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Federal Loans

Stafford Loans (Available to Undergraduate and Graduate Students)

A Federal Stafford Loan is a low-interest student loan funded by the federal government through the Federal Direct Lending program. This is the largest federal financial aid program, and is made up of both Subsidized and Unsubsidized loan components. To apply, the first step is to complete the FAFSA. Your maximum loan amount depends on your FAFSA dependency status, your grade level (the cumulative number of credit hours you've earned) for the specific loan period for which you're borrowing, and the total amount of scholarship, grant, and other assistance you're receiving for the loan period. A credit check is not required for a student to be approved for Federal Stafford Loan Funds.

Subsidized Stafford Loan aid is awarded in accordance with your calculated financial need. No interest is charged, no repayment of principal or interest is required, and no interest accrues during the time you're enrolled at least half-time. You’re required to begin repayment of your Subsidized Stafford Loan six months after graduating or dropping below half-time enrollment status.

Please note: All first-time borrowers who receive a loan on or after July 1, 2013 have a 150% limitation in effect; detailed information is provided here from the Department of Education.

Unsubsidized Stafford Loan aid may be offered to you regardless of your financial need, although the FAFSA must still be completed and submitted. No repayment of the loan principal is required while you're enrolled at least half-time. However, interest starts accruing once the loan is disbursed. The interest may be allowed to accrue and then be added to the loan principal (this is referred to as capitalization). However, many students wisely elect to pay the accrued interest on a quarterly basis in order to eliminate or reduce the effect of compounding.

Detailed information about the Federal Stafford Loan program, such as Loan Origination Fees, Interest Rates, and Maximum Annual Stafford Loan Amounts is available at Federal Student Aid.

Mandatory Entrance Loan Counseling and the Master Promissory Note are completed at Student Loans.

PLUS Loans (Available to Parents of Undergraduate Students)

A Federal Parent PLUS is a loan funded by the federal government and is available only to biological or adoptive parents of undergraduate FAFSA applicants who are classified as dependent and who are enrolled at least half-time. Some general guidance and information is listed below; please visit Federal Student Aid for additional information or Student Loans to apply for the Parent PLUS Loan.

Interest Rate and Fees

Interest Rate and Fees

Detailed information about the Federal Parent PLUS Loan program, such as Loan Origination Fees and Interest Rates is available at Federal Student Aid.

Interest is charged on a PLUS Loan from the date of the first disbursement of the loan proceeds for a specific loan period until the loan is paid in full. 

Interest rate cap for military members:  If a parent qualifies under the Service Members Civil Relief Act, the interest rate on loans obtained before entering military service may be capped at 6% during the parent's military service. Parents must contact their loan servicer to request this benefit.

How Much to Borrow

The University of Central Missouri’s Office of Student Financial Services always recommends borrowing only what you need as loans accrue interest. When determining the amount that you may need to borrow, students and their families should:

1. Determine what your actual tuition, room, board and book costs will be for the academic year.  
2. Create a budget for all of the other expenses that may be incurred while attending school (supplies, computer, transportation, toiletries, fun money, etc).  

Once you have determined what your actual costs will be, then you should review what funding you have available to help you cover your costs like grants, scholarships, and student loans, etc. If a student’s eligible financial aid does not cover all of their budgeted expenses, then have a discussion regarding what amount can be afforded to pay out-of-pocket for the year.  If the student’s eligible financial aid and the families out-of-pocket funds are not enough to cover the budgeted expenses, that difference may be the amount that you borrow for the PLUS loan up to our Cost of Attendance. 

Repayment Options

Repayment (principal and interest) begins 60 days after the final disbursement of the loan funds for the loan period. Parents may elect on the PLUS application to defer payments while the student on whose behalf the parent borrowed the loan is enrolled on at least a half-time basis, and for an additional six months after the student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time. Please keep in mind that interest will continue to accrue even if loan payments are deferred.

Please use Federal Student Aid's Repayment Calculator!

For more information on PLUS loan repayment options, please visit the Federal Student Aid website.


To be considered, a student must first complete and submit the FAFSA. A parent borrower normally qualifies for PLUS Loan funds as:

  • The student and parent are US citizens or eligible non-citizens.
  • The student and parent are not in default on any federal education loans or owe an overpayment on a federal education grant.
  • The parent is not currently in bankruptcy status; and
  • does not have an adverse credit history.     
  • Direct PLUS Loan applicants are considered to have an adverse credit history if he or she
  • Has debts $2,085 or higher that have been reported as 90 days delinquent or in collection or been charged off within the last 2 years; or
  • Has been the subject of a default determination, bankruptcy discharge, foreclosure, repossession, tax lien, wage garnishment, or write-off of a debt under Title IV of the HEA during the five years preceding the date of the credit report.

