Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

SMU knows you may need financial assistance to complete your education. You must make informed decisions about borrowing money. Loan details and instructions on how to complete a loan application are included.

SMU encourages students to borrow responsibly i.e., to borrow loans for what they need and NOT to borrow loans for what they could spend.

The Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loan is a credit-based educational loan available to graduate/professional students enrolled at least half time in a degree seeking program. It is a non-need based loan with the benefit of having a fixed interest rate. PLUS Loans are available regardless of income or assets, and no collateral is required. While the borrower does not have to prove financial need, a credit check is required.


  • The student is the borrower of the Federal Direct Grad PLUS loan
  • Eligibility is not based on financial need; however, creditworthiness is used for eligibility
  • The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be filed to be eligible
  • An endorser with good credit history can be used by a student with adverse credit history to secure a Grad PLUS loan

Terms & Conditions

  • Fixed interest rate of 6.28%
  • Interest accrues on the unpaid balance from the date of disbursement
  • Loan Fees - The PLUS loan has a 4.228% origination fee
    • Disbursements are made electronically to the student's SMU Tuition Account at the beginning of each term/semester if student is enrolled at least half-time
    • Credit balances created by excess Parent PLUS loans are refunded to the parent
    • Repayment of principal and interest begins 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed during the academic period with up to 10 years to repay
    • Grad PLUS loans first disbursed after July 1, 2008 may choose to defer payments until six months after the date the student ceases to be enrolled at least half time. Borrower is encouraged to pay accruing interest monthly or quarterly, but is can be capitalized quarterly.

Borrowing Limits

The maximum that can be borrowed on behalf of each dependent student is the cost of attendance less any other financial aid for a given academic period. The cost of attendance is determined by SMU and includes tuition, fees, and estimated room, board, travel, books, and personal expenses. Your financial aid advisor can provide the cost of attendance figure SMU used as the basis for awarding. Generally, the amount a student is eligible to borrow from the Federal Direct Grad PLUS loan for the academic year is included as an estimate on the Financial Aid Award Notice you received on my.SMU. Remember, the amount shown is only your estimated ELIGIBILITY. You must still submit your application for credit approval.

Application Instructions

  1. Log on to the U.S. Department of Education's Direct Loan website to complete the Direct PLUS Loan Request (including credit check.)
  2. The Direct PLUS Loan Request record will automatically be sent to the University.
  3. You (the borrower) will receive the results of the credit check immediately. Depending on the results of the credit check, you will be provided information about the next steps you need to take.
  4. The Direct PLUS Loan cannot be awarded until all the steps have been completed.

What if my PLUS application is denied?

As the Federal PLUS loan is a credit-based form of student aid, applications are occasionally denied due to adverse credit history. Fortunately, the Department of Education provides additional paths to PLUS approval. For more detailed information on your options and the requirements you must meet to be eligible, please visit https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/sites/default/files/plus-adverse-credit.pdf