Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

Borrowing Amounts

Graduate students may borrow up to the full cost of education, less any other financial assistance received, using the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan. This option is a federally sponsored education loan.  We will not be able to process a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS application until the student has applied for a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan.


To be eligible for a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, a student must submit the Supplemental Graduate Loan Questionnaire, be attending at least half-time, maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), and admitted to a degree seeking graduate program, or a graduate certificate program which their school has deemed eligible under federal Gainful Employment regulations.  To determine if a particular graduate certificate program is eligible for federal loan funding, please see the Certificate Student Policy. If a certificate program is not eligible, we can process private alternative loans only.

Interest Rate

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans have a fixed interest rate which is set annually by the federal government. This means that there will be no increases in interest rates and monthly payments from year to year. Interest begins accruing from the date the loan is disbursed and may be capitalized. Capitalization means that the accrued interest, if unpaid, is added it to the principal of the loan. Repayment on this loan begins as soon as it is fully disbursed, however the student may request a deferment as long as he or she remains enrolled at least half-time.

About the Credit Check

A minimum credit check is required for all Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan borrowers. As of March 29, 2015, applicants are considered to have adverse credit if they are 90 days or more delinquent or that are in collection or have been charged off during the two years preceding the date of the applicant’s credit report, but only if the total combined outstanding balance of those debts is greater than $2,085. If you do not qualify for a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan on your own, you may become eligible by obtaining an endorser for the loan. Applicants who have an adverse credit history but who qualify for a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan through the process for reconsideration due to extenuating circumstances or by obtaining an endorser for the loan are required to complete additional PLUS Counseling which will be provided by the Department of Education on studentaid.gov. Instructions on how to proceed in the event of an adverse credit decision will be provided to you by the Department of Education.

Your credit check will be valid for 180 days from the date when you authorize the Department of Education (ED) to review your record. If your loan is not processed within this window for any reason, a new credit check will be initiated by ED once GW forwards your loan request to them. Should you require additional funds after your original loan is processed complete a new Direct PLUS Loan Request for Graduate/Professional Student Borrowers on studentaid.gov in addition to submitting a new Graduate Loan Questionnaire found on the Forms and Documents page.

Please be aware that we will not begin sending loan records to the Department of Education for the next Academic Year after July 1st when they begin accepting requests. Therefore, if you authorize the credit check early in the spring for the following school year, your credit may need to be reviewed again by ED if you complete your application after the supplemental loan priority deadline. If your credit adversely changes, you may be subsequently denied by ED. Be sure to monitor your credit report and budget your finances accordingly at all times so that your credit is not negatively affected.

Entrance Counseling/ Promissory Note

All first-time borrowers must complete an Entrance Counseling session as a graduate/professional student regarding their rights and responsibilities as a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan borrower. Additionally, students who have not borrowed a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan within the last ten years, or those whose previous request was denied for credit reasons, are required to complete a new Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN). Both of these requirements can be completed on the Federal Student Loans website.

Exit Counseling

Students who have borrowed Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans at GW are required to complete Exit Counseling when they graduate, leave the University or drop below half-time enrollment. Exit Counseling provides students with pertinent information regarding their rights and responsibilities as a student loan borrower, knowledge on repayment options and provisions, details on deferment and forbearance and useful financial planning tools to manage your student loans successfully. Exit Counseling can be completed on the Federal Student Loan website.