Tulane participates in the Direct Loan Program. If you have a Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, the federal government through the U.S. Department of Education is your lender.
Federal Graduate PLUS Loans are designed to assist students who need additional educational financing. Loan approval is based on credit worthiness and ability to repay. Federal Graduate PLUS loans are available to a student who is pursuing a graduate level degree program, enrolled at least half-time, is maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress, and meeting all other eligibility criteria. In addition, students must have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). As with any loan, careful consideration should be made in determining amounts to be borrowed, as the loan must be repaid.
The yearly limit on a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan is equal to a student's cost of attendance (including tuition and fees, and an allowance for room, board, books, travel and miscellaneous) minus any other financial aid the student is receiving.
The student must fill out a FAFSA. After the FAFSA is processed, Tulane University Financial Aid staff will review the results and will inform the student about their federal student aid eligibility, including Graduate PLUS Loan eligibility. A Graduate PLUS borrower must sign a master promissory note (MPN), a binding legal document that lists the conditions under which borrowing is made and the terms of repayment. The loan must be approved for credit. Also, the borrower must have completed federally-mandated Graduate PLUS Loan Entrance Counseling before an approved loan will credit for the student.
Interest is charged on the Grad PLUS loan from the date the first disbursement is made until the loan is paid in full. Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2018 but before July 1, 2019 will have a fixed rate of 7.595%; Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2019 but before July 1, 2020 will have a fixed rate of 7.08%.
Current law (The Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013) states that the interest rate will be based on the high yield of the 10-year Treasury note at the final auction held prior to June 1 preceding the July 1 of the year for which the rate will be effective, plus a statutorily defined "add-on" (for Direct PLUS Loans, this is 4.6%) subject to an interest rate cap (for Direct PLUS Loans, this is 10.5%), and that the loan will be a fixed-rate loan. Interest rates for the next year will be not be known until after the final auction for the year occurs.
Fees on the Graduate PLUS Loan are withheld from each disbursement. Although fees on the Graduate PLUS loan normally total 4%, sequestration has caused the fee to increase, most recently to 4.248% for loans first disbursed on or after October 1, 2018 (but before October 1, 2019), and 4.236% for loans first disbursed on or after October 1, 2019 (but before October 1, 2020).
During at least half-time enrollment, students are not required to make any payments on the outstanding principal balance, but will continue to be charged interest. Prepayment may be made on the Graduate PLUS loan without penalty. The servicer will send the student information about repayment, including the date repayment begins. Students are responsible for beginning payment on time, regardless of if they receive this information. Students may discuss repayment plans with their servicer, including how often they may switch plans. Also see loan repayment expert advice here.
Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan approval is based on absence of adverse credit.* A credit report will be pulled and reviewed by the lender (U.S. Department of Education) if one has not yet been pulled within the prior 180 days (prior to March 29, 2015, it was 90 days). If a student is denied a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan, only the lender can discuss the reasons for a denial, so contact the lender directly. On occasion, a denial due to discrepancies on a credit report can be resolved. A denied borrower has the option to re-apply with a creditworthy endorser as a cosigner.There is a counseling requirement for Direct PLUS Loan applicants who are determined to have an adverse credit history, but who qualify for a Direct PLUS Loan by documenting extenuating circumstances or obtaining an endorser.
Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loans for an academic year must be disbursed in two equal installments. Typically, students who are enrolled for the standard academic year will receive their first disbursement in August and their second disbursement in January. Funds are automatically credited to student Tulane Accounts Receivable accounts after students confirm their registration for the semester and continue to meet all eligibility requirements. Students can check their student accounts on-line through the Accounts Receivable website.
A student who anticipates withdrawing from Tulane after receipt of a federal loan should contact their Dean's office to discuss the withdrawal process and visit the Tulane Financial Aid Office to discuss how withdrawing will affect their federal loans.
Federal regulations require students who have borrowed a Federal Graduate PLUS Loan and are graduating, leaving school, or dropping below half-time enrollment to complete an exit counseling session. During this session, borrowers review the terms of the loan, borrower rights and responsibilities, and the consequences of default.
As of March 29, 2015, a Direct PLUS Loan applicant is considered to have adverse credit if he or she meets one or more conditions for a denied credit check described in a posting on U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid website and paraphrased below: