Private Student Loans

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 ElmSelect.com, 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.  

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 use private student loan funds to register, you must have all of the above application items completed by the first day of classes. If you do not have a loan certified by the first day of classes, you will need to make other payment arrangements to register. You should review your student account online 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 and registration fee
  • Housing and food
  • Books and supplies
  • Personal
  • Transportation

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

  • Tuition and registration fee
  • 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 the following sources of funding on Payment:

  • Tuition Assistance Plan
  • Veterans Administration