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Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loans

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.

Eligibility Requirements

  • 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

Application Priority Processing Dates

Your loan application must be on file with our office by these dates in order for the loan funds to be available for the first billing due date.

Priority Processing
Summer 15 Fall 15 Only Fall 15/ Spring 16 Spring 16 Only Summer 16
MPN and Entrance Counseling received by the following dates: April 12, 2015 June 26, 2015 June 26, 2015 Dec. 11, 2015 April 15, 2016

Final Application Deadline Dates

Loan applications submitted after the priority deadline dates will be processed throughout the semester; however, MPNs and Entrance Counseling received after the following deadline dates cannot be processed.

Final Deadlines
Summer 15 Fall 15 Only Fall 15/ Spring 16 Spring 16 Only Summer 16
Last day to submit a MPN and Entrance Counseling: June 26, 2015 Dec. 11, 2015 May 1, 2016 May 1, 2016 June 24, 2016

Application Process

Complete each step(s) in the Grad PLUS process to apply for the loan; funds cannot be disbursed if any step is incomplete.

Step 1: Complete the online Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loan Application.

Credit Decision

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 –

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.