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Supplemental Education Loan Programs

Supplemental student loans are credit-based loans that may be borrowed as supplements to the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan Program, effectively meeting the gap between the student budget and the financial aid you may receive from all sources. Students must enroll in a minimum of six credits per term in a degree-granting program (residential or online) to be eligible. The following information is provided to assist you in making an informed decision regarding supplemental loan options. When considering supplemental loan programs, careful attention should be given to the interest rate (whether it is fixed or variable), to the length of the repayment period, to any borrower benefits (such as interest rate reductions and services) and to the deferment options. Students who anticipate continuing their studies beyond HGSE should pay particular attention to the deferment options for each of the loans.

The Financial Aid Office can only certify loans for up to a maximum of the difference between your student budget and the financial aid you receive from all sources. The difference between your student budget (refer to the HGSE Student Aid Portal) and the amount you are receiving in financial aid from all sources is equal to the maximum supplemental student loan you may borrow.

Please note: Processing supplemental loan requests can  be a lengthy process; loan applications are reviewed by the responsible lender/agency prior to its certification by the HGSE Financial Aid Office. Those students who know that they will require a supplemental loan should begin the process as early as possible, but not before the end of June prior to the academic year for which they are applying.

Students are encouraged to consider all options when choosing a supplemental education loan. It is important to research and compare each option in detail so you select the best possible product for your individual needs. The options listed by the HGSE Financial Aid Office highlight the basic characteristics of some typical supplemental lenders. Students are not required to borrow through the lenders included on this site. These loans were included based on their accessibility to a variety of students, interest rate options, credit criteria, financial management tools and repayment options. Please refer to the specific lender's website for comprehensive information regarding their loan program. This is only a small sample of educational lenders available and you are welcome to explore other sources of alternative financing not listed in the HGSE Supplemental Loan Comparison Guide (134KB PDF). 

Harvard University and the Harvard Graduate School of Education have no financial interest in which supplemental loan you choose to borrow. You may review the Harvard University Student Loan Code of Conduct (139KB PDF) for additional information.

Students can begin applying for supplemental loans in mid-June for the upcoming academic year. Most students apply for supplemental loans between late May and early July.

Supplemental Loan Programs

  • Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan - part of the Federal Direct Loan Program and administered by the HGSE Financial Aid Office. This loan is for U.S. citizens and permanent residents only, in both residential and online degree programs.
  • The HGSE Supplemental Loan Comparison Guide (134KB PDF) lists additional loans for comparison purposes, along with helpful information about how to choose the best loan to fit your needs. It also lists supplemental loan options for international students.

Remember, your maximum supplemental loan eligibility is the difference between your student budget (as listed on the HGSE Student Aid Portal) and the financial aid package you are receiving.