Direct PLUS Loans for graduate or professional students

The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program is the U.S. Department of Education's federal student loan program. The U.S. Department of Education is the lender under this program. Eligible graduate and professional school students may use the Direct PLUS Loan to fund their education. Direct PLUS loans are also called Grad PLUS loans when a graduate or professional student is the borrower.

Grad PLUS borrowing requirements, loan limits and interest rates

Interest and fees

In addition to interest on the loan, Grad PLUS borrowers must pay fees on the total loan amount. Called the "loan fee," it is a percentage of the loan amount deducted proportionally each time a loan dibursement is made. The loan fee percentage varies, based on when the loan is first disbursed.

Grad PLUS Loans offer a fixed interest rate. Interest starts to accrue from the date the first disbursement is made until the loan is fully repaid. The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships maintains a table of current interest rates for federal loans.

Review loan interest rates

Borrowing limits

The maximum Grad PLUS Loan amount that can be borrowed is the University's cost of attendance minus any other financial assistance the student receives. For example, if the student budget (tuition, fees, books and supplies and room and board) is $19,600 and the student was offered $18,500 in other financial aid/scholarships, graduate/professional student could borrow up to $1,100 from the Grad PLUS loan.

The Financial Aid Offer Letter identifies the student budget and all available financial aid/scholarships. Students may veiew their most recent Financial Aid Offer Letter via MyNEVADA.

Borrowing requirements

To receive Grad PLUS Loans, borrowers must meet eligibility requirements:

  • Have a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file
  • Not possess an adverse credit history
  • Meet the eligility requirements for federal financial aid
  • Be a graduate or professional studnet enrolled at least half-time
  • Meet Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements

How to apply for a Direct PLUS loan

  • Submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form

    In order to apply for a federal student loan, students must complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA is used to determine if you qualify for any financial aid from the federal government your graduate or professional education.

  • Request a Federal PLUS loan through Federal Student Aid

    Grad PLUS loans may be requested online through Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education. You may log-in with your parent FSA ID username, email or mobile phone and associated password.

    Request Grad PLUS loan

  • Sign a Direct PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note

    The Master Promissory Note is a legal document that explains the terms and conditions of your loan and where you agree to repay your loan(s), including any fees or interests to the U.S. Department of Education. New borrowers at the University of Nevada, Reno must sign a Master Promissory Note before the University will certify your loan(s) with the lender.

    You may sign your Master Promissory Note through Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education.

    Sign your Master of Promissory Note

    If you do not complete an online Master Promissory Note, the lender will automatically mail you a printed Master Promissory Note. Remember, this process is slower and may delay your funding.

  • Complete entrance counseling

    Entrance counseling is designed to help you understand your loan and the responsibilities and obligations of borrowing and repaying a Grad PLUS Loan. New borrowers at the University of Nevada, Reno must complete entrance counseling before the University will certify your loan(s) with the lender.

    Entrance counseling is completed through Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education. You may log-in with your FSA ID username, email or mobile phone and associated password.

    Complete Entrance Counseling

  • Credit check and Disclosure Notice

    The U.S. Department of Education will check your credit history to determine your eligibility for a Direct PLUS Loan. If the loan is approved, parent borrowers receive a "Disclosure Notice" via email from the Direct Loan Servicing Center, which identifies approximate dates for the electronic disbursement of funds.

    If the loan is denied because of a credit check, you may still be eligible to receive a Direct PLUS loan. According to the U.S. Department of Education you may obtain an endorser, or document extenuating circumstances to the satisfaction of the U.S. Department of Education and complete PLUS credit counseling.

Disbursement of Direct PLUS Loan funds

  • Notice of Guarantee (NOG) and disbursement dates

    Once your Direct PLUS Loan is processed and guaranteed, the Federal direct loans processing center will send you a Notice of Guarantee (NOG) listing the approximate disbursement dates.

  • Funds sent to the University

    If the Grad PLUS loan is approved, the Direct Loan Servicing Center electronically disburses funds to the University. One-half of the total loan, minus fees, is disbursed each semester. The funds are used to pay all outstanding obligations to the University.

  • Aid eligibilty and Satisfactory Academic Progress check prior to release of funds

    When funds are received our office reconfirms the graduate/professional student's eligibility, including Satisfactory Academic Progress. If the student is eligible and registered in the appropriate number of credits, the funds are credited to the student's account. Per federal regulations, funds cannot be disbursed earlier than 10 days prior the start of classes each semester.

    Credit Requirements by Enrollment Funding Status
    Enrollment Funding Status Undergraduate or Teaching Certificate Graduate (must be-graduate-level courses) *GA/TA's are not exempt*
    Full-time 12 or more credits 9 or more credits
    3/4 time 9-12 credits 7-8 credits
    1/2 time 6-8 credits 5-6 credits
  • Notice in writing when loan funds are disbursed

    Our office notifies students in writing each time loan funds are disbursed into their account. Students are encouraged to utilize MyNEVADA to check on the status of their financial aid.

  • Remaining funds issued to student by Cashier's Office

    After all University charges are paid, any remaining funds are issued to the the parent or student, depending on the option the borrower selected in their Direct PLUS Loan application. The Cashier's Office sends funds to the address listed on MyNEVADA or through direct deposit.

    Direct deposit can be setup using MyNEVADA.

Direct PLUS loan denials

If you are denied a Federal PLUS Loan, you may still be able to borrow the loan if:

A credit-worthy co-signer is approved by the Department of Education. If you wish to use a co-signer, please contact Federal Student Aid.  If you qualify, you will also need to complete the Federal Direct PLUS Loan Entrance Counseling before the loan is disbursed into your student's account.

You appeal your denial through the U.S. Department of Education. If you wish to appeal your denial, please appeal through Federal Student Aid. If your appeal is approved, you will also need to complete the Federal Direct PLUS Loan Entrance Counseling before the loan is disbursed into your student's account.

If you are denied the Federal PLUS Loan and cannot obtain a co-signer or appeal, your student may be eligible to receive an additional Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan. You may request the additional funds through your PLUS loan application or your student must complete the Federal Direct Loan Activation form requesting the additional Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan.

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