Application Process

Parents may complete the PLUS application at Parents will need their Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) in order to log on to the website.

If approved:

  • The parent may borrow funds to assist their son/daughter in paying his/her educational expenses.
  • The parent will need to complete the PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN) at
  • The MPN is a legal document in which the borrower promises to repay the loan and any accrued interest and fees. It also explains the terms and conditions of the loan. In most cases, one MPN can be used for loans that a parent receives over multiple academic years although a separate PLUS Application must be filed for each school year.

If denied:

  • A parent may re-apply with a credit worthy endorser/co-signer.
  • The parent should select the “Pursue endorser,” or “Undecided” option on the PLUS application.  If either of these two options are selected, UCM will not award the student additional Federal Unsubsidized Stafford loans until otherwise notified by the student or parent. 
  • Instead of securing an endorser, an applicant may appeal a determination of adverse credit history to the Department of Education by documenting extenuating circumstances. The Department of Education has the final decision on whether to approve the loan.
  • The student may be eligible to receive additional Federal Unsubsidized Stafford loan assistance in his/her name for the same amount as an undergraduate independent student up to Cost of Attendance.
  • If the parent does not plan to apply with an endorser or appeal the denial, they should select the option. “Will not pursue the PLUS” option.

PLUS loan borrowers who were originally denied a PLUS loan, but were subsequently approved due to a credit-worth co-signer or had an appeal approved by the Department of Education will need to log into and complete PLUS Loan Counseling before the loan will pay to a student's account.

If one parent applies for a PLUS loan and is denied based on adverse credit and the other parent applies independently and is approved, the dependent student is not eligible for the increased Federal Unsubsidized Stafford loan amounts.

PLUS Override Requests


If a PLUS Loan Application is approved and the parent feels that there are exceptional circumstances that prevent them from borrowing a PLUS loan, a parent may apply for a PLUS Override Request All parents are required to apply for the PLUS loan before a PLUS Override Request will be reviewed; except families who have filed for bankruptcy and who can provide documentation detailing that as a condition of the bankruptcy they are not allowed to apply or co-sign any loans or families whose incomes are limited to public assistance (social security, disability, etc.) 

The following are examples of the exceptional circumstances that might be used to document a dependent student’s eligibility for additional Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loans:

  • The parent is incarcerated.
  • The parent has filed for bankruptcy and has provided a letter from the bankruptcy court stating that as a condition of the bankruptcy filing, the parent may not incur any additional debt.
  • The parent’s income is limited to public assistance or disability benefits and it is documented that the parent would not be able to repay the PLUS loan.
  • The parent of a dependent student is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, or is not able to provide evidence from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that he or she is in the United States for other than a temporary purpose with the intention of becoming a citizen or permanent resident.    

A PLUS Override approval or a PLUS loan applications denial does not carry over to subsequent academic years.  Parents will need to apply for the PLUS loan each academic year and provide current documentation if applying for a PLUS Override Request.

Circumstances that do not warrant a PLUS Override Request:

  • The parent’s unwillingness to apply or borrow a PLUS loan.
  • An aid administrator’s belief that a parent should not borrow a PLUS loan.

PLUS Loan Changes

 In many circumstances, the borrower may request a change to their loan by using Student Financial Service's Parent PLUS Change Request Form.

Parent PLUS Loan Information


Parent PLUS Loan Application Information and Process

Information about the Parent PLUS Loan for Undergraduate, dependent students can be found on the Admitted Student Information page and Federal Student Aid.  If you’re applying for a Parent PLUS Loan, the video below will provide important tips and walk you through the application process. 

PLUS Loans (Available to Graduate Students)

The Higher Education Reconciliation Act of 2005 permits a graduate student who has been fully admitted to a Masters or Education Specialist degree program to be considered for funding from the Federal PLUS Loan program. Prior to the passage of this law, only parents of eligible undergraduate students could qualify for Federal PLUS Loan assistance.

However, due to the low overall cost of attendance of attending the University of Central Missouri (even for non-residents of Missouri) very few UCM graduate students have a sufficient level of financial need to borrow from the Federal PLUS Loan program. This is because graduate students can already be considered for Federal Stafford Loans up to $20,500 per award year (in accordance with the student's assigned Federal Cost of Attendance) with no credit history check.

Please visit Federal Student Aid for additional information or Student Loans to apply for the Graduate PLUS Loan.

Loan Guidance

Please visit Admitted Student Information to learn about:

  • Entrance Loan Counseling (required of all new Stafford Loan borrowers at UCM)
  • Master Promissory Note (required of all new Stafford Loan borrowers at UCM)

Please visit Financial Tools & Tips for additional information about:

  • Exit Counseling (required of all Stafford Loan borrowers prior to leaving UCM)
  • Loan Default Prevention
  • Bankruptcy Issues
  • And more...

Apply for Federal Loans



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