Graduate PLUS loans are part of the Federal Direct Loan Program.

For: Graduate students enrolled at least half time and who do not have an adverse credit history.

Loan Amounts: Students may borrow up to the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid received. The total education cost may include tuition, living allowance, books and supplies, and transportation. Graduate students must use their Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan eligibility prior to applying for a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan.

Interest Rates and Loan Fees:

Federal Graduate PLUS loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017 have an interest rate fixed at 6.31%, with interest beginning to accrue upon disbursement.

Federal Graduate PLUS loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018 have an interest rate fixed at 7.00%, with interest beginning to accrue upon disbursement.

Federal Graduate PLUS loans first disbursed on or after October 1, 2016 and before October 1, 2017 have a 4.276% loan fee.

Federal Graduate PLUS loans first disbursed on or after October 1, 2017 and before October 1, 2018 have a 4.264% loan fee.

Loan fees are retained by the federal government to reduce the cost of supporting these low interest loans.

Process

  • If one has not been submitted for the current year, the student completes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at http://www.fafsa.gov/.
  • Student completes 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 the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and adds the Graduate PLUS award to myFinAid.
  • Student goes to myFinAid to accept, reduce, or decline the Graduate PLUS award amount.
  • If student is 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.

Decisions

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. Students can view the status of their application by logging in to www.studentloans.gov or by calling Federal Direct Loans at 1-800-557-7394. Effective March 29, 2015 credit decisions remain valid for 180 days.

The following will cause a Graduate PLUS Loan to be denied:

  • An open account currently 90 days or more delinquent.
  • A collection or charged off account (open or closed) in the past two years.
  • Default in the past five years.
  • Defaulted loan that has been claim paid.
  • Chapter 7, 11, or 12 bankruptcies (Chapter 13 is OK) discharged in the past five years.
  • Foreclosure in the past five years.
  • Foreclosure proceedings started.
  • Deed in lieu of foreclosure in the past five years.
  • Lease or contract terminated by default.
  • Repossession of collateral in the past five years.
  • Tax lien (county, state, or federal) in the past five years.
  • Wage garnishment in the past five years.
  • Voluntary surrender of personal property to avoid repossession in the past five years.
  • Charge-Off/Write-off of Title IV debt in the past five years.

Students 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 the student wishes 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. Once the loan application is denied, the student must either find an endorser or appeal the credit decision by documenting extenuating circumstances.

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:

  1. Review their 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.
  2. Find a creditworthy endorser to co-sign the loan. This endorser will then be responsible for the loan should the student 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 addendums will not be accepted:

  1. Create an FSA ID at https://fsaid.ed.gov. Endorsers must log in using their own FSA ID to complete an endorser addendum.
  2. Sign onto http://www.studentloans.gov/. This is the website where the endorser electronically co-signs for the loan.
  3. Click on ”Complete Endorser Addendum” (under $$Obtain Aid at bottom of the webpage).
  4. Enter the Endorser Code or an Award Identification Number (provided by student borrower) and follow the instructions.
  5. Accept or reduce the Direct Graduate PLUS loan amount. This will need to be done prior to the record being sent for certification.

Do you have questions about financial aid? If you haven’t yet applied to Walden, please contact an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336 in the United States. If you are a current student, please contact a financial aid advisor at finaid@mail.waldenu.edu or call 1-800-WALDENU (1-800-925-3368).

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