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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Direct Loan Application Procedures

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Graduate Students

FEDERAL DIRECT GRADUATE PLUS LOAN – Maximum eligibility is determined by cost of attendance minus other financial aid. A credit check is required, but a student with limited or no credit history may still qualify. The Department of Education will retain 4.276% of the amount you borrow for in loan fees if your first disbursement occurs prior to 10/1/2017. Repayment begins 60 days after the funds are fully disbursed, but a student may defer principal and capitalize interest while enrolled at least half-time. The annual interest rate is a fixed rate equal to the high yield Treasury note as of June 1st plus 4.6%.  The 2016-2017 interest rate was 6.31%. For additional information, visit our website for instructions on how to apply for this program. 

FEDERAL DIRECT UNSUBSIDIZED DIRECT LOAN -- "Unsubsidized" means that the federal government does not pay the interest on your behalf while you attend college at least half-time. You are responsible for the accrued interest while you are in school. Should you choose not to make payments while you are in school, interest accrued will be added to the principal amount borrowed. Eligibility is based on the cost of attendance minus other aid awards. The Department of Education will retain 1.069% of the amount you borrow for loan fees if your first disbursement occurs prior to 10/1/2017. Graduate students may borrow up to $20,500 per year.  The annual interest rate is a fixed rate equal to the high yield Treasury note as of June 1st plus 3.06%.  The 2016-2017 interest rate is 5.31%.

Repayment of the unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan interest begins immediately after disbursement (unless you elect not to make payments) and interest + principal six months after you graduate or cease to be enrolled at least half-time. The monthly payment varies depending on the total amount borrowed. The standard repayment term is 10 years

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Direct PLUS Loan for Graduate Students

The Office of Financial Aid certifies Graduate PLUS through the Federal Direct Loan Program. Federal funds are borrowed directly from the Department of Education. The Graduate PLUS Loan is available to a graduate student who is matriculated in a degree program and enrolled in at least six (6) credits and does not have adverse credit history.  Consider borrowing under the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan program before borrowing under the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan program The student must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to participate in this program. Please visit http://www.fafsa.gov to complete the 2017-2018 FAFSA.  

Additional Information 

  • The current fixed interest rate in the Graduate PLUS program is 7%.  
  • Repayment begins 60 days after the funds are disbursed unless the borrower requests a deferment which allows no payments to be made while the student is enrolled, but interest on the loan is capitalized if not paid by the borrower during the deferment.  
  • Federal regulation requires that a 4.276% origination fee is deducted from the gross amount borrowed if after 10/1/2016.  
  • Submission of the Department of Education online Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Request Form does not guarantee approval for the amount you request.  Eligibility is subject to change based upon completion of required documents, our review of the student’s other financial aid, and approval from the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Requested PLUS loan amounts will not be considered for billing purposes until we receive approval/denial notification from the U.S. Department of Education or approximately two weeks after the semester for which the funds are intended, whichever comes first.   
Application Procedures

Once logged into www.studentloans.gov (using your FSA ID and password), select the “Apply for a Direct PLUS Loan” on the home page. You are encouraged to review needed items for this process by selecting the “Learn More” link under the Direct PLUS Application for Graduate / Professional Students (type). 

Under the heading Direct PLUS Loan Application for Graduate/Professional Students click on the blue START button to initiate the application process. 

NOTE:  If you HAVE borrowed under the Graduate PLUS loan program while attending RPI there is nothing more you need to do.  If you HAVE NOT borrowed under the program previously while attending RPI, then you will need to complete a Graduate PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note (see below) and participate in entrance loan counseling session. 

