When determining how to pay for your education, it may be necessary to supplement your other financial aid with education loans. Direct Stafford Loans, subsidized and unsubsidized, are the student's first choice in borrowing. Once you have reached your annual Direct Stafford Loan limit, you can apply for additional funds from the Graduate PLUS Loan (a federal loan for students in a graduate program at 6.84% interest). Or, you may want to consider an Alternative (Private) Student Loan, as some lenders now have fixed interest rate options. (Variable interest rates may change. Fixed interest rates do not change.) It is important to compare interest rates and origination fees, as well as deferment and repayment options before choosing a loan. To assist you in comparing federal and private loans, we have included a Federal PLUS Comparison Tool for you to use.
FIT participates in the William D Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. Under the Federal Direct Loan Program, the funds for the Graduate PLUS Loan come directly from the Federal Department of Education. Students enrolled in any of our Graduate programs must first apply for their full Stafford Loan eligibility before consideration.
What needs to be in place in order to apply for Graduate PLUS Loan?
- You must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen
- You must be admitted in a graduate degree program
- Your FAFSA must be completed for that school year. You will need an FSA ID to complete the FAFSA electronically.
- You must be enrolled in at least 6 credit hours per term in a degree program to maintain eligibility.
- You must first be offered your full Stafford Loan eligibility before consideration for a Graduate PLUS loan.
Choices to Make Before Applying:
- Amount to request (See below)
- Loan period we suggest borrowing for the full year (August-May)
How do I determine the amount for which I may be eligible?
Students can determine the amount for which they may be eligible by accessing MyFIT.
- Go to FIT Applicant or Student TAB
- Under Financial Aid Resources go to My Financial Aid Checklist
- Click on Award by Aid Year on the drop down choose the Academic Year
- SELECT the appropriate Academic Year. Click on the Award Overview Tab - you will see your total Cost of Attendance
The full annual limit that a Graduate student can borrow for the PLUS loan is the difference between a student's cost of attendance (COA) and all other financial aid awarded (including Stafford loans) to the student. The applicant is subject to a credit check from the Department of Education. The student does not have to apply for the entire amount. NOTE: You will not receive the full amount requested due to a loan origination fee of 4.264% (if the loan is disbursed before October 1, 2018) which is charged by the Department of Education.
Repayment is at a fixed rate of 7.6% interest beginning July 1, 2018. Your loan will be placed in deferment with repayment beginning 6 months after you drop below 6-credits or graduate.
How do I apply to receive a Graduate PLUS Loan?
- The Graduate borrower logs into StudentLoans.gov with their personal information and FSA ID. If your PLUS loan is denied, you may add an endorser/cosigner. See further instructions below.
- Click Request Direct PLUS Loan
- Read instructions and View what you will need
- Click Graduate PLUS and follow instructions.
- You must pass a credit check.
- If this is your first Graduate PLUS Loan, you must also complete the following at StudentLoans.gov.
- An Entrance Counseling session - choose I am completing entrance counseling in order to receive loans as a graduate or professional student.
- A Graduate PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN)
NOTE: Please read through the remaining FAQs before clicking on the link to the application. This will help you to better understand the process and your options.
APPLY HERE: To apply for Direct Graduate PLUS Loan go to StudentLoans.gov.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How am I notified about the status of my loan?
You will be notified immediately of the credit check status.
You will receive an email and an updated Financial Aid Award letter displaying the amount for which the PLUS loan has been certified.
The loan will NOT disburse until you have completed the Graduate PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN).
- What if I am denied a PLUS loan?
If your PLUS loan is denied, you have the following options:
a. You may appeal the credit decision by contacting Direct Loan Originations at (800) 557-7394 option 3.
b. You may add your spouse, or someone else, as an endorser/cosigner. The borrower will be sent a paper application for the endorser or the endorser can complete the endorser application online at StudentLoans.gov. To complete the application online, the endorser will need:
- The loans reference or award ID number which you should receive when you apply
- To get an FSA ID
- What happens after I am notified that my loan has been approved?
We electronically receive confirmation of your loan from the Department of Education. We determine the amount of PLUS funds for which you are eligible and send that information to the Department of Education. If this is the graduates first Federal Direct PLUS Loan or if the graduate will be using an endorser/cosigner, the graduate must complete a Graduate PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN). If this is the student's first Graduate PLUS loan, the graduate must also complete a Graduate Entrance Counseling session. If EITHER of these requirements are not met, your loan will not disburse.
The graduate can complete both an electronic e-MPN and the Graduate Entrance Counseling online at StudentLoans.gov or a paper MPN can be provided by Financial Aid Services.
If your appeal or endorser is approved, you will also need to complete PLUS Counseling which must be completed online at StudentLoans.gov or your loan will not disburse.
Repayment for loans borrowed between 07/01/2017 and 06/30/2018 is at a fixed rate of 7% interest. Your loan will be placed in deferment with repayment beginning 6-months after you drop below 6-credits or graduate.
- Where do the PLUS loan funds get sent?
Federal Direct PLUS funds are sent directly to the school. Funds in excess of what is owed to FIT be given to the student.
- Who do I contact with questions about my Direct Federal PLUS loan or deferment?
For questions about your Direct Federal PLUS loan and deferment, contact your Servicer. To get your Servicer's contact information, log into nslds.ed.gov with your information and FSA ID. If your loan has not disbursed, contact the Financial Aid Services office 212 217.3560.