The U.S. Department of Education makes Direct PLUS Loans to eligible graduate or professional students through schools participating in the Direct Loan Program. (We also offer PLUS loans for parents.)
A Direct PLUS Loan is commonly referred to as a grad PLUS loan when made to a graduate or professional student.
Looking to apply? Visit StudentLoans.gov to apply for a grad PLUS loan.
Important: Most schools require you to submit the PLUS loan application on StudentLoans.gov, although some schools have different application processes.
Note: Before you apply for a PLUS loan, make sure you have already filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form.
Am I eligible for a grad PLUS loan?
What is the current interest rate?
How much can I borrow?
When do I begin repaying my loan?
Can I still receive a grad PLUS loan if I have an adverse credit history?
How do I apply for a grad PLUS loan?
What additional steps must I take to receive my loan?
Other than interest, is there a charge for this loan?
How will I receive my loan?
What happens after I receive my loan?
What types of loan repayment plans are available?
What if I have trouble repaying my loan?
Can I cancel the loan if I decide that I don’t need it or if I need less than the amount offered?
Can my loan ever be forgiven (canceled) or discharged?
Where can I find information about the grad PLUS loans I’ve received?
To receive a grad PLUS loan, you must
- be a graduate or professional student enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school in a program leading to a graduate or professional degree or certificate;
- not have an adverse credit history (unless you meet certain additional eligibility requirements); and
- meet the general eligibility requirements for federal student aid.
For Direct PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2018, and before July 1, 2019, the interest rate is 7.6%. This is a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan.
The maximum PLUS loan amount you can borrow is the cost of attendance (determined by the school) minus any other financial assistance you receive.
You don't have to start making payments until six months after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment.
During any period when you’re not required to make payments, interest will accrue on your loan. You may choose to pay the accrued interest or allow the interest to be capitalized (added to your loan principal balance) when you have to start making payments. Your loan servicer will notify you when your first payment is due.
A credit check will be performed during the application process. If you have an adverse credit history, you may still receive a grad PLUS loan through one of these two options:
- Obtaining an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history. An endorser is someone who agrees to repay the grad PLUS loan if you do not repay it.
- Documenting to the satisfaction of the U.S. Department of Education that there are extenuating circumstances relating to your adverse credit history.
With either option 1 or option 2, you also must complete credit counseling for PLUS loan borrowers on the StudentLoans.gov website.
Try This Resource
Direct PLUS Loans and Adverse Credit—Answers common questions about how an adverse credit history affects Direct PLUS Loan eligibility.
Important: Most schools require you to apply for a Direct PLUS Loan online at StudentLoans.gov, but some schools have different application processes. The StudentLoans.gov site has a list of schools that participate in the Direct Loan Program. When you select your school from the list, the site will tell you if the school has a different application process. In that case, check with the school’s financial aid office to find out how to request a grad PLUS loan.
Note: Before applying for a grad PLUS loan, you must complete the FAFSA form.
If you are eligible for a grad PLUS loan, you will be required to sign a Direct PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN), agreeing to the terms of the loan. If you haven’t previously received a PLUS loan, you will also be required to complete entrance counseling. Contact the financial aid office at the school you are planning to attend for instructions on how to complete entrance counseling.
Yes, there is a loan fee on all Direct PLUS Loans. The loan fee is a percentage of the loan amount and is proportionately deducted from each loan disbursement. The percentage varies depending on when the loan is first disbursed, as shown in the chart below.
Loan Fees for Direct PLUS Loans
First Disbursement Date
|On or after Oct. 1, 2017, and before Oct. 1, 2018||4.264%|
|On or after Oct. 1, 2018, and before Oct. 1, 2019||4.248%|
Loans first disbursed before Oct. 1, 2017, have different loan fees.
The school will first apply grad PLUS loan funds to your school account to pay for tuition, fees, room and board, and other school charges. If any loan funds remain, your school will give them to you to help pay other education expenses. Get more information about receiving aid.
After you receive your grad PLUS loan, you will be contacted by your loan servicer (you will repay your loan to the loan servicer). Your loan servicer will provide regular updates on the status of your grad PLUS loan.
There are several repayment options available that are designed to meet the individual needs of borrowers, including income-driven repayment plans that determine your monthly payment amount based on your income and family size. Your loan servicer can help you understand which repayment options are available to you. Generally, you’ll have 10 to 25 years to repay your loan, depending on the repayment plan that you choose. Learn about your repayment options.
Use the Repayment Estimator to get an early estimate of what your monthly payment amount would be under the plans for which you’re eligible.
If you are unable to make your scheduled loan payments, contact your loan servicer immediately. Your servicer can help you understand your options for keeping your loan in good standing. For example, you may wish to change your repayment plan to lower your monthly payment or request a deferment or forbearance that allows you to temporarily stop or lower the payments on your loan. Learn more about deferment and forbearance options.
Yes. Before your loan money is disbursed, you may cancel all or part of your loan at any time by notifying the school. After your loan is disbursed, you may cancel all or part of the loan within certain time frames. Your promissory note and additional information you’ll receive from the school will explain the procedures and time frames for canceling your loan.
Under certain conditions, you may be eligible to have all or part of your loan forgiven (canceled) or discharged. Find out about loan forgiveness, cancellation, and discharge.
Visit “My Federal Student Aid” to view information about all of the federal student loans and other financial aid you have received and to get contact information for your loan servicer.