Ask The Panther
Ask any financial aid question and get answers right away!
View top ten »

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Process

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan - a government-sponsored loan with a fixed interest rate of 7.21%. The loan begins accruing interest when it is fully disbursed. The graduate student is the borrower and must be credit worthy as determined by the Department of Education. A Graduate PLUS borrower must also be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, be enrolled at least half-time in a graduate level program (four or more credits) and not be in default on any other federal loan. Students can borrow up to the cost of attendance less any other financial aid. Graduate students should maximize borrowing through the Unsubsidized Stafford loan program prior to applying for this loan. However, they are encouraged to consider this loan in lieu of the Private Alternative Loan options.  A 4.884% fee is deducted at the time of disbursement. The fee increases to 4.292% for new loans disbursed on or after October 1, 2014. 

  • A FAFSA must be submitted before a Graduate PLUS loan will be processed. The FAFSA can be filed at http://www.fafsa.gov. The 2013-2014 FAFSA should be filed to be considered for aid through the summer 2014 term. The 2014-2015 FAFSA should be filed for consideration of aid beginning with the fall 2014 semester.
  • In addition to filing the appropriate year FAFSA, each year a student wants to apply for this loan, the Grad PLUS application must be submitted. This is done online at www.studentloans.gov. Any subsequent requests for an increase to the loan will require a new request. A Department of Education Personal Identification Number (PIN) is needed to sign the application. A PIN can be retrieved at http://www.pin.ed.gov.
  • In addition to the Grad PLUS Request/Application, a student borrowing a Graduate PLUS Loan for the first time must complete two additional steps: a PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Graduate PLUS Entrance Counseling. All of this should be done from the same www.studentloans.gov website. When completing Entrance Counseling select the option for graduate/professional students.
  • Beginning June 1, graduate/professional students may apply for the summer term at www.studentloans.gov.
  • Beginning June 1, graduate/professional students may apply for the 2014-2015 school year at www.studentloans.gov.
  • To begin the application process, sign in with your PIN then select "Request a PLUS Loan." Only first time PLUS borrowers are required to complete a PLUS MPN in addition to the PLUS application. To do this, select the option to complete a Master Promissory Note for a PLUS loan. Please note that a Grad PLUS Loan will not be certified (added as an award on the students PAWS account) unless both an approved credit decision AND a valid PLUS MPN exist for a PLUS borrower.
  • If a Graduate PLUS application is denied, the borrower has the option to include an endorser/co-signer on the application or appeal the credit decision with the Department of Education. An endorser is a person who agrees to repay the PLUS loan if the borrower defaults on payments. If a borrower chooses to add an endorser to the PLUS application, the endorser must complete an Endorser Addendum. If a borrower chooses to pursue an endorser or appeal the credit decision, the borrower must also complete a PLUS MPN if the application becomes approved.  A borrower must complete a new application and PLUS MPN for each PLUS loan borrowed with an endorser.
  • The school will be notified if the Graduate PLUS loan request is approved. The processing time frame (awarding to disbursement-assuming disbursement has begun) is two weeks from the date of your loan approval. To check if you have completed both the PLUS application process and MPN successfully, please go to www.studentloans.gov and select completed MPNS and Direct PLUS loan applications.
  • During the application process you will be asked to indicate how much you intend to borrow. You have the option of selecting the maximum amount you are eligible for, an unknown amount, or you may indicate a specific amount. Please note, that if you indicate an unknown amount the Financial Aid Department will process your loan for the maximum amount you are eligible for. 
  • In some instances the Department of Education may place a PLUS application in a pending status instead of a denial/approved status. Typically, a pending decision indicates additional information is required from the Department before a final credit decision can be made. A borrower who receives a pending credit result instead of a denial/approved decision must contact the Financial Aid Department for additional information.
applynow