The federal direct Grad PLUS loan is a credit-based loan that graduate students may borrow to help pay their educational expenses. The graduate student borrower may borrow up to the total estimated cost of attendance minus any other financial aid received. Graduate students must confirm their eligibility for the Grad PLUS loan by completing a separate Direct Grad PLUS application.
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 continues to accrue until the loan is paid in full. An origination fee will be deducted before the loan proceeds are sent to UMBC. The origination fee is a processing fee assessed by the Department of Education.
Please visit our Cost Calculator tool to assist you with determining the amount of Grad PLUS loan funding you may want to borrow. The loan period defines the semester(s) for which you are borrowing. For example, if you are planning to enroll for both the fall and spring semesters, and you would like to borrow a loan to assist in paying for each semester, you should choose the fall/spring loan period and request a Grad PLUS loan amount that will cover your estimated out-of-pocket expenses for each semesters. You may also contact your Financial Aid Counselor for assistance.
- You must be working toward a financial aid eligible graduate degree or approved certificate at UMBC.
- You must meet the basic eligibility criteria for Federal Student Aid.
- You must not have an adverse credit history. If you have an adverse credit history, you may pursue an appeal with the Department of Education, or submit an application with an endorser. (See “If Denied” below).
- You must be meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards.
- You must be enrolled in at least six credits by the add/drop deadline each semester you wish to receive Grad PLUS loan funding. Please note that Graduate Assistant course credits do not count towards this total.
- You must have a valid, current year FAFSA on file with UMBC.
Complete all step(s) in the Grad PLUS loan process to apply for the loan. Funds cannot be disbursed if any step is not completed
The US Department of Education will perform a credit check to determine your eligibility for the Grad PLUS loan. The credit decision will be displayed immediately after the application is completed. The Department will inform our office about the outcome of the credit decision.
If Approved –
- Step 2: Complete a Grad PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) if you do not already have an active MPN on file and only if your credit check was approved. UMBC will process your PLUS loan within the time frame specified on our website. Grad PLUS loans will show as ‘offered’ until the loan is processed by the student’s financial aid counselor.
- Step 3: Complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling.
If Denied –
- You can select the option to pursue an appeal by documenting any extenuating circumstances related to your adverse credit history. Following this selection, you will receive an e-mail confirming your intention. You should then contact the Federal Student Loan Support Center at 1-800-557-7394 for additional instructions on how to proceed, including how to complete the additional credit counseling requirement online. If the appeal is approved, you must contact your Financial Aid Counselor. Once UMBC processes the loan, you will receive a confirmation email via your myUMBC account.
- You can select the option to pursue an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history. An endorser agrees to repay the loan if you do not repay it. Following this selection, you will receive an e-mail confirming your intention. You should then contact the Federal Student Loan Support Center at 1-800-557-7394 for additional instructions on how to proceed, including how to complete the additional credit counseling requirement online. If the endorser is approved, you must contact your Financial Aid Counselor. Once UMBC processes the loan, you will receive a confirmation email via your myUMBC account.
- IMPORTANT: For Grad PLUS loans, if the Department of Education determines that you have an adverse credit history and you obtain an endorser, you may receive only one loan under the MPN that you sign. If you later want to receive another Grad PLUS loan, you must sign a new MPN. If you sign the MPN and receive a Grad PLUS loan without an endorser, but are later determined to have an adverse credit history and obtain an endorser for a future Direct Grad PLUS Loan, you will need to sign a new MPN for that loan.
- You can decide that you no longer wish to pursue a Grad PLUS loan. In this case, you may wish to apply for additional loan funding through an Alternative (Private) Loan, or to seek out additional scholarship opportunities using UMBC’s Scholarship Retriever.
Repayment of a Grad PLUS Loan
Grad PLUS loan borrowers do not have to make any payments while enrolled in school at least half-time, and for an additional six months after they graduate, leave school or drop below half-time enrollment. Please contact your loan servicer for more information about repayment options. You can find out more about your loan history and loan servicer through “My Aid” on studentaid.gov.
Reduce or Cancel a Grad PLUS Loan
You must complete a Loan Decrease/Cancel Request Form to reduce or cancel a Grad 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 UMBC student account. If the loan has already disbursed, you must submit the form no later than 14 days after you have received the disbursement notification. If you wish to reduce or cancel a Grad PLUS loan more than 14 days after you have received the disbursement notification, you must contact your loan servicer directly. You can find out more about your loan history and loan servicer through “My Aid” on studentaid.gov.
Federal Direct Student Loan Disclosure Statements
Students receiving any type of federal direct loan will receive a Disclosure Statement from the Federal Loan Origination Center for each new loan. The disclosure statement will provide comprehensive information about the type(s) of loan(s), loan amounts, the loan period, and anticipated disbursement dates. You should save every Disclosure Statement your receive for future reference, and can also access them online at any time by logging in to studentaid.gov with your FSA ID.