Guide To Parent PLUS Loan Applications

Guide To Parent PLUS Loan Applications
Written by Publishing Team

Looking for ways to help your child pay for college? PLUS Parent Loan is a US Department of Education student loan designed for eligible parents of undergraduate students. The borrower can use the loan to pay for any eligible educational expenses that are not covered by other sources of financial assistance.

If you need financial help, a PLUS Parental Loan may be a useful solution. Read on for a guide to the Parent PLUS application and information about this federal loan option.

Is Parental Loan PLUS Right for Me?

When deciding the correct way to finance your child’s college education, you have several options. Parent PLUS loans can be great because they have benefits specific to the federal government and may be cheaper than some private loans. However, consider these questions before applying.

Does your child apply for grants and scholarships?

A PLUS Parental Loan can be a good option if you have already exhausted all your resources. But you should encourage your child to consider all options for getting free money before registering for a loan that you have to pay back.

Consider the following options if you haven’t already:

Are you eligible?

Just like all Federal Student Loans, PLUS Parent Loans have certain eligibility criteria:

  • You must be the biological or adoptive parent of a college student enrolled at least half-time in an eligible school.
  • You must not have a negative credit history.
  • You must be a US citizen or eligible non-citizen.

Can you get a better interest rate with private lenders?

The current interest rate for Direct PLUS loans (including original Plus loans) is a flat rate of 6.28 percent (for all loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2021 and before July 1, 2022). If you have a good credit score, you may qualify for a better interest rate with a private lender. Research special loan options and decide where you can get the best rates before you decide to apply for a PLUS Parent Loan.


When filling out the Parental Loan PLUS application, it is the parent who applies and is responsible for repaying it, not the student. Parents can apply for this type of loan through the Ministry of Education.

Here are the steps to apply for a PLUS Parental Loan:

  1. Determine if you qualify for a PLUS Parental Loan.
  2. Ask your child to fill out the FAFSA.
  3. Calculate the amount you want to borrow.
  4. Apply for the loan through the website of the Department of Education.
  5. Sign the main promissory note.
  6. Learn about repayment and refinancing options.

1. Determine if you are eligible for Parental Loan PLUS

Before you (the borrower) can qualify for a PLUS Parent Loan, you must meet three requirements:

  • You must be a parent – biological or adoptive – of a dependent child who is enrolled at least half the time as an undergraduate student at a participating school. Under certain conditions, a guardian can apply for this loan.
  • You cannot have a ‘negative credit history’. Although there is no minimum credit score requirement, loan defaults, bankruptcies, tax liens, and some other negative signs on your credit report may disqualify you. However, you may still qualify for a Parent Loan PLUS if you can add a co-signer (called an endorser) without a negative credit history or if you can prove that extenuating circumstances led to your credit problems.
  • Both the borrower and the student must meet the requirements for general federal student financial aid. The borrower must be a US citizen or eligible non-citizen with a Social Security number, and the student must be enrolled in an eligible program and school.

2. Ask your child to fill out the FAFSA

Although the parent will apply for the PLUS Parent Loan, the student must first fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Then, your school can guide you on how to proceed with your Direct PLUS Loan application. Remember: There is no FAFSA, and no additional parental loan.

3. Calculate the amount you want to borrow

You can borrow the total amount of your child’s costs of attendance minus any financial aid or scholarships you receive. This includes tuition, room and board, books, supplies, transportation and loan fees. Miscellaneous expenses, including a personal computer, child care, study abroad costs, and disability-related expenses may also qualify. The total amount varies by school.

Note that you can always borrow more in the future if you need to. Do your best to borrow only what you need.

4. Apply for the loan through the website of the Department of Education

Applications for PLUS parental loans can be completed online at the Department of Education’s website. The information you enter will be sent to your child’s school, and the school will determine if you qualify for the PLUS Parent Loan. The application process usually takes about 20 minutes to complete.

Before you begin the parent PLUS online application process, have this information available:

  • Verified FSA ID.
  • School name.
  • Your student information.
  • Your personal information.
  • Your employer information.

5. Sign the main bill of exchange

Before you take out your loan, you will be asked to sign the main promissory note. This is a legal document. When you sign it, you agree to all the terms of the loan.

Although you will have to apply for a new Parental Loan PLUS each year, it is possible to obtain more than one loan under the main permission note that you sign. In some cases, they are valid for up to 10 years.

6. Learn about repayment and refinancing options

If you receive a loan from a PLUS parent, the repayment will start after the money is disbursed for your child’s school. Payment is not automatically deferred while your child is in school, but you can submit a separate application requesting a deferment while your child is enrolled at least half-time in an eligible school and for six months thereafter.

If you need to refinance your PLUS parental loan, you can apply for a private student loan. When refinancing, you can keep the loan in your name or, in some cases, transfer the loan to your child.


When filling out the Parent PLUS application, make sure you have all the correct information and fully understand the eligibility requirements. Here are some basic things to avoid when applying:

  • Do not apply before your child has completed the FAFSA. Although the parent must fill out the PLUS Parental Loan Application, the child must complete the FAFSA first.
  • Do not apply if you are not the parent of an eligible undergraduate student. Only parents – biological or adoptive – can apply for a PLUS PARENT LOAN. Grandparents are ineligible. However, the stepmother may advance in some cases.
  • Remove any credit freeze you may have before applying. If you have a security freeze on your credit file, you must remove the freeze with each credit bureau before submitting your application. If you do not, your application will not be processed.
  • Apply using the correct process for your child’s school. Most schools use the online application through the Ministry of Education website. However, some schools have a different process. When filling out the application, select the correct school and the website will tell you how to apply.

Next steps

Parent PLUS loans are a good first step for parents who are looking for help paying for their child’s education. While it’s always best to exhaust your scholarship and grant options first, PLUS parent loans come with federal protection benefits, such as specific patience policies.

With that said, if you have great credit, you may find a cheaper loan with a private lender. Before applying for any loan, compare all the options available to you and weigh the pros and cons of federal financial assistance versus private financial assistance.

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