Federal PLUS Loans Available to Graduate Students
Applying to graduate school is nerve-wracking. Not only is it hard to get accepted, but financial aid is harder to find. Government grants are not available to grad students, so costs make undergraduate tuition look like pocket change. Do not let the fear of debt overshadow your goals of attending graduate school. PLUS Loans, originally intended for parents, are available for graduate students. Prospective graduate students don’t need to visit loan sharks to meet their financial needs; graduate school is a realistic goal. Here are some things to know before applying for a PLUS Loan.
The Federal PLUS Loan at a Glance
PLUS Loans are insured student loans that come from the federal government’s Direct Loan Program. Like all other loans, these must be repaid. The interest rate for PLUS loans is a fixed 7.9%. Interest is charged from the date of the first disbursement until the loan is paid off.
How Much Can I Borrow?
Because the PLUS Loan is not based on financial need, you can borrow more money than need-based federal student loans. The amount of money you can borrow is based on the cost of attendance. Cost of attendance includes tuition, room and board, books, and some personal expenses. To calculate the amount to borrow, subtract your financial aid from the cost of attendance.
Similarities and Differences Between Parent and Student Borrowers
To take out a PLUS Loan, graduate students have similar conditions as parents of dependent students. To qualify, grad students must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, be enrolled at least half-time, and have good credit history. Graduate students with bad credit can apply with a cosigner.
There are a few differences between applying as a grad student vs. applying as a parent of a dependent student. For example, graduate students must submit their FAFSA information and have their maximum loan eligibility reassessed by the school before applying for the loan.
When Do I Repay The Loan?
Rules that applied to parents taking out PLUS Loans in the past are still intact. The payments for loans, including accumulated interest, start 60 days after the first disbursement. Consequently, parents pay for loans while the students are still in school. Graduate students can defer their payments until they graduate. Both parents and students taking out a PLUS Loan have up to 10 years to pay off the loans.
The costs of graduate school is difficult to swallow. PLUS Loans for graduate and professional students help make costs manageable. Saving money and taking out federal student loans is not always enough, and grad student regulations make financing college difficult. PLUS Loans will supplement financial aid if necessary, and be enough to make ends meet. If you got through undergrad, you can get through this.
Last Edited: December 2015
- Access to Information May Mean More Cash for College
- College "Preferred Lenders" List Not Always Preferable
- Common Financial Aid Questions
- Federal PLUS Loans Available to Graduate Students
- Fellowship Breakdown
- Financial Aid Myth-Busting
- Grants & Fellowships
- Organize Your Financial Aid Documents
- Pay for School
- Pell Grants Increase While Lender Subsidies Decrease
- Scholarships, Grants, Fellowships, Internships and Loans Explored
- Student Financial Aid
- Student Financial Aid - Important Terms
Latest College & Financial Aid News
December 6, 2016
by Susan DutcaThe mantle of "College President" is one that includes a lot of responsibility and scrutiny, but for some in the higher ranks, the lucrative pay makes it worth it. According to data released by The Chronicle of Higher Education, some private-college presidents have made over $5.4 million in a single year. The average annual salary for full-time college/university presidents in 2014 was roughly [...]
December 1, 2016
by Susan DutcaPerhaps your 2017 New Year's Resolution is to earn more free college money - that's our goal for you! 2016 is now coming to an end, and so are these scholarship deadlines, so hurry and apply to these end-of-the-year awards while you still can! Girls Who Illustrate Awesomeness Scholarship [...]
November 29, 2016
by Susan DutcaThe incoming Trump administration could reverse President Obama's actions on college sexual assault, giving hope to those who claim their lives were destroyed by false rape claims. However, this raises concerns for some that perhaps those who have been victims of sexual assault and made legitimate reports may not get the protection they deserve. Since 2011, colleges and universities have been [...]