What Are Grad Plus Loans?

Grad PLUS loans are an important financial resource for postgraduate students. These loans are designed to help cover education-related expenses, such as tuition and living costs, which can be difficult to afford without any additional assistance. Grad PLUS loans provide students with access to large amounts of funding that can be used for their educational needs, making them a viable option for those who do not have the resources to pay for their schooling out of pocket.

Pros & Cons of Grad PLUS Student Loans

Pros:

  • Large amounts of funding available
  • Low interest rates
  • Flexible repayment terms

Cons:

  • Needs a good credit score to qualify
  • Can be difficult to discharge in bankruptcy cases
  • An origination fee can add up quickly with multiple loans taken out at one time

How to get a Grad PLUS Student Loan

It’s important for students to be aware of the eligibility requirements for a Grad PLUS Student Loan because they are federally funded and subject to certain rules and regulations.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for a Grad PLUS Loan, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Academic Standing
    Applicants must be enrolled or accepted in an eligible program of study at an approved school.
  • Credit History Requirements
    Students must have no more than one 9-day late payment on their credit report in the last two years in order to qualify for a loan.
  • Citizenship Status
    Applicants must either be U.S. citizens or permanent residents to be eligible for a Grad PLUS Loan.
  • Financial Need Requirements
    In some cases, applicants must demonstrate financial need to be eligible for a loan.
  • Professional Certification
    Certain professions, such as teachers, require professional certification prior to receiving a loan.
  • Debt to Income Ratio
    Applicants must have a debt to income ratio of no more than 20%.
  • Documentation
    There may also be additional requirements, such as providing proof of identity and Social Security Number.

Steps to Apply

  1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  2. Meet the basic eligibility criteria for the Grad PLUS loan, such as having a good credit history or obtaining an endorser with good credit.
  3. Obtain your Enrollment Verification Form from your school’s financial aid office.

To apply for for a Grad PLUS Loan, you must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. This form allows you to provide information about your finances that will be used by the government to determine your eligibility for grants and loans. Once you have completed the FAFSA form, you can then apply for a Grad PLUS Loan.

To complete the FAFSA form, you will need to provide personal and financial information/documentation, including: 

  • Personal identification such as Social Security number or alien registration (if applicable)
  • Tax returns for the previous year
  • Bank statements and investment records
  • Records of untaxed income (if applicable)
  • Employer information (for parents of dependent students)
  • Driver’s license number (if applicable)
  • List of schools you are considering attending

Grad PLUS Student Loan Alternatives

Consider the following options as alternative sources of funding:

Private Student Loans

Private student loans are an alternative to Grad PLUS Loans for graduate students who have reached their federal loan limit. These loans typically offer a fixed or variable interest rate and can be used to cover tuition and other education expenses, such as books and living costs.

Scholarships & Grants

These are another potential source of funding for students who have reached their federal loan limit. The funds are typically awarded based on academic merit and do not need to be repaid.

Employer Tuition Assistance Programs

An employer tuition assistance program may also be a viable option for graduate students who have reached their federal loan limit. Many employers offer these types of programs, which provide employees with tuition reimbursement for educational expenses related to their current job or a future career. This helps employees advance their education without needing to take out additional loans.

FAQs

What is the maximum amount I can borrow with a Grad PLUS Loan?

The maximum loan amount for a Grad PLUS Loan is the cost of attendance (determined by your school) minus any other financial aid received.

Are there any credit requirements to qualify for a Grad PLUS Loan?

Yes, all applicants must have an acceptable credit history in order to be approved for a Grad PLUS Loan. Applicants must also not have any adverse credit history or delinquent debt reported within the past five years.

How long does it take to receive funds from a Grad PLUS Loan?

Generally, it takes around five to seven business days for the funds to be disbursed after you have accepted the loan and all necessary documents are completed. The time frame may vary depending on your school’s specific policies.

Final Thoughts

Grad PLUS Loans are invaluable to graduate students who have exhausted their federal loan limits and need additional funding to pay for educational expenses. Through competitive interest rates, these loans provide students with a convenient way to pursue the education they desire. Ultimately, Grad PLUS Loans can be a great source of financial assistance and help make dreams of higher education a reality.