Loan Terms

Harvard Law School, like all of Harvard University, participates in the Direct Lending Programs offered through the Department of Education. Through this program, students are able to borrow their Direct Stafford and Direct GradPLUS loans directly from the federal government.  In the past, students had an option of borrowing their federal loans through either the Department of Education's Direct Loan program or any private lending institution.  As of July 1, 2010 there is only one source through which students can secure Stafford and GradPLUS loan funding; the Department of Education.  

We award all domestic students Federal Direct Stafford loans. International students are awarded Harvard Law School Loans.  Both domestic and international students may borrow additional money, to the maximum amount of their financial aid student budget, through private loan programs.

There are a number of loan sources that are available to finance your education. The following is an outline of these sources:

  • Federal Direct Stafford Loans - awarded to all U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens
  • Federal Perkins Loans - awarded as part of the base loan package for domestic HLS grant recipients
  • Harvard Law School Loans awarded as replacement for federal loans for international students, as part of  the base loan package for HLS grant recipients, and for students with exceptional need as determined by SFS staff
  • Supplemental Loans  - available to all students with a good credit history (both Required Supplemental loan and Optional Supplemental loan - see Step 3)

Application Process: In order to receive any of the above loan sources, students must apply for financial aid through the HLS financial aid application process. Any additional steps for each loan program are outlined in the sections below.

Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program 

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. Stafford Loans have a fixed interest rate of 6.21% and are unsubsidized loans (accrues interest from the date of disbursement).  International students receive Harvard Law School loans in the same amount to in lieu of federal loans.

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

  • Maximum $20,500 per year
  • Cumulative debt limit of $138,500 including any prior Stafford Loans.
  • Interest rate fixed annually. The rate for the 2014-15 academic year is of 6.21% for the life of the loan
  • Origination Fee: 0.00%
  • Guarantee Fee: 1.073%
  • 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 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 and logging in with your FAFSA pin.  

Federal Perkins Loan Program

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.

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
  • Fixed interest rate of 5.00% for the life of the loan
  • Subsidized loan (interest does not accrue until you enter repayment)
  • 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 (HLS) Loan Program

Harvard Law School has a limited amount of its own loan funds. These funds are used to replace federal loan funds for international students, as part of the base loan amount, and for students with dependants who qualify for additional funding. 

Harvard Law School Loans have the following program features:

  • Fixed interest rate ranging from 5.00 - 6.00% for the life of the loan
  • 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)
  • 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

Supplemental Loans

The term "supplemental loan" describes any type of loan a student would borrow, if needed, to supplement their need-based loan funds (i.e. Direct Stafford, Perkins, and 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 loan and private supplemental loans.

Federal Supplemental Loan

The federal supplemental loan is called a  Federal Direct GradPLUS loan and features a fixed interest rate of 7.21% for the life of the loan. Like other federal loans, they include provisions for deferment, forbearance, and death/disability cancellation that are generally not be 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 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 loans offer a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan, most private supplemental 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 loan information (on 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 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:

Advantages of Federal Loans

How Do I Choose a Loan Program?

 

 

Last modified: December 19, 2014