Federal Direct Graduate Plus Loan

What is a Graduate Plus Loan?

A Graduate PLUS Loan allows for a student seeking their Graduate Degree to help pay for their education through a fixed rate federal loan. PLUS Loans can help cover educational expenses not covered by other financial aid resources. The loan is in the student's name; and in order to be approved, the borrower must not have adverse credit. The US Department of Education is the lender for the loan and the student is responsible to re-pay any amounts borrowed. In order to have a PLUS Loan awarded on the student's account, the student must have a FAFSA application on file and be enrolled in at least 6 credits per semester.

Additional Facts:

    • Only applicable for Graduate students; Post-baccalaureate Certification students do not qualify for this loan
    • Has a fixed interest rate of 6.31% for 2016-2017
    • Borrower is charged an origination fee
      • 4.292% for loans first disbursed between October 1, 2014 - September 30, 2015
      • 4.272% for loans first disbursed between October 1, 2015 - September 30, 2016
    • During the application process the student can choose to defer payments while student is enrolled in school; and/or 6 months post enrollment
    • Interest accrues from the date the loan disburses
    • To be approved, the student must pass credit check/not have adverse credit history
    • If denied, the student is not eligible to receive additional unsubsidized loan money; however they can choose to appeal the decision or add an endorser
    • It is recommended that a student borrow the maximum under the Federal Direct Loan program first. The Federal Direct Loan maximum for one academic year is up to $20,500.

As a family, you should weigh the options between a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan (graduate, degree-seeking students only), Private/Alternative Parent Loans (any credit-worthy person who is not the student and wishes to gift the cost of education on their behalf) and a Private/Alternative Student Loan (student & credit-worthy co-signer).

To view a side-by-side comparison of Graduate Plus Loans vs. Private Parent Loans vs. Private Student Loans, please click here.  

Am I eligible?

To receive a Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, you must:

    • Have a completed FAFSA application on file.
    • Not have adverse credit history
      • An adverse credit history is defined as being more than 90 days late on any debt or having any Title IV debt within the past five years subjected to default determination, bankruptcy discharge, foreclosure, repossession, tax lien, wage garnishment, or write-off.
    • The student must meet all other general eligibility requirements for federal aid.
    • Student must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
    • The student must be enrolled in at least 6 credits (half-time).
    • The student must be a degree-seeking student.
    • This loan is for graduate students only (must be seeking a graduate degree - i.e. Master's Degree)
    • Students seeking a Post-baccalaureate Certification (teacher certification), and Undergradutate students do NOT qualify for this loan.
    • Students must complete Direct Loan Counseling and a Master Promissory Note before the Graduate PLUS Loan can be disbursed (See the section below: "What additional steps must I take to receive my loan?").


When should I apply?

Returning Students:

    • We request that your parent does not apply for the PLUS loan until after May 1; prior to the year the student will attend (i.e. May 1, 2016 for the 2016-2017 Academic Year).

Incoming Freshman:

    • We normally request that your parent applies for the PLUS loan between April 1 and June 15; prior to the year the student will attend (i.e. May 1, 2016 for the 2016-2017 Academic Year). 
    • This will allow sufficient time for processing of the loans prior to billing for the fall semester. 

NOTE: Applications for each upcoming academic year are not available until April 1st.

How much can I borrow?

The maximum amount your parent can borrow in the PLUS Loan is the Cost of Attendance minus any other financial aid awarded.

What Loan Period should I select?

NOTE: Please be advised that if you do not indicate a loan period on your loan application, the loan term will default to the academic year (Fall/Spring). It is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to indicate correct loan term dates to ensure the correct processing of your PLUS loan.

2016-2017 loan period dates available:

    • For the Summer Only, use 5/9/16 - 8/12/16 (no matter what session you are enrolled) - Student must have a Summer Aid Application on file.
    • For the Summer/Fall/Spring, use 5/9/16 - 5/12/17  - Student must have a Summer Aid Application on file.
      • PLEASE NOTE:  If you choose the option Summer/Fall/Spring, and apply for a specific amount, it will be processed and split in thirds. If you apply and choose the option "wish to receive up to maximum cos of attendance", your loan will be processed based on the maximum budget for each semester.
    • For the Fall/Spring, use 8/29/16 - 5/12/17
    • For the Fall Only, use 8/29/16 - 12/16/16
    • For the Spring Only, use 1/19/16 - 5/7/16

How Do I apply?

