The Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loan Program is a loan for graduate students with good credit history which can help pay educational expenses. Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, be enrolled at least half-time each term (4.5 credits or more), and maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress. Graduate PLUS Loans are non-need based loans, and a separate application is required for these loans. It is recommended that students exhaust their eligibility for Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loans before considering a Grad PLUS Loan. (Note that parents of graduate students are not eligible to apply for a Parent PLUS nor the Grad PLUS loan.)
To be eligible for the Grad PLUS Loan, the student must pass a credit check that indicates that they do not have adverse credit history. The U.S. Department of Education makes the credit decision (not UW-W) and they define adverse credit history as being 90 or more days delinquent on any debt or having any debt within the past five years subjected to default determination, bankruptcy discharge, foreclosure, repossession, tax lien, wage garnishment, or write-off.
If a student is denied the Grad PLUS, they may choose among the following options:
The PLUS Loan Application becomes available by the end of the May prior to the start of fall term, and we recommend all these steps be completed prior to August 1 for the fall term (or prior to December 1 for spring term). We cannot guarantee funds will arrive before the tuition date if an application is received less than 30 days before the start of the term.
Students must complete the Grad PLUS Loan Request process for the appropriate aid year. A new application must be completed every year the student wishes to borrow a Grad PLUS Loan. The Grad PLUS application is submitted online at StudentAid.gov. On the application, you must indicate the amount you would like to borrow. Students may borrow up to the Cost of Attendance minus other financial aid.
Outlined below are the steps to obtain a PLUS loan:
All of the steps are completed online at StudentAid.gov.
Step 1: GRAD PLUS Loan Application
All Federal Graduate PLUS Loan borrowers must complete the PLUS Loan Application to receive their loan. This annual application must be completed every year you wish to receive a loan.
Follow the steps below to complete the PLUS Loan Application:
Step 2: Master Promissory Note
All first-time Federal Graduate PLUS Loan borrowers must complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) to receive their loan. The MPN is the agreement you sign indicating you realize the Federal Direct Loan is a loan that you must repay. Note that the MPN for the Federal Graduate PLUS Loan is separate and in addition to the MPN you signed for your Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan.
Follow the steps below to complete the MPN:
Step 3: GRAD PLUS Entrance Counseling
All first-time GRAD PLUS Federal Direct Loan borrowers must complete Entrance Counseling to receive their loan(s). Entrance Counseling is an online tutorial which explains important information regarding the loan(s) you are about to borrow.
Follow the steps below to complete the Entrance Counseling:
PLUS Credit Counseling
PLUS Loan Credit Counseling is required for borrowers seeking to appeal or obtain an endorser due to adverse credit. Students must log in to StudentAid.gov using their own FSAID to complete PLUS Credit Counseling. (Use of another person's FSAID constitutes fraud. Use only your own FSAID information.) PLUS Loan Credit Counseling takes approximately 15-20 minutes to complete.
Before completing counseling, you may want to have details on your income, financial aid, and living expenses. This includes information from your account and details on your future income, financial aid, and living expenses if known.
Once you have logged into StudentAid.gov, select “Apply for Aid” and then select “Complete PLUS Credit Counseling.”
Interest rates are established each year based on an index rate. The interest rate, once established on a loan, will be fixed for the life of that loan.
For prior interest rate information, visit StudentAid.gov.
Loan fees are deducted from each loan disbursement:
After the Direct Loan is disbursed to the student, the loan is assigned to one of the Federal Direct Loan Servicers. The Loan Servicer will send periodic statements to the borrower regarding their loan status. Repayment begins 60 days after the funds are fully disbursed, and the standard repayment term is 10 years. Students have the option to defer payments while attending school at least half time and for the six month grace period after you stop attending or drop below half-time enrollment. Please be aware the interest continues to accrue while deferred and is capitalized when the loan enters repayment. For questions on deferment, forbearance, or loan payments, contact your Loan Servicer. If you need help contacting your Loan Servicer, visit the StudentAid.gov website.
To estimate what your payments will be you may wish to use the following Repayment Calculator.