"Graduate and professional students with PLUS Loans should understand the relationship between their likely monthly pay and expected loan payments," says Thomas Harnisch, assistant director of state relations and policy analysis for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. The best way to get monthly pay estimates is to chat with career services about likely pay based on the region in which the student would like to live.
"Like any investment, it comes down to math and basic questions: What share of our monthly income will go to paying this loan off? For how long? Can we afford this? Is this a good long-term investment? What alternatives are available?" he says.
4. Understand qualification and repayment: The qualifications for borrowers of Graduate PLUS loans are different than for borrowers of unsubsidized loans. For PLUS loans, students cannot have adverse credit history, defined by the Department of Education as bankruptcy or repossession of personal property within the last five years.
[Use these tips to start repaying student loans.]
Students can still qualify with a cosigner who doesn't have adverse credit history. Students who do not have a cosigner and have adverse credit history should still apply, as it's possible loans will still be approved on a case-by-case basis.
While parents who took out Parent PLUS loans had to start repayment as soon as their children received their undergraduate degrees, students with Graduate PLUS loans do not have to start making payments immediately after graduation.
Graduate PLUS loans don't come due until six months after graduation, just like federal student loans taken out by undergraduate students or unsubsidized loans taken out by either undergraduate or graduate students.
Trying to fund your education? Get tips and more in the U.S. News Paying for Graduate School center.