The Ultimate Guide For Managing Your Harvard Student Loans

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Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

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Graduating from Harvard University has hopefully opened a lot of doors for your career — but going to one of the most prestigious schools in the country likely came with a steep cost.

A single year at Harvard can cost up to $73,600. Even if you managed to secure scholarships for your education, you may still have graduated with a hefty student loan balance hanging over your head.

Thinking about your Harvard student loans and monthly payments may be overwhelming, but ignoring your debt will only land you in trouble. Here are four steps you need to take now to start managing your loans.

1. Find out what loans you have

Over the course of your college career, you may have taken out multiple student loans to pay for your education. Each loan type has different terms, grace periods, and interest rates, so it can quickly become confusing.

Your first step to managing your debt is identifying the types of loans you have. If you aren’t sure, you have a few options for getting that information:

As a Harvard graduate, you may have one or more of the following loan types:

Federal Perkins Loans

A Federal Perkins Loan has a low fixed interest rate of 5% and borrowers have a nine-month grace period before they have to repay their loans. That means if you graduated in May, you don’t need to make your first student loan payment until February 2018.

As of September, 2017, the Federal Perkins Loan program came to an end. However, if you took out a Perkins Loan previously, the terms of your loan stay the same.

Institutional Loans

Harvard offers different institutional loans based on your major and grade level. These loans have a six-month grace period and the loans are subsidized, which means Harvard covers the interest payments until you graduate.

HPSL/LDS

Depending on your major and personal situation, you may have taken out a Health Professions Student Loan or a Loan for Disadvantaged Students (HPSL/LDS). These loans have an interest rate of 5% and give you a 12-month grace period, which allows you more time to find a job.

Wolfson Loans

Wolfson Loans have variable interest rates, but Harvard caps them at 7%. If you have this type of loan, you have a six-month grace period.

Private student loans

If you exhausted your Harvard loan and federal student loan options, you might have turned to private lenders to fill the gap. Your private loan terms can vary; you may have higher interest rates or less favorable repayment plans.

2. Know your student loan repayment options

If your loans were issued by Harvard University, the federal government, or a private lender, there may be options available to you to make managing your payments easier.

Income-driven repayment plans

Harvard University has one of the highest rates of students securing jobs after graduation. Over 66 percent will enter the workforce, while another 14 percent will go on to graduate school.

However, 31 percent of 2016 Harvard graduates start their careers making less than $50,000, and nearly 10 percent earn less than $30,000. If you’re carrying student loan debt, your payments can consume a good portion of your limited income.

If you’re having trouble making your payments and have federal student loans, you may be eligible for an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan. Under IDR, the government extends your repayment term and caps your payments at a percentage of your income. That approach can dramatically reduce your monthly loan payments.

Loan consolidation

If you’re struggling to manage different student loans and payment due dates, consolidating may be a good option for you. With a Direct Consolidation Loan, you combine your student debt into one loan with just one monthly payment.

Keep in mind, this option doesn’t save you any money. Rather, it simplifies the loan repayment process and is sometimes required to be eligible for other federal repayment and forgiveness programs.

Harvard Institutional Loans are private loans and are not eligible for a Direct Consolidation Loan, but Federal Perkins, HPSL, LDS, and Federal Stafford loans are. To apply for a consolidation loan, you can go directly through the U.S. Department of Education or sign up for our free app and get customized help with your loans.

Deferment

If you need to pause payments on your federal or Harvard-issued loans for a qualifying reason, such as attending graduate or professional school, you can opt to enter your loans into deferment. With deferment, your student loan payments are paused for a set period of time (though interest may continue to accrue, depending on your loan type).

To apply for deferment on Perkins Loans, HPSL/LDS loans, or Harvard loans, complete the school’s request form. To defer federal loans, contact your loan servicer.

If you have private loans, you may still be able to defer your loans if you’re going back to school or are facing serious financial hardship, but rules vary by lender. Contact your loan servicer directly to see if a deferment is an option for you.

3. Research forgiveness and repayment assistance programs

Teacher Cancellation

Each year, over 900 students graduate from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. Many of those students go on to teach in urban schools or high-need areas.

Eligible teachers could have a percentage of their Perkins Loans discharged after one year of service. To qualify, submit the teacher cancellation form to the Harvard Student Loan Office. The school gives extra consideration to special education teachers and those who teach in low-income schools.

