Even though the Federal PLUS Loan is available to all graduate and professional students regardless of financial need, you must still file the FASFA to be eligible. With a Grad PLUS Loan, you may borrow up to the full cost of your education, less other financial aid including Federal Stafford Loans, scholarships, grants, and tuition remission. If you receive additional aid, or if your cost of attendance is reduced through a change in residency, your Graduate Plus eligibility will be adjusted.
The Grad PLUS Loan has a higher interest rate than Federal Stafford Loans and students should exhaust their Federal Stafford Loan eligibility before applying for a Grad PLUS Loan. A credit check is required, although credit requirements are less stringent than for alternative student loans.
Determine your Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Eligiblity
Apply for a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan (Available starting April 15 , 2013)
To receive any federal student loans, including the Direct Grad PLUS Loan, you must be enrolled at least half time. Half time for fall and spring semesters is six (6) credits (graduate, law and APD students can be considered half time with three (3) credits during the summer semester ONLY). Undergraduate students do not qualify for the Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loan.
Refer to the Federal Student Aid Q & A for further information regarding Direct PLUS Loans for Graduate and Professional Students.
Applicant Services for PLUS Loan Borrowers
PLUS Loan borrowers can contact Applicant Services for:
Credit approval is based on federally mandated criteria, not a credit score. In order to qualify, you must not have any of the following items on your credit report:
Recent changes in the law that governs the terms and conditions of PLUS Loans establish a specific extenuating circumstance for certain PLUS Loan applicants who would otherwise be considered to have an adverse credit history. Specifically, a PLUS Loan applicant may qualify for a PLUS Loan based on extenuating circumstances if the applicant:
Credit approval is valid for three months. Your credit is evaluated every time you request a new loan unless you have had a credit decision within the preceding three months.
If you think you may have one or more of the items outlined in the credit requirements listed above you may want to obtain your credit report in advance. You may be able to fix an item such as the delinquency by simply making a payment and bringing your delinquency to less than 90 days. If you have had a situation with a discharge or collection item for example, you may be able to obtain a “settled in full” status if you work with the entity to reach a satisfactory arrangement. If you are able to fix an item, it is no longer considered in the credit evaluation and it may result in your credit being approved.
Correspondence will be sent to Direct PLUS Loan applicants, by Direct Loans, who receive an adverse credit determination. Information will include instructions to appeal the denial of a Direct PLUS Loan application.
For additional information concerning Federal Direct Loans including interest rates, fees, consolidation, deferments, and loan calculators, see the Federal Student Aid Direct Loan Site.