Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
Unlike the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan requires a credit check. Applicants must demonstrate that they do not have adverse credit history before Graduate PLUS Loan funds are released to them. The first payment on a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan is due within 60 days of a student graduating or dropping below half-time status (six credits or the equivalent). Students may postpone payments on the loan while they are in school if they are registered for at least six credits/points (or the equivalent).
We encourage students to make payments toward their interest while they are in school. To do this, find your lender information on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) at www.nslds.ed.gov and contact them to set up a payment schedule.
Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Details:
- Not based on need; based on credit-worthiness.
- Student must be enrolled at least half-time (six credits or the equivalent) to be eligible to receive the funds.
- Fixed interest rate of 7.9%; interest accrues while in school.
- No grace period (before one is required to make payments).
- Student may be awarded up to the cost of attendance per academic year, although the initial offer will usually be between $20,000 and $30,000. This number is subject to change depending on the amount of other aid received and the amount of credit hours in which the student enrolls.
- A loan fee of 4% will get taken off of each disbursement. (Due to the federal sequester, the PLUS Loan origination fee has increased to 4.2%.)
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 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 (if you completed 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 email 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 U.S. 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.studentoans.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.