Federal Direct PLUS Loan

Who Is Eligible?

Federal Direct PLUS loans are federal loans that graduate or professional students and parents of dependent undergraduate students can use to help pay for college or career school.

Direct PLUS Loan borrowers cannot have an adverse credit history (a credit check will be done upon applying). In addition, the graduate/professional student, the parent or the dependent student must not be in default on any federal education loans or owe an overpayment on a federal education grant, and must meet other general eligibility requirements for the Federal Student Aid programs.

Should the parent be denied on a stand alone basis, the U.S. Department of Education does offer the option of applying with an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history. An endorser is someone who agrees to repay the Direct PLUS Loan if the borrower does not repay the loan. In some cases, a parent may obtain a Direct PLUS Loan if they submit satisfactory documentation to the U.S. Department of Education explaining the extenuating circumstances related to the parent's adverse credit history.

Amount of Eligibility

The maximum loan amount is the cost of attendance (determined by the school) minus any other financial aid received (i.e. grants, scholarships, work-study and loans). Be aware that there is a 4.272% (4.276% effective October 1, 2016) loan fee that is deducted from each loan disbursement, which reduces the amount disbursed to a student's Whittier College account.

Interest Rate

For Direct PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2016, and before July 1, 2017, the interest rate is 6.31%. This is a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan.


The Federal Direct PLUS Loan funds will be sent via EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) and will be applied directly to a student's Whittier College account. All loans are funded in two disbursements, Fall and Spring (Graduate student's can apply for a Summer disbursement). Provided that the Federal Direct PLUS Loan has been approved and the MPN is complete, the funds will be applied to your student's Whittier College account seven days prior to the first day of class.


If you receive a Direct PLUS Loan as a graduate or professional student, you don't have to make any payments while you're enrolled in school at least half-time, and for an additional six months after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment. 

If you are a parent borrower, you’ll generally be expected to start making payments on your Direct PLUS Loan once your loan is fully disbursed (paid out). However, you may request a deferment while your child is enrolled at least half-time and for an additional six months after your child graduates, leaves school, or drops below half-time enrollment. You don't have to make any payments while your loan is deferred. If the school your child is attending requires you to submit your request for a Direct PLUS Loan at StudentLoans.gov, you’ll have the option of requesting a deferment as part of the loan request process. You can also contact your servicer to request a deferment.

During any period when you're not required to make payments, interest will accrue on your loan. You may choose to pay the accrued interest or allow the interest to be capitalized (added to your loan principal balance) when you have to start making payments. Your loan servicer will notify you when your first payment is due. 

What If I am Denied?

In the event that you are denied the Federal Direct PLUS Loan, Undergraduate students may be eligible to receive an additional Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan. For more information on the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, click here.

How To Apply for The Federal Direct Plus Loan

1. Log on to Federal Student Aid's Student Loan site

2. Click on "Sign In." To sign in, you will need Your FSA ID (used to sign the FAFSA).

3. Select on "Request PLUS loan" select the option that applies to you, Parent PLUS loan is for the parents of a dependent Undergraduate and the Grad PLUS loan is for Graduate or Professional students.Complete the online application and credit check.

4. After completing the credit check, if approved, please complete the Master Promissory Note for a PLUS Loan. (*Note: If the initial application/credit check is denied, and later appealed/endorsed and approved, the Parent/Graduate borrower will be required to complete both a Master Promissory Note and Loan Entrance Counseling for the Federal PLUS Loan).