Federal Direct PLUS Loans
PLUS Loan for Parents
A Federal Direct PLUS Loan is a non-need-based loan given by the Department of Education and is credit-based. The interest rate is fixed at 7.21%. There is a 4.292% (see current Direct Loan rates and fees) origination fee. Interest starts to accrue at disbursement; however, full repayment of principal and interest begins 60 days after the last disbursement for the loan period. The maximum repayment period is 10 years.
Parent(s) may apply for a Federal Direct PLUS Loan for up to the annual cost of attendance minus any aid. Approval for this loan is determined by the Department of Education and if approved, Carnegie Mellon will certify the amount you are eligible to borrow. If the Federal Direct PLUS Loan is not approved, the student may borrow additional unsubsidized Federal Direct Student Loan funds.
Students who do not wish to apply for financial aid but are interested in applying for a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan or whose parent(s) are only interested in borrowing a Federal Direct PLUS Loan are only required to complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Please complete the Request for Federal Unsubsidized or Federal Parent PLUS Loan Only form.
If the Federal Direct PLUS Loan is approved by the Department of Education, the 4.292% origination fee is deducted from the loan proceeds each semester before being sent to Carnegie Mellon. The proceeds will be sent to us via electronic funds transfer (EFT) and will be deposited into your student account at Carnegie Mellon.
See instructions on how to apply for a Federal Direct PLUS Loan.
Adverse Credit History and PLUS Loan Counseling
Federal Direct PLUS Loans
Based on final regulations published on 10/23/14, the Department of Education made changes to the adverse credit history provisions that are used in determining an applicant’s eligibility for a Direct PLUS Loan. These changes apply to both parent and graduate/professional student Direct PLUS Loan applicants. The new credit criteria will apply to all Direct PLUS Loan credit checks performed on or after March 29, 2015. These changes include:
- Revised criteria for determining that a Direct PLUS Loan Applicant has an adverse credit history
- The expiration date on credit checks will be extended from 90 to 180 days
- A new loan counseling requirement for applicants who are determined to have an adverse credit history, but who qualify for a Direct PLUS Loan by documenting extenuating circumstances for obtaining an endorser. The applicant must complete the counseling on the Department’s studentloans.gov website.
NOTE: The new mandatory Direct PLUS Loan counseling is separate module (within studentloans.gov) and does not fulfill the entrance counseling requirement for first-time graduate and professional student Direct PLUS Loan applicants. Depending on a graduate or professional student applicant’s circumstances, he or she may have to complete both modules.
Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loan
Eligible graduate students may borrow a Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loan to assist with their educational expenses.
*Parents and students should not apply for a PLUS Loan earlier than June 1 since the PLUS Loan requires a credit approval which is only valid for 180 days.