A Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loan is a credit based loan that graduate students may borrow to help pay their educational expenses. The interest rate is established annually and is determined by federal law. Interest begins to accrue when the loan funds are sent to the university and continue to accrue until the loan is paid in full. An origination fee will be deducted before the loan proceeds are sent to the school. The origination fee is a processing fee assessed by the Department of Education.
Please visit the Grad Cost Calculator to assist with determining the amount you may wish to borrow and the loan period for the Grad PLUS Loan. The loan period defines the semester(s) that the loan will cover. For example, if enrollment is for both fall and spring, choose the fall/spring loan period and request a loan amount that will cover the estimated out-of-pocket expenses for both semesters. Please contact our office for additional assistance.
- You must be working toward a financial aid eligible graduate degree or approved certificate at UMBC
- You must be meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards
- You must be enrolled for at least six credits by the add/drop deadline each semester (Graduate Assistant course credits do not count toward financial aid)
- You must have a valid, current year FAFSA on file
- You must apply for a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan before applying for a Grad PLUS Loan
Loan Application Deadlines
Complete each step(s) in the Grad PLUS process to apply for the loan; funds cannot be disbursed if any step is incomplete.
The Department of Education will perform a credit check to determine your eligibility. The credit decision will be displayed immediately after the Grad PLUS Application is completed. The lender will notify UMBC regarding the credit decision. You will be contacted by the lender with additional loan requirements if the Grad PLUS cannot be approved with the information on the original application. Please be advised that credit checks are only good for 180 days. Applying more than 180 days before the start of the term may require you to complete a subsequent credit check.
If Approved –
- Step 2: Complete a PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN) if an active MPN is not already on file and only if your credit check was approved. Please note that the Grad PLUS MPN is not the same MPN that will be completed for Stafford Loans. UMBC will process the Grad PLUS Loan within the time frame specified on our website.
- Step 3: Complete Grad PLUS Entrance Counseling.
If Denied –
- You can select the option to pursue an appeal documenting an extenuating circumstance through Direct Lending. Following the selection, an email will be sent to you confirming your intention. You should then contact Direct Lending at 1-800-557-7394 for additional instructions on how to proceed including how to complete the additional loan counseling requirement online. Once the appeal has been approved, you must contact your Financial Aid Counselor. You will then receive a confirmation email via your UMBC email account once the loan has been processed by the school.
- You can select the option to pursue an endorser. Following the selection, an email will be sent to you confirming your intention. The parent should then contact Direct Lending at 1-800-557-7394 for additional instructions on how to proceed including how to complete the loan counseling requirement online. Once the endorser has been approved, you must contact your Financial Aid Counselor. You will then receive a confirmation email via your UMBC email account once the loan has been processed by the school.
Repayment of a Grad PLUS Loan
Repayment begins 60 days after the final loan disbursement is sent to the institution. If a loan was borrowed for the fall/spring terms – repayment would begin after the spring disbursement is sent (approximately mid – March). There are a number of circumstances when a borrower can defer repayment of a Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loan. Please contact Direct Loans for more information.
Reduce or Cancel a Grad PLUS Loan
You must complete a Loan Decrease/Cancel Request Form to reduce or cancel a PLUS Loan. To avoid complication with the return of funds, it is recommended that you submit the form to our office for processing well before the funds disburse to your account. If the loan has already disbursed, you must submit the form no later than 14 days after you receive the disbursement notification.