How to Accept Graduate PLUS Loans

Accepting the Federal Graduate PLUS Loan

You must accept a Federal Graduate PLUS Loan on the website because it requires a credit check. If you have been offered the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, then we encourage you to accept those funds before applying for or accepting Graduate PLUS Loans, which have a higher interest rate and loan fee.

Complete the Graduate PLUS Loan Application/Credit Check to request a Direct PLUS Loan on Continuing students must complete this for the new aid year, regardless of whether or not they have an unexpired credit check on file from the previous year.

  1. Select “Loans and Grants” in the top navigation bar.
  2. Select “PLUS Loans: Grad PLUS and Parent PLUS” from the menu.
  3. Choose the “I’m a Graduate or Professional student” option and select “Learn more”.
  4. Complete the "Direct PLUS Loan Application for Graduate/Professional Students"— not the Parent Borrowers option.
  5. Select the correct award year and enter School Information: Teachers College, Columbia University (School Code: G03979).
  6. Request the amount you want to borrow by selecting: (1) “I want to borrow the maximum Direct PLUS Loan amount for which I am eligible, as determined by the school” or (2) “I would like to specify a loan amount.”
    Note: If you select “I don’t know the amount I want to borrow,” we cannot process your loan, and you will need to submit a new application with the requested amount.
  7. Specify the loan period.

Fall and Spring Students

September through May

Fall Only Students

September through December

Spring Only Students

January through May

Spring and Summer Students

January through August

Summer Only Students

May through August


  1. Authorize Teachers College to use your Direct PLUS Loan to pay for educational charges. 
  2. Proceed through the application and verify that all information, including your address, is correct. You will receive an immediate credit decision upon completion. 

Our Office of Financial Aid will process your PLUS Loan application if your credit decision is “Credit Approved.” You must renew your credit check for every new academic year AND for any changes to the PLUS Loan amount during a given academic year, if the credit check has expired after 180 days of your initial request.

After you complete your loan application, you may complete the Federal Graduate PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN). You must sign the required Master Promissory Note (MPN) for the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan at by following these instructions:

  1. Select “Loans and Grants” in the top navigation bar
  2. Select “Master Promissory Note (MPN)” from the menu
  3. Choose “I’m a Graduate/Professional student” login option
  4. Select “MPN for Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans."
  5. When you complete the session, be sure to enter TC's School Code (G03979). 

Note: The MPN is valid for up to 10 years. However, if your loan was approved with an endorser or credit appeal, your MPN is only valid for that one loan request. Therefore, subsequent loan applications approved through an endorser or credit appeal will require you to submit a new MPN with each request.

Our Office of Financial Aid will receive your credit decision from the U.S. Department of Education within 5-10 business days. If approved, your Graduate PLUS Loan status on your TC Portal will change from "Offered" to "Accepted." If you are denied, the status will change to "Deny." All subsequent changes (increase, decrease, or decline) must be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid by completing a Federal Loan Change Form specific to the year that you are making changes.

Graduate PLUS Loan Denials

If you are denied the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan due to an adverse credit history, you may obtain an endorser or submit a credit appeal.

A PLUS Credit Counseling is required if you have been denied a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan and you have obtained an endorser or submitted an appeal documenting extenuating circumstances to the satisfaction of the U.S. Department of Education. You may complete this requirement at by following these instructions:

  1. Select “Loans and Grants”
  2. Select “PLUS Credit Counseling”
  3. Select “Graduate/Professional Student”

An endorser is someone who does not have an adverse credit history and agrees to repay the loan if you do not/cannot repay. If you choose to obtain an endorser, the individual will complete the following steps:

  • Visit the “Endorse a PLUS Loan” page on the secure website.
  • Enter the Borrower’s Last Name and the Endorser Code/Award Identification Number that is generated after you complete the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Request) and an FSA ID. 

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, and you must complete a new Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note.

If you have been denied and do not have an endorser, you may request to appeal your Graduate PLUS Loan credit decision. You should be prepared to provide a personal statement explaining the extenuating circumstances and attach documents to support your claim.

Returning Federal Loan Funds

You may cancel all or part of your federal loan(s) by submitting a Federal Loan Change Form [PDF] for the appropriate aid year to the Office of Financial Aid within 45 days from the date of disbursement. If you have already received a refund, then you may be required to return the funds to the Office of the Bursar.

Loan Refund Checks

If you are anticipating a refund credit, the amount that you are due will be provided within 14 days of disbursement. Please contact the Office of the Bursar with any questions you have about refund checks.

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