Federal Direct PLUS loans

In addition to the Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans available to student borrowers, parents of dependent, undergraduate students and independent graduate students may borrow additional funds through the William D. Ford Federal Direct PLUS Loan program. The U.S. Department of Education assigns the borrowed loan(s) to an affiliated servicer. Parents or independent graduate students may borrow any amount up to the cost of education minus any other financial aid awarded. Eligibility will be based upon a satisfactory credit check as decided by the U.S. Department of Education.      


 Visit StudentLoans.govA FSA ID is required by a parent (and if necessary, the endorser) to borrow a Federal Direct PLUS loan. If you need to create or recover your FSA ID, visit fsaid.ed.govGraduate students should contact a financial aid counselor before beginning this process.

A parent or graduate student borrower begins by logging in as him or herself, then:

1. Select Request a Direct PLUS loan. Complete the application for the 2015-2016 academic year at Manhattan College. Parents will apply for a Direct Parent PLUS loan, while graduate students will apply for a Direct Graduate PLUS loan.

  • You can opt to borrow the maximum dollar amount allowed (determined by Financial Aid Administration) or you can designate a specific dollar amount. 
  • You can also decide whether you wish to defer payments while your student maintains half-time enrollment at Manhattan or make payments during the academic year. There is no penalty for prepayment on the Direct PLUS loan. 
  • Indicate whether you (the parent) or the student should be the recipient of any credit balance resulting from the PLUS loan (the student must still initiate a refund request with our office).

2. Finally, you will authorize a credit check and receive an immediate credit decision. If approved, you must proceed to complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN). If denied, see PLUS Loan Denial Options above.

We will receive confirmation of your loan status from the U.S. Department of Education in 1-2 business days. You are encouraged to print the MPN for your records, but may always log back on to StudentLoans.gov for an electronic copy.

Promissory Note 

The Master PLUS Promissory Note (MPN) will simplify the processing of your loan(s). The Federal Direct PLUS MPN is a promissory note that can be used to make one or more Federal Direct PLUS Loans to a parent borrower to help pay for the educational costs of a dependent, undergraduate student.

A parent who wants to borrow Federal Direct PLUS Loans for more than one dependent student must complete a separate Federal Direct PLUS MPN for each student but the online application includes an easy option to apply a single application entry for two separate dependents. In addition, if each parent wants to borrow Federal Direct PLUS Loans for the same student, they must individually complete a separate Federal Direct PLUS MPN.

Disbursements & Loan Fees 

  • The interest rate is fixed at 6.84% and is adjusted by the federal government each year on July 1. View past and current interest rates.
  • Between 10/01/14 - 10/01/15, the federal government will assess a loan origination fee for 4.292% of the amount borrowed in a Direct PLUS loan.

The loan will be applied to your student's account. The loan will be disbursed in two equal amounts between Fall and Spring less the origination fee. Your student can check on the PLUS loan disbursement by viewing their Account Summary on Self-Service. In accordance with federal student aid regulations, Federal Direct Loan disbursements may occur as early as ten days prior to the beginning of the semester if all requirements are met.


From studentaid.ed.gov:
"Your Direct PLUS Loan enters repayment once your loan is fully disbursed (paid out). 

  • If you are a graduate or professional student, your loan will be placed into deferment [not a grace period] while you are enrolled at least half-time and for an additional six months after you cease to be enrolled at least half-time. 
  • If you are a parent borrower, you may contact your loan servicer to request a deferment [not a grace period] while you or your child are enrolled at least half-time and for an additional six months after your child ceases to be enrolled at least half-time.

If your loan is deferred, interest will accrue on the loan during the deferment. You may choose to pay the accrued interest or allow the interest to capitalize when the deferment period ends. Your loan servicer will notify you when your first payment is due."


The dependent, undergraduate or independent, graduate student must be enrolled at least half-time (six credits) and meet satisfactory academic progress requirements.

For undergraduate students, the borrower must be a natural parent, adoptive parent, or stepparent (if his/her income and assets are considered in the expected family contribution) of the dependent student.

Federal PLUS regulations define credit eligibility as having no "adverse credit" including:

  • no debt repayment account that is 90 days or more delinquent, including unpaid collection accounts and charge-offs.
  • has not had any debt discharged in bankruptcy or been in default on any debt such as foreclosure, tax lien, repossession, or wage garnishment in the last 5 years.

Federal Loan Eligibility Chart 

LOANS Amount Who is Eligible How to Apply Interest Rate and Repayment
Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan Max loan limits are $5,500 for freshmen (only $3,500 may be in subsidized loan), $6,500 for sophomores (only $4,500 may be in subsidized loan), $7,500 thereafter (only $5,500 may be in subsidized loan).                                  

