Loans

Federal Perkins Loan

The Federal Perkins Loan program allows both full-time and part-time (6 credits per semester) students in degree programs to borrow money at 5 percent simple interest. This is a federal low-interest loan that students must begin paying back nine months after graduating or leaving college. Students have up to ten years to repay their loans. Eligible students must show financial need and be either citizens or permanent residents of the United States.

Graduate students at CUNY borrow typically between $3,000- $4,000 per year from the Perkins Loan program. However, a total of no more than $60,000 may be borrowed during a student's undergraduate and graduate enrollment.

The FAFSA is used to determine your eligibility for the Federal Perkins Loan.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

The Direct Stafford Loan program allows full-time and part-time students to borrow money directly from the federal government. The loans must be paid back beginning six months after graduation or dropping below half-time enrollment. Interest accrues while the student attends school. This interest may be paid or added to the loan. This program allows graduate students to borrow money at an interest rate of 5.41%.

You should be aware that once you begin receiving federal and/or state assistance, you must maintain good academic standing and must make satisfactory academic progress toward the completion of your degree in order to continue receiving aid.

 

Maximum Annual Loan Limits 

Loan Programs

Maximum annual award

Maximum total award

Application

Eligibility

Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans

$20,500

$138,500 combined Undergraduate and Graduate*

FAFSA

General eligibility

Federal Perkins Loans

$8,000***

$60,000

FAFSA

Financial Need

* Total aggregate borrowing for Undergraduate and Graduate study is $138,500
** Financial need = the Cost of Attendance - Financial Aid - EFC

*** Typically CUNY grants $3,000-$4,000.

PLUS Loans for Graduate Students

Students are eligible to borrow under the PLUS Loan Program up to their cost of attendance minus other estimated financial assistance in the Direct Loan Program. The terms and conditions applicable to Parent PLUS Loans also apply to Graduate/Professional PLUS loans. Requirements include a determination that the applicant does not have an adverse credit history. 

Application Form

Applicants for these loans are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Amounts

There are no set annual or aggregate limits. You may borrow up to your full cost of attendance, minus any other financial aid you receive (including Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, scholarships, and certain fellowships).

Interest rate and repayment

Direct PLUS Loans have a fixed interest rate of 6.41%. This interest rate will not change throughout the life of your loan.

Graduate PLUS borrowers have nearly all the repayment options that Direct Loan borrowers have. The exception is that the Direct Loan Income Contingent Repayment Plan is not an option for Direct PLUS Loan borrowers. Repayment begins on the date of the last disbursement of the loan and the first payment is due within 60 days after the date the loan is fully disbursed. A Graduate PLUS borrower may receive a deferment while he or she is enrolled on at least a half-time basis at an eligible school. Upon dropping to less than half-time enrollment status, the borrower is not entitled to a grace period on his or her PLUS loans.

Qualifying Credits and Program

You must be enrolled at least half-time in a graduate or professional program (for example, a program that leads to a Master's Degree or to a law or medical degree) at a school that participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program, and must meet all of the other general eligibility requirements for the Federal Student Aid programs. In addition, you must not have an adverse credit history (a credit check will be done).

Additional information

The Graduate and Professional Student PLUS loan will not reduce eligibility for the Stafford Loan, but the PLUS loan limit will take the amount borrowed under the Stafford Loan into account. The PLUS loan is limited to cost of attendance minus aid received, as certified by the school.

 

Frequently asked questions on PLUS loans for Graduates

  1. What are the eligibility requirements?
    You must be enrolled at least half-time in a graduate or professional program (for example, a program that leads to a Master's Degree or to a law or medical degree) at a school that participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program, and must meet all of the other general eligibility requirements for the Federal Student Aid programs. In addition, you must not have an adverse credit history (a credit check will be done).
  2. What are my options if I have an adverse credit history?
    You may still receive a Direct PLUS Loan if you obtain an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history. An endorser is someone who agrees to repay the loan if you do not repay it.

    APPLYING

  3. Can I cancel a Direct PLUS Loan after I've applied?
    Before your loan money is disbursed (paid out), you may cancel all or part of the loan by notifying your school. After your loan money is disbursed, you may cancel all or part of your loan within certain timeframes. For details, refer to the Borrower's Rights and Responsibilities Statement that accompanies your PLUS MPN.
  4. Can the MPN that I signed for my Direct Unsubsidized Loans be used for Direct PLUS Loans?
    No. You must sign a PLUS MPN.
  5. Can I take out Direct PLUS Loans for myself under a PLUS MPN that I signed for Direct PLUS Loans to pay for my child's education?
    No. You must sign a separate PLUS MPN to borrow for yourself.

