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Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loans are available to graduate students enrolled at least half time who do not have an adverse credit history. Students may borrow up to the cost of attendance minus any other aid. The total education cost may include tuition, living allowance, books and supplies, and transportation. Graduate students must use their Direct Unsubsidized loan eligibility prior to applying for a Direct Graduate Plus Loan.
The interest rate for Graduate PLUS loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014 is fixed at 6.41%, with interest beginning to accrue upon disbursement. The interest rate for Graduate PLUS loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015 is fixed at 7.21%, with interest beginning to accrue upon disbursement.
Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loans disbursed on or after December 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014 have a 4.288% origination fee. Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loans disbursed on or after October 1, 2014 through November 30, 2015 have a 4.292% origination fee.
The interest rate cap is 10.5%.
Process for Students
- You must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) (http://www.fafsa.gov/) form if one has not been submitted for the current year.
- You must complete the Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Request, Direct Graduate PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN), and Graduate Level Direct Loan Entrance Counseling. All forms are available online at http://www.studentloans.gov/.
- The Office of Financial Aid receives Direct Graduate PLUS MPN and the Approved/Endorsed Graduate PLUS Loan Record from U.S. Department of Education (ED) and adds the Graduate PLUS award to myFinAid.
- You may go to myFinAid to accept, reduce, or decline the Graduate PLUS award amount.
- If you are registered and all official transcripts are on file with the Office of Admissions, the Office of Financial Aid sends a Direct Graduate PLUS Loan origination record to ED.
The U.S. Department of Education is responsible for all Graduate PLUS Loan credit decisions. Graduate PLUS Loan borrowers are required to pass a simplified credit check, meaning that the U.S. Department of Education is not looking for a certain credit score or for an extensive credit history, but simply the absence of an adverse credit history. You can view the status of your application by logging in to www.studentloans.gov or by calling Federal Direct Loans at 1-800-848-0979.
The following will cause a Graduate PLUS Loan to be denied:
- A current delinquency of 90 days or more; this includes unpaid collection accounts and charge offs.
- Default in the past 5 years.
- Defaulted loan that has been claim paid.
- Chapter 7, 11, or 12 bankruptcy (Chapter 13 is OK) in the past 5 years.
- Discharge in the past 5 years.
- Foreclosure in the past 5 years.
- Foreclosure proceedings started.
- Deed in lieu of foreclosure.
- Lease or contract terminated by default.
- Repossession in the past 5 years.
- Tax lien (county, state, or federal) in the past 5 years.
- Wage garnishment in the past 5 years.
- Voluntary surrender in the past 5 years.
- Write-off of Title IV debt in the past 5 years.
You will receive an immediate response of an approved or denied application upon electronic completion as well as the loan reference number, which is needed if you wish to pursue an endorser. The Walden University Office of Financial Aid will be notified electronically of the credit decision only if the application was completed electronically. Applications are not approved or denied based on the dollar amount requested; therefore, students should NOT complete additional applications once a denied decision is rendered by the Department of Education. Approval for the Graduate Plus loan is specific to the individual loan. It is possible to be approved for one loan and denied at a later date for a new loan. Credit decisions are held for 90 days. Once the loan application is denied, you must either find an endorser or appeal the credit decision.
The Office of Financial Aid has no control or influence on the credit decision rendered by the U.S. Department of Education. Any and all correspondence regarding credit appeals and endorsers must be sent to the U.S. Department of Education.
Denied students still have two options to obtain the Graduate PLUS Loan:
- Review your credit report (which can be done for free at http://www.annualcreditreport.com/) for possible errors and correct them before appealing directly to the U.S. Department of Education.
- Find a creditworthy endorser to co-sign the loan. This endorser will then be responsible for the loan should you default on the loan at any point during the life of the loan.
Endorsing a Graduate PLUS Loan
Steps to be taken by the endorser—These MUST be completed electronically; paper addenda will not be accepted:
- Sign up for a PIN number at pin.ed.gov. A PIN is required to electronically sign the endorser addendum.
- Sign onto http://www.studentloans.gov/. This is the website where you electronically co-sign the loan.
- Click on “Endorse Direct PLUS Loan” (fourth link down, in the center of the page).
- Enter Loan Reference Number (provided by student borrower) and follow the instructions.
You will need to accept or reduce the Graduate PLUS Loan amount prior to the record being sent for certification.