PLUS Loans for Grad Students
By Stephen Borkowski
April 21, 2009
Grad students are entitled to the PLUS loan, like parents.
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 7.9 percent 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. Private loans have variable interest rates that are dependent on the borrower’s credit score.
You can get a Grad PLUS loan as long as you don’t have an adverse credit history. An adverse credit history is defined as having a foreclosure, repossession, default determination, bankruptcy discharge, tax lien or wage garnishment in the last five years or a current delinquency on any debt of 90 or more days.
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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