Grad PLUS Loan

A sort of federal student loan known as a Direct PLUS Loan and offered by the U.S. Department of Education is the Graduate PLUS Loan, also known as the Grad Plus Loan. Graduate students can use a Grad Plus loan to pay for their studies. You will learn in this post if you are eligible for a Graduate PLUS Loan and how to apply for one.

What is a Federal Grad PLUS Loan ?

Through institutions taking part in the Direct Loan Program, the U.S. Department of Education provides Direct PLUS Loans to qualified graduate or professional students. When given to a graduate or professional student, a Direct PLUS Loan is frequently referred to as a grad PLUS loan. Graduate and professional students with a strong credit history may borrow Grad PLUS Loans, which are federal loans, to help with educational costs.

Graduate and professional students who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States and are enrolled at least half-time are eligible for the Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loan, which is not based on need. If you cannot afford the additional costs covered by the Federal Direct Loan, this loan can be utilized to replace the Expected Family Contribution up to the cost of attendance. All Federal Direct PLUS loans are unsubsidized, which means interest starts to accrue right away.

The purpose of a Grad PLUS loan is to supplement any direct unsubsidized loans that these students may be eligible for. The fixed interest rate for Direct Grad PLUS loans is 7.54%, and an origination charge of 4.228% of the loan's principal is also imposed. A credit check is necessary for a Graduate PLUS loan, unlike a Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan for graduate students. The total cost of tuition for that academic year cannot be exceeded by the PLUS loan when combined with additional financial aid and/or resources. The student must submit a Graduate PLUS loan application every year, just like the FAFSA.

Key Facts of Federal Grad PLUS Loan

  • A graduate or professional student who applies for a grad PLUS loan receives a Direct Loan from the U.S. Department of Education.
  • For graduate and professional students who qualify, the Grad PLUS loan is a sort of federal direct PLUS loan that can be used to pay for all aspects of their education, including living expenses.
  • For graduate or professional students, the FAFSA and Direct PLUS Loan application must both be filled out by eligible students.
  • The loan has flexible repayment options, but it also requires a minimal credit check and has a higher interest rate than a Direct Unsubsidized Loan.
  • It's the ideal choice for students whose expenses surpass the Direct Unsubsidized Loan annual loan ceiling or who want a private loan but are unable to qualify for one.

How Does the Grad PLUS Loan Work ?

You can borrow with a grad PLUS loan up to the cost of attendance at your institution, less any other financial aid you get. Like other federal student loan programs, this one has a fixed interest rate that remains the same for the duration of the loan and is tied to rates on long-term U.S. Treasury securities.

A student would normally apply for a Grad PLUS Loan after using up all of their federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan funds, which is a part of the federal Direct PLUS Loan program. The Graduate PLUS Loan may be an excellent student loan option for you if you have hit the $20,500 annual Direct Unsubsidized Loan limit and still need money to pay for graduate school.

The school will disperse the loan proceeds in two payments or disbursements, usually one each term, throughout the course of the academic year. It will apply enough money to your school account with each disbursement to pay for tuition, fees, housing and board, among other costs, as well as a loan origination fee that is deducted from the loan amount. The school will issue you a check for any remaining funds, known as a "credit balance" to use for additional educational costs.

Who is Eligible for a Grad PLUS Loan ?

For Grad PLUS Loan you must meet the following criteria :

Grad PLUS loan eligibility :

Grad PLUS Loan Credit Score

Although a credit score is not required to be eligible for a Grad PLUS Loan, there is still a credit check. You must submit to a credit check by the US Department of Education. When you accept the Financial Aid Notification Terms and Conditions, you provide your consent to the credit check. Loan monies will be disbursed and applied to tuition, fees, and other educational costs if credit is authorized.

You cannot have been subject to a default determination, bankruptcy discharge, foreclosure, tax lien, repossession, wage garnishment, or write-off of a Title IV debt within the previous five years, nor may you have been 90 days or more behind on the repayment of any loan.

Grad PLUS Loan Interest Rate

The interest rate is 7.54% for Grad PLUS Loans that are disbursed for the first time on or after July 1, 2022, but before July 1, 2023. This is a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan.

Grad PLUS Loan Borrowing Limits

The maximum Grad PLUS Loan amount you can borrow is the cost of attendance at the school your child will attend minus any other financial assistance your child receives. The school determines how much it will cost of attendance.

This total price is adjusted to account for student help like scholarships, grants, and your child's student loans. How much you can borrow with Grad PLUS Loan depends on the gap between the amount of student aid awarded and the remaining costs.

Grad PLUS Loan Fees & Charges

Loan costs, such as interest rates and fees, are an important consideration when choosing the best student loan. The combined interest and fees for Grad PLUS Loan for the 2022–2023 academic year come to 7.54%. That is much higher than the 4.99% rate offered on Direct Loans extended to undergrads for the same year.

