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 half time (6 credits per semester for Undergraduate and Law students):
  • be enrolled at least half time (3 credits per semester for Graduate students beginning in Summer 2019, 6 credits per semester for Graduate students prior to Summer 2019):
  • 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

Federal Direct PLUS Loans

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 Student Financial Services 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 8.05% for loans disbursed on or after 07/01/2023 but before 07/01/2024

The interest rate is fixed at 7.54% for loans disbursed on or after 07/01/2022 but before 07/01/2023

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 at least half time. 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 Graduate Entrance Counseling Session must be completed before a Graduate PLUS loan may be disbursed.  

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

Direct PLUS Loan Limits

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

Direct PLUS Loan Application Process

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

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.

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 Student Financial Services.

By accepting your Direct PLUS Loans on “MaineStreet” you authorize the U.S. Department of Education and its agents to conduct a credit check and use the information from that report to determine your eligibility for a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan.

Parents of Dependent Undergraduate students – Click here to apply for the Federal Direct PLUS Loan

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 at and prior to disbursement of the Graduate PLUS loan. The entrance counseling session explains your rights and responsibilities as a Graduate Direct PLUS Loan borrower. 

Step 4:  All Direct Loan borrowers may complete an Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement (ASLA) each year they accept a new federal student loan.  Our goal is to help you understand your loans and how they affect your financial future.  The Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement process is available on 

Step 5: After Student Financial Services 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 Account Billing and Payment 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:

For Direct PLUS Loans made to both parent borrowers and Graduate/Professional student borrowers where the first disbursement is made on or after October 1, 2020 and before
October 1, 2024 the fees remain 4.228%. Loans first disbursed prior to October 1, 2019 have different loan fees.

Direct PLUS Loan Repayment

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

Amount of Loan Borrowed Number of PaymentsMonthly Payment Amounts – 6%Monthly Payment Amounts – 7%Monthly Payment Amounts – 8%Monthly Payment Amounts – 9?%
$10,00060$193 $198$203$208
$10,000120 $111$115$121$125
$20,000120 $223$233$243$254
$30,000120 $334$349$364$381

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

Loan Default

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.

Federal Direct Student Loan Default Prevention and Resolution with ECMC Solutions

The UMaine System partners with ECMC to provide federal loan repayment
counseling and default prevention assistance to students and alumni free of charge.
Call 1-877-331-3262 for assistance regarding federal student loan repayment and default
resolution. Their website includes a live chat function.