The Federal Graduate PLUS Loan is an unsubsidized loan for graduate and pharmacy students.


The program allows a graduate student to borrow on his/her own behalf up to the cost of attendance, minus any other financial aid received. Loan funds come directly from the U.S. government. 

Example: Estimated Cost of Attendance minus Other Aid/Resources = Maximum Loan Amount

How Much Should I Borrow?

Use the financial aid calculator to determine how much you need to borrow. You may wish to include other non-billed costs, such as living expenses, in the amount you request. Also, note the loan fees below and remember to account for them in the amount you request. 

Selecting a Loan Period

Choose based on enrollment plans:

Semester(s) Attending Loan Period
Fall and Spring September – May
Summer, Fall, and Spring May – May
Fall Only September – December
Spring Only January – May


  • You must be a Graduate or Pharmacy student enrolled at least half-time in a degree granting program.
  • You must complete the FAFSA.
  • You must first apply for your maximum loan eligibility in Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans before the Graduate PLUS can be awarded.
  • Parents of graduate students will not be eligible to borrow the loan. The student will be the borrower.
  • Graduate PLUS Loan borrowers are subject to a basic credit check.

Application Process (Must be Completed Annually)

  1. Go to and log in using the student's FSA ID.
  2. Choose option: Request a Direct PLUS Loan (this process will indicate whether you are approved or denied) and select the amount and loan period requested.
  3. If approved, you will need to choose option: Complete Master Promissory Note (only for first time PLUS borrowers at Notre Dame and borrowers who require an cosigner).
  4. If informed by Department of Education to complete PLUS Counseling, choose Complete Counseling, then choose PLUS Counseling.

For help with, call 1-800-557-7394.

What Happens Next

The student will receive an email when the Office of Financial Aid processes the loan.

Note: If the Grad PLUS loan is denied, the student will be eligible for an additional unsubsidized loan. A revision will be made to the student’s financial aid package upon confirmation of the denial.

Disbursement Process

  • When the loan is scheduled to disburse, the Department of Education will send the funds to Notre Dame electronically.
  • The funds will disburse through the student's Notre Dame account and the student will be notified by email.
  • After tuition and other charges on the account are paid, any remaining balance will be issued to the student via a check and will be mailed to the address on record with the University.

Annual Loan Limit

A student may borrow the difference between the cost of attendance for the program and all other aid the student will receive.

Repayment Terms

Repayment begins within 60 days after the final disbursement of each loan during the academic year. The standard repayment period is 10 years, and the minimum monthly payment is $50. Principal and interest payments may be deferred if you meet deferment requirements. 

Your Federal Direct Grad PLUS will be automatically deferred if you're enrolled at least half-time in a degree seeking program. You may be eligible to defer payments if you are unemployed, experiencing economic hardship or otherwise unable to make any scheduled payment.

Contact the Direct Loan Servicer for repayment and forbearance options.

Loan Cancellation Policy

View cancellation policies for new and current students.

Learn More

For more information about PLUS loans, visit the Federal Student Aid website.