All federal student loans charge a one-time origination fee, which is taken from your loan proceeds. For loans disbursed in the academic year after October 1, 2020, the Grad PLUS Loan origination fee is equal to 4.228% of the loan's principal. Thus, 95.772% of the gross loan amount will be disbursed to student account.

Each loan distribution is reduced proportionately by the loan fee, which is calculated as a percentage of the loan amount. The figure below illustrates how the percentage changes based on when the loan is initially disbursed.

Loan Fees for Grad PLUS Loan

First Disbursement Date

Loan Fee

On or after Oct. 1, 2021, and before Oct. 1, 2022


On or after Oct. 1, 2022, and before Oct. 1, 2023


Grad PLUS Loan Calculator

Using the Loan Simulator, you may determine your monthly student loan payments and pick the loan repayment plan that best suits your requirements and objectives. Additionally, you can use it to determine whether or not to consolidate your student debts. To acquire a early estimate of your monthly payment amount under the plans for which you are qualified, use Loan Simulator.

What Does a Grad PLUS Loan Cover ?

The Graduate PLUS Loan can pay for the full cost of attendance of your graduate program, with the exception of other financial aid you may have received in the form of scholarships, fellowships, grants, etc. The cost of attendance includes :
  • Tuition and fees
  • Transportation
  • Books and supplies
  • Room and board
  • Technology and equipment
  • Miscellaneous and personal expenses

Grad PLUS Loan Repayment

During the academic year, repayment starts 60 days after the final loan disbursement. If you fulfill the prerequisites for deferral, principal and interest payments may be postponed. If you are enrolled at least half-time in a program leading to a degree, your Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loan will be automatically deferred. Contact your loan servicer to find out more about the different deferments that are available and how to apply for deferment status.

Loan repayment plans for Grad PLUS Loan

There are numerous repayment options available that are made to accommodate each borrower's unique requirements, such as income-driven repayment plans that establish the size of your monthly payment in accordance with your income and family size. You can learn more about your possible repayment alternatives from your loan servicer. Depending on the repayment option you select, you typically have between 10 and 25 years to pay back your loan. Discover your available repayment options.

How to Apply for a Grad PLUS Loan ?

Applying for a PLUS loan is the next action to take if you are eligible. Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to apply for a Grad PLUS Loan. Fill out an application at online, or ask the student's school's financial aid office for an FAFSA application form.

Visit the federal website and look through the list of participating colleges to find out if your student's school is a part of the PLUS program. In order to apply for a PLUS loan at a school that isn't on the list, get in touch with the financial aid department.

A Direct PLUS master promissory note, which represents a promise to abide by the loan's requirements, must be filled out and signed by qualified applicants. Loan counselling is necessary for graduate and professional students who have never taken out a PLUS loan before. Again, information about procedures and demands should be available from the institution's financial aid office.

During the application process, a credit check will be performed. Even if your credit history is poor, you can be eligible if you can find an endorser, a form of co-signer who promises to pay back the loan if you are unable to.

The money from a Grad PLUS Loan will be used to pay for tuition, fees, room and board, as well as other academic expenses, once it has been authorized. If there are any leftover loan money, the school will credit the parent or student for the excess.

Note :
The majority of schools demand that you submit your Direct PLUS Loan application online, however other schools have distinct application requirements. The website will let you know if the school has a separate application process when you choose the one for your child from the list. In that case, inquire about the process for submitting a Grad PLUS Loan request with the school's financial aid office.

Denied Grad PLUS Loan

The Federal Direct Loans office will let you know if your application is rejected. Federal PLUS loan counselling can also be necessary if you decide to challenge the denial of your credit or look for an endorser. If the counselling requirement needs to be fulfilled, Direct Loans will let you know. By contacting Direct Loan Application Services at 1-800-557-7394, you may :
  • Clear up adverse items
  • Dispute your credit report
  • Obtain appropriate documentation for an eligible endorser. An endorser may also complete an Endorser Addendum as an alternative.

Grad PLUS Loan Deadline

It would be best to apply for a Grad PLUS loan no earlier than 30-45 days before the start of the semester. 180 days are the validity period for PLUS loan credit checks, during which a Master Promissory Note (MPN) must be activated.


Grad PLUS Loan Application Deadline

Fall 2022

December 2, 2022

Spring 2023

April 28, 2023

Summer 2023

July 28, 2023

Contact Grad PLUS Loan

Contact Borrower Services, Direct Loan Servicing Center at 1-800-848-0979 or visit for details on the Grad PLUS Loan's terms and conditions, including repayment terms and rates, deferment, and other terms.

Frequently Asked Questions

When can I submit a Grad PLUS loan application?
You must submit the FAFSA form to be qualified for a Grad PLUS loan. FAFSA applications usually become available in October for the next academic year. Check with the college you are enrolled in for particular instructions and application dates for Grad PLUS loans as most universities offer them.

What happens after I receive Grad PLUS Loan?
Your loan servicer will get in touch with you after you get your graduate PLUS loan. Regular updates on the status of your grad PLUS loan will be given by your loan servicer.

