Financial Aid

Graduate PLUS Loans

The Grad PLUS Loan is a no-need, federal credit based loan similar to a private student loan, but with a fixed interest rate and federal guarantee. Grad PLUS Loans are designed for graduate students who have exhausted their Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan options but still need additional loan assistance. 


To be eligible, students must:

Students must also accept all Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans before they are able to borrow a Grad PLUS Loan.

Grad PLUS Loans are available without regard to financial need. Grad PLUS is guaranteed by the federal government.

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Loan Amount

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans
Fees Interest Rate

4.272% of the loan amount for loans disbursed between 10/1/15 and 9/30/16

4.276% of the loan amount for loans disbursed between 10/1/16 and 9/30/17

6.31% fixed for loans disbursed after 7/1/16

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How to Apply

Pre-Application Process

  1. Must have already complete a FAFSA
  2. Must have already accept full eligibility amount for the Direct Unsubsidized loan
  3. Log onto with your FSA ID and Password.
  4. Click on one of the following links: Start PLUS Application Process or Request PLUS Loan.
  5. Complete application and click Submit. You must complete this step in full.
  6. You will receive an instant credit decision once you submit.

If Credit Check Is Approved

In order to borrow a PLUS Loan, the applicant has to pass a credit check. Once approved, the applicant must complete the following steps:

  1. If you are approved, you will be directed to complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN) online (if you do not already have one on file). Once you complete the MPN, Emerson will receive approved loan information and requested loan amount within two business days.
  2. You will need to complete the Counseling: Complete Entrance Counseling link on the website.
  3. Once Emerson processes the loan you will receive an email from the Office of Financial Aid indicating that your financial aid awards have been revised.  Please note Emerson will not be able to process your PLUS loan until after you have accepted the full amount of Direct Unsubsidized loan that you are eligible for.  
  4. You will receive disclosure statements and repayment information from Direct Loan Applicant Services.

If Credit Check Is Denied

If you do not pass the credit check, there are three options available to you:

  1. You can work with Applicant Services at 1-800-557-7394 if you believe there was an error made on your credit check.
  2. You can obtain a creditworthy endorser (co-borrower). The endorser would need to pass the credit check, agree to endorse the promissory note, and agree to repay the loan if you would fail to do so. More information on this option will be provided to you by Direct Loan Applicant Services.
  3. You can stop processing the PLUS Loan. No further action will be taken.

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Loans will be certified for the full academic year and are disbursed in two equal parts: half for fall and half for spring. Loans certified for summer enrollment in addition to the full academic year are disbursed in three equal parts: 1/3 for summer, 1/3 for fall, and 1/3 for spring. All funds are disbursed directly to your student account.

Emerson will assume that PLUS borrowers want to borrow their loan for the full academic year (both fall and spring terms). If you do not wish to borrow your PLUS loan for the full academic year, please contact our office by sending an email to In the email, please include:

  • the borrower’s name
  • student’s name
  • student’s ID number
  • and the term(s) that you would like your loan to be disbursed.

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The first payment on a Direct PLUS Loan is due within 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed. There is no grace period for Direct PLUS Loans.


Graduate students can postpone payments on Direct PLUS Loans while enrolled in school. If you are enrolled on at least a half-time basis, you are eligible for an in-school deferment, allowing you to postpone payments on your Direct PLUS Loan until you graduate or drop below half-time status.

In most cases, the Direct Loan Servicing Center will automatically grant an in-school deferment on your Direct PLUS Loan based on information reported by Emerson showing that you are enrolled at least half-time. The Direct Loan Servicing Center will notify you of the deferment and of your option to cancel the deferment and begin making payments on your loan.

Payment Plans

Generally, you’ll have from 10 to 25 years to repay your loan, depending on the repayment plan that you choose. Read more about these repayment plans at the Federal Student Aid website. This website also has repayment calculators you can use in making your decision to pay interest while in school or allow it to accrue.

Information on financing programs is subject to change without notice. Emerson College is not responsible for any changes.

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Graduate Financial Assistance Guide

With careful financial planning, you’ll be surprised at how affordable an Emerson education can be.
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