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Loan Programs

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Federal Loans

Currently, students of the School of Education are eligible for three federal loan programs - the Federal Perkins Loan and Federal Direct Loan,* which can either be subsidized or unsubsidized, and the Federal GRAD PLUS loan.

Both the Perkins Loan and the subsidized Federal Direct Loan are based on financial need. If you qualify for a Perkins Loan or subsidized Direct Loan, the federal government pays interest on the loan ("subsidizes" the loan) until you begin repayment and during authorized periods of deferment thereafter.

An unsubsidized Direct Loan is not awarded on the basis of need but is based on cost of attendance less other aid and resources. If you qualify for an unsubsidized loan, you'll be charged interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. You can choose to pay the interest or allow it to accumulate. If you allow the interest to accumulate, it will be capitalized - that is, the interest will be added to the principal amount of your loan and will increase the amount you have to repay. If you pay the interest as it accumulates, you will repay less in the long run. There is no penalty for prepayment of loans.

*See this link for information on federal sequestration and the impact on your student loans.

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan (GradPLUS) is a credit-based loan program available to graduate students, enrolled at least half-time, whose maximum federal loan eligibility is not sufficient to cover their educational costs. Before applying for a GradPLUS Loan, students must first complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). A credit check will be performed during the application process. If a student has an adverse credit history and their GradPLUS application is denied, they may still be eligible by obtaining an endorser or appealing the credit decision. GradPLUS borrowers can borrow up to the full Cost of Attendance in combination with other aid and resources. Repayment of a GradPLUS Loan begins 60 days after the second disbursement.

Complete the electronic GradPLUS Loan application.

Complete the GradPLUS Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling.

Alternative Loans

Some lenders offer alternative private loans. Johns Hopkins University recommends that students exhaust their eligibility for federal loans before considering private or alternative loan programs. If you are uncertain about your eligibility for federal loans, please contact the financial aid office prior to initiating a private loan application. You must use our school code (002077-03) when applying for an alternative loan. These credit-based alternative loans are offered by private lenders to students:

  • who are enrolled less than half-time;
  • who have not yet applied for admission; who have been conditionally or provisionally admitted;
  • who do not qualify for federal loans, or
  • who have received the maximum federal loan allowed annually, but the amount is not sufficient to cover their educational costs;
  • non-citizens enrolled at least half-time as well.

International students are encouraged to investigate the possibility of aid through their government or outside agencies before applying for these loans, which require a citizen co-signer.

As a service to students and their families, Johns Hopkins University makes available this link to the Maryland Student Loan Marketplace ( which assists in comparing private loans and in identifying potential lenders. The Maryland Student Loan Marketplace was designed by the Maryland Independent College and University Association (MICUA) to help students and their families navigate the world of private student loans. The Marketplace is an online, education financing resource that provides students with a transparent process to evaluate private loans. In addition, it provides access to a Learning Center which supplies critical information needed to engage in smart borrowing practices. It is one of many tools that may be helpful when selecting a private loan lender. The University does not endorse or recommend any lender, nor does the University have any financial interest in any lending institution. Students and their families have the right to select the educational loan provider of their choice.

Disclosure for a Preferred Lender Arrangement:

Truth-in-Lending Forms for each Participating Lender:

Maryland's College Loan Code of Conduct:

Before considering a private student loan, students are encouraged to complete the process for determining eligibility for federal student loans which are normally less costly and offer better repayment terms.

Students who apply for non-federal loans must complete a promissory note with their lenders. These loans are certified by the school only upon notification from the lender that the student's credit and that of his/her co-signer, if required, have been approved and a promissory note has been completed. As part of the application process, your lender will have you complete a Private Education Loan Applicant Self Certification. The information you need to enter in Section 2 of this form may be obtained by contacting the Financial Aid Office:

We process alternative loans through the Electronic Loan Management (ELM) Resources system at Note that such loans cannot exceed the student's estimated Cost of Attendance. The school reserves the right to deny certification of loans per federal regulations.

Questions to Ask a Private Lender

  • What is your lowest interest rate and fee combination and how can I get it? Is the rate only for a limited period or is it for the life of the loan?
  • For variable rate loans, is there a limit on how high the variable rate can go? How often is the interest rate adjusted, and how is it determined?
  • What interest rate can I get on a fixed-rate loan?
  • How long will I be repaying the loan? Is there any penalty for paying it off early?
  • When do I have to start making payments? How long can I defer payments while I'm in school? If I go to graduate school and defer payments, how much will I owe when I do start making them?
  • Will I lose my discount for paying on time if I have only one late payment or if I ask for a change in the payment schedule?
  • What proportion of your borrowers get the discounts you offer? Are your discounts guaranteed or are they subject to change later?
  • Would you allow me to defer or reduce my payments temporarily because of economic hardship? Under what circumstances and for how long?

-- From the Project on Student Debt (see website below)
Johns Hopkins University Financial Aid Code of Conduct and Policy on Education Loans

Consumer Information on Student Loans
For more information on comparing lender benefits, see the following website:

For questions to ask when considering a private loan, see the following website:

Contact Us

Financial Aid Office
Columbia Center
Suite 110
P: (410) 516-9808
F: (410) 516-9799