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Federal Graduate PLUS Loan

Federal Graduate PLUS Loans are federal loans available to graduate and professional level students for educational expenses.  These are credit-based loans and subject to a credit check.  

Borrower:  Student

How to Apply:

  1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  2. Log into to apply for a Direct PLUS Loan for Graduate/Professional Students. The application usually becomes available in late March or early April for the upcoming academic year. 

Enrollment Requirements:   Students must be enrolled at least half-time in federal aid-eligible courses.

Additional Requirements:  

Funds cannot be disbursed to the student's account until all requirements are complete.  After the student is approved for the loan, they must:

  1. Log into with their FSA ID.
  2. Click on "Entrance Counseling."
  3. Click on the "Start" button to the right of "Entrance Counseling (Required)" and complete the counseling process.
  4. Once counseling is submitted, on the top right of the page click where it says "Hi, <<your name>>" to return to your home page.
  5. Click on "Complete Loan Agreement (Master Promissory Note). 
  6. Scroll down to "PLUS MPN for Graduate/Professional Students" and click on the "Start" button on the right.

Quick Facts:

  • Interest rates on Federal PLUS Loans are fixed, meaning the interest rate on the amount borrowed for an academic year will remain the same for the life of the loan.
  • A fee is retained by the federal government on Federal Direct Loans, so the awarded amount and disbursed amount will differ.
  • A borrower has 120 days to return any portion of a federal loan to the institution without being assessed any interest or fees on the amount returned.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Who is eligible?
  2. What is the interest rate?
  3. Are there any additional fees?
  4. When do I have to repay the loan?
  5. How much can I borrow?
  6. What are the differences between the Graduate PLUS Loan and private loans?
  7. Where can I find additional information?

Who Is Eligible?

The Graduate PLUS is available to graduate and professional level students who are enrolled at least half-time in federal aid-eligible courses.  The loan application is subject to a credit check.

Students must also be meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress standards for financial aid eligibility for the loan to disburse.

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What Is the Interest Rate?

Interest rates on Federal PLUS Loans are fixed, meaning the interest rate on the amount borrowed for an academic year will remain the same for the life of the loan.  Interest accrues from the date the loan funds are disbursed until the loan is repaid in full.

Federal loan borrowers can monitor loan debt, check interest rates, and find their loan servicer by logging into the   National Student Loan Data System with their Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID). 

Additional information on interest rates, fees, and calculation can be found at

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Are There Any Additional Fees?

Yes.  There is an origination fee on all PLUS Loans. An origination fee is deducted from each disbursement and retained by the federal government.

Origination fees for the current aid year can be found at The fees vary based on what date the loan disburses. 

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When Do I Have  to Repay the Loan?

The first repayment begins sixty days after the final loan disbursement each aid year. 

The student borrower may also choose to defer repayment while they are enrolled in school at least half-time by selecting this option when they complete the PLUS application at However, the student will still be charged interest during the deferred period. 

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How Much Can I  Borrow?

The maximum amount eligible parents can borrow is the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid.

To determine the maximum amount that can be borrowed, the student can: 

  1. Go to
  2. Click on "STAR Information System Login"
  3. Enter login credentials (WVU username and password)
  4. Click on "Financial Aid"
  5. Click on "Award"
  6. Select aid year
  7. Click on "Award Overview Tab"
  8. Take the "Cost of Attendance" for the year and subtract any anticipated financial aid and outside resources.
Please note if a student chooses the “maximum loan amount” while completing the PLUS application, the cost of attendance will be increased to accommodate origination fees. As such, the borrowed amount may be more than anticipated.  See  "Are There Any Additional Fees?" for more information.

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What Are the Differences Between  the Graduate PLUS Loan and Private Loans?

There are various differences between federal and private lenders such as the borrower, the lender, interest rates, fees, and terms. The information and chart below can help you compare options.

Top Four Differences Between the Graduate PLUS and Private Loans
  1. Lender: The lender for Graduate PLUS Loans is the federal government. Private lenders – banks or credit unions – are the lenders for private student loans.
  2. Borrower:  With Graduate PLUS Loans, the student applies for the loan. With private loans, the student or the parent (depending on the lender) may apply for the loan. The student may need the parent as an endorser/cosigner (depending on the student’s credit history).
  3. Interest Rate:  Graduate PLUS loans have fixed interest rates for the life of the loan. Interest rates can be found at Interest rates for private loans are based on the borrower’s credit history. The lender may offer fixed or variable interest rate options to the borrower.
  4. Loan Terms:  PLUS Loans can be deferred while a student is enrolled at least half-time at an accredited institution. This may not be true for all private loans. There may even be a limitation on the amount of time a borrower qualifies for an in-school deferment. In addition, PLUS loans generally have more flexible repayment options than a private lender may provide – especially for students borrowing a Graduate PLUS loan.

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Where Can I Find  Additional Information?

Find out more about the Graduate PLUS Loan at

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