Financial Aid Office

Federal Direct PLUS Loans



Through Federal Direct Loans, funds are provided to students and their parents by the federal government.  Student loans are borrowed money that must be repaid, with interest.  Direct Loans include subsidized, unsubsidized, and PLUS loans.  The borrower repays these loans to the US Department of Education.  To be eligible, the student must:

  • be enrolled at least 6 credits per semester;
  • be admitted to a degree program;
  • not be in default on a federal student loan;
  • be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen;
  • have a valid Social Security number;
  • be registered with Selective Service, if required; and
  • maintain satisfactory academic progress



Graduate students, law students and parents of dependent undergraduate students may borrow a Direct PLUS loan to help cover the student’s college costs.  A student’s dependency status and cost of education are determined using US Department of Education criteria.

Direct PLUS loan borrowers must not have an adverse credit history.  If the parent of a dependent student is denied because of adverse credit, the student may be eligible to borrow additional unsubsidized Direct Loan.  Contact the Financial Aid Office for additional details.  Direct PLUS Loan borrowers must be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens and not be in default on a federal student loan.

The interest rate is fixed at 6.84% for loans disbursed on or after 07/01/2015 but before 07/01/2016

The first payment on these loans is generally due within 60 days after the final loan disbursement for the loan period.  Graduate Direct PLUS loan borrowers, and now parent Direct PLUS loan borrowers, may defer payments on a Direct PLUS loan until six months after the date the student ceases to be enrolled in 6 credit hours. You must pay accruing interest monthly or quarterly, or allow interest to be capitalized quarterly.  We also recommend visiting the Loan Payment Calculator web site to help you determine your payments based on your Direct PLUS Loan balance. 

First time Graduate Direct PLUS loan borrowers must complete an Entrance Counseling session to review their rights and responsibilities.  The Entrance Counseling session must be completed online at

The Entrance counseling Session must be completed prior to certification of your loan request

To apply for a Federal PLUS loan, click one of the links below:


Maximum Direct PLUS Loan eligibility varies depending on the cost of education and other aid awarded to the student. 



Step 1: Students must complete the FAFSA and submit other information (tax returns and other documents) that may be requested by the Financial Aid Office. 

Step 2: When you receive the notification of your financial aid eligibility (this is the only notification you will receive), we strongly recommend that you visit MaineStreet self-service at  

Graduate and Law Students only - Please be advised that you may visit the ACCEPT/DECLINE YOUR AWARD options once and once only.  Follow the instructions carefully to accept the Federal Direct PLUS Loan.  To apply for additional Direct PLUS loan please complete the USM Direct PLUS Loan Request Form and return it to the Financial Aid Office.

Step 3: First time Graduate Direct PLUS loan borrowers are required to complete a Graduate Direct PLUS Loan Entrance Counseling session.  The Entrance Counseling session must be completed online and prior to certification of your loan application.  The entrance counseling session explains your rights and responsibilities as a Graduate Direct PLUS Loan borrower. 

Step 4: To apply for the Federal Direct PLUS Loan, complete the USM Direct PLUS Loan Request Form and return it to the Financial Aid Office. 

Step 5: After the Financial Aid Office certifies Direct PLUS Loan eligibility, the US Department of Education will conduct a credit check for the borrower.  If approved, the borrower will be required to sign a Promissory Note electronically.

Step 6:  Direct PLUS Loan funds (less an origination fee) will be sent to USM.  Assuming the student continues to meet all eligibility criteria, funds will be credited to the student’s bill.  The loan will be divided between the number of semesters you are enrolled for the academic year.  Visit the Student Accounts Student Accounts web site or call 780-5200 for details about outstanding balances and credit refunds.

NEW - PLUS loan applicants who have adverse credit but qualify for a PLUS loan by successful appeal on extenuating circumstances or obtaining an endorser MUST complete the CREDIT COUNSELING on the US Department of Education web site:

Under the terms of the sequester, the loan fees for the Direct PLUS Loan will change from 4.292% to 4.272%.  Direct PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after 10/01/2015 but before 10/01/2016 are reduced by fees of 4.272% for Direct PLUS Loans made to both parent borrowers and Graduate/Professional student borrowers. 



What may your loan payment look like?  
Use the following loan chart as a guide:

Amount of Loan Borrowed

Number of Payments

Monthly Payment Amounts









































Visit the Loan Payment Calculator web site to help you determine 
your future payments based on your PLUS Loan balance.  


Students who are currently in default cannot receive any federal student aid and the default will be reported to credit agencies, affecting your ability to apply for any other forms of credit.  Contact the US Department of Education at 1-800-4FEDAID if you are in default or if you have questions regarding the status of past loans.



  • Student Aid on the Web – For information about federal student aid from the U.S. Department of Education, including loans
  • National Student Loan Data System – the U.S. Department of Education's central database for student aid.  NSLDS Student Access provides a centralized, integrated view of Title IV loans and Pell grants so that recipients of Title IV Aid can access and inquire about their Title IV loans and/or Pell grant data.
  • – provides comprehensive information about financial aid, including tools to calculate the cost of borrowing.
  • Loan Forgiveness - provides question and answers (Q&A) for Public Service Loan Forgiveness  Program