US Federal Student Aid

The Hertie School of Governance is able to certify loan applications for the US direct loan programme. US federal student loans for graduate and doctoral students are administered centrally by the Hertie School US loans team.

Please be sure to read through the following sections carefully and before starting the application process as it may differ from those made at US universities. 

Please visit to find out more.

Key facts

Who is eligible for US federal loans?

Students are eligible for US federal loans if they:

  • are US Citizens or hold a US passport
  • are enrolled in the MPP, MIA, or PhD programme
  • are enrolled at least half-time

The direct loan programme at the Hertie School offers two types of loans:

  • Direct unsubsidized loans (interest rate 5.31 % plus loan fee deducted from disbursement 1.069%): not based on financial need; total aggregate annual limit: 20.500 $
  • Direct unsubsidized PLUS loans (interest rate 6.31 % plus fee of 4.276%): help pay for education expenses up to the costs of attendance minus all other financial assistance.

Please note: PLUS loan borrowers cannot have an adverse credit history (a credit check will be done).

Below is the aggregate (total) limit for Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans:

$138,500 (no more than $65,500 may be subsidized loans for undergraduate study)

Interest is charged during all periods for both loans; during the studies, during grace or/and deferment periods. For updated information on interest rates and loan fees, click here.

Determining loan amounts

Please find our costs of attendance - COA (eligible costs for direct loans) below. The exchange rate is updated every January. Additional expenses for students with disabilities will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Cost of attendance AY 2017/2018  

Calculate your cost attendance: MPP and MIA | PhD

These figures are set by the Hertie School and are based on current costs of living in Berlin. Please find a calculation spreadsheet (excel pdf) for your own calculation here. These are estimates - your loan does not have to match these exact figures, but you will not be permitted to borrow more than these amounts. Also please note that they are non-negotiable.


FAFSA loan application process for US students

Follow steps 1 through 7 if you wish to apply for a loan for the forthcoming academic year. Please start the loan application after you have been formally admitted to the Hertie School. For applications and further questions please contact the Hertie US loans team.

Please pay special attention to the deadlines outlined at the end of the section!

1. Explore all options before borrowing. Apply for Hertie scholarships and contact the financial aid team for further information on external scholarships.

2. Fill out the Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application as early as possible, after admission. There is no special FAFSA for students planning to attend international schools. Remember to include the Hertie School of Governance's federal school code G41287.

3. Next, please submit the US Loan Application Request on MyStudies by July 1st. Please make sure to save and submit the request. The request will be available by the end of May.

4. Complete the online entrance counselling course via the student loans website. The loan can only be disbursed if the entrance counselling is complete and on file. Please note that the entrance counselling is required only once and before your study period at Hertie.

5. Accepting a loan and submitting your bank information - The school will notify you (award email) of the loan amount that is approved.

You have the right to object two weeks after the award email was sent to you. You also have the right to decline the loan or to request a lower loan amount.

Please make sure that the Hertie US Loan team has your most recent bank information. Without you German bank account information the loan cannot be transferred.

6. The Master Promissory Note - To take out a direct loan, you must complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN). You can complete the MPN online at the student loans website. Please note that we cannot issue a loan without MPN (each loan type requires a separate MPN).

It is your responsibility to notify the Hertie US loans team immediately:

  • of anything that affects your ability to repay your loan
  • of any changes in your status, including graduation, and any changes to your name, address, or telephone number
  • if you fail to enroll for the period covered by your loan
  • about renewals, deferments and withdrawals
  • about renewing your loan
  • about deferring an existing loan
  • if you withdraw from your programme, or if you drop below half-time enrolment status
  • if you receive financial aid and then withdraw from your course or drop below the half-time enrolment requirement (the Hertie US loans team must first determine whether any of the money must be returned to the US Federal Aid Program)

7. Exit counselling - You have to complete a mandatory exit counselling before starting the repayment of your loan. It In order to receive your final transcript and degree the Hertie school requires you to complete the exit counselling following the instructions on the student loans website .

Deadlines and Timelines

  • June 1st - July 1st - Loan application deadline and admitted students must complete entrance counselling and Master Promissory Note (MPN)
  • July 1 – August 15th- award letter will be sent
  • October 1 - due tuition is deducted from awarded sum and living costs will be disbursed to students * The Hertie US loans team cannot guarantee a loan award if you do not meet these deadlines.

