fbpx Student Loans | Harvard Kennedy School

Most of our students contribute financially to their degree, often using student loans. The loan options that are available to you will depend on whether you are a domestic or international student. To better understand your options, please review the information below. Ultimately, which types of loans and how much you borrow is up to you; however, the Admissions & Financial Aid team is available to help guide you through the process.

Student Loan Options

Loans for Domestic Students

As a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or eligible noncitizen, you may be eligible to borrow federal loans, as well as private loans, to help finance your education. To be eligible to borrow federal student loans, you must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the appropriate academic year. ​The HKS school code is E00215.

Federal Student Loans 

There are two types of federal loans available to graduate students—Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Graduate PLUS Loans.

Direct Unsubsidized Loan
Graduate students are generally eligible to receive a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan up to $20,500 per academic year.

Graduate PLUS Loan
You may borrow a Graduate PLUS Loan up to the difference between your cost of attendance and all other aid you are receiving. This loan requires credit approval.

Visit our webpage on federal loans for comprehensive information about federal loan borrowing. 

Private Student Loans  

Private student loans come from financial institutions such as banks or credit unions. The maximum you may borrow in private student loans is the difference between your cost of attendance and all other aid you are receiving.   

ELMSelect.com is a valuable tool for exploring your private loan options. When comparing student loan options, pay attention to the following:  

  • Interest rates—are they fixed or variable?  
  • Length of repayment period  
  • Any borrower benefits, such as interest rate reductions and services  
  • Deferment options 
Loans for International Students

As an international student you are not eligible for U.S. federal student loans, though you do have the option to apply for private education loans.

Private Student Loans 

Private student loans come from financial institutions such as banks or credit unions. The maximum you may borrow in private student loans is the difference between your cost of attendance and all other aid you are receiving.   

International students may use ELMSelect.com to explore private loan options. Be sure to select “International” from the drop-down menu. 

Having a U.S. citizen as a cosigner increases your options for student loans; however, there are multiple loans available to HKS international students without a cosigner. The Admissions & Financial Aid team can help guide you through those options.  

Government and Home Country Loans 

You are welcome to investigate all sources of funding within your home country. Eligibility requirements and loan terms will vary. 

Harvard University Student Loan Code of Conduct

The 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) requires institutions participating in federal student loan programs to develop, publish, and enforce a Student Loan Code of Conduct.