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, 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 Stafford Loans before considering a 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. For the PLUS loan, an adverse credit history is defined 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, the student may appeal the credit check decision or find a co-signer.
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 www.studentloans.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.
First time borrowers must complete both Entrance Counseling and the Master Promissory Note (MPN).Entrance Counseling is an online tutorial which explains important information regarding borrowing a federal student loan. The MPN is the agreement to repay the loan. Both of the items are completed through the Department of Education website: studentloans.ed.gov. You will need your FSAID to log into this site. If you have forgotten your FSAID go to fsaid.ed.gov. The Entrance Counseling and MPN for the Grad PLUS Loan are separate from the Stafford Loan. Students who have previously completed these steps for the Stafford Loan must complete them for the Grad PLUS in order to receive the loan.
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, 2017 - June 30, 2018: 7.00%
The rate for loans disbursed from July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017: 6.31%
The rate for loans disbursed from July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2016: 6.84%
For prior interest rate information, visit studentaid.ed.gov.
Loan fees are deducted from each loan disbursement. The fee is currently 4.272% on PLUS Loans. The fee will be 4.276% for loans disbursed after October 1, 2016. This is due to federal budget cuts known as the sequester.
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 National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) website.
To estimate what your payments will be you may wish to use the following Repayment Calculator.