Financial Aid
Image: Decorative image of flowers on campus

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

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.)

Eligibility

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: 

  • Appeal the credit decision – details on how to appeal will be provide on StudentAid.gov if you select this option
  • Obtain an endorser (co-signer) – if this option is selected, the endorser must complete the “Endorse Direct PLUS Loan” section by signing into StudentAid.gov with their own FSAID.
  • Undecided – If this option is selected we will not be able to process your PLUS Loan application.

Application Deadlines

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. 

Application Process

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 required by the U.S. Department of Education to obtain a PLUS loan:

  1. Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement
  2. PLUS Loan Application
  3. Master Promissory Note

All three of the steps are completed online at StudentAid.gov.

Step 1: Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment

All Federal Graduate PLUS Loan borrowers must complete the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment to receive their loan.  This annual acknowledgment is a new requirement beginning with the 2021-2022 academic year and must be completed every year you wish to receive a loan. 

Follow the steps below to complete the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment:

  1. Go to StudentAid.gov using Chrome, Safari, or FireFox (they do not recommend using Internet Explorer).
  2. Click on “Log In” using the student's Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID).
    • This is the same FSA ID the student used to file the FAFSA.
    • Be sure to log in as the student and not as someone else; you must log in using the student’s FSA ID.
  3. From the “Complete Aid Process” menu at the top of the page, select “Complete Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment” and then select “Start.”
  4. Next select WI in the “State” box and then University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the “School Name” box.
  5. Enter student’s Degree/Certificate and then their Field of Study and select “View Data.”
  6. Scroll through the page reading the information presented.
  7. At the bottom of the page in the “Complete Your 2021-2022 Acknowledgment” box, select “I understand the borrowing guidelines you’ve shown me.” and click on “Submit.”

Step 2: 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:

  1. Go to StudentAid.gov using Chrome, Safari, or FireFox (they do not recommend using Internet Explorer).
  2. Click on “Log In” using the student’s Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID).
    • This is the same FSA ID the student used to file the FAFSA.
    • Be sure to log in as the student and not as someone else; you must log in using the student’s FSA ID.
  3. From the “Apply for Aid” menu at the top of the page, select “Apply for a PLUS Loan.”
  4. In the “I am a Graduate or Professional Student” box, click on “Learn More” and then “Start.”
  5. From there, follow the on-screen directions.

Step 3: 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:

  1. Go to StudentAid.gov using Chrome, Safari, or FireFox (they do not recommend using Internet Explorer).
  2. Click on “Log In” using the student’s Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID)).
    • This is the same FSA ID the student used to file the FAFSA.
    • Be sure to log in as the student and not someone else; you must log in using the student’s FSA ID.
  3. From the “Complete Aid Process” menu at the top of the page, select “Complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN),” and then select “MPN for Graduate/Professional Students.”
  4. In the “MPN for Direct PLUS Loans” select “Start” and enter the information requested.
  5. Once done with all sections of the MPN, be sure to click on “Submit.”

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 

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.

  • The rate for loans disbursed from July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022: 6.28%
  • The rate for loans disbursed from July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021: 5.30%
  • The rate for loans disbursed from July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020: 7.08%
  • The rate for loans disbursed from July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019: 7.6%
  • The rate for loans disbursed from July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2018: 7.00%
  • The rate for loans disbursed from July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017: 6.31%

For prior interest rate information, visit StudentAid.gov.

Loan Fees

Loan fees are deducted from each loan disbursement:

  • The fee is 4.228% for loans with a first disbursement date on or after 10/1/2020 and before 10/1/2022.
  • The fee is 4.236% for loans with a first disbursement date on or after 10/1/2019 and before 10/1/2020.
  • The fee is 4.248% for loans with a first disbursement date on or after 10/1/2018 and before 10/1/2019.
  • The fee is 4.426% for loans with a first disbursement date on or after 10/1/2017 and before 10/1/2018.

Repayment

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.


Location

Financial Aid Office
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
130 Hyer Hall
800 West Main Street
Whitewater, WI 53190

Contact Us

Phone: (262) 472-1130
Fax: (262) 472-5655
Email us!
Meet the Staff

Office Hours

Lobby Open: 
Mon-Fri: 8 AM - 4:00 PM
Phones Answered:
Mon-Fri: 8 AM - 4:30 PM

Walk-in Advising

Mon, Tues, & Wed: 9 AM-4 PM
Thursday: 12:30 PM - 4 PM
Friday: 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM
*May be with remote Advisor