Teachers with other types of federal loans may also have a portion of their debt forgiven after teaching for five years.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

If you have a Perkins Loan, you might be able to get a percentage of your student loans forgiven if you complete at least one year of qualifying public service. Eligible professions include nurse, medical technician, child or family service professional, law enforcement, lawyer, firefighter, or librarian.

To qualify, you must submit a public service cancellation form to the Harvard Student Loan Office and be current on your payments. At the end of your service year, you must submit another form stating that you completed your service term.

Harvard grads with other types of federal loans may also be eligible for forgiveness if they work in a public service job for 10 years.

Harvard Kennedy School Loan Repayment Assistance Program

For graduates who are dedicating their careers to public service, Harvard provides its own form of aid.

If you work for a non-profit with a mission consistent with the goals of the Kennedy School, Harvard may pay a portion of your student loan payments for up to five years. To be eligible, you must make under $70,000 if you’re single or $90,000 if married.

Harvard Law School’s Low Income Protection Plan

Getting a law degree from Harvard can be prohibitively expensive, but the school’s Low Income Protection Plan offers some relief for law graduates with student loans.

If you work for the government, a non-profit, a private firm, or as an academic, you could be eligible. Under the Low Income Protection Plan, the school sets your loan payments at a fraction of your income (Harvard covers the rest of your bill).

4. Consider refinancing your loans

Graduating from Harvard has plenty of advantages. Nationally, 2016 graduates make an average salary of $50,566. Harvard graduates make much more — 53 percent of the 2016 class makes over $70,000, with many earning incomes in the six-figures. That means you’re likely an ideal candidate for refinancing both federal and private loans.

If other repayment options aren’t useful to you, refinancing your student loans can be a smart move. When you refinance, you work with a private lender to take out a new loan that pays off your current student debt. Your new loan may have a lower interest rate, smaller monthly payment, or different repayment term.

Refinancing can help you save money over the life of the loan. With a lower interest rate, more of your payments go towards the principal rather than interest. If you need breathing room in your budget, extending your repayment term can lower your monthly payment but you may pay more in interest over the length of the loans term.

However, refinancing isn’t a good idea for everyone. Be sure you weigh the drawbacks of student loan refinancing, too.

Tackling your Harvard student loans

Attending and graduating from Harvard is a tremendous achievement, but leaving school with student loan debt can inhibit your future plans.

Harvard offers many repayment options and cancellation programs to help you manage your debt more effectively. To find out what options are available for your specific needs, contact the Harvard financial aid office.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 6 lenders of 2020!
LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
1.99% – 5.64%1Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Earnest

1.89% – 5.90%2Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Laurel Road

2.25% – 6.09%3Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit SoFi

1.89% – 6.77%4Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Splash

2.39% – 6.01%Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Elfi

1.99% – 5.41%5Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit CommonBond

Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.

Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 2.98% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.79% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.64% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of July 31, 2020, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.

Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.

The information provided on this page is updated as of 7/31/2020. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.

© 2020 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.


2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

All credit products are subject to credit approval.

Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.

As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.

  1. Checking your rate with Laurel Road only requires a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
  2. Savings vary based on rate and term of your existing and refinanced loan(s). Refinancing to a longer term may lower your monthly payments, but may also increase the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Refinancing to a shorter term may increase your monthly payments, but may lower the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Review your loan documentation for total cost of your refinanced loan.
  3. After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship. During any period of forbearance interest will continue to accrue. At the end of the forbearance period, any unpaid accrued interest will be capitalized and be added to the remaining principle amount of the loan.
  4. Automatic Payment (“AutoPay”) Discount: if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically from a bank account, the interest rate will decrease by 0.25% and will increase back if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically from the borrower’s bank account. The 0.25% AutoPay discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the discount is applied to the principal to help pay the loan down faster.

Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.

Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.

Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.

Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.

KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

This information is current as of September 9, 2020. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
 


3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance: Fixed rates from 2.99% APR to 6.09% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.25% APR to 6.09% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.25% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 0.18% plus 2.32% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. See eligibility details. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score. Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. 

4 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.

Splash Financial Disclosures

Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount.

The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.

To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of September 10, 2020.


5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. ‍All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.16% effective August 10, 2020.

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.