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Federal Graduate PLUS Loan

What is a Federal Federal Graduate PLUS Loan?

Federal Graduate PLUS Loan eligibility

Federal Graduate PLUS Loan limits and eligibility

Credit Criteria

Credit Approval

Apply for a Graduate PLUS Loan

Exit Interview

Disbursement of a Federal Graduate PLUS Loan

Late Disbursements

Cancellations or Reductions

Federal Graduate PLUS Loan repayment

Applicant Services for Graduate PLUS Loan Borrowers


What is a Federal Graduate PLUS Loan?

The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan is an additional option for graduate students to borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education to help meet their educational cost of attendance. The Program is administered by the Office of Financial Aid at MSU Denver, which works with the U.S. Department of Education to offer this loan. This loan is only available to U.S. Citizens and permanent residents.

This loan has many benefits such as a fixed interest rate, high credit approval and streamlined application process. Loan payments can be deferred while in school at least half time and the loan has flexible repayment options. As part of the Federal Direct Loan Program, this loan would also conveniently become part of your loan account that contains your Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan(s), thus reducing your number of lenders. Since MSU Denver participates in the Federal Direct Loan Program this is the only supplemental loan that is recommended by the Office of Financial Aid at MSU Denver.

Federal Graduate PLUS Loan Eligibility

The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan (Grad PLUS) is available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents.  It is not based on need, however you must still file the FAFSA to be eligible.  You must be enrolled at least half-time in a graduate degree program to be eligible for this loan. You must meet our Graduate Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy requirements.

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Terms

With a Grad PLUS Loan you may borrow up to the full cost of attendance less other financial aid. This means that the award amount would be:

Cost of attendance - Other Financial Assistance = Graduate PLUS Loan Offer

Your Graduate PLUS Loan is credit based and requires credit approval.

Credit Criteria

Credit approval is based on federally mandated criteria, not a credit score.  In order to qualify, you must not have any of the following items on your credit report:

  • Any current delinquency of 90 days or more
  • Any of the following within the preceding five years of the date of the credit check:  default, bankruptcy, discharge, foreclosure, repossession, tax lien, wage garnishment, write-off of a Title IV debt, open collection.

Recent changes in the law that governs the terms and conditions of Grad PLUS Loans establish a specific circumstance for certain Grad PLUS Loan applicants who would otherwise be considered to have an adverse credit history.  Specifically, a Grad PLUS Loan applicant may qualify for a Grad PLUS Loan based on extenuating circumstances if the applicant:

  • Has been or is delinquent for 180 days or less on mortgage loan payments, or on medical bill payments for the applicant or the applicant's family, AND
  • Does not otherwise have an adverse credit history as determined in accordance with the federal regulations that apply to Grad PLUS Loan applicants

Credit Approval

Credit approval is valid for 6 months.  Your credit is evaluated every time you request a new loan unless you have had a credit decision within the preceding 6 months.

If you think you may have one or more of the items outlined in the credit requirements listed above you may want to obtain your credit report in advance of applying for a Grad PLUS Loan.  You should work to correct negative items on your credit report as soon as possible.

Credit denial options include:

  • Applying for the loan with an endorser, which is a credit worthy loan cosigner
  • Correct any invalid information on your credit report and reapply
  • Appeal the denial with Applicant Services (see above for contact information)

Correspondence will be sent to Grad PLUS Loan applicants who receive an adverse credit determination.  Information will include instructions regarding appealing the denial of a Grad PLUS Loan Application and securing an endorser for the loan.

Applying for a Graduate PLUS Loan

Complete the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at To have your FAFSA sent to the Office of Financial Aid at MSU Denver, include the MSU Denver Title IV School Code of 001360 on your FAFSA. When the Office of Financial Aid receives your FAFSA, you will be notified through your MSU Denver email account, if we need additional information. If we are requesting any additional information, please submit it as soon as possible. Once your financial aid file is complete and have met loan eligibility requirements, you will receive an Award Notice via your MSU Denver email account that includes your offered Federal Direct Stafford Loan eligibility.

