What is a Graduate PLUS Loan?

The pursuit of a higher education it has always been important to both the US Government and its citizens. Knowing that the cost of this benefit is steep, the federal government has developed different financing plans to help people pay for their continuing matriculation, one program for assistance is a Graduate PLUS Loan.

The “PLUS” in the loan titles name stands for Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students. Similar to a Parent PLUS Loan in many aspects, the Grad PLUS Loan is specifically designed for graduate students. The main difference is of course the curriculum for which the loan will cover and that graduate students are directly responsible for these loans (as opposed to the undergrad program which is a parent or guardian held loan).

The Graduate PLUS Loan is a low interest, federally backed student loan guaranteed by the U.S. Government. It is like a private student loan, but with the benefit of having a fixed interest rate (currently at 8.5%) and federal guarantee. The payments can be deferred while the student is in school and the loan will cover all the expenses of the education including tuition, room and board, supplies, lab expenses, and travel. The Grad Plus Loans are granted solely on a credit history basis and if one’s credit is good there are no cosigners required. The total amount of the loan is based on the cost of the education minus any aid already received.

Those wanting a Grad PLUS Loan to help pay for their tuition, need to fill out applications and submit them properly, additional paperwork may be required. As a federal program, it is also that applicants complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Financial Student Aid). The FAFSA may need to be “certified” (approved) by the college or university’s financial aid office.

Students interested in a Grad PLUS Loan must have a history of applying for their annual loan maximum eligibility under the Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loan Program before applying for a Graduate/Professional PLUS loan.

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