If additional loan funding is needed to cover the cost of attendance, eligible students have the option of applying for a Direct Graduate PLUS loan. In order to qualify, students must complete the FAFSA and meet all federal eligibility requirements. If you meet federal requirements, you may borrow Graduate PLUS loan funds up to the cost of attendance (less any other financial aid). For example:
- 2014-15 Student Expense Budget $83,722
- Federal Stafford loan eligibility $20,500
- Graduate PLUS loan eligibility $63,222
Unlike the Direct Unsubsidized Loan, the Graduate PLUS loan is approved based on a student's credit. A credit check is required to determine whether the applicant has any adverse credit history (according to federal guidelines, adverse credit history means no past-due payments, charge-offs, or collections in the past 90 days). If you have an adverse credit history, you have the option to use a co-signer on the application.
The Graduate PLUS loan does not have a grace period. Instead, it has a post-enrollment deferment period which acts in the same way as a grace period. Interest accrues from the time the loan is disbursed much like the Direct Unsubsidized Loan.
Finally, be sure to familiarize yourself with all loan terms before borrowing. Interest rates on new loans under the Federal Direct Loan Program are now indexed to the financial markets and may be adjusted each spring for the following award year. Please visit the U.S. Department of Education's website for more information about interest rates on federal student loans (www.studentaid.ed.gov/about/announcements/interest-rate).