To apply for a Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, you must:

    • Go to: www.studentloans.gov
    • Log in using your (the students) information. You will need:
      • FSA User ID and Password - NEW!!!
      • NOTE: This has replaced the 4-digit pin number
      • To create an FSA User ID click here.
        • If you have forgotten your user name or password, click here.
      • Once logged into your account, click on the link that says, "Apply for a PLUS Loan"; then click on the link that says "Complete PLUS request for Graduate/Professional Students"
        • Make sure you are properly selecting the application for the Direct PLUS Loan Request for Graduate/Professional Student Borrowers
      • Follow directions carefully and complete each section entering student information, loan term requests and period (see above), school information, amount to request, parent information, and confirm submission of credit check.
      • Once application has been submitted, you will receive an approval or denial.
      • If approved, follow the directions below on how to complete a Master Promissory Note.
      • If denied, click here.

What additional steps must I take to receive my loan?

If you have been approved the Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, and choose to borrow the funds, you MUST complete the following:

Master Promissory Note (MPN):

  1. Once you have been approved for the PLUS Loan, you will see a link to "COMPLETE MASTER PROMISSORY NOTE". Click on this link.
  2. Enter personal information
    • Select Millersville from the list of PA schools
  3. Provide two personal references
  4. Continue clicking through each step until you have signed and completed the form.
  5. You will receive a confirmation once your Master Promissory Note has been completely submitted.
NOTE: It is Federal Regulation that this step must be done so that the terms of your loan and repayment are understood and agreed upon. Until you complete this steps, you will not receive any Federal Loans awarded to you.

NOTE: If you have an endorser (co-signer) on your loan, you will need to complete a new MPN each year, and ensure that the endorser has completed the Endorser Addendum.

If you were originally denied the Direct Parent PLUS Loan, and have since appealed the decision or added an endorser to your loan you ALSO must complete:

Plus Loan Credit Counseling:

  1. Once you have logged into your account, you will find the link for Plus Credit Counseling in the left hand Navigation bar, under the Tab "Plus Loan Process".
  2. Click on the link that says: Complete PLUS Counseling
  3. Select the option: Parent of an Eligible dependent undergraduate Student and hit "continue"
  4. Complete each page and submit
  5. You will receive a confirmation once your Plus Counseling has been completely submitted.
NOTE: It is Federal Regulation that this step must be done so that the terms of your loan and repayment are understood and agreed upon. Until you complete this steps, you will not receive any Federal Loans awarded to you.

Additional Important Information

  • The school can refuse to certify a student's loan application OR certify the loan for an amount less than the student would otherwise be eligible. The school must document the reason for its action and explain the reason to the student in writing. The decision of the school is final and cannot be appealed to the Department of Education.
  • During the repayment period, under certain circumstances, the USDE may grant deferments, forbearances, or cancellations. Parent must contact USDE.
  • Yearly limit is equal to the student's Cost of Attendance minus any other financial aid received by the student.
  • Parent may cancel all or a portion of the loan within 14 days after the date the school has sent notification that the loan funds have been credited to the student's account. Contact the Office of Financial Aid to cancel the loan.
  • Interest is charged from the date the first disbursement is made until the loan is paid in full.
  • Parent has up to 10 years to repay loan depending on the size of the parent's debt.

Federal Direct Loan Disclaimer

In accordance with U.S. Department of Education regulations (HEOA 489 amended HEA Sec.485B), Millersville University and the Office of Financial Aid acknowledges to students and parents that when the student enters into an agreement regarding a Title IV (HEA) loan, i.e.: Direct Stafford Loan and Direct Parent PLUS Loan that the loan will be submitted to NSLDS (National Student Loan Data System) and accessible by authorized agencies, lenders, and institutions.