PLUS Loan Frequently Asked Questions

PLUS Loan Benefits
  • Fixed interest rate - 6.41%
  • Borrow up to the cost of education

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Table of Contents

What is a Federal PLUS Loan?

PLUS loans are federally funded student loans to help families with the cost of education. The PLUS loan is borrowed in the name of a parent on behalf of the student. PLUS loans are also available to Graduate students.

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What are the requirements to apply for a PLUS Loan?

According to the Department of Education, in order for a parent to be eligible for a PLUS Loan, the student must be:

  • The parent's biological or adoptive child
  • Enrolled at least half-time and participate in the Direct Loan Program
  • Dependent. This includes, but isn't limited to, the student pursuing a graduate or professional degree, and being under 24 years old, a veteran, without dependents, or a ward of the court.

In order for parents to be eligible for the PLUS Loan, they must not have adverse credit history and pass a credit check. If the parent doesn't pass the credit check, they can still become eligible for a PLUS loan with a cosigner, who will agree to repay the loan if the parent cannot. If a parent is denied a PLUS Loan based on credit, the student then becomes eligible for additional Stafford loans.

The parent and student must be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens to be eligible for a PLUS Loan. In addition, they cannot be in default or owe an overpayment on a prior federal education loan or grant.

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How much can I request for a Federal PLUS Loan?

Parents may request up to the cost of education (as determined by the school) minus any other financial aid the student receives. For example, if the cost of education is $14,000 and the student receives financial aid totaling $3,500, the parent may borrow up to $10,500 through the PLUS Loan.

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Is this loan in the parent's name or the student's?

The Federal PLUS Student Loan is in the name of the parent applicant. The loan cannot be switched from the parent's name to the student's and the responsibility is on the parent to repay.

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When do payments start?

PLUS Loan repayment starts 60 days after the final disbursement. If the first disbursement was dated on or following July 1, 2008, the parent can defer payment while the student is enrolled at least half-time, and an additional six months after the student graduates or leaves school.

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Do I need to file the FAFSA?

It depends. Parents are not required to file the FAFSA and can instead a Direct PLUS Loan Application and promissory note to the school. Graduate students applying for a PLUS loan are required to file the FAFSA.

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How do I check on the status of my PLUS Loan application?

Once you sign and submit the Master Promissory Note, you can check the status of your PLUS loan at the StudentLoans.gov website. To log in, make sure you have your FAFSA PIN ready if you have one. To request a duplicate PIN, fill out this online form.

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What is the interest rate?

Currently, the PLUS loan interest rate for the 2013-2014 academic year is fixed at 6.41%.

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Are there fees for PLUS Loans?

Parents are required to pay a fee totaling 4% of the loan amount, which is deducted proportionally every disbursement.

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What if I am not approved for the PLUS Loan?

If you are denied, you can re-apply for a PLUS with a cosigner. If you are denied based solely on credit, the student becomes eligible for more Stafford loans. If both Stafford and PLUS loans are not available, families can also apply for an alternative student loan.

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I already have a PLUS Loan. How can I find out more information about it?

You can check the status of your loans by using the National Student Loan Database System (NSLDS). You can access NSLDS for free at www.nslds.ed.gov.

You will need a Federal student aid pin to access this site. If you do not know your pin you can access it at www.pin.ed.gov.

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I'm not a parent - can I take out a PLUS Loan?

PLUS Student Loans are restricted to the parents or legal guardians of a dependent undergraduate student. You can, however, cosign for a parent or legal guardian.