About Federal Direct Graduate/Professional PLUS Loans
If you are a graduate or professional student, consider a Federal Direct Graduate/Professional PLUS loan before an alternative loan or maxing out your credit cards. This loan helps qualifying students pay the difference between the financial aid already received – from scholarships, grants and student loans – and the cost of attendance. Unlike some private loans that come with variable rates that can climb several times a year, this loan has a fixed rate of 6.41 percent for the life of the loan on loans made for the 2013-2014 academic year.
To be eligible for a GradPLUS Loan, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen and have a social security number.
- Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment on at least a half-time basis in a graduate or professional program.
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- Already have applied for the maximum annual amounts for which you qualify under the Federal Direct Stafford and Unsubsidized Stafford Loan Programs.
- Meet credit eligibility requirements.
There are no set annual or aggregate limits for federal Direct Graduate/Professional PLUS Loans.
You may borrow up to the full cost of attendance, minus any other financial aid received (including subsidized and unsubsidized loans, scholarships and fellowships).
You may have to pay an origination fee of up to 4 percent.
Repaying a Federal Direct Graduate/Professional PLUS Loan
Your first payment will be due within 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed. Generally, this will be while you are still in school. There is no grace period.
You may request an in-school deferment as long as you are enrolled in at least a half-time status. Keep in mind, your GradPLUS Loan accrues interest while in deferment status and the interest will be capitalized unless arrangements are made with the holder to pay interest quarterly.
You must apply separately for an in-school deferment on your GradPLUS Loan, even if you have already received in-school deferments on FFEL subsidized or unsubsidized loans.
How to Apply
To apply, you must submit the FAFSA and complete the Federal Direct PLUS Master Promissory Note, available from your college financial aid office or the U.S. Department of Education.