually during the month of September.

  • Harvard Law School Loans - awarded as replacement for federal loans for international students, part of the base loan package for entering 1L HLS grant recipients, returning 2L and 3L HLS grant recipients who do not qualify for Perkins funding, 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 and have the following program features:

    • Fixed interest rate 6.0% for the life of the loan (other rates between 5 and 7% are for summer funding or as determined by need)
    • May be subsidized or unsubsidized
    • No loan fees, no separate application
    • 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 would borrow, if needed, in addition to any need-based loan funds (i.e. Direct Stafford, Perkins, and/or HLS loans). 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 resource assessment. Students may apply for a supplemental loan to the maximum amount of their financial aid student budget minus other financial aid.

    Supplemental loans can be broken down into two categories; federal supplemental student loan and private supplemental student loans.

    Federal Supplemental Student Loan

    The federal supplemental loan is called a Federal Direct GradPLUS loan and features a fixed interest rate which for 2016-17 is 6.31%. 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 through the school (HLS) and borrowed from the Department of Education.

    Federal Direct GradPLUS Loan information

    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.

    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.