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If you are receiving federal, state, or institutional aid but have additional financial need, you may be eligible to borrow a private credit-based student loan—up to the cost of attendance—through a lender of your choice.

Each year, Harvard seeks proposals from lenders offering non-federal education loans through an RFI to provide Harvard students with information on private loan products. Students are not required to use these lenders, and domestic borrowers may qualify for federal loans with better terms. Graduate candidates may consider applying for a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan before applying for a private loan.

To find a private loan, visit, enter “Harvard University” in the search box, and choose one of the following:

  • ALB candidates can find loan options in the “undergraduate” section
  • ALM candidates can find loan options in the “graduate” section. 
  • International students who do NOT have a US co-signer can find loan options in the “International” section.
  • International students with a US co-signer can find options in the “Graduate” and “International” sections.  
  • Non-admitted students can find loan options by choosing “Extension” from the drop down menu.

Prospective borrowers should review all materials closely and contact the lender to clarify any questions or concerns. Due to the economic climate, rates and loan terms may change throughout the year for some loans offered by these lenders. Consider the following when comparing private education loans:

  • Cosigner Requirements and Cosigner Release Options
  • Interest Rate: Variable or Fixed, Index and Margins, Interest Capitalization Policies
  • Borrower Benefits: Interest Rate Reductions for ACH and Cosigners, On-time payment incentives
  • Fees: Origination Fees, Late Fees, Return Check Fees
  • Repayment Options: Repayment Start Dates, Years In Repayment
  • Grace Period, Deferment and Forbearance Options

Loan Application

To apply for a private student loan, you must:

  1. Complete the lender’s loan application using the school code: 00215503
  2. Receive approval following a credit check and data verification by the lender
  3. Complete a request for private loan certification form and submit it to Student Financial Services
  4. Receive confirmation from Student Financial Services regarding the loan amount that will be certified

Loan Certification

The loan certification process may take up to two weeks. Additional processing time may be required by your lender. Note: Private student loans may not be certified for students who are not in good academic standing.

To be able to use your anticipated private student loan funds to cover your balance due prior to the payment in full deadline, Student Financial Services must receive your Private Loan Certification form and your loan preapproval ten days before the payment deadline. You should review your MyDCE student account to determine if your loan has been certified by Student Financial Services.

If a loan has been certified, the funds appear as either an account credit or an anticipated credit, which allows you to register without using another form of payment. You should also review the lender notification regarding the disbursement of your loan funds to Student Financial Services.

Student Financial Services certifies the following for your lender:

  • Your enrollment plans
  • That the amount you requested fits within the standard cost of attendance for your planned enrollment

When determining the cost of attendance for students enrolling half time or more (at least 8 credits per term for the fall or spring), Student Financial Services considers the following expenses:

  • Tuition
  • Housing and food
  • Books and supplies
  • Personal
  • Transportation

When determining the cost of attendance for students enrolling less than half time(seven or fewer credits per term for the fall or spring), Student Financial Services considers only the following expenses:

  • Tuition
  • Books and supplies
  • Transportation

If Student Financial Services has certified a private student loan for you but you change your enrollment, all or a portion of the loan funds may be returned to your lender.

Other Sources of Funding

In addition, also check out additional sources of funding, such as:

  • Tuition Assistance Plan
  • Veterans Administration