SOURCE: NextStudent

August 21, 2007 09:30 ET

NextStudent Grad PLUS Loans Can Help Graduate Students Fully Finance Their Education

PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwire - August 21, 2007) - With the school year beginning, some graduate degree students may be finding themselves with educational expenses still left to cover, even after grants and Federal Stafford Loans. For students pursuing a master's, doctorate or professional degree, Federal Grad PLUS Loans from NextStudent, a leading Phoenix-based education funding company, provide another financing option that can help these students meet the costs of their graduate or professional degree program. And because Grad PLUS loans are available throughout the academic year, graduate students can apply even with the semester already underway.

Grad PLUS loans are non-need-based federal student loans designed to help creditworthy students enrolled in a graduate or professional program meet their educational expenses. Eligible graduate students can qualify for PLUS assistance even if they've received other types of financial aid. Upon approval, graduate and professional students may borrow up to the annual PLUS limit, which is equal to their cost of attendance less any other financial aid (such as grants and Stafford loans) received. Besides tuition, the cost of attendance also includes education-related expenses such as program fees and educational materials, as well as a reasonable allowance for transportation and living expenses.

Grad PLUS loans feature several borrower benefits:

--  No prepayment penalties
--  Fixed interest rate
--  In-school deferment
--  Forbearance and hardship deferment periods during repayment
--  Consolidation benefits, so borrowers consolidating their Grad PLUS
    loan(s) can take advantage of all the benefits of federal student loan
--  Mid-year application, so that students may still apply even if the
    school year has already begun, depending on the final deadline set by the
    school's financial aid office

Students applying for a Grad PLUS loan from NextStudent need to file a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), and they must also have applied for their maximum eligibility in Federal Stafford Loans. Students must be enrolled at least half-time in a program leading to a graduate or professional degree and must maintain satisfactory academic progress, as determined by their school. A Grad PLUS applicant must also be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and be approved as "creditworthy." To qualify as creditworthy, borrowers may not be in default on any federal student loan and may not have derogatory items (such as collections, bankruptcies or tax liens) within the last five years on their credit report. If a graduate student applying for PLUS assistance doesn't meet the credit eligibility requirements for a Federal Grad PLUS Loan from NextStudent, he or she may apply with a co-signer who does meet this requirement.

Giving student applicants the ability to qualify with a co-signer as well as on their own, as well as the ability to apply mid-year, Grad PLUS loans provide graduate and professional students with a flexible, federally guaranteed option for financing their education. In-school deferment benefits allow Grad PLUS students to focus on their studies instead of on repayment. And with loan amounts up to the full cost of attendance less other financial aid received, Federal Grad PLUS Loans from NextStudent can give students seeking a graduate or professional degree the peace of mind that comes from knowing their educational expenses are being met.

About NextStudent

NextStudent, Federal Lender Code 834051, is dedicated to helping students and their families find affordable ways to pay for college. NextStudent offers one-on-one education finance counseling and has a portfolio of highly competitive education finance products and services, including a free online scholarship search engine, federally guaranteed parent and student loans, private student loans, both federal and private student loan consolidation programs, and college savings plans.

The NextStudent Scholarship Search Engine, one of the nation's oldest and largest scholarship search engines, is updated daily, available free of charge, completely private -- and represents 2.4 million scholarships worth $3.4 billion.

For more information about NextStudent and its student loan programs, please visit the company's Web site at

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