Loan Programs

Like any other major investment, the financial implications of pursuing an MBA should be evaluated carefully. Be sure that you understand the financial impact of tuition and living expenses when considering a student loan. 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.

Please note 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.

Federal Student Loan Application Process – for U.S. citizens and permanent residents

Follow these simple steps to apply for federal student loans for the 2019-2020 academic year:

  1. Complete the 2019-2020 FAFSA.  Suggested filing by June 1.
  2. Complete the Federal Loan Application request form.
  3. Upload completed forms to: Upload loan request form

Here is some general information to keep in mind as you complete the application:

  • You may borrow up to the published cost of attendance less any scholarship or other aid. A breakdown of the cost of attendance can be found on our website.
  • Students can borrow through the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan ($20,500 maximum annual amount); and the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan (request can be made up to the cost of attendance less other aid received).
  • Rates for the 2019-2020 academic year, disbursed July 1, 2019 -June 30, 2020 are noted below. Origination fees will be updated around October 1. Terms and conditions can be found on the U.S. Department of Education website.
Federal Direct Loan Program Fixed Interest Rate Loan Origination Fee
Unsubsidized Loans 6.08% 1.062%
PLUS Loans for Graduate or Professional Students 7.08% 4.248%

The Johnson School Financial Aid Office will begin processing federal student loan request in May (April for summer loans). Loan award notifications are emailed to your Cornell University email account. In order to be considered for federal student loans, students must have accepted their offer of admission and completed the FAFSA and the federal loan application request form.

Contact the Financial Aid Office at with questions regarding the federal loan process and eligibility.

Private Education Loans

Private loans may be borrowed in place of the federal loan programs and are available from various private lending institutions.  Loans require a separate loan application through the lender.  Interest rates vary based on fixed and variable rate offerings and the borrower’s credit history and credit score.  Loan amounts are limited to the published total cost of attendance, 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.

Cornell does not recommend any lenders. You are encouraged to compare lenders and loan terms to select the loan that best fits your needs. Students are responsible for researching and applying for their alternative loan. You may visit Johnson’s FASTChoice web tool to view a list of lenders students have most often used in the past. FASTChoice is not a lender; it is an independent, online loan comparison program. This interactive program provides loan counseling and basic information about borrowing for students interested in private lender options. Students can apply online for loans directly from this site. Students are free to select any lender they choose, including those not presented through FASTChoice. Click here to begin your private loan selection process.  Learn about the advantages of taking federal student loans over private, non-federal loans on the U.S. Department of Education site.

Once you make your lending decision, be sure to upload the Private Loan Certification Request Form to alert us of your pending loan.