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Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans

General Information
Tulane participates in the Direct Loan Program. If you have a Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, the federal government through the U.S. Department of Education is your lender. Federal Graduate PLUS Loans are designed to assist students who need additional educational financing. Loan approval is based on credit worthiness and ability to repay. Federal Graduate PLUS loans are available to a student who is pursuing a graduate level degree program, enrolled at least half-time, is maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress, and meeting all other eligibility criteria. In addition, students must have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). As with any loan, careful consideration should be made in determining amounts to be borrowed, as the loan must be repaid.

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Limits
The yearly limit on a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan is equal to a student's cost of attendance (including tuition and fees, and an allowance for room, board, books, travel and miscellaneous) minus any other financial aid the student is receiving.

How do I qualify for a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan?
The student must fill out a FAFSA. After the FAFSA is processed, Tulane University Financial Aid staff will review the results and will inform the student about their federal student aid eligibility, including Graduate PLUS Loan eligibility. A Graduate PLUS borrower must sign a master promissory note (MPN), a binding legal document that lists the conditions under which borrowing is made and the terms of repayment. The loan must be approved for credit. Also, the borrower must have completed federally-mandated Graduate PLUS Loan Entrance Counseling before an approved loan will credit for the student.

Direct Loan Processing
Steps for processing Federal Direct Loans for Tulane students may be found by clicking here.

Interest on the Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
Interest is charged on the Grad PLUS loan from the date the first disbursement is made until the loan is paid in full. Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loans have a fixed rate of 7.21% for loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2014 but before July 1, 2015.

Current law (The Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013) states that the interest rate will be based on the high yield of the 10-year Treasury note at the final auction held prior to June 1 preceding the July 1 of the year for which the rate will be effective, plus a statutorily defined "add-on" (for Direct PLUS Loans, this is 4.6%) subject to an interest rate cap (for Direct PLUS Loans, this is 10.5%), and that the loan will be a fixed-rate loan.  Interest rates for the next year will be not be known until after the final auction for the year occurs.

Fees on the Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
Fees on the Graduate PLUS Loan are withheld from each disbursement.  Although fees on the Graduate PLUS loan normally total 4%, sequestration has caused the fee to increase to 4.204% for loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2013, to 4.288% for loans first disbursed on or after December 1, 2013, and to 4.292% for loans first disbursed on or after October 1, 2014 (but before October 1, 2015).

Repayment of the Graduate PLUS Loan
During at least half-time enrollment, students are not required to make any payments on the outstanding principal balance, but will continue to be charged interest. Prepayment may be made on the Graduate PLUS loan without penalty. The servicer will send the student information about repayment, including the date repayment begins. Students are responsible for beginning payment on time, regardless of if they receive this information. Students may discuss the following repayment plans with their servicer, including how often they may switch plans:

  • The Standard Repayment Plan requires a student to pay a fixed amount each month - at least $50.
  • A Graduated Repayment Plan allows a student's monthly payments to be lower at first and then increase over time. Each of the payments must at least equal the interest accrued on the loan between scheduled payments.
  • An Income Sensitive Repayment Plan bases a student's monthly payment on the student's yearly income and loan amount. As a student's income rises or falls, so does the monthly loan payments. Each of the payments must at least equal the interest accrued on the loan between scheduled payments.
  • The Extended Repayment Plan has been available to new borrowers who received their first loan on or after October 7, 1998 and who have Stafford Loan amounts totaling more than $30,000. The Extended Repayment Plan allows a student's payment to be fixed or graduated over a period of up to 25 years.
  • Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Program will cap monthly payments at a reasonable percentage of income for borrowers with heavy debt burden or low incomes, and forgive the remaining debt after 25 years.  You can learn more about this program online at www.IBRinfo.org
  • "New- available July 1, 2009"- Public Loan Forgiveness Program (available only for Federal Direct loans).  If you are considering a career in public service, such as worker for the federal government, as a public school teacher, or for a nonprofit organization, you may qualify.  It forgives remaining federal student loan debt after 10 years of qualifying payments and employment.   You can learn more about this program online at www.IBRinfo.org
  • Income Contingent Repayment Program (only available for Federal Direct Loans) has less desirable terms than the IBR Program, but during consolidation processing, repayment of loans may be put into forbearance under this program.

Credit Requirements for the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan approval is based on absence of adverse credit.* A credit report will be pulled and reviewed by the lender (U.S. Department of Education). If a student is denied a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan, only the lender can discuss the reasons for a denial, so contact the lender directly. On occasion, a denial due to discrepancies on a credit report can be resolved. A denied borrower has the option to re-apply with a creditworthy endorser as a cosigner.

Receiving the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loans for an academic year must be disbursed in two equal installments. Typically, students who are enrolled for the standard academic year will receive their first disbursement in August and their second disbursement in January. Funds are automatically credited to student Tulane Accounts Receivable accounts after students confirm their registration for the semester and continue to meet all eligibility requirements. Students can check their student accounts on-line through the Accounts Receivable website.

Withdrawing from the University
A student who anticipates withdrawing from Tulane after receipt of a federal loan should contact their Dean's office to discuss the withdrawal process and visit the Tulane Financial Aid Office to discuss how withdrawing will affect their federal loans.

Exit Counseling
Federal regulations require students who have borrowed a Federal Graduate PLUS Loan and are graduating, leaving school, or dropping below half-time enrollment to complete an exit counseling session. During this session, borrowers review the terms of the loan, borrower rights and responsibilities, and the consequences of default.

  • Students can complete the Exit counseling online at www.studentloans.gov . The website forwards exit counseling completions to our office, but you are encouraged to print out and hold onto your confirmation in case there is a problem retrieving that information.
  • Students who do not have internet access can complete exit counseling in person by coming to the Office of Financial Aid on the second floor of the Science and Engineering Lab Complex (Building 14), Room 205. Law and Health Science students can complete this with their respective financial aid offices.

    *Adverse Credit:
    A Direct PLUS Loan applicant is considered to have an adverse credit history if he or she meets one or more conditions for a denied credit check:
    • Conditions for a Denied Credit Check

      • Bankruptcy (Chapters 7,11, or 12 within the past 5 years)
        Note: Department Policy does not consider Chapter 13 bankruptcy as adverse credit.
      • Voluntary surrender within the last 5 years
      • Repossession within the last 5 years
      • Foreclosure proceedings started
      • Foreclosure within the last 5 years
      • Deed in lieu of foreclosure
      • Accounts currently 90 days or more delinquent
        Note: Unpaid collection accounts and charge offs are considered adverse credit.
      • Wage garnishment within the last 5 years
      • Defaulted loan that has been claim paid
      • Lease or contract terminated by default
      • County/State/Federal tax lien, within the past 5 years|

Page last modified: May 16, 2014

Citation information:

Page accessed: Tuesday, September 02, 2014
Page URL: http://tulane.edu/financialaid/loans/gplus.cfm

University Financial Aid, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5723 finaid@tulane.edu