What are PLUS loans?

This federal loan is for parents of dependent undergraduate students or graduate students and is not based on financial need. This loan can help the student cover any educational expenses not covered by other financial assistance. Students must be in a degree program. This loan can help you (the parent or the student) meet the costs of a college education. The decision to approve or deny the loan is based on the results of a credit check that is conducted by the US Department of Education.

Undergraduate Federal Parent PLUS Loans

Who Is Eligible?

Parents, adoptive parents, and step-parents of dependent undergraduate students attending college at least half time (6 credit hours) in a degree program are eligible for PLUS loans. Borrowers must be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens, and not in default on any federal student loans already taken out. Loan approval is subject to credit criteria established by the U.S. Department of Education. A credit report will be obtained by the loan processing center from a national credit bureau once you apply.

Borrowing Limits

The parent of an UMSL student may borrow up to the total annual cost of education, including educational fees, books, living and travel expenses, less any financial aid for which the student is eligible. The Student Financial Services Office will determine your amount of loan eligibility.

Application Process

  • Step 1: You must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Our Federal School Code is 002519.
  • Step 2: The parent applicant should log into the Federal Student Aid website using his/her FSA ID. (This is the same FSA ID the parent would have used to complete and sign the FAFSA electronically.) From there, select Request a Direct PLUS Loan from the menu, and then select Parent PLUS on the following page. Be sure to request UMSL as the school of choice to ensure we receive the PLUS information.
  • Step 3: Promissory note- The borrower will be electronically notified at the email address they provide on the application to complete and sign the promissory note. The borrower can visit the Federal Student Aid website to complete this step. Parent borrowers needs to sign a separate promissory note for each student for whom they are borrowing, but, once signed and attached to a disbursed PLUS loan, a promissory note is generally good for 10 years from the signature date (exceptions may exist in cases where loans are approved with a cosigner).
  • PLUS credit counseling: Parent applicants whose applications are denied because of failure to meet credit standards can appeal the decision with the loan processor, or can get a credit-worthy loan endorser. Parent borrowers who are initially denied the loan but are then approved much complete PLUS credit counseling in order to receive the loan. The PLUS credit counseling is completed on the same site as the FAFSA and the original loan application
  • Step 4: Loan Certification The UMSL Student Financial Services Office will certify your PLUS loan request and submit it for final approval, guarantee and disbursement.
  • Step 5: Loan Disbursement PLUS loans are disbursed directly to the student’s UMSL account upon verification that all eligibility requirements are met, and no earlier than 10 days prior to the start of the term. There is a fee deducted from each disbursement—after the loan is approved by the school, you’ll receive a loan disclosure showing loan information, including the fee amounts.
  • Step 6: Refund If you have any funds available after what is owed directly to the University, the refund will be released to the parent at the address listed on the PLUS Application. Refunds from proceeds of PLUS will be issued to the student only if the parent requests that on the PLUS application.
  • Step 7: Loan Repayment Repayment of the loan begins while your student is enrolled, about 30-60 days after the loan is disbursed. You will receive a payment coupon book or statement from your loan servicer indicating the due date. For parents who request and qualify for a deferment due to student’s in-school status or other criteria, the interest will continue to accrue during periods of deferment.

For more information regarding Parent PLUS, please visit the Federal Student Aid website.

Graduate Federal PLUS Loans

Who Is Eligible?

Graduate students are eligible for this loan if they meet the following conditions:

  1. Qualify for federal financial aid;
  2. Are enrolled at least half-time (5 credit hours);
  3. Have educational expenses not covered by other financial assistance, such as the Stafford Loan;
  4. Pass a credit check, which is conducted by the US Department of Education.

Borrowing Limits

A student may borrow up to the difference between the total annual cost of education, including educational fees, books, living and travel expenses, and any financial aid for which the student is eligible. The student must receive his or her maximum Direct Unsubsidized Student Loan eligibility for the year before taking advantage of the Graduate PLUS Loan. Some students may find that they do not qualify for Graduate PLUS because their total cost of attendance does not exceed the Stafford loan maximum. Please contact our office if you have questions about the amount for which you might qualify.

Graduate PLUS loan or Alternative Loan?

Unlike alternative loans, Graduate PLUS can be consolidated with the student's Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Student Loans after graduation, which would allow the student to keep all loans with one holder. This has the potential of greatly reducing the student's monthly loan payment. Because various alternative loan programs have different interest rates and loan terms, it's good to compare those terms when deciding whether to opt for a private student loan or a Graduate PLUS. Some things to consider are the length of the repayment period, the interest rate formula and frequency of interest capitalization (does interest get added to principal quarterly, annually, at start of repayment?), origination fees, and eligibility for forbearances and deferments. 

Application Process

  • Step 1: You must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Our Federal School Code is 002519.
  • Step 2: The Direct Grad PLUS application can be found at https://studentaid.gov/plus-app/grad/landing. You will need your FSA ID to log in (This is the same FSA ID used to complete and sign the FAFSA electronically.) Be sure to request UMSL as the school of choice to ensure we receive the loan information.
  • Step 3: Promissory note and Entrance Counseling The borrower will be sent information electronically on how to complete their promissory note and entrance counseling, both can be completed on the Department of Education student aid portal, the same site where the FAFSA and the Grad PLUS applications reside. Completing entrance counseling as a graduate student fulfills the counseling requirement for the Grad PLUS. Grad PLUS promissory notes usually don’t need to be completed each year—a signed master promissory note (MPN) that has been linked to a disbursed Grad PLUS is usually good for ten years from the signature date.
  • PLUS credit counseling—Applicants who are denied the loan because of failure to meet credit standards can appeal the decision or get a credit-worthy loan endorser. Applicants whose loans are initially denied must complete PLUS credit counseling (also available on the student aid portal) before their loans can be disbursed.
  • Step 4: Loan Certification The UMSL Student Financial Services Office will certify your PLUS loan request and submit it for final approval, guarantee and disbursement.
  • Step 5: Loan Disbursement PLUS loans are disbursed directly to the student’s UMSL account upon verification that all eligibility requirements are met, and no earlier than 10 days prior to the start of the term. There is a fee deducted from each disbursement--for the current rate, please visit the Federal Student Aid website.
  • Step 6: Refunds If you have any funds available after what is owed directly to the University, refund of the difference will be issued to you.
  • Step 7: Loan Repayment As a graduate or professional student, your loan will be placed into deferment while you are enrolled at least half-time and for an additional six months after you cease to be enrolled at least half-time. Interest will accrue on the loan during the entire life of the loan, including periods of deferment. You are allowed to make payments during the periods of deferment if you choose.

For more information regarding Parent PLUS, please visit the Federal Student Aid website.

 

Code of Conduct

The University of Missouri adheres to a Code of Conduct that addresses its relationships with providers of educational loans.