Sign your Master Promissory Note (MPN)

If approved for a Graduate PLUS you must complete a Graduate PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN). You may complete your MPN by visiting www.studentloans.gov.  You will need your FSA ID and user password to complete the MPN online. The Master Promissory Note is a legal document in which you promise to repay your loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education. It also explains the terms and conditions of your loan(s). The MPN is valid for up to 10 years.  It must be completed in order for your Direct Loan funds to be disbursed to your student account.  Rensselaer will be informed electronically when you have successfully completed this requirement:

  1. Go to www.studentloans.gov
  2. Log in using your FSA User ID and password.
  3. Click “Complete Loan Agreement (Master Promissory Note)
  4. Use START button next to PLUS MPN for Graduate / Professional Students type.  Follow prompts through completion. Be aware that information is not saved if not submitted.
Complete Entrance Counseling

All first time borrowers in the Direct Loan program must complete an Entrance Counseling session.  This can be done via the Internet and takes about 20 minutes.  There is a quiz at the end of each section so that you may demonstrate that you understand the information being provided.  You can print a copy of the verification page for your records as proof that you completed the session.  Rensselaer will be informed electronically when you have successfully completed this requirement.

  1. Go to www.studentloans.gov and log in using your FSA User ID and password.
  2. Click on “Complete Loan Counseling (Entrance, Financial Awareness, Exit”
  3. Click START button next to Entrance Counseling type to begin process.
If the Graduate PLUS application is denied, the borrower has three options:
  1.  Request a review of the credit check due to inaccurate information on your credit report. Contact Direct Loan Applicant Services at 1-800-557-7394.
  2. Provide an endorser. The endorser must pass a credit check and sign a promissory note. Contact Direct Loan Applicant Services at 1-800-557-7394.
  3. Not pursue the Graduate PLUS loan. No further action.
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Processing My Federal Direct Loan at Rensselaer

All students wishing to borrow Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized Direct Loans must have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

If you have been offered a Direct Loan, the award type and amount will be provided on your award notification and listed in the Rensselaer Student Information System (SIS).

Complete the following steps for subsidized and/or unsubsidized Direct Loans to be certified and received by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

STEP 1: Accept your Direct Loan
  1. Log into your SIS account at http://sis.rpi.edu
  2. Select Financial Aid from the Main Menu or click on the Financial Aid Menu tab
  3. Within the Financial Aid Menu, select Award Package by Aid Year
  4. From the Select Aid Year dropdown menu, select the 2017-18 Aid Year and click Submit
  5. Click on the Accept Award Offer ta
STEP 2: Complete Master Promissory Note (MPN)

The MPN is a legal document in which you promise to repay your loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the Department of Education. It also explains the terms and conditions of your loan(s). The MPN is valid for up to 10 years. It must be completed in order for your Direct Loan funds to be disbursed to your student account. Rensselaer will be informed electronically when you have successfully completed this  requirement.

  1. Go to www.studentloans.gov
  2. Click on blue log in button to sign in with your FSA ID & Password
  3. Once logged into main page, click the “Complete Loan Agreement (Master Promissory Note)” link
  4. Next, find the MPN type: MPN for Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans (at top of page)
  5. Use START button and follow the instructions. Note, information is not saved and can’t be revisited
STEP 3: Complete the Entrance Counseling

All first time borrowers in the Direct Loan program must complete an Entrance Counseling session. This can be done via the Internet and takes about 20 minutes. There is a quiz at the end of each section so that you may demonstrate that you understand the information being provided. Rensselaer will be informed electronically when you have successfully completed this requirement.

  1. Go to www.studentloans.gov
  2. Click on blue log in button to sign in with your FSA ID & Password
  3. When on main page, click the “Complete Loan Counseling (Entrance, Financial Awareness, Exit)” link
  4. Next, find the Counseling type: Entrance Counseling (at top of page)
  5. Use START button and follow the instructions. Note, information is not saved and can’t be revisited

It is only necessary to complete one MPN and one Entrance Counseling session for both the Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Loan. These requirements must be met in order for your Federal Direct Loan award(s) to be considered for billing purposes on your student account. Please note, in peak processing times, it may take up to 10 working days for the SIS to reflect that you have completed these requirements. Please plan accordingly. Fall billing statements are released on or about July 1st. Spring billing statements are released on or about December 1st. You are encouraged to finalize this process as soon as possible.