A grad PLUS loan is a federal student loan that is available to eligible graduate or professional students. It is a Direct PLUS Loans, but is referred to as a “grad PLUS loan,” since an undergraduate student can not apply for it.
1. Be a graduate or professional student.
You are considered a graduate or a professional student if you are enrolled in:
- a program or course above the bachelor’s degree level, or
- a program leading to a professional degree.
2. Be enrolled at least half time at an eligible school.
3. May not have an adverse credit history.
- Be aware that a credit check will be performed during the application process.
- Please consult this resource Direct PLUS loans and Adverse Credit to confirm what is considered adverse credit history.
1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASA).
2. Complete an online application for a Direct PLUS loan.
3. Check with the school’s financial aid office if they have any different or additional process for securing a Direct PLUS loan.
If you have not received a Direct PLUS Loan or a Direct Unsubsidized Loan before, you will be required to complete entrance counseling. Check with the school’s financial aid office to confirm how to satisfy this requirement.
Adverse Credit History Denial
If you are denied a grad PLUS loan due to adverse credit history, there is action you can take that may allow you to become eligible. With each of the following actions you will be required to complete PLUS Credit Counseling.
1. Obtain an endorser for your loan. This means you need to get someone (who does not have an adverse credit history) to agree to pay your loan if you do not repay it.
2. Document to the satisfaction of the U.S. Department of Education that:
- The information causing the adverse credit decision is incorrect; or
- There are extenuating circumstances relating to the adverse credit history.
Please consult this resource Documenting Extenuating Circumstances - More Information to determine if your circumstances qualify.
The maximum amount you can borrow for this type of loan is the cost of attendance (COA) of the school minus any other financial assistance you receive.
You do not have to begin repayment until six (6) months after you either:
- leave School; or
- drop below half time enrollment.
Ashley Friedman is a freelance writer with experience writing about education for a variety of organizations and educational institutions as well as online media sites. She has written for Pearson Education, The University of Miami, The New York City Teaching Fellows, New Visions for Public Schools, and a number of independent secondary schools. She lives in Los Angeles.