In this step you will:
- Determine the amount you can borrow
- Know when to take action and apply for your loan(s)
- Understand your aid as it relates to your Student Account
- Know our deadlines and learn about Disbursements
- Receive tips for choosing a loan program
Review your financial aid to determine your maximum eligibility
Log in to the SFS Portal
Log in to the SFS Portal. Click on the Financial Aid drop down and select the Finaid Budget & Awards option.
You will see your Budget and Award Information. Under the Student Academic Year Cost of Attendance section you’ll find a description of “Total HLS Grant Eligible Budget” or “Total Budget”.
Next, scroll down to review your Financial Aid award under Financial Aid Provisional Award.
Use your budget and award information to determine the maximum amount of loans you can submit a loan application(s) for.
Formula for HLS Grant recipients =
minus HLS grant
minus HLS loan
equals maximum loan application amount*
Formula for Loan Only students = Your Budget*
Three additional factors to consider when determining your loan amount
Your Student Budget Maximum
While your student budget establishes the annual limit on the amount of financial aid (grants and loans from all sources) available to you, some students choose to live under the budget and borrow less while others use a combination of resources that add up to the maximum amount of their student budget.
Keep in mind that if you are borrowing from a loan program that deducts fees prior to disbursement (like a Federal Direct GradPLUS loan), you may increase your loan request by the amount of the fees and we will increase your student budget for this expense.
Your LIPP Eligible Borrowing Amount
If you are interested in LIPP, pay attention to your maximum LIPP eligible borrowing amount and try not to borrow more than that amount.
Your maximum LIPP eligible borrowing amount is listed in the Budget & Award section towards the bottom of the page and labeled LIPP: Borrowing Eligibility and Formula. Your LIPP eligible borrowing amount may be a lower figure than the maximum amount that you can borrow under the standard student budget.
You can still borrow over your LIPP eligible amount up to the standard student budget maximum; however, the excess amount will not qualify for LIPP assistance after you graduate. Under LIPP, students are responsible for the entire monthly loan payment amount that exceeds their LIPP eligibility.
Number of Loan Disbursements Per Academic Year
Once you know the amount you’d like to borrow, be sure to apply for one loan, per individual loan program, for the entire academic year’s amount. All loans will disburse directly to your student account in two equal installments; one per semester.
Interest accrues from the date of disbursement on each unsubsidized loan. Almost all loans at the graduate level are unsubsidized with the exception of the HLS loan given only to HLS grant recipients . Since your loans are disbursed in two equal installments, interest only accrues on the fall portion of your loan until the spring semester when we disburse the spring portion on the first day of spring term.
Some lenders may give you the option of applying for a fall only or spring only loan. This option does not save you time or money and it will require you to submit a second application for the spring semester or the next time you need funds. Applying multiple times throughout the year will increase your loan amount since each loan has a minimum monthly payment amount. Therefore, if you apply for three $1000 loans throughout the year, each one will have a $50 minimum monthly payment for a total of $150, while a loan of $3000 has a monthly minimum payment amount of $50. You should check with your lender regarding their minimum monthly payment policy.
When you receive your loan disclosure letter from your lender, you will see a disbursement date that is after the first day of school. This is because we do not disburse loans until we know that you are enrolled, on campus, and have met all of our disbursement requirements. Until your loan is actually disbursed, we will list it as an anticipated credit to your student account. The disbursement date has no effect on your ability to receive any excess money on your student account at registration.
If you decide that you do not need or want to borrow as much as you initially thought, you’ll need to complete an Adjustment Form. You’ll find the Adjustment Form under the Financial Aid drop down list in your SFS Portal. Loans can be adjusted throughout the fall semester until December 1st. For the spring semester, loans can be adjusted until April 15th. Any adjustments after this date are at the discretion of the lenders and the Financial Aid Committee.
