About the Graduate PLUS Loan

The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 has modified the PLUS program (formerly a federal loan for parents) to allow graduate students to borrow under this federal program as well.

What is a Grad PLUS loan?

Who may borrow?

  • This program is for regular admitted students in graduate level programs only.

Enrollment Criteria:

  • You must be enrolled at least half time (five graduate credit hours per semester) to receive the loan.

Is the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) required?

  • Yes, you must file the FAFSA to be considered.
  • Our office must determine what Stafford Student Loan(s) you are eligible for before you may borrow under the Graduate PLUS program. This means that many in-state graduate students, or students with graduate assistantships, will have their costs covered fully with a Stafford Loan and may not need to use the Graduate PLUS.

How much may I borrow?

  • The loan limit for each year is the annual cost of education (the "budget") minus other financial assistance.
How do I apply?
  • The Graduate PLUS application is a three-step process. If you don't complete all steps, the loan will not be processed.

First time borrowers of FEDERAL DIRECT STUDENT LOANS ... Follow these 3 electronic steps to receive your loan money. Complete these requirements as soon as you are awarded a loan. Waiting for the beginning of the semester can delay your loan.

  • STEP 1: Complete the Graduate Student PLUS Loan Application online at https://studentaid.gov/ go to the "In School" tab to open the "Apply for a PLUS Loan for Graduate School". 
  • STEP 2: Complete GRAD Master Promissory Note. Go to https://studentaid.gov/ (you will need to use your Federal Student Aid Identification (FSA ID). At the "Complete Aid Process" tab go to GRAD PLUS MPN. Log in to start.  
  • STEP 3: Complete Direct Loan Graduate/Professional Student Entrance Counseling at:  https://studentaid.gov/
    All first-time Federal Direct Stafford Loan borrowers MUST complete an online entrance orientation session before their loan funds can be disbursed. Look for this under "Complete Aid Process"  go to "Complete Entrance Counseling",  START, click on "I am completing entrance counseling to receive Direct Loans as a graduate or professional student", enter CMU as your school, "Continue", to complete entrance counseling.