The Office of Financial Aid (OFA) recognizes the challenges, anxiety, and confusion that students have regarding their loan borrowing, understanding the terms and conditions of various loan programs, and making decisions when it comes time for loan repayment. We hope that this section of our website will give students a basic understanding of how to effectively manage their debt and relieve some of the fears that come with loan repayment. We encourage students to contact our office with any questions or to schedule one-on-one loan counseling for a better understanding of your loans.
Retrieve Your Federal Loans
Students who borrowed Federal Loans, may access their loan history on StudentAid.gov to locate their federal loans, see who their lenders are, find lender/servicer contact information, and get help managing loan repayment.
Note: Studentaid only provides loan history for federal loans. Students with private or institutional (HUECU, Signature, CitiAssist, MEFA, etc.) should contact the institution from which they borrowed these loans for further details.
Managing Debt and Loan Repayment
The U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Resources page offers publications, fact sheets, online tools, and other resources designed to help you understand loan basics, responsible borrowing, and loan repayment.
We strongly encourage you to actively manage the repayment of your federal loans by utilizing StudentAid. This site allows you comprehensive access to information about all of your Federal Perkins and Stafford/Direct Loan(s) including outstanding balances, loan statuses, and loan servicers. This site will be of particular value to those students who have borrowed at multiple institutions and may need assistance tracking their outstanding loans.
Students who borrow a Direct Loan, will be assigned to a Direct Loan Servicer. Students set up on online account, choose a repayment plan, find the specifics of the loans, make online payments, download deferment/forbearance forms, and manage their Direct Loan debt through their Servicers.
For the most up-to-date information on federal loan servicers, please visit the Loan Servicer List
The federal government provides current ad detailed information on various aspects of your loans including Grace Periods and Repayment Plans.
Fixed Length Repayment Plans: More detailed information on these Repayment Plans is available here: (Standard Repayment, Graduated Repayment, Extended Repayment)
Income-Driven Repayment Plans: Information on the following Income-Driven Repayment Plans is available here:(Revised Pay as You Earn (REPAYE), Pay as You Earn (PAYE), Income Based Repayment (IBR), and Income Contingent Repayment (ICR)
Prepayment: There is no penalty for prepaying all or part of a federal loan balance. This can reduce the total interest paid on the loans.
Loan Forgiveness/Cancellation Including Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
Loan Forgiveness or Cancellation provisions release students from the obligation to repay all or part of their federal loans, depending on the type of loan. Forgiveness/cancellation may apply to Direct Loans, Federal Perkins Loans, or both. Be sure to understand which forgiveness provisions apply to which loan type(s).
For Federal Perkins Loan Forgiveness/Cancellation information, visit this page of Harvard’s Student Financial Services page. SFS also provides information and guidance on applying for Teacher Cancellation and Public Service Cancellation of Harvard-serviced loans.
For Direct Loan Cancellation information, visit the Federal Student Aid website or review your Direct Loan Servicer’s website.
Loan Forgiveness for Public Service Employees (PSLF)
As of 2007, borrowers who work full-time in public service jobs and who have made 120 separate on-time monthly payments on those loans while enrolled in an Income-Driven repayment plan may qualify for partial or full loan forgiveness on the remaining balance due on eligible federal student loans.
Please visit these sites/documents for more information:
FSA Ombudsman Office
The Ombudsman’s office is a resource for borrowers when other approaches to resolving student loan problems have failed. Contact: toll-free at 1-877-557-2575 or you can contact the Ombudsman Group online.
Loan Deferment & Forbearance
Deferment is a period during which loan payments are postponed. No interest accrues on either Subsidized Direct or Perkins Loans. Interest is charged on Unsubsidized Stafford/Direct Loans and GradPLUS Loans and may be paid or allowed to accrue and capitalize. Borrowers must meet specific eligibility criteria and in certain cases must request the deferment form from their lender/loan servicer. You may be eligible for a deferment if any of these situations apply.
Borrowers who do not qualify for a deferment may qualify for a forbearance, which will either suspend or reduce their scheduled monthly payment amount on a temporary basis. Interest continues to accrue and may be paid or will be capitalized after the forbearance period ends. Forbearances are generally approved for up to 12 months at a time and for a maximum of 3 years over the life of the loan repayment. More information on forbearance is available here.
For more information on Federal Perkins Loan deferment and forbearance options, visit the University’s Student Financial Services website. You may access the Deferment Request form for Harvard-serviced loans here.
A consolidation loan combines several federal student loans into one larger loan from a single lender, which is then used to pay off the balances on the other loans.
Federal education loans that are eligible to be consolidated can be found here: Types of Loans That Can be Consolidated
While consolidating loans can simplify payments, students should be aware that the process can result in the loss of some of the individual loans’ benefits. Consolidation can also negatively affect the number of Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)-eligible payments, depending on the timing of the consolidation. Please review the information on Loan Consolidation before beginning the process of consolidating a loan.
If you are in default on federal student loans and wish to consolidate, you must meet certain requirements in order to consolidate your loans. You can find more information on consolidating a defaulted federal student loan here. You can also read more about the Fresh Start Program to see if you qualify for forgiveness on defaulted loans.
The Department of Education currently has one Direct Consolidation Loan application processes. Both electronic and paper options are available. It is critical that you continue making payments, if required, to the holders or servicers of the loans you want to consolidate until your consolidation servicer informs you that the underlying loans have been paid off.
Private education loans are not eligible for consolidation.
Federal regulations require that all federal student loan borrowers complete an exit interview prior to graduation, or when enrollment falls to below half-time status (10 credits per term). During these counseling sessions borrowers will learn about loan repayment options, managing debt, and the conditions for deferment, forbearance, and forgiveness/cancellation. Harvard Chan has also created a recorded presentation to assist borrowers with understanding their rights and responsibilities. However, watching this recorded presentation does not replace the requirement to complete their exit counseling certification online.
Students who are withdrawing, taking a leave of absence, or dropping below half-time status, should contact our office to receive personalized attention regarding their student loans and the exit process(es). Graduating students will be invited to schedule individualized exit counseling sessions, and will complete the online interview(s) prior to Commencement. Students who borrowed institutional or private loans from another college/university or private loans while attending Harvard Chan, should contact their lender(s)/servicer(s) directly for information regarding current balances, repayment, and deferment options.