The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan is for graduate (master's degree) and professional degree students. In order to process a Graduate PLUS loan, the student must first file a FAFSA for the current academic year. It is recommended that the student accept all of the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan that they have been offered before borrowing a Graduate PLUS loan, as the current interest rate on the unsubsidized loan is 4.3% which is lower than the current interest rate of 5.3% on the Graduate PLUS loan. These interest rates are effective for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2020, and before June 30, 2021. The Graduate PLUS loan should be considered if there is a gap between the student's cost of education and all other aid including a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan. As with all loan programs, we urge you to borrow conservatively.
Graduate PLUS loans for Summer 2021 are part of the 2020-21 academic year. Graduate students should select the academic period for 05/2021 to 08/2021 when applying for the loan at https://studentaid.gov. An application for a Graduate PLUS loan for summer should not be requested until the student has registered for a minimum of six credit hours over the course of the summer (this can be from a combination of different summer modules).
Students who also intend to request a Graduate PLUS loan for the 2021-22 academic year, will need to file a separate application for this loan period on or after JUNE 1, 2021.
Applications for a Graduate PLUS loan for the 2020-2021 year should not be made until after June 1, 2020, or later to avoid expiration of the required credit check prior to the loan being originated. Credit checks are only valid for 180 days.
The following criteria will determine when a Graduate PLUS Loan is denied due to adverse credit:
A Graduate PLUS loan applicant has an adverse credit history if, in addition to other conditions (e.g., bankruptcy, foreclosure, tax lien, or a default determination) the applicant has one or more debts that:
The following options are available for students whose Graduate PLUS application is denied:
Students who are approved for a Graduate PLUS loan using an endorser, or who are approved following an appeal or reconsideration, must complete PLUS COUNSELING at https://studentaid.gov before the loan can be originated. PLUS Counseling is not the same as the Entrance Counseling requirement for first-time borrowers of a Graduate PLUS Loan. PLUS Counseling would be required in addition to Entrance Counseling if the loan was approved with an endorser or through an appeal.
Students who are credit approved and borrowing a Graduate PLUS Loan for the first time will be required to complete an online Entrance Counseling Session for graduate students and a Direct Graduate PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN) at https://studentaid.gov (Entrance Counseling is not the same as PLUS Counseling).
The Graduate PLUS MPN is different than the MPN used for unsubsidized student loans.
Students who borrow a Graduate PLUS loan are eligible for an in-school deferment as long as they are enrolled at least half-time or a minimum of six credit hours in required coursework. If a student drops below half-time, they will be contacted by their federal loan servicer regarding the first payment.
Information on other topics related to Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loans including loan consolidation, repayment plans, loan forgiveness, and/or cancellation may be found online at the following websites:
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