Even though I have a adverse credit history, am I still eligible for a Grad PLUS loan?
During the application procedure, a credit check will be run. You may still be eligible for a grad PLUS loan even if you have a poor credit history if you choose one of these two options :
  • The acquisition of an endorser without a bad credit history. An endorser is a person who promises to pay back the graduate PLUS loan if you are unable to.
  • Proving to the satisfaction of the U.S. Department of Education that your adverse credit history is due to mitigating circumstances.

What if I am unable to repay Grad PLUS loan?
Please get in touch with your loan servicer right away if you won't be able to make your planned loan payments. Your servicer can assist you in understanding your options for maintaining the status of your loan.

If I realise I don't need the loan or if I only need a portion of the provided amount, can I cancel it?
Yes, You have the option to cancel all or a portion of your loan at any time by notifying the school before the money is issued. You have a limited window of time to cancel all or a portion of your loan once it has been disbursed. The process and deadlines for cancelling your loan are described in your promissory note and other documents you'll get from the school.

Can my grad PLUS loan ever be forgiven (canceled) or discharged?
You might be qualified to have all or a portion of your loan forgiven (cancelled) or discharged under certain circumstances. Learn about loan cancellation, discharge, and forgiveness.

Where can I find information about grad PLUS loans I have received?
To examine details about all federal student loans and other financial help you have received, as well as to find the phone number for your loan servicer, go to "My Aid".

What are the benefits of grad PLUS loan?
A Graduate PLUS Loan has advantages, much as advantages provided for other federal student loans. Grad PLUS loans have an interest rate that is fixed and won't change for the duration of the loan. Additionally, you can defer loan payments for as long as you're enrolled at least half-time in an accredited program while you're in school and for an additional six months after you've slipped below half-time status or quit school. With Graduate PLUS Loans, you can choose from a variety of repayment options, including income-driven repayment plans, and the interest you pay may be tax deductible.

What is the difference between Grad PLUS loan and unsubsidized loan?
The highest amount you can borrow for graduate school under the federal Direct unsubsidized loan program is $20,500 year, with a lifetime borrowing cap of $138,500. A graduate PLUS loan, in contrast, enables you to borrow up to the cost of attendance, less any other financial aid you have received.

Which is better unsubsidized loan or grad PLUS loan?
In comparison to PLUS Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans have lower fees and interest rates. A Direct Unsubsidized Loan's origination charge, sometimes known as the "loan fee" is actually one-fourth of what you would pay for a PLUS Loan.

Can I pay for living expenses with the Grad PLUS loan?
For graduate and professional students who qualify, the Grad PLUS loan is a sort of federal direct PLUS loan that can be used to pay for all aspects of their education, including living expenses.

Does Grad PLUS loans go to bank account?
You will receive all Graduate PLUS Loan monies by electronic fund transfer, and they will be used to pay down your outstanding debt no earlier than seven days before the start of each semester.

What causes the denial of a Grad PLUS loan?
You will not be qualified to apply for a Grad PLUS Loan if your credit report shows you are 90 days or more past due on any debt, are in default, have a bankruptcy, foreclosure, repossession, tax lien, wage garnishment, or have had any Title IV federal financial aid written off in the previous five years.

Do I need to submit a Grad PLUS loan application every year?
Students can apply for a Graduate PLUS Loan at under the "Complete PLUS Request Process" section after submitting their FAFSA. Each succeeding academic year, you will need to reapply for a new Graduate PLUS loan.

Is it first come, first serve for Grad PLUS loans?
Loan funds are always available and are not given out according to who applies first.

Are Grad PLUS loans Unlimited?
Borrowing for PLUS loans is unrestricted. While you are only permitted to borrow up to the annual cost of tuition, PLUS loans may be taken out indefinitely for any number of degrees. Compared to government direct loans, which do have restrictions, this is different.

How will I receive Grad PLUS Loan?
To cover tuition, fees, room and board, and other school expenses, the school will first put the cash from your grad PLUS loan to your school account. If there are any leftover loan funds, your institution will give them to you to use toward additional educational costs.

Are cosigners required for Grad PLUS loans?
In contrast to several other federal loans, the Grad PLUS Loan does require candidates to undergo a credit check. This student loan does not require a cosigner unless your credit history is less than ideal.

What additional steps do I need to do to get Grad PLUS Loan?
You must sign a Direct PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN), accepting the loan's terms, if you are qualified for a grad PLUS loan. You must also finish admission counselling if you haven't already earned a PLUS loan. You can get information on how to complete admission counselling by getting in touch with the financial aid office at the school you intend to attend.

How long does it take to receive a Grad PLUS loan approval?
To ensure prompt processing, you should start the application procedure four to six weeks before you need the money. The servicer may provide notice of your credit approval or denial after a few weeks, depending on the season.

How long does it take to get money from Grad PLUS loan?
school year One-half of your graduate PLUS loans are issued each semester at the start of the semester via direct credit to your account. One disbursement is made for summer session and single term loans at the start of the term.