Independent students may be eligible for $4-5,000 in additional loan funds.

US citizens or permanent residents demonstrating financial need Submit FAFSA and loan application Fixed rate - Begins 6 months after student leaves school or drops below half time enrollment (6 credit hours.
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan Students who have not received the max Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan. Independent students may have additional eligibility. Submit FAFSA and loan application Fixed rate - Begins 6 months after student leaves school or drops below half time enrollment (6 credit hours). Interest accrues while in school.
Federal Direct Plus Loan Up to the cost of education less aid received Parents of dependent students Submit FAFSA and loan application Fixed rate - Begins 60 days after entire loan is disbursed or 6 months after student leaves school.

Direct PLUS Loan Denial Options

We understand that getting denied for a PLUS loan can be a stressful situation and raise concerns about a student's ability to finance a college education. The Financial Aid Administration office will receive electronic notification of denied PLUS loans in 1-2 business days after a credit denial decision is determined by the U.S. Department of Education. 

A parent or graduate student who is denied for a PLUS loan should not attempt to cosign a private loan or borrow a private loan without a credit-worthy cosigner, as credit eligibility criteria are more restrictive with private lenders. 

Students must still adhere to tuition payment deadlines, regardless if a PLUS loan review is pending or an option below does not return a favorable outcome. Students should never ignore tuition bills, but should contact a Student Accounts and Bursar Services representative to discuss payment options

Option 1: Additional Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

Parent PLUS loans only

Parents who attempted to borrow the Parent PLUS loan but were denied can have their student provide a written request to be awarded an additional unsubsidized Stafford Loan equal to the limits of an Independent Student at their class level (earned credits).

Additional Loan Amounts Awarded

The additional unsubsidized Stafford Loan will disburse to the student account less the net of 1.073% mandatory, federal government origination fee; half of the borrowed amount will disburse each semester (Fall/Spring).

  • $4,000 for freshmen and sophomores = $3,956 ($1,978 per semester). 
  • $5,000 for juniors and seniors = $4,946 ($2,473 per semester).

Option 2: Ask an Endorser

You may add a credit-worthy endorser (similar to a cosigner) to your PLUS Loan if you aren't approved on your own credit. An endorser is any credit-worthy person who will sign the MPN with the parent borrower and take on equal liability for the PLUS Loan debt.

Endorser and Borrower Instructions

  • Create a FSA ID.
  • Have the Loan Reference Number or Award ID from the parent borrower on-hand.
  • Log in to StudentLoans.gov and select Endorse Direct PLUS loan.
  • If an endorser is approved, your Direct PLUS loan decision will be overturned from a denial to an approval. The student then becomes ineligible for Option #1: An additional Unsubsidized Stafford Loan.
  • With an approved endorser, the parent borrower must then log in to studentloans.gov and complete two steps: PLUS Loan Counseling and a new Master Promissory Note. Failure to do so will prevent your PLUS loan from disbursing.

Note: The endorser is liable only for the specific loan amount that he or she has agreed to endorse. Further information regarding PLUS loan endorsement can be found online or by calling COD Applicant Services at 1-800-557-7394.

Option 3: Appeal the Credit Decision

You may appeal your credit denial decision with the U.S. Department of Education. If an endorser is approved, your Direct PLUS loan decision will be overturned from a denial to an approval. The student then becomes ineligible for an additional Unsubsidized Stafford Loan. 

Appeal Instructions 

  1. Login to StudentLoans.gov using the parent or graduate borrower's login information and FSA ID.
  2. Select Appeal Credit Decision under the PLUS Loan section on the left side menu.
  3. Follow the instructions to submit your appeal application. An official copy of your current credit report will be required, along with other requested documentation. You may obtain one for free from AnnualCreditReport.com.
  4. The borrower will receive a call from a Federal Loan Origination Center within 3 business days to discuss their appeal. You may also contact COD Applicant Services at 1-800-557-7394 in advance to discuss your appeal status or ask any related questions.
  5. If the originally denied credit check is successfully appealed, the parent borrower must then log in to studentloans.gov and complete two steps: PLUS Loan Counseling and a new Master Promissory Note. Failure to do so will prevent your PLUS loan from disbursing.

Other Options

  • Another parent of the dependent student may attempt to borrow a Direct PLUS Loan instead of the denied parent borrower. If approved, the student is not eligible for the additional unsubsidized Stafford Loan. 
  • The student can consider other payment options.
  • The student (with a willing, credit-worthy cosigner) can apply for an educational  private loan. Dependent undergraduate students in this situation should still consider the aforementioned options to exhaust their federal loan eligibility first.