Federal Direct PLUS Loans are available to graduate or professional students (Grad PLUS) and parents of dependent undergraduate students (Parent PLUS). Direct PLUS loans can help cover the remaining cost of attendance for a student.
- Loan amount: Borrowers can take out the maximum amount of loan which is determined as the difference between a student’s total estimated cost of attendance and the amount of other financial assistance they receive each year, including scholarships, federal financial aid, and educational assistance. Borrowers can also indicate any lesser amount on the application.
- Enrollment: Students must be enrolled at least half-time each semester to receive a PLUS Loan. Half-time for an undergraduate student is six credit hours per semester. Half-time for a graduate student is 5 hours per semester.
- Interest rate: Rates are set each year. Interest rates are fixed for the life of the loan and interest begins accruing once funds are disbursed to a student’s account.
- Parent PLUS Loan – repayment begins as soon as the loan is fully disbursed to the student’s account. Parents can request a deferment from their lender.
- Graduate PLUS Loan – repayment is automatically deferred while students are enrolled at least half-time (5+ hours as a graduate student) and for six months after graduating or dropping below half-time enrollment.
How to Apply
Parents and graduate students can apply for a PLUS Loan by visiting www.studentaid.gov. Under “Apply for Aid,” select the respective PLUS Loan application. Borrowers will log in using their FSA ID and password. To be eligible, students must already have a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file for the respective academic year.
Electronic PLUS Checklist: This checklist will guide borrowers through eligibility requirements and the application process.
Borrowers can choose a specific loan amount or request the “maximum amount allowed.” If the student plans to attend the fall and spring semesters (August – April) or fall, spring, and summer semesters (August – August), it is recommended that borrowers request one loan to cover the entire academic year. Doing so avoids the need to submit a new application within the same academic year.
Direct PLUS Loans are disbursed to a student’s account balance on the first day of classes each semester. All Direct PLUS Loans are subject to a loan origination fee. The loan fee is a percentage of the loan amount and is proportionately deducted from each loan disbursement.
Prior to disbursement of the loan to the student’s account, the borrower can request a reduction in the loan amount by contacting the Office of Student Financial Aid at
A credit check is conducted on the borrower of the loan by the U.S. Department of Education. It is not based on a credit score but whether the borrower has an adverse credit history. This includes past-due accounts, charged-off accounts, liens, bankruptcies, repossessions, etc. Credit decisions are valid for a 180-day period. A PLUS Loan approval does not ensure future PLUS loan approvals, as credit is reviewed at the time of each subsequent application. If a borrower’s credit is not approved, they may:
- Appeal the decision through the application process at www.studentaid.gov.
- Have a credit-worthy endorser apply through www.studentaid.gov. An endorser is someone who agrees to repay the PLUS Loan in the event the borrower is unable to pay.
For Parent PLUS Loans - If the parent does not intend to pursue Parent PLUS approval through one of the first two options above, the student can request additional Direct Unsubsidized loan funds, “denial funds.” A freshman or sophomore may receive up to an additional $4,000 per academic year and junior or senior may receive up to an additional $5,000 per academic year. Students can submit this request by completing a Change Request Form on the “My Financial Aid” section of BlazerNET.
Parent PLUS Only
During the application process, the parent borrower will be asked, “If there is a credit balance (refund) after your Direct PLUS Loan has been applied to the student’s school account, to whom do you want the school to pay the credit balance?”
By selecting “The Student,” UAB Student Accounting Services will direct deposit the excess Parent PLUS funds to the student bank account on file in BlazerNET. By selecting “Me, the Parent,” UAB Student Accounting Services will mail a check to the parent borrower’s address if the refund is a result of the PLUS Loan.