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PLUS Loans

Federal PLUS loans are for graduate/professional students and parents of dependent undergraduate students. Borrowers can use PLUS loans to help meet the cost of attendance or cover a student's expected family contribution (the amount of money the government expects the parents and student to provide each year for the student's education).

Interest rate and fees

  • The interest rate on PLUS loans is fixed at 6.41 percent.
  • Federal law requires certain fees be charged for each loan made, including an origination fee and a federal default fee (previously called a guarantee fee) for each loan made. The law specifies the maximum amount of each fee and authorizes both fees to be deducted from the loan amount. If a fee is charged to the borrower, the fee is deducted from the loan proceeds when the money is sent to the student's school.

How to apply

A graduate/professional student must complete the FAFSA and be determined eligible for his or her maximum eligibility under the subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford Loan Programs before applying for a PLUS loan. Both graduate/professional student borrowers and parent borrowers must complete a PLUS MPN and submit it to the school or lender as directed. The form may be completed online or obtained from a school or lending institution by visiting the following link: Student Loans .

Loan amount

Schools and lenders decide how much may be borrowed in PLUS loans, based on federal law and the ability of the borrower to repay the loan. The maximum PLUS loan amount is equal to the student's cost of attendance minus other estimated financial aid (including Stafford loans taken by the student) that the student has been or will be awarded for the year.

Who qualifies

Federal PLUS loans are available to graduate/professional students and the natural or adoptive parents of dependent children. A borrower must pass a credit check and be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen to qualify. In the case of a parent borrower, the dependent student must meet the eligibility requirements for Stafford loans.

Borrowers may not qualify if they have adverse credit, have defaulted on a federal education loan, owe an overpayment on other federal education aid, have been convicted of a drug-related offense while receiving federal student aid, or are incarcerated. The borrower also may be ineligible if, while receiving federal student aid, they have been convicted of or have pled nolo contendere or guilty to a crime involving fraud in obtaining Title IV funds and have not completed the repayment of such funds.

Full details on eligibility requirements are provided on the Federal PLUS loan MPN.

Paying back the loan

Borrowers begin repaying PLUS loans within 60 days after the final loan funds are sent. Graduate/professional students may defer (postpone) their payments while they are in school at least half time. Others may have their payments temporarily postponed under certain conditions (an option known as deferment), but interest must be paid or capitalized (added to the principal). In addition:

  • A $50-per-month minimum payment is required unless the borrower makes other arrangements with the lender.
  • The payment amount must be at least equal to the monthly interest due on the loan.
  • The standard repayment term is generally ten years.
  • PLUS loan borrowers may choose a repayment plan suited to their needs. Lenders can provide details.

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