Federal Graduate PLUS Loans
The Grad PLUS loan is a federal loan designed to assist graduate and professional students who are United States citizens or eligible non-citizens. Students may borrow the amount equal to the Cost of Attendance less all other financial aid. Students that are enrolled at least half-time are eligible for an in-school deferment on the principal balance of the loan. The Grad PLUS loan is credit based, but the government does not factor debt-to-income ratio; therefore, more students may be approved for the Grad PLUS loan as opposed to private loans. The Grad PLUS loan has the same repayment, deferment, forbearance and cancellation provisions as the Federal Stafford loan program. The Grad PLUS loan may be consolidated with other federal loans.
Interest Rates and Fees
As of July 1, 2017, the Grad PLUS loan has a fixed interest rate of 7.00%, with repayment beginning 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed. A fee of 4.276% of the loan amount is deducted proportionately each time a loan is disbursed.
There is no grace period for Direct PLUS Loans—the repayment period for a PLUS Loan begins on the day after the final loan disbursement is made. However, if you're a graduate or professional student PLUS borrower (or if you're a parent PLUS borrower who is also a student), you can defer repayment while you're enrolled in school at least half time and (for Direct PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2008) for an additional 6 months after you graduate or drop below half-time enrollment.
Remember, if you choose to defer payment on a Direct PLUS Loan, any interest that accumulates during the deferment period will be added to the unpaid principal amount of your loan. This is called "capitalization," and it increases your debt because you'll have to pay interest on this higher principal balance.