FINANCIAL AID OFFICE

FEDERAL LOANS

The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan is for graduate (master's degree) and professional degree students.  In order for a graduate student to become eligible for a PLUS loan, they must first file a FAFSA for the current academic year.  It is recommended that the student accept all of the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan that they have been offered first, as the interest rate (6.8%) on the unsubsidized loan is lower than the interest rate (7.9%) on the Graduate PLUS loan.  The Graduate PLUS loan should be considered if there is a gap between the student's cost of education and all other aid including a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan.  As with all loan programs, we urge you to borrow conservatively.

Eligibility

  • Must have a valid FAFSA on file www.fafsa.ed.gov
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen
  • Accepted as a regular student working toward a master’s degree
  • Attending at least half-time (6 credit hours of required coursework)
    • Graduate Pre-Majors are not eligible for Grad PLUS since they are not accepted into a regular Masters program yet
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress toward a degree per the policies of the college
  • Cannot be in default on any other federal loans
  • Cannot owe a refund on a federal student grant or loan
  • Must be credit approved

Application Process

Graduate PLUS loans for Summer 2013 are part of the 2012-13 academic year.  Applications for a Graduate PLUS loan for the 2013-14 year should not be made until June 1, 2013 or later to avoid expiration of the required credit check prior to the loan being originated.  Credit checks are only valid for 90 days.

  • Graduate students sign in at www.studentloans.gov using their information and Federal PIN
  • Click on "Request a Direct PLUS Loan"
  • Choose Graduate PLUS loan
  • Complete all information and submit request for credit approval. Please ensure you choose the correct school name.  Buffalo State is listed as "SUNY College at Buffalo".  Refer to the image below:
            

Credit Approval

  • Credit approval will be given to any student who does not have adverse credit.  A PLUS loan approval is not  based on low income, the amount of loan requested, the amount of debt that a student has, or a FICO score.   A graduate student will generally be approved for a PLUS loan as long as they do not have adverse  credit according to the following conditions:
    • Not currently 90 days or more delinquent on any debt
    • In the last 5 years, not subject to default determination, bankruptcy discharge, foreclosure, repossession, tax lien, wage garnishment, or write off of Title IV debt

Master Promissory Note

  • If a graduate student receives credit approval, they will also need to complete a Direct Graduate PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN) at www.studentloans.gov.
    • This MPN is different than the MPN used for unsubsidized student loans

Entrance Counseling

  • Graduate and professional degree students borrowing a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan for the first time also need to complete an Entrance Counseling session for graduate students.  This is also an online process at www.studentloans.gov
  • Generally, the MPN and the Entrance Counseling Interview would only need to be completed the first time the student borrows this loan. 

Loan Servicer

  • Once your loan has been originated by our office, the Department of Education will assign your loan to a federal student aid loan servicer. The servicer assigned to your loan(s) will send you correspondence including disclosure statements that contain loan amounts, interest rates and disbursement dates, repayment information and options regarding loan consolidation. 
  • Always notify your loan servicer with any changes to your personal information such as name, address, or phone number and feel free to contact them with any questions regarding your loan(s). 
  • Contact information for your federal loan servicer can be found by reviewing your loan(s) at www.nslds.ed.gov.  

Repayment

  • Students who borrow a Graduate PLUS loan are eligible for an in-school deferment as long as they are enrolled at least half-time or a minimum of six credit hours in required coursework. If a student drops below half-time, they will be contacted by their federal loan servicer regarding the first payment.  Helpful information including repayment plans and calculators, public service loan forgiveness, and postponing repayment can be found on the following link: 

http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/repaying.jsp

Interest Rate

  • Effective for loans first disbursed between July 1, 2013 and July 1, 2014, Grad PLUS loans have a fixed interest rate of 6.41% 
  • If possible, it is wise to make interest only payments during the in-school deferment period to keep the interest from being capitalized and added onto the principal balance of the loan.  

Additional Information