An endeavor for a Master of Business Administration degree is an investment that, like any other major investment, should be evaluated carefully. Education loans represent a serious debt obligation and the monthly payments that will be encountered upon graduation should be considered. Manageable education loan repayments represent 6.5 to 12% of after-tax income or 5 to 9.5% of gross starting salary. Cornell promotes responsible borrowing and you should never borrow more than you need.

The loan programs outlined below are available regardless of financial need and the amount of eligibility depends on annual limits and the total cost of the program. Please note a large portion of student loans require a credit check and that you will incur a heavy amount of debt if you choose to finance your education entirely with loans.

Student Loan Application Process - for US citizens and permanent residents

For US citizens and permanent residents, we will determine your student loan eligibility after you have filed the 2015-16 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). We will create a student loan package for all ACCEPTED students who have completed the FAFSA. Our office will notify you if additional documents are required to complete your file.

Please follow the steps listed below to be considered for federal student loans from Johnson:

  • Complete the 2015-16 FAFSA form soon after January 1. This can be done via the web at The federal code for Cornell University is 002711.
  • When you file the FAFSA, you will receive a Personal Identification Number (PIN). It is very important that you keep your PIN in a secure place and do not share your PIN with anyone. You will need this PIN to access your federal loan information and to apply for federal student loans again next year.
  • If you are applying to one of our one-year MBA programs, you will need to apply separately for the summer term. The steps are similar to the academic year except you will also need to complete the 2014-15 FAFSA. This process can begin now.
  • IMPORTANT - send an email to the Johnson Financial Aid Office at Financial Aid once you have filed the FAFSA on-line. This will alert our office that you have applied for federal student loans and to access your Student Aid Report (SAR)

You will want to file the FAFSA soon after January 1 as possible. Priority filing is February 25. After we have reviewed your SAR and determined your eligibility, a student loan award notification is emailed to you. This notification outlines the educational budget, the federal and institutional loans you qualify for, and your unmet need. You may have to use your savings or other personal resources to cover your unmet need. Some students borrow through a loan program to cover the expected student contribution or the unmet need portion of their aid package.

All financial aid sources will be applied first to your university tuition bill. If any of these funds result in a credit balance to your account, the credit will be refunded to you after university registration.

Please note: because a significant amount of your student aid will be in the form of student loans, it is imperative that you establish and maintain a clean credit record. If you have had credit problems in the past, it is important to take steps to improve your record. All aid applicants should request a free credit report annually. Information on ordering a copy of your credit report is outlined in the Financial Planning section.

Loan Program Information

Federal Direct Loan Program
Cornell University participates in the Direct Loan (DL) program. The lender is the U.S. Department of Education rather than a bank or other financial institutions.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan limit is $20,500 per academic year. Interest will begin to accrue once the loan is disbursed. No additional loan application is necessary. Cornell University uses an online Master Promissory Note (MPN) and our office will notify you once available for your signature. The standard repayment term is 10 years and can be extended up to 30 years based on the amount borrowed. Repayment is deferred until six months after graduation (or cease at least half-time enrollment). Academic year 2014-15 Fixed Interest Rate 6.21%

Federal Direct Grad PLUS loan program can be made to graduate or professional students who need to borrow more than the maximum unsubsidized loan amount to meet educational cost. In addition to the FAFSA, this program requires a separate application and approval is based upon a review of your credit history - an applicant must have no adverse credit. There is a 4.292% loan fee on the amount borrowed; academic year 2014-15 Fixed Interest Rate 7.21%.  Interest will begin to accrue once the loan is disbursed. Repayment begins 60 days after the last disbursement, however, a student enrolled at least half-time is eligible for in-school deferment. Standard repayment term is ten years; can be extended up to 25 years based on amount borrowed.  A separate application is required and final approval will be based upon a review of your credit history by the Department of Education. Our office will provide you with the application instructions once you have completed a FAFSA.

Johnson and Institutional Loans

Institutional loans are loans funded by Cornell University. We have different loan programs which have different terms and conditions. Eligibility for each of these loans is limited to U.S. citizens and permanent residents and is awarded at the discretion of the financial aid office. No additional loan application is necessary.

Private Education Loans

Private loans may be borrowed in place of the federal loan programs.  We recommend borrowing through the federal loan programs but it is a students choice if they decide to borrow through a private lending institution. Cornell can not recommend any particular lender, but encourages you to compare lenders and loan terms to select the lender that best fits your needs.  Review our loan comparison chart to help decide which loan option may be better for you.  Students are responsible for researching and applying for their alternative loan. You may borrow up to the published total cost of attendance less any financial aid received.

Learn about the advantages of taking federal student loans over private, non-federal loans.

Private education loans are funded by private lending institutions and require a separate loan application. Private loans may offer fixed and variable interest rates based on a borrower's credit history and credit score. Depending on ones credit score and if they have a co-signer the tier pricing can range anywhere from prime to prime plus 8-10%; and a fee from 0% - 5%. Loan amounts are limited to the published total cost of education as determined by the educational institution, less any loans or financial assistance you receive. There are also cumulative borrowing limits which may affect the amount you qualify to borrow.

Private educational loans are available to students through various lenders. We have a neutral lender list which students from Cornell have previously borrowed through. Students may choose any lender, including one not on our list:

Citizens TruFit

Discover Student Loans

Sallie Mae Loans


Wells Fargo