About Federal Direct Graduate/Professional PLUS Loans

If you are a graduate or professional student, consider a Federal Direct Graduate/Professional PLUS loan before an alternative loan or maxing out your credit cards. This loan helps qualifying students pay the difference between the financial aid already received – from scholarships, grants and student loans – and the cost of attendance. Unlike some private loans that come with variable rates that can climb several times a year, this loan has a fixed rate for the life of the loan.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for a GradPLUS Loan, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen and have a social security number.
  • Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment on at least a half-time basis in a graduate or professional program.
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Already have applied for the maximum annual amounts for which you qualify under the Federal Direct Stafford and Unsubsidized Stafford Loan Programs.
  • Meet credit eligibility requirements.

Loan Limits

There are no set annual or aggregate limits for federal Direct Graduate/Professional PLUS Loans.

You may borrow up to the full cost of attendance, minus any other financial aid received (including subsidized and unsubsidized loans, scholarships and fellowships).

Loan Costs

The interest rate on Graduate PLUS Loans:

  • 5.30% for loans first disbursed between 7/1/20 - 6/30/21
  • 6.08% for loans first disbursed between 7/1/19 - 6/30/20
  • 7.60% for loans first disbursed between 7/1/18 - 6/30/19
  • 7.00% for loans first disbursed between 7/1/17 - 6/30/18

There is a loan fee on all Direct PLUS loans. The loan fee is a percentage of the loan amount and is proportionately deducted from each loan disbursement. The percentage varies depending on when the loan is first disbursed.

  • For all PLUS loans disbursed between 10/1/19 and 10/1/20, the disbursement fee is 4.236%. 
  • For all PLUS loans disbursed between 10/1/18 and 10/1/19, the disbursement fee is 4.248%.
  • For all PLUS loans first disbursed between 10/1/17 and 10/1/18, the disbursement fee is 4.264%. 

Repaying a Federal Direct Graduate/Professional PLUS Loan

Your first payment will be due within 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed. Generally, this will be while you are still in school. There is no grace period.

You may request an in-school deferment if you are enrolled in at least a half-time status. Keep in mind, your GradPLUS Loan accrues interest while in deferment status and the interest will be capitalized unless arrangements are made with the holder to pay interest quarterly.

You must apply separately for an in-school deferment on your GradPLUS Loan, even if you have already received in-school deferments on FFEL subsidized or unsubsidized loans.

How to Apply

To apply, you must submit the FAFSA and complete the Federal Direct PLUS Master Promissory Note, available from your college financial aid office or the U.S. Department of Education.


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