Take action on your loan application(s)
Harvard Law School Grant Recipients
You’ll want to apply for your loans as soon as you receive your award notification. As an HLS grant recipient you were also awarded a subsidized Harvard Law School (HLS) loan of $10,000 at a 5% interest rate for 2022-23. There is no application for the HLS loan since we award the funds directly to students who qualify for HLS grant, however, you’ll want to be aware of the loan terms and next steps listed below:
LOAN TYPE ELIGIBILITY AMOUNT ACTION STEP DEADLINES Subsidized Harvard Law School Loan All HLS Grant Recipients $10,000 at a 5% interest rate None until you are notified by SFS in late August 2022 to sign your promissory note September 2022
You are not required to borrow through the HLS loan program. You’ll want to compare the HLS loan rate and terms to the other loan option you have in order to determine which loans are best for you. Should you decide to cancel the HLS loan, you’ll need to complete an Adjustment Form. You’ll find the Adjustment Form under the Financial Aid drop down list in your SFS Portal.
Any other borrowing may be done through any federal or private educational student loan program of your choosing. The deadline to complete a loan application and have it used as an anticipated credit towards your student account for registration purposes is August 10, 2022.
Entering students who apply for their loans by July 15 will have the loan shown as an anticipated aid credit on their first Student Account notice, which comes out on July 25, 2022.
Loan Only Awards
You’ll want to apply for your loans as soon as you receive your award notification. You may borrow through any federal or private educational student loan program of your choosing – or a combination thereof. The deadline to complete a federal or private educational student loan application and have it used as an anticipated credit towards your student account for registration purposes is August 10, 2022.
Entering students who apply for their loans by July 20 will have the loan shown as an anticipated aid credit on their first Student Account notice, which comes out on July 25, 2022.
Understand how your loans apply to your student account
Deadlines and Their Implications
All student loans are certified by the HLS Student Financial Services.
This means that we receive your approved application from the lender and certify that you are a student enrolled at HLS, will be enrolled full time, list your loan eligibility and your disbursement dates, among other certification items. We will list the certified loan as an award and you’ll be able to view the approved loan by logging in to your SFS Portal in the Budget and Awards, Financial Aid section.
All student loans are disbursed directly to your Student Account.
Once a loan is certified by our office and listed under your Financial Aid section of Budget and Awards, we will use half of the total loan proceeds as an anticipated credit to your Student Account for fall registration purposes.
If you apply for your loan funds by July 15, your loan will be processed in time to be reflected as an anticipated financial aid credit on your first student account notice issued July 25. If you apply between July 16 and August 5, the loan will appear as an anticipated credit on your August 10th account notice.
Applications received after August 1 will be processed daily and can be used towards your outstanding balance in lieu of payment. If all of your financial aid is not in place by August 15, 2022 you could be placed on financial hold which blocks your ability to register, add or drop classes, receive a cash advance, and you may incur a late payment fine of $250.
Your first student account notice will be issued on July 25 and you will begin the loan application process at that time. Applications received after July 25 will be processed daily and can be used towards your outstanding balance in lieu of payment. If all of your financial aid is not in place by August 15, 2022 you could be placed on financial hold which blocks your ability to register, add or drop classes, receive a cash advance, and you may incur a late payment fine of $250.
Living Expense Disbursements
If your anticipated financial aid credits exceed the amount of your total student account charges, you will be eligible for a fall cash advance to use towards your living expenses. A cash advance is money that the University advances to you, interest free, based on the fact that you will soon have loans and/or grants that will disburse to your student account.
Eligible students who have all of their financial aid in place and who have signed up for direct deposit by August 2022 will receive a direct deposit in late August. Students without direct deposit will receive a paper check during the week of September 1 via normal USPS postal services schedules to the address on file in HELIOS – the Registrar’s student record system.
Students who receive a cash advance should budget the funds for living expenses for the entire fall semester and half of January 2023. Spring term cash advances will be disbursed in mid-December 2022. See the Cash Advance and Refunds section of our web site for more details.
Entering Students: Entering 1Ls may receive an early “Books and Supplies” advance of $1,625 (this is the full academic year amount) on August 16 if they qualify. See our Cash Advances and Refunds section for more information.
Where to begin the loan application process
How Do I Choose a Loan Program?
The information in this section covers many of the factors you should consider in evaluating your loan options. Remember that choosing a loan program is a personal decision; only you know how important each factor is to you. Harvard Law School, like all of Harvard University, has no financial interest in your choice of lender nor are we permitted to recommend a particular loan program.
Student Loans Link
All HLS students have access to various loan programs that have competitive rates and benefits; the details of which you can find on our Student Loans pages.