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Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loan

PLEASE NOTE: PLUS applications for Summer 2014 should not be submitted until after April 1, 2014. PLUS applications for the 2014-15 school year should not be submitted until after June 1, 2014.

Graduate students who have utilized their maximum Federal Direct Loan eligibility may apply for a Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loan to help pay educational expenses, as long as certain eligibility requirements are met. Grad PLUS loans are issued in the student's name, and the student is responsible for repayment.

When considering all options to pay for school, you may also want to compare the Federal Grad PLUS Loan vs. private student loans using  Sallie Mae's Understanding Gap Financing Options: PLUS Loan for Graduate Students and Private Student Loans .

Eligibility

To be eligible, the student borrower must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • Be enrolled at least half-time in graduate-level coursework in an eligible degree program
  • Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Use their maximum Federal Direct Loan eligibility
  • Not have an adverse credit history (a credit check will be done) - see also Additional Information below

PLUS loans are considered financial aid and students must meet WIU Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements to remain eligible to receive Grad PLUS funds.

Benefits

PLUS loans are processed through the Federal Direct Loan Program and offer a fixed interest rate of 7.21% for 2014-15 (6.41% for 2013-14). Interest charges will begin when the loan is first disbursed. Student's may borrow up to their cost of attendance minus any other financial aid (e.g. loans, scholarships, waivers, etc.).

Application

Before a Grad PLUS loan can be processed, the student must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Students may submit a Grad PLUS application after June 1 prior to the start of the academic year (for spring-only PLUS loans, please submit after November 1). It is highly recommended that students start this PLUS loan application process 6-8 weeks prior to enrollment in order to better guarantee that the disbursement will arrive on time.

Grad PLUS loan applications  must be received by the Financial Aid Office while the student is actively enrolled,  giving a minimum one week notice to allow for processing. PLUS loans  cannot be requested to pay a past due balance  after enrollment has ended for that term.

To apply for a Grad PLUS loan, visit www.studentloans.gov:

  • Students will need to log in using their 4-digit PIN number (used to electronically sign their FAFSA)
  • Applicants will need to specify a loan period -
    • If you would like your PLUS loan to be for the entire 2013-14 academic year (two disbursements - one fall, one spring), your loan period should be 08/2013 - 05/2014
    • If you would like your PLUS loan to be for the Fall 2013 semester only (one disbursement), your loan period should be 08/2013 - 12/2013
    • If you would like your PLUS loan to be for the Spring 2014 semester only (one disbursement), apply after November 1 -  your loan period will then be 01/2014 - 05/2014
  • Applicants may specify the amount they wish to borrow, or allow the school to determine the maximum amount needed for the specified loan period.
  • Applicants will need to complete a Master Promissory Note, which is the borrower's agreement to terms and repayment.
  • First-time Grad PLUS borrowers will need to complete Grad PLUS Entrance Counseling, also done online at www.studentloans.gov.

Additional Information

If the student does not pass the PLUS credit check, he/she may still receive the PLUS loan if an endorser is included (such as a relative or friend who is able to pass the credit check). The endorser promises to repay the loan if the student borrower fails to do so.

Prior to disbursement, a federal origination fee of 4.204% is deducted proportionately from each loan payment  forwarded to the school by the DL Loan Origination Center (i.e. for every $1,000 borrowed, the student receives $958).

Repayment Info

Interest begins to accumulate after the first PLUS disbursement is made. The standard PLUS repayment period begins 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed. However, the student may elect to defer repayment if the student is enrolled on at least a half-time basis.

For additional information regarding repayment, contact your loan servicer after your application has been approved. Loan and servicer information can be found online using the National Student Loan Data System.