Grad PLUS Loan Program
The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan is a fixed interest loan program that enables graduate students to borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education to help pay for educational expenses. It is not based on need, however you must still file the FAFSA to be eligible. Loan payments can be deferred while in school at least half time and the loan has flexible repayment options. The terms and conditions include:
- you must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
- be pursuing a degree in an accredited program in an eligible institution
- you must be enrolled at least half-time in a graduate degree program
- not be in default on a prior federal loan
- have no recent federal drug convictions
- if male and born after 1959, have registered for selective service
If you have an absence of bad credit (you are not in default on any loan, in a collections status, charge off, write off or are you not currently more than 90 days past due on any of your accounts), you may be eligible for a Grad PLUS loan.
The Grad Plus Loan differs from the Unsubsidized Stafford Loan in the following ways:
- interest rate is fixed at 6.31% (for loans disbursed between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017)
- there is no annual or aggregate loan limits other than the standard Cost of Attendance less other financial aid
- The Grad PLUS loan requires a credit review; you will need to have the absence of bad credit in order to receive a Grad PLUS Loan, but not as good as you would need to have for most private educational loans
- The Grad PLUS loan has a mandatory 4.276% (beginning October 1, 2016) origination fee which is deducted from the loan at time of disbursement
Disbursement of Student Loans
Hofstra University generally requests that student loans be disbursed to the university ten days prior to the first day of class for the upcoming semester. Students have the right to cancel all or part of the loan or disbursement prior to or after the funds have been disbursed to the university. Prior to the disbursement of the loan students should contact the Hofstra Student Financial Services and request that the loan be canceled or reduced. After the loan has been disbursed to the university, students need to contact the Office of Student Financial Services and request that all or a portion of the loan funds be returned to their lender. You can contact the Office of Student Financial Services via E-mail or visit them in person in Memorial Hall on the second floor.
Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loan Repayment
Repayment can be managed on the website of your loan servicer, which will be assigned to you by the U.S. Department of Education. While the interest rate on the loan is fixed, interest starts accruing on the loan at the time of disbursement to Hofstra University. Payments can be deferred until after graduation while you are enrolled at least half time (there will be a 6 month grade period before the first payment is due). Accrued interest can be paid quarterly while you are in school or capitalized (added) the loan when you enter repayment if you prefer. You will accrue future interest based on the higher principle balance while in repayment. The U.S. Department of Education has a loan repayment calculator you can use to help estimate your loan repayment options.
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,
- 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 is valid for 90 days. Your credit is evaluated every time you request a new loan unless you have had a credit decision within the preceding 90 days. 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 reapplying
- Appeal the denial with Applicant Services (see below 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.
Applicant Services for Grad PLUS Loan Borrowers
- 800-557-7394 8am-8pm (ET), Monday to Friday
Graduate PLUS Loan Borrowers can contact Applicant Services for:
- Credit Appeal Overrides
- Endorser Application Questions
Please note that Hofstra University is required to submit loan information to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), and that information is accessible by guaranty agencies, lenders and institutions determined to be authorized users of the data system.