Federal and Institutional Loans

Information about loan application procedures is available in the Loan Applications section. 

For additional information and loan terms for any of the loans described in this section, please consult the Federal/Institutional Loan Chart. 

This program is the government’s primary form of financial assistance for graduate students. The terms of the Federal Direct Stafford loan are more generous than those of the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan program and many private educational loan programs.

The Direct Stafford loan has an interest rate cap (currently 9.5%) for graduate students and does not require a credit check. Currently, students are eligible to apply for up to $20,500 annually from the Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program provided they are U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens, have satisfied all Selective Service Act requirements, are not in default or owe a repayment on any Title IV program, and maintain satisfactory academic progress. Eligibility is determined by the results from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which must be filed annually. Additional information and loan terms regarding the Federal Direct Stafford Loan are provided in the Federal/Institutional Loan Chart located at the top of this page.

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loans have an interest rate cap (currently 10.5%). Students are eligible to borrow the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan provided they are U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens, have satisfied all Selective Service Act requirements, are not in default or owe a repayment on any Title IV program, and maintain satisfactory academic progress.

This loan allows the student (not your parents) to borrow up to the cost of attendance less any other financial aid, and has no aggregate limits. A credit check is required to be eligible for this loan, but the credit criteria is less stringent than with most private student loans.

This loan program has the benefits of a federal loan program (deferment, forbearance, death and disability cancellation, consolidation, etc.).  For graduate/professional students, this loan has a six month post enrollment deferment (repayment begins 6 months after a student's enrollment status drops to less than half-time). Remember that students who have defaulted on prior educational loans, or who otherwise have an adverse credit history, may not be able to secure the loans necessary to finance their education. Institutional funds will not be available to replace unavailable credit-based loans, and in such cases students will have to find other means to pay for their education. Additional information and loan terms regarding the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan are provided in the Federal/Institutional Loan Chart located at the top of this page.

Columbia University Loans were created through Law School endowments for the restricted purpose of providing loans to needy J.D. students. Because CU Loans are based on financial need, the funds generally are allocated to grant recipients as part of the financial aid package. There is not a separate application for the CU loans; J.D. grant applicants are considered automatically. International students must provide a credit-worthy U.S. cosigner as guarantor. Additional information and loan terms regarding Columbia University Loans for J.D. students are provided in the Federal/Institutional Loan Chart located at the top of this page.

Information regarding federal and institutional educational loan programs is also located on the Columbia University Student Financial Services Website.  Students interested in educational loans must carefully review the Columbia University Student Financial Services Website for detailed graduate loan information. 

Information about loan application procedures is available in the Loan Applications section of this website.

Rates and terms for loan programs listed on this webpage are subject to change. Please contact the loan provider(s) for current terms.