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PLUS vs Private Loans Comparison

PLUS vs Private Loans

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Non-Federal Private Student Loan
How to Apply Students beginning enrollment for 2014-2015 in June may complete the 2014-2015 Graduate PLUS loan application on or after April 28, 2014.

Students beginning enrollment for 2014-2015 in August may complete the 2014-2015 Graduate PLUS loan application on or after June 15, 2014.

Login to www.studentloans.gov and complete:

  • a Graduate PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note.
  • Click on "Click here to Request a Direct PLUS Loan" to complete a Graduate PLUS Loan application.
    • Choose the Direct Graduate PLUS loan.
    • Choose the appropriate academic year.
    • Choose PCOM as the school.
    • The loan award period is equal to your first and last months of enrollment for the current academic year.
    • You can then enter a loan amount*.

* Remember the government will retain a 4.288% loan fee.

* Remember your loan will be divided into equal disbursements equal to the number of terms you are enrolled for the current academic year.

* If you have a special request regarding the disbursement of your loan, email your appropriate financial aid office.

A credit check is part of the PLUS Loan Application. If a student does not pass the credit check, the student can either apply for an appeal with the Department of Education or use a credit-worthy endorser.
Compare private student loans with FASTChoice, an internet search, or on banks' websites.

Discuss the terms, conditions, and application process of the private student loan with the lender.

Click here to learn about important questions you should ask private lenders when applying for a non-federal private student loan.

Eligibility FAFSA required.
Credit check required.
Must be enrolled as at least a half-time student, in good academic standing, working toward a degree or certificate.
No FAFSA required.
Credit check required.
Must be enrolled as at least a half-time student, in good academic standing, working toward a degree or certificate.
Co-Signer No co-signer required, but a credit co-signer can be used if credit is declined. No co-signer required, but having a co-signer can dramatically decrease your interest rate. Discuss details and conditions with lender.
Lender U.S. Federal Government, however the loan is serviced by an assigned loan servicing company (read more here). Bank or lending institution of your choice.
Interest Rate 6.41% fixed interest rate.

Future rate may vary.

Variable and fixed rates available. Rates vary by lender and credit worthiness. Having a good credit rating and/or using a credit‐worthy cosigner may dramatically decrease your loan interest rate.

Discuss details and conditons with lender.

Interest Accrual Interest begins accruing upon first disbursement. Interest usually begins accruing upon first disbursement.
Interest Capitalization Interest capitalizes upon repayment or at end of a deferment/grace period.

Varies by lender. Some lenders capitalize interest monthly or quarterly. Discuss details and conditons with lender.

Loan Fees 4.288% Usually none. Discuss details and conditions with lender.
Loan Limit Up to Cost of Attendance minus other financial aid (loans, scholarships, and federal work study) awarded. Up to Cost of Attendance (loans, scholarships, and federal work study) minus other financial aid awarded.
Aggregate Lifetime Borrowing Limit None Varies. Discuss details and conditions with lender.

Repayment
Grace Period

Student must request a 6-month post-enrollment deferment from lender after student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time or graduates. Varies. Discuss details and conditions with lender.
Repayment Plans Various available including standard 10-year, extended 25-year, income-based, pay as you earn, and more.
Compare all federal student loan repayment plans here.
Usually varies 1-25 years. Most lenders DO NOT offer income-based repayment plans. Discuss details and conditions with lender.
Consolidation May consolidate with other federal student loans (such as Stafford and Perkins). Non-federal private student loans CANNOT be consolidated with federal student loans.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Eligible for PSLF.
Read more about PSLF here.
Not eligible for PSLF.
Death/Disability Loans discharged upon borrower death or disability. Private loans may have discharge for death or disability. Discuss details and conditions with lender.

Last Updated: 7/7/14