PLUS Loans for Grad Students

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Written by Stephen Borkowski

Graduate and professional students can borrow money for school through the PLUS Loan Program.

Qualifying students who are enrolled at least half-time can take out a loan for up to the cost of attendance, minus the amount of other forms of financial aid. You must file a FAFSA and accept all Stafford Loans you are offered before applying for the Grad PLUS Loan.

The interest rate is 8.5 percent for PLUS Loans obtained through the FFEL program and 7.9 percent for those obtained through the Direct Loan program. Check with your school’s financial aid office to find out if you’re able to borrow through the Direct Loan program.

The first payment is due 60 days after the loan is disbursed, although you can apply for an in-school deferment to delay payment until after you graduate. Unlike Stafford Loans, there is no grace period after graduation.

Compared with private loans, the Grad PLUS Loan offers a fixed interest rate. And you can get one as long as you don’t have an adverse credit history. Private loans have variable interest rates that are dependant on the borrowers credit score.

If you think a Grad PLUS Loan might be a good option for you discuss it with your school’s financial aid office.

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