Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
For the class of 2010, 69.8 percent of students borrowed to help with educational costs. For graduate students, the average amount borrowed was $52,428. The graduate median amount was $50,893.
Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan program is a federally funded program that enables graduate students to take out an additional student loan to supplement their financial aid package once they have exhausted the maximum loan eligibility in the Stafford Loan program. It is not based on financial need. The Federal Direct PLUS Loan program enables students to borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education and repay to an approved Federal Student Aid Loan Servicer, while MassArt’s Office of Student Financial Assistance originates and processes the loan.
Interest Rate and Fees: Direct Graduate PLUS Loans have a fixed interest rate of 7.21 percent and begin accruing interest 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed to the college. Direct Graduate PLUS Loans have a 4.288 percent origination fee.
The interest rates listed are the standard rates for the 2014-15 academic year; however, the promissory note is the final word on the correct rate.
Application Process: All borrowers will apply online at www.studentloans.gov. MassArt will be notified if the student is approved for the loan. If approved, the student will be notified, and should then complete Entrance Counseling and the Master Promissory Note (if a first-time borrower, as described below).
To apply for the Graduate PLUS Loan online, please sign in to your Direct Loan account at www.studentloans.gov. To sign in to your Direct Loan account, you will need your social security number, date of birth, your Department of Education PIN number (which you can retrieve online at www.pin.ed.gov) and the first two letters of your last name. Once you are signed in, click on "Request Direct PLUS Loan" in the menu on the left-hand side of the screen.
A graduate student may apply for any loan amount up to their cost of attendance, minus any other aid they are receiving.
Students who receive a Graduate PLUS Loan for the first time at MassArt are required to complete entrance counseling and sign a Master Promissory Note. Entrance counseling and the MPN are completed online by visiting www.studentloans.gov. Once you are signed in, click on "Complete Entrance Counseling" in the menu on the left-hand side of the screen. After completing the entrance counseling, click on "Complete MPN" in the menu on the left-hand side of the screen. Graduate PLUS Loan applications are considered incomplete until the entrance counseling session and Master Promissory Note have been completed.
Loan Eligibility: Eligibility for the Graduate PLUS Loan depends on a modest credit check that determines whether the student has an adverse credit history. If a student is denied a PLUS loan, they may obtain a credit-eligible endorser to co-sign the loan. In order to receive a PLUS Loan, a student must be enrolled for at least six credits per semester.
Loan Repayment: Direct Graduate PLUS Loan repayment begins 60 days from the date the loan is fully disbursed, however, as long as you are enrolled in school on at least a half-time basis, you are eligible for an in-school deferment. While in deferment, you have the option to pay off the accumulating interest or postpone payments on your Direct Graduate PLUS Loan until you graduate or drop below half-time status. Officially, your first payment will be due within 45 days after the deferment end date. If you have any questions about the repayment of your Graduate PLUS Loan, you may contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center at 1-800-848-0979.