The Direct Graduate Professional PLUS Loan is designed to assist eligible graduate and professional students enrolled at least half-time in meeting their educational expenses. These loans are federal loans, and the U.S. Department of Education is the lender. A completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be on file before your Direct Graduate/Professional PLUS eligibility can be evaluated. You may borrow up to your full cost of attendance, less any other financial assistance received. To qualify, you must meet the general eligibility requirements for federal student aid and not have an adverse credit history. If you are denied a PLUS loan due to adverse credit, you will be given the option to obtain an endorser or appeal the credit decision.
Eligibility: You must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States and be enrolled or accepted in an eligible program of study at the University of Louisville. You must be enrolled at least half-time (4.5 hours during fall and spring, 3 hours during summer) to be eligible for a PLUS loan. In order to receive financial aid, including the Direct Graduate Professional PLUS loan, you must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). If you are eligible for Direct Unsubsidized loan funds, please consider borrowing the maximum amount awarded to you before accepting any of the Grad PLUS Loan funds. The Direct Unsubsidized Loan has a lower interest rate and better repayment terms.
Repayment, Interest Rates and Fees: Interest is charged on the loan from the date the first disbursement is made until the loan is paid in full. Your Direct PLUS Loan enters repayment once your loan is fully disbursed; however, your loan will be placed in deferment while you are enrolled at least half-time in an eligible program and for an additional six months after you cease to be enrolled at least half-time. Interest will still accrue during periods of deferment, and you may choose to pay the accrued interest or allow the interest to capitalize when the deferment period ends.
Steps for Applying for a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan: If you have filed a FAFSA and all eligibility requirements are met, the Student Financial Aid Office will automatically consider you for a Direct Graduate Professional PLUS Loan award and send you an award notification. The 2020-2021 FAFSA is associated with the Fall 2020, Spring 2021, and Summer* 2021 semesters. The 2021-2022 FAFSA is associated with the Fall 2021, Spring 2022, and Summer* 2022 semesters.
Summer: To be considered for summer federal financial aid, you must complete the Early Request for Summer Federal Aid via your ULINK account, after your registration has been finalized.
Accepting a Loan Offer: After receiving an award notification from our office, you must login to ULink to accept, reduce, or decline the loan offer.
After acceptance of the Direct Graduate Professional PLUS Loan via ULink, our office will send your loan request to the U.S. Department of Education for consideration. If a credit check has not already been completed or if it has expired, the U.S. Department of Education will check your credit history. If your credit is approved, our office will be notified of the approval.
If you are determined to have an adverse credit history, you may still receive a Direct Graduate Professional PLUS Loan if you obtain an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history. An endorser is someone who agrees to repay the Direct Graduate Professional PLUS Loan if you do not repay the loan, such as a relative or friend who is able to pass the credit check.
In some cases, you may also be able to obtain a Direct PLUS Loan if you document (appeal) to the U.S. Department of Education's satisfaction that there are extenuating circumstances related to your adverse credit history.
PLUS Counseling is required if the U.S. Department of Education has informed you that you have an adverse credit history and you have obtained an endorser or documented to the satisfaction of the U.S. Department of Education that there are extenuating circumstances related to your adverse credit history.
Entrance Counseling: If you are a first-time Direct Graduate PLUS Loan borrower at U of L, you must complete an Entrance Counseling session to be informed of your rights and responsibilities.
Master Promissory Note: If you are a first time Direct Graduate PLUS borrower, you must complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) agreeing to the terms of the loan.
For further information regarding the Direct Graduate Professional PLUS Loan, you can call the Direct Loan Customer Service Center toll-free at 800-557-7394 or visit Studentaid.gov.