First-time borrowers of Federal Direct Stafford and Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans at USC are required to complete entrance loan counseling at www.studentloans.gov.
If you are graduating, on a leave of absence or enrolled less than half-time, federal regulations and university policy require you to complete Exit Loan Counseling.
Borrowers who wish to appeal the denial of a Parent PLUS or Grad PLUS loan, or who have experienced difficulties with the studentloans.gov website, should call COD applicant services at (800) 557-7394.
All Title IV HEA Federal Student Loans will be reported to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) and will be accessible by guarantee agencies, lenders and schools determined to be authorized users.
To review your financial aid history and to better understand your federal student loan indebtedness, log in to www.nslds.ed.gov You will need your name, date of birth, Social Security number and FAFSA PIN to access your confidential record.
If you have borrowed from one or more of the non-federal private financing programs, more information about those loans can be obtained from your lender or on your credit report at: www.annualcreditreport.com
Graduate and professional students may wish to consider this low-interest, credit-based federal loan to cover their college expenses.
To qualify, you must:
- Be enrolled at least half-time:
- Graduate students must register for four (4) or more units.
- Doctoral students must register for three (3) or more units or be enrolled in a course considered full-time by the registrar (thesis/dissertation).
- Be enrolled for the number of units indicated in your Financial Aid Summary;
- Submit all required documents;
- Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress;
- Maintain loan eligibility;
- Have already borrowed the maximum amount for a Federal Direct Stafford Loan; and
- Meet established federal credit criteria or apply with an endorser who meets the criteria. (The Federal Direct Loan Servicer will perform a credit check.)
The student's credit report must be free of the following adverse items:
- Currently 90 days or more delinquent on repayment of any debt.
- Debt discharged in bankruptcy during the past five years.
- Evidence of a default, foreclosure, tax lien, repossession, wage garnishment, or write-off of a debt during the past five years.
- Collection Accounts or Charge Offs with a balance greater than ZERO.
how to apply
You must first exhaust your full Federal Stafford Loan eligibility to be considered for a Graduate PLUS Loan.
- Complete the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan request, by visiting www.studentloans.gov and sign in to Manage My Direct Loans, then click on Request a Direct PLUS Loan. Once you have completed the process, the Department of Education will notify us electronically.
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine your eligibility for need-based aid.
- Submit the Enrollment and Housing (Supplemental) Form for the appropriate year to the Financial Aid Office. Log into My Financial and Documents and click on "Document Library" to access the form.
receiving your funds
Once the Financial Aid Office processes your Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan and notifies the Department of Education, we will e-mail you confirmation. The Federal Direct Loan Servicer will then perform a credit check.
If you are approved, you will need to sign your Master Promissory note (MPN) online at www.studentloans.gov.
- You will need the Personal Identification Number (PIN) issued to you by the Department of Education when you completed your FAFSA. If you have forgotten your PIN, you will be able to retrieve it through www.studentloans.gov.
- You will not be required to complete a new MPN if:
- You previously borrowed a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan at another school;
- Your existing MPN is not more than 10 years old; and
- Your previous loans(s) were approved without an endorser.
The current interest rate is fixed at 7.9 percent.
The ten-year repayment period begins six (6) months after you graduate, withdraw or drop below half-time enrollment.
To reduce the cost of borrowing, consider making interest-only payments while you are in school.
Your loan is generally disbursed in two equal parts, one at the beginning of each semester.
There is no penalty for early repayment.
A Federal Origination Fee will be deducted from each disbursement:
- 4.0 percent for all loans made before March 1, 2013
- 4.204 percent for all loans made on or after March 1, 2013
Benefits of the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
- Borrow up to the USC estimated cost of attendance: tuition, mandatory fees, room and board, books and supplies, and even transportation, less other aid received.
- Fixed interest rate.
- No prepayment penalty.
- No income-to-debt ratio.
- Credit check is less strict than that for private student loans.
- Students who do not meet the credit requirements may apply with a co-signer (called an “endorser”).
- Postpone payments up to 60 months while student is in school at least half-time.
- Payment flexibility: income-based, graduated and extended payment options.
- Accrued interest capitalizes once at repayment.
- Student may reduce cost of borrowing by making payments while in school.
- Federally insured against death and total disability.