Parent PLUS loans are Federal based loans taken out by a Parent on behalf of a child. Here are some quick facts about the loan before I touch on the consolidation of these loans:
1. These loans are taken out by the parents in their names, and can NEVER be transferred to the students name when they graduate
2. The student has no obligation to repay this loan
3. The payments on these loans start right away… they are not deferred because the child is in school (this is not the case with Stafford loans).
4. A parent plus loan is not a joint loan between 2 parents… even if the parents are married, only one parent applies for the loan and the loan will be under that parent’s name and associated Social Security number.
A typical college student is in school for four years. Let’s assume a parent will be borrowing 4 plus loans in total; one for each school year. The loan is typically applied for in the summer time… and half of it is disbursed for Fall semester, and the 2nd half will be disbursed at the start of spring semester. The loan payments will not begin until the loan is fully disbursed, so spring semester is when the parent will receive their first bill.
The following year, the parent repeats this process, and spring of their child’s Sophomore year they want to consolidate the 2 loans together. I say spring because you cannot consolidate a loan that is not fully disbursed. So to apply for a loan consolidation for your 2 loans..you simply fill out a Consolidation Promissory note with the company of your choice. Your loan payments will then be paid back to the company you chose, instead of your initial lenders for the loans.
Let’s add another child to the mix… many times parents have multiple children in college at the same time. Let’s say Dad and Mom have two children, Ben and Molly. Ben is a freshman at College X and Molly is a Junior at college Z. Dad has borrowed a plus loan for Molly for each year she has been in school. He wants to do the same for Ben. Dad CAN consolidate his PLUS loans together even though they are for 2 different children. However, if mom applied one year, with her Social Security Number, her PLUS loans cannot be combined with Dad’s PLUS loans. So keep that in mind when borrowing – it should be the same parent every year, unless you have no plans to consolidate.
One last fact about the PLUS loan is that its forgiven if: the parent that borrowed it becomes deceased OR the child that it was taken out for becomes deceased. Post any questions you may have about this loan.
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