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Office of Financial Aid
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Federal Student Aid > Graduate PLUS Loan Denials

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Federal Student Aid

Graduate PLUS Loan Denials

If you are denied the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan due to an adverse credit history, you have some options to consider. You may either (1) obtain an endorser, or (2) you may choose to document extenuating circumstances relating to the reason you were declined. Please read the following information to learn how to gain access to your Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan. You may also contact Applicant Services, a division of the US Department of Education, at 1-800-557-7394 to discuss denials, appeals, and endorsers.

Option 1: Obtain an Endorser
An endorser is someone who does not have an adverse credit history and agrees to repay the loan if you do not repay it.

If you choose to obtain an endorser, the individual will complete the following steps.
  • Endorse the loan on the secure www.studentloans.gov website by clicking “Endorse a Direct PLUS Loan” after they have logged in using their Federal Student Aid (FSA) PIN. If the endorser does not have a FSA PIN, they may obtain one by visiting the FSA PIN website at www.pin.ed.gov.
  • To complete the endorsement online, the endorser will need the Loan Reference Number (which will be generated after you complete a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Request) and a FSA PIN. If you completed a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Request, the Loan Reference Number may be found in the confirmation e-mail you received. You may also find the Loan Reference Number by logging in to the www.studentloans.gov website and selecting "Direct PLUS Loan Requests" located on the left navigation bar.
  • Please note that if you use an endorser and need to request additional Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan funding at a later date, the endorser must complete an addendum for the additional amount on www.studentloans.gov. The student must also complete a new Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note on www.studentloans.gov and submit a Loan and Work-Study Change Form to the Teachers College Office of Financial Aid documenting the increase.
Option 2: Document Extenuating Circumstances
You are able to provide satisfactory documentation to the US Department of Education showing that the information causing the adverse credit decision is incorrect or has been corrected. You may also provide documentation to show that there are extenuating circumstances relating to the adverse credit history. (Note: Endorsers aren't eligible for this option.) After you submit your request to document extenuating circumstances, Applicant Services will contact you. Once all documentation has been received, a determination will be made and provided to you within 7-10 business days.

If you believe that there are extenuating circumstances related to the adverse credit information that should be considered in evaluating your eligibility for a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, you may begin the process in one of two ways:

  • Log in to www.studentloans.gov and select "Document Extenuating Circumstances" on the left navigation bar. Follow directions. Applicant Services will contact you with further instructions.
  • Contact Applicant Services between 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. Applicant Services may be reached toll-free, at 1-800-557-7394.
Source: www.studentloans.gov