Direct Graduate PLUS (GradPlus) Loans
Graduate Plus (GradPlus) Loans are low interest Federal Direct Loans awarded to eligible Graduate students who file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and have exhausted their eligibility for Direct Stafford Loans. You must be enrolled in at least six (6) credits in any given semester to qualify. Unlike Stafford Loans, PLUS Loans do require that you pass a simplified credit check; students who fail the credit check can still get the loan if they are able to find an endorser who can pass the credit check.
The student’s Direct GradPlus limit is total Cost of Attendance (as determined by the school) minus other aid received. UMB automatically awards eligible students GradPlus Loans up to their maximum limit. Students have the choice to make their first payment either 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed or (as of 7/1/08) six months after the student drops below half-time status.
- PIN – pin.ed.gov
The PIN is used to electronically sign financial aid documents with the Department of Education including the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and Master Promissory Notes (MPN). It is also used as a login for Department of Education websites.
- Yearly requirements that must be completed by incoming and returning students
- Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – www.fafsa.gov
Federal Title IV Code: 002104
The FAFSA is the official application of the Department of Education to determine eligibility for Graduate Plus Loans; it is also required for Pell Grants, Stafford Loans and all other federal and most state aid. The priority deadline for this form is March 1st (form goes live January 1st) for prospective (even if not yet accepted) and returning students, late submission could cause a delay of funds.
- Accept Awards – SURFS
Students receive an email to their University email account (or email listed on their FAFSA for incoming students) once they are awarded aid instructing them to logon to SURFS (also known as SIMSweb) to accept their awards.
- Borrower Disclosure Form - Click here to view and print
The Borrower Disclosure Form authorizes the Financial Aid Office to process the loans on the student’s behalf and contains additional information on the loans.
- Master Promissory Note (MPN) – www.studentloans.gov
The Master Promissory Note (MPN) contains the terms of the loans and is your contract with the Department of Education to repay your loans.
Incoming Students: Please complete the Graduate Plus MPN in addition to the Subsidized/Unsubsidized MPN you completed for Stafford Loans, returning students need only complete the Graduate Plus Loan MPN yearly.
- Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – www.fafsa.gov
- Entrance Counseling - www.studentloans.gov
The Department of Education requires all borrowers to complete Entrance Counseling when borrowing for the first time at each institution. This is an online “quiz” that provides information about how student loans work and the borrower’s rights and responsibilities. Make sure to select that you are a graduate student so that you do not have to complete this requirement twice.
Graduate Plus Loan borrowers are required to pass a simplified credit check, meaning that the 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.
The following will cause a Graduate Plus Loan to be denied:
- A current delinquency of 90 days or more, this includes unpaid collection accounts and charge offs.
- Default in the past five years.
- Defaulted loan that has been claim paid.
- Chapter 7, 11 and 12 Bankruptcy (Chapter 13 okay) in the past five years.
- Discharge in the past five years.
- Foreclosure in the past five years.
- Foreclosure proceedings started.
- Deed in lieu of foreclosure.
- Lease or contract terminated by default.
- Repossession 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 in the past five years.
- Write off of Title IV Debt in the past five years.
Students denied a GradPlus Loan will receive a letter from the Department of Education informing them of the denial, UMB will also be notified electronically. Denied students have two options to still get the GradPlus Loan:
- Review their credit report (which can be done for free on www.annualcreditreport.com) for possible errors and correct any others before appealing directly with the Department of Education.
- Find a credit-worthy endorser to co-sign on 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.
Steps to be taken by endorser
- Sign up for a PIN number at pin.ed.gov – a PIN is required to electronically sign the endorser addendum.
- Sign onto www.studentloans.gov – this is the website where you electronically co-sign the loan.
- Click on Endorse a Plus Loan (4th link down the center of the page)
- Enter Loan Reference Number (provided by student borrower) and follow the instructions.
*Loans first disbursed between July 1, 2013 and November 30, 2013 were subject to an origination fee of 4.204%. The new origination fee (below) is due to sequestration.
Origination Fees (4.288%) Loans first disbursed between 12/1/2013 and 9/30/2014*
Amount Disbursed to UMB
Q: When are the loans disbursed?
A: Loans are disbursed by the Department of Education to the University no earlier than 10 days before the start of classes each semester.
Q: Who is my lender?
A: Beginning with the 2010-2011 academic year the Department of Education is the lender for all Federal Student Loans (Stafford and Plus Loans) as stated in the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010.
Q: What is an origination fee?
A: An amount taken off the top of the loan before the loan is disbursed (Loan Amount – Origination Fee = Amount received by school).
Q: Why am I not getting an upfront origination fee rebate as in previous years?
A: The Budget Control Act of 2011 eliminated the upfront origination fee rebate. If you had the rebate in previous years please do remember that the rebate must be repaid if you do not make your first 12 consecutive monthly payments on time (within six days of date due).
Q: Why was my loan split?
A: Loans are split evenly between Fall & Spring semesters for all students; depending on the program it is possible students could have their loans split into three between Summer, Fall & Spring semesters.
Q: If I don’t accept the awards this year, can I still get them next year?
A: Yes, awards are based on that year’s FAFSA not on what was accepted last year.
Q: What happens if my loan is denied?
A: You must get an endorser with a good credit history to co-sign your loan.
Q: When does interest begin?
A: Interest begins after the first disbursement of the loan.
Q: When does repayment begin?
A: Students have the choice to select in-school deferment so that their first payment is due six months after dropping below half-time status, otherwise the first payment is due sixty days after the final disbursement.
Q: How much can I borrow in one year?
A: Students are only limited to the formula of Cost of Attendance minus Other Aid Received, otherwise there is no yearly limit.
Q: What is the aggregate limit for GradPlus Loans?
A: GradPlus Loans do not currently have an aggregate limit.
Q: How often does interest accrue?
A: Interest accrues daily starting on the day of disbursement (day the funds are released by the Department of Education). In a typical Fall & Spring academic year this means that interest begins on the first half of the loan in late August (for most programs) and on the entire loan in mid-January (for most programs).
Q: How can I calculate the amount of interest that is accruing on my loan?
A: To determine what your accruing loan interest is on a daily basis you divide your interest rate (converted to decimal) by 365.25 (number of days in a calendar year) this gives you the Interest Rate Factor. Then multiply the Interest Rate Factor by your outstanding principal balance. This is the amount of interest that is accruing daily. The interest rate factor for a 7.21% Graduate Plus Loan is 0.000197399.