ACCEPT YOUR 0910 Federal Graduate PLUS Loan

  • Select "Registration, Credit Card, Insurance Waiver, Student Records, & Financial Aid Menu".
  • Select "Financial Aid".
  • Select "My Award Information".
  • Select "Accept Award Offer by Aid Year".
  • Select aid year
  • Click on "Accept Full Amount All Awards" to accept the full loan amount. Please note: For both of these options, the dollar amount accepted is for two semesters
    On the line marked "Federal Graduate PLUS Offered", select "Accept". Then enter the total dollar amount (cannot exceed offered amount) that you would like to accept. Click on "Submit Decision"  

STEP 3: 

Before receiving a Federal Direct Stafford Loan, borrowers are required to complete a student loan entrance counseling interview. This quick and easy interactive counseling session provides useful tips and tools to help you develop a budget for managing your educational expenses. It also helps you understand your loan responsibilities when you enter repayment. You complete this counseling with Direct Loan Servicing.

STEP 4: 

The Master Promissory Note (MPN) is required to be completed by each borrower. The MPN is a legal contract that binds you to the federal government. Signing this document indicates that you promise to repay the student loan you are taking out. The master promissory note also includes important language about rights and responsibilities as a borrower. Both subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford Loans are covered under the master promissory note. Students will need to complete their MPN at Direct Loans MPN.

Exit Interviews
When you graduate or withdraw from MSU Denver, you are recommended to complete online Exit Counseling at Direct Loans Exit Counseling. This will help you to review your borrower rights and responsibilities. These are the same borrower rights and responsibilities that you signed on your Master Promissory Note (MPN).

Disbursement of a Federal Graduate PLUS Loan

Or office will send you a Student Loan Recommendation that will detail the amount, loan type, lender, and estimated dates of disbursement of funds. To receive your loan funds, your financial aid file must be complete, including the completion of your Entrance Interview and Master Promissory Note, before the school can receive or release any funds. You will also receive a guarantee notice from Direct Loan Servicing via mail. Please keep these documents for your records. Check with the Office of Financial Aid (Central Classroom Room 116, 303-556-8593) if your funds have not been applied to your account.

Remember - Even if your loan funds are guaranteed, they will not arrive at MSU Denver until you meet all loan eligibility requirements such as having a complete file (including Entrance and Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements) and having a minimum of 5 credit hours of enrollment for the loan period for which you are expecting funds. We cannot consider hours for which you are wait listed.

If your loan is submitted late in the semester and your funds are not received by the last day of the semester, we will be required to follow Late Disbursement regulations.

Late Disbursements (after semester ends)

Any Federal Direct Stafford or PLUS Loan funds received after the last day of the semester follow Prior Term Disbursement Regulations. Grades must post to your account to help determine your eligibility for your loan funds. You must have completed 5 credit hours with grades of C or better, have completed all the requirements requested of the file, and must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress with the Office of Financial Aid. Students who complete a late Master Promissory Note fall under these regulations.

Cancellations or Reductions

You may request that your loan funds be cancelled or reduced after applying or receiving your Loan Recommendation Letter. You have 30 days after the loan period to make this request. You must submit a written statement to the Office of Financial Aid to cancel the loan. This may be faxed, mailed or dropped off in our office, and please be sure to include your 900 student ID number on all correspondence submitted to our office.

If you have received the loan funds and want to cancel or reduce the loan, you will be asked to return the cancelled or reduced loan funds from the refund (to the Bursar's Office) after submitting the statement to our office. To request any reductions or changes to your loans, you should complete a Financial Aid Loan Rejection Form (REJLN), which is available in our Financial Aid Forms Section of the website.

Federal Graduate PLUS Loan Repayment

Repayment can be managed on the Direct Loan Servicing website.  While the interest rate on the loan is fixed, interest starts accruing on the loan at the time of disbursement to MSU Denver.  Payments can be deferred until after graduation while you are enrolled at least half time.  Accrued interest can be paid quarterly while you are in school or capitalized (added to) the loan when you enter repayment if you prefer.  You will accrue future interest based on the higher principle balance while in repayment.  The Federal Direct Loan website has calculators you can use in making your decision to pay interest while in school or allow it to accrue.

Applicant Services for Graduate PLUS Loan Borrowers

  • 800-557-7394  8am-8pm (ET), Monday to Friday
  • 877-461-7010  TDD

Grad PLUS Loan Borrowers can contact Applicant Services for:

  • Credit Appeal Overrides
  • Endorser Application Questions


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