    LOAN LIMITS

  6. How much can I borrow in Direct PLUS Loans?
    There are no set annual or aggregate limits. You may borrow up to your full cost of attendance, minus any other financial aid you receive (including Direct Loans, scholarships, and certain fellowships).
  7. Does PLUS Loans for parents amounts count toward the $138,500 Direct Unsubsidized Loan aggregate loan limit for graduate/professional students?
    No. Only Direct Unsubsidized Loans count toward the $138,500 aggregate.
  8. Am I eligible for a Direct PLUS Loan if I have reached the $138,500 Direct Unsubsidized Loan aggregate loan limit for graduate/professional students?
    Yes. However, if you have exceeded the $138,500 aggregate, you must either repay the excess loan amount or make satisfactory arrangements to repay it before you can receive any additional Federal Student Aid, including Direct PLUS Loans.
  9. If I have an adverse credit history but cannot find an endorser, can I receive additional Direct Unsubsidized Loan funds?
    No. If you are not eligible for a Direct PLUS Loan, the regular Direct Unsubsidized Loan annual loan limit for graduate and professional students applies. You may not borrow more than $20,500 for an academic year.

    REPAYMENT

  10. When do I have to begin repaying a Direct PLUS Loan?
    Your first payment will be due within 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed. This will generally be while you are still in school. There is no grace period.
  11. Can I postpone payments while I am in school?
    Yes. While you are enrolled in school on at least a half-time basis, you are eligible for an in-school deferment that allows you to postpone payments on your Direct PLUS Loan until you graduate or drop below half-time status.
  12. How do I obtain an in-school deferment?
    You must submit an In-School Deferment Request form to the Direct Loan Servicing Center. (You must apply separately for an in-school deferment on your Direct PLUS Loans, even if you have automatically received an in-school deferment on your Unsubsidized Loans. You may obtain an In-School Deferment Request form from your school's financial aid office, or from your loan servicer. Your school must certify your enrollment status on the deferment request form.
  13. Do I need to apply for an in-school deferment each year?
    Generally, the school that certifies your deferment request will report your expected graduation date on the form. The in-school deferment on your Direct PLUS Loan will then remain in effect until you graduate or drop below half-time enrollment status, and you will not have to reapply each year.
  14. How soon do I have to begin making payments after my in-school deferment ends?
    Your first payment will be due within 45 days after the deferment end date. The Direct Loan Servicing Center will notify you 60 days before your deferment ends.
  15. Can I postpone payments on a Direct PLUS Loan during the grace period on my Direct Unsubsidized Loans?
    If you are unable to make payments on your Direct PLUS Loan after you leave school and your in-school deferment ends, you may request a forbearance that will allow you to temporarily postpone payments. You will have to explain why you are unable to make payments. To request forbearance, contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center.
  16. Is interest charged during a deferment or forbearance?
    Yes. Interest is charged on a Direct PLUS Loan beginning on the date of the first loan disbursement, and it continues to be charged during periods of deferment or forbearance. You may either pay the interest as it accrues (the Direct Loan Servicing Center will send you a quarterly interest statement), or you may allow the interest to be capitalized (added to your loan principal balance) at the end of the deferment or forbearance. Capitalization increases the total loan amount that you must repay.
  17. What repayment plans are available?
    You will be able to choose from a variety of repayment plans that are designed to meet your individual needs. Your loan servicer will provide you with information on available repayment plans.
  18. How much will I have to pay each month?
    Your monthly payment amount on a Direct PLUS Loan will vary depending on the repayment plan that you choose and how much you borrowed. The table below shows estimated monthly payment amounts under the Standard Repayment Plan (fixed monthly payments over a 10-year repayment period) at various debt levels, based on the Direct PLUS Loan interest rate of 6.41%.
    Direct PLUS Loan Amount Owed When You Enter Repayment Standard Repayment Plan
    Monthly Payment Total Amount Repaid
    $10,000 $121 $14,496
    $20,000 $242 $28,992
    $30,000 $362 $43,488
    $40,000 $483 $57,984
    You can obtain estimated monthly payment amounts for different debt levels or for other repayment plans by contacting the Direct Loan Servicing Center.

    CONSOLIDATION

  19. Can I consolidate my Direct PLUS Loans with my other student loans? If so, when can I consolidate?
    You may consolidate your Direct PLUS Loans with your other eligible student loans into a single consolidation loan after you leave school. Note that the repayment period for a consolidation loan begins as soon as the loan is made, there is no grace period. Therefore, if you want to consolidate your Direct PLUS Loans with your other student loans that have a grace period, you should wait to do so until shortly before the end of the grace period on the other loans.