The U.S. Department of Education administers a loan program for students called the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan. Graduate, professional, and law students in an eligible master’s degree or doctoral program can borrow a Direct PLUS Loan to help pay education expenses if enrolled at least half-time. The student must be creditworthy.
You must be enrolled at least half-time in a graduate or professional program (for example, a program that leads to a Master’s Degree or law or medical degree) at a school that participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program, and must meet all of the other general eligibility requirements for the Federal Student Aid programs. Also, you must not have an adverse credit history (a credit check will be done).
Below are the minimum number of units that you must be enrolled in to be eligible for Federal loan disbursement.
|Doctoral (not in dissertation)
|Doctoral (in dissertation)
Adverse Credit History
Credit history is a major factor in being approved for this loan. To qualify for a PLUS loan, you cannot have an adverse credit history. Credit history is a summary of your financial strength, including your history of paying bills and your ability to repay future loans. Your credit history may be considered adverse if you are experiencing any of the following credit conditions:
- Bankruptcy discharge within the past five years.
- Voluntary surrender of personal property to avoid repossession within the last five years.
- Repossession of collateral within the last five years.
- Foreclosure proceedings started.
- Foreclosure within the last five years.
- Conveying your real property that is subject to a mortgage (by deed) to your lender to avoid foreclosure (deed instead of foreclosure).
- Accounts currently 90 days or more delinquent.
- Unpaid collection accounts.
- Charge-offs/write-offs of federal student loans.
- Wage garnishment within the last five years.
- Defaulting on a loan, even if the claim has been paid.
- Lease or contract terminated by default.
- County/state/federal tax lien within the past five years.
- To review your credit history, we strongly recommend that you obtain credit reports by contacting:
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of these agencies to provide you, at your request, with a free copy of your credit report once every twelve (12) months. Please visit annualcreditreport.com or Federal Trade Commission - Consumer Information for further guidance.
Borrowing Limits, Interest Rate, and Loan Fees
The annual limit on a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan is equal to your Estimated Cost of Attendance minus any other financial aid you receive. For example, if your cost of attendance is $10,000, and you receive $6,000 in other financial aid, you can borrow up to $4,000.
- The annual maximum is the COA minus any other financial aid received.
- The interest rate is fixed at 7.54% for the 2022-2023 academic year and for loans disbursed after July 1, 2022.
- The origination fee is 4.228% (deducted from loan proceeds) for loans disbursed on or after October 1, 2020, but before October 1, 2023.
- Origination fees change annually based on the U.S. 10-year Treasury bill.
- Students accrue interest while in school but are not required to make payments until six months after graduating or dropping below half-time status.
How to Apply
* To electronically sign your form, you will need an FSA ID. If you do not have an FSA ID, you may create one here: Create an FSA ID.
- Step 2: Federal loan eligibility is automatically placed on your financial aid award up to the Cost of Attendance.
- Step 3: Take action on the Federal Direct Loan amount you wish to receive by logging in to PROWL.
- Step 4: Go to studentaid.gov Sign in using your FSA ID. In your Account Dashboard, select “Complete Loan Agreement (Master Promissory Note)” or MPN. In the MPN screen select “PLUS MPN for Graduate/Professional Students”.
Receipt of Loan Funds
When all loan requirements are complete, funds arrive via Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) and are applied directly to your LMU student account in two even disbursements. The first disbursement in the fall semester and the second disbursement in the spring semester.
We will report information about your loan to nationwide consumer reporting agencies (credit bureaus) and the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) on a regular basis. This information will include the disbursement dates, amount, and repayment status of your loan (for example, whether you are current or delinquent in making payments). If you default on a loan, we will report this to nationwide consumer reporting agencies. Your loan will be identified as an education loan. Schools may access information in NSLDS for specific purposes that we authorize.
You have the option of beginning repayment on the PLUS loan either 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed or to begin repayment six months after you graduate or cease to be enrolled on at least a half-time basis.
Options Following A Grad PLUS Loan Denial
If you are denied a graduate PLUS loan you can attempt to secure funding through one of the options detailed below, even though you have received a PLUS denial.
Step 1: Seek a Credit Appeal
The Department of Education allows borrowers whose credit was denied the opportunity to document either of the following situations.
- Information showing that credit reporting used in the credit denial is incorrect and/or has been corrected.
- Extenuating circumstances exist relating to the adverse credit history of the primary PLUS borrower.
Borrowers make a credit appeal through one of these means.
- Log in to studentaid.gov and select "Document Extenuating Circumstances" on the left navigation bar. Follow the directions and a representative from the Department of Education’s Applicant Services will contact the borrower with further instructions.
- Contact Applicant Services at 1-800-557-7394 between 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Step 2: Utilize an Endorser
An endorser is someone who will pass the credit check and who agrees, similar to a co-signer, to repay the PLUS Loan if the student borrower is unable to do so. Almost anyone can serve as an endorser.
If you choose to obtain an endorser, the endorser should complete the endorser addendum at studentaid.gov. The endorser will need the Loan Identification Number to connect the endorsement to the denied Grad PLUS Loan. The Loan Identification Number is located on studentloans.gov after you log into your account. Completing the endorsement online also requires a Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) that utilizes a username and password.
- The Loan/Award Identification Number can also be obtained by contacting the LMU Financial Aid office.
- If the endorser does not already have an FSA ID, they may create one at fsaid.ed.gov.