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Federal and Harvard Loan Programs (2019-2020)

You are not expected to take out loans as part of your financial aid package. Our aid packages are designed to cover your financial need without additional borrowing. In fact, most of our students graduate debt-free. However, you may choose to pursue loans to help cover your student or family contribution.

If you are interested in a loan, we will help you find one that works for you. You may also consider federal or private parent loans.

Federal loan programs

To be eligible for any of these federal loans, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan

  • Need-based loan with interest paid by the federal government during enrollment, grace and deferment periods.
  • Interest rate is based on the 10-year Treasury bill plus 2.05 percent.  Interest is capped at 8.25 percent.
  • Loans are “variable fixed”, meaning borrowers would receive a new rate with each new loan, but then that rate would be fixed for the life of the loan.
  • Interest rate fixed at 4.53 percent for 2019-2020, with 10 years to repay.
  • Maximum amounts: $3,500 for first-year, $4,500 for sophomores, and $5,500 for juniors and seniors.
  • Net origination fee of 1.062 percent (1.059 for loans first disbursed after Oct. 1, 2019) is included in the loan amount.
  • Repayment begins six months after the student graduates or drops below half-time enrollment.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

  • Maximum amounts: $5,500 for first-year, $6,500 for sophomores, and $7,500 for juniors and seniors.
  • Students eligible for a subsidized Stafford Loan can receive an additional $2,000 unsubsidized.
  • Non-need-based loan with interest accruing from disbursement; interest can be paid quarterly or capitalized and added to the principal amount when repayment begins.
  • Interest rate, fees, and repayment are the same as the Subsidized Stafford Loan.

Harvard loans

In addition to several federal options, which have specific eligibility requirements, we offer the Harvard Loan Program, which is available to you no matter your federal loan eligibility.

  • Need-based loan with interest paid by Harvard during enrollment, grace, and deferment period.
  • Interest rate fixed at 4.0 percent (5.0% for loans disbursed prior to 07/01/2016) with 10 years to repay.
  • No origination or insurance fees.
  • Repayment begins six months after you graduate or drop below half-time enrollment.
  • The monthly payment will be $10.61 per $1,000 borrowed, or a minimum of $50.
  • Does not require eligibility for federal loan programs.

For more loan information

Dedicated to Affordability

Families with incomes between $65,000 and $150,000 will typically contribute from 0-10% of their income.

Current Student Tip

Check out the new Shoestring Strategies Guide! The Harvard Financial Aid Initiative has just launched a handy mobile app with tips for living on a budget at Harvard College. It is produced entirely by Harvard students, for fellow students. Find the App at the Apple App Store or Android Marketplace (search “Harvard Shoestring”), or online.