During your studies

Loan Disbursement

How will I receive the money?

By bank transfer.

Generally, your loan will cover a full academic year and will be disbursed in two instalments, at the beginning of each semester.

We will disburse your loan money by crediting it to your school account to pay tuition fees. If the loan disbursement amount exceeds your school charges, we will pay you the remaining balance of the disbursement directly to your German bank account. We receive the money in Euro, so for all transactions the exchange rate $/€ will apply.

The disbursement dates are indicative and not guaranteed:

  • Disbursement 1: early October
  • Disbursement 2: early February

You get a written notification following each disbursement. In addition, you will be informed on how to cancel all or part of your disbursement (i.e. if you find you no longer need the money). Please carefully read and keep all correspondence received concerning your loan.

Changing or cancelling your loan

If you wish to change your loan amount or cancel it during the year, you must notify us a minimum four weeks before the next disbursement date. To make the change, please re-submit your updated cost of attendance spreadsheet (MPP and MIAPhD) to the US loans team.

Retaining Loan Eligibility

Enrolment status

You must be enrolled and continue to be enrolled at the Hertie School to remain eligible for student loans.

It is your responsibility to keep the Direct Loan Servicing Center informed of any changes in your status in order to maintain accurate and up-to-date information.

You must notify the Direct Loan Servicing Center if you:

  • change your local address, permanent address or telephone number;
  • change your name (for example, maiden name to married name);
  • do not enroll at least half-time for the loan period certified by the school;
  • do not enroll at the school that certified your loan;
  • stop attending school or drop below half-time enrollment;
  • transfer from one school to another school; or graduate.

You must also keep the Hertie School informed of these changes.

When you graduate, drop below part-time, or withdraw from your academic program, you will receive a six-month grace period for your direct unsubsidized (and if applicable subsidized) loans. Once your grace period ends, you must begin repaying your loan(s).

Study abroad (Exchange and Dual Degree) while receiving federal student aid

Students who receive federal student aid can only study at partner schools which are not located in the USA. In order to continue receiving federal student aid while on an exchange or dual-degree, students must attend a partner school which is not in the United States AND which is accredited for Federal Student Aid. If the study abroad partner does not meet these two criteria, the student will not receive funding through federal student loans for the time abroad.

Currently, there are six partner schools outside of the US which are eligible for Federal Student Aid:

  • London School of Economics (Dual-Degree), London/UK
  • University of Toronto (Exchange), Toronto/Canada
  • American University Cairo (Exchange), Cairo/Egypt
  • Bocconi University (Dual-Degree and Exchange), Milano/Italy
  • Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (The), Geneva/Switzerland
  • University of British Columbia, Vancouver/Canada

Leaves of absence and withdrawals

A Leave of absence refers to the specific period during a programme when a student is not in attendance and will return to complete the programme. Students returning from a LOA are not required to re-apply for admission but must re-register for their courses.

A 'withdrawal' refers to a student’s intent to completely terminate his/her studies and not returning. Students who decide to return to their studies must re-apply for admission through Hertie School’s office of admissions.

Once you are no longer enrolled, you'll receive a 6-month grace period on your direct unsubsidized loans during which you are not required to make loan payments. You must begin repayment at the end of your grace period. There is no grace period for direct unsubsidised PLUS loans!

Make sure that both the Hertie School and the Direct Loan Servicing Center know that you are no longer enrolled. If you don't begin making payments when required, there is the possibility that you will lose repayment incentives you may have received or even go into default.

Before you graduate or withdraw, please make sure you complete the exit counselling online.


Consumer information and policies

The US government requires institutions which offer federal student loans to disclose the following consumer information. If you require any further information about the content, please contact us-loans[at]hertie-school[dot]org.

Institutional refund policy

2. School Policies

6. Other

  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy – see Examination and Admission Rules 
  • Safeguarding Consumer Information – see German Federal Data Protection Act 
  • Misrepresentation 
  • Loan Disclosures 
  • Missing Student Notification – not relevant for the Hertie School since we do not have campus housing
  • Gainful Employment Regulations – not relevant for the Hertie School since we are a non-profit institution