Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

  1. Request a PLUS Loan: Go to www.studentloans.gov and click on the Log In button. You will need your FSA ID to log in. Once you’re in, click on Apply for a PLUS Loan. Follow the on-screen instructions until you see the word “Congratulations.” This means you have passed the credit check for a Graduate PLUS Loan. TCU will receive notification of your credit decision within 2 business days.
  2. If the graduate student has an adverse credit history but becomes eligible for the Graduate PLUS Loan because of an approved appeal or obtaining an endorser, the student must complete loan counseling at www.studentloans.gov.  This counseling is in addition to loan entrance counseling also required for first time graduate borrowers of federal loan programs.
  3. If you are required to complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN)  TCU will notify you. On the www.studentloans.gov website (while you are logged in), click on Complete Loan Agreement for a PLUS loan (MPN). Follow the on-screen instructions from there. TCU will receive electronic confirmation that you have passed the credit check and completed the MPN process.
  4. This step is required if you have not had a Graduate PLUS Loan before. At the www.studentloans.gov site, click on Complete Entrance Counseling. Follow the on-screen instructions. TCU will be notified electronically when you have completed this step.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who can borrow a Graduate PLUS Loan?
    This loan is available for Graduate and Professional students only. FAFSA is required, the student must be enrolled in at least 3 hours, and students must borrow Stafford loan eligibility before Graduate PLUS loans will be certified. The maximum amount for the Graduate PLUS loan is TCU’s cost of attendance minus other financial aid. Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loans have a 7.00% fixed simple interest rate, and a 4.264% fee deducted from all disbursements. Effective 7/1/2018 Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loans will have a 7.60% fixed interest rate. The U.S. Department of Education will check your credit for eligibility. Interest accrues immediately, but payments are not required as long as the student is enrolled at least half-time.
  2. There is an amount in the financial aid package labeled “Grad Other Loan Eligibility” – what is that amount? Do I have to borrow that amount?
    The Grad Other Loan Eligibility amount indicates the maximum amount a student is able to apply for during that academic year, based on TCU’s cost of attendance and the other aid the student is receiving. Students do not have to borrow the maximum.
  3. I am not sure my credit is good enough to qualify for a Grad PLUS Loan. Can I find out somehow?
    Federal regulations define credit eligibility for a Grad PLUS Loan as being a borrower who has no “adverse credit.” This term normally means that the applicant has no debt repayment account that is 90 days or more delinquent (including charge offs/write-offs and unpaid collection accounts), has not had any debt discharged in bankruptcy (Chapters 7, 11, or 12) in the last 5 years, and has not been in default on any debt (no foreclosure, voluntary surrender, default claim paid, tax lien, repossession, wage garnishment, or write-off) in the last 5 years.
  4. What if my credit isn’t good enough and I am denied for a Grad PLUS Loan?
    The US Department of Education offers an option to add an endorser (like a cosigner) to your PLUS Loan if you aren’t approved on your own credit. An endorser is a credit-worthy person who will sign the loan app with the PLUS borrower and take on equal liability for the PLUS Loan debt.
  5. Who can be my Graduate PLUS Loan endorser?
    Any adult who meets credit requirements can endorse a PLUS Loan if the borrower does not meet the credit requirements on his/her own. (Spouses are generally not good endorsers because a spouse often has a credit history very similar to the borrower’s.)
  6. I don’t think the Graduate PLUS Loan is the right option for me. What are my other choices?
    Students can apply for private education loans, which are credit-based and have variable interest rates. Many students will not have sufficient credit to be approved alone (lenders require a minimum of three years positive credit history and three open credit accounts), so he/she will need a credit-worthy cosigner.Which education loan is right for me?
  7. What does the Grad PLUS Loan application look like? Is there special information I need to know before I apply?
    The Direct Graduate PLUS Loan application process is online (www.studentloans.gov) and utilizes an electronic signature. Borrowers must have a FSA ID to e-sign the Grad PLUS Loan application.  Funds for all Grad PLUS loans will be delivered to TCU electronically and posted to your TCU student account.

For more information about the Direct Loan Program, visit the Department of Education’s website for Graduate PLUS Loans.


Debbie Mar, Manager
Graduate Aid Programs Financial Aid
Sadler Hall Room 3101