The U.S. Department of Education makes Direct PLUS Loans to eligible parents through schools participating in the Direct Loan Program. (We also offer PLUS loans for graduate or professional students.)
A Direct PLUS Loan is commonly referred to as a parent PLUS loan when made to a parent borrower.
Looking to apply? Visit StudentLoans.gov to apply for a parent PLUS loan.
Important: Most schools require you to submit the PLUS loan application on StudentLoans.gov, although some schools have different application processes.
Note: Before you apply for a PLUS loan, make sure your child has already filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form.
Am I eligible for a parent PLUS loan?
What is the current interest rate?
How much can I borrow?
Do I have to make payments on my loan while my child is still in school?
Can I still receive a parent PLUS loan if I have an adverse credit history?
How do I apply for a parent PLUS loan?
What additional steps must I take to receive my loan?
Other than interest, is there a charge for this loan?
How will I receive my loan?
What happens after I receive my loan?
What types of loan repayment plans are available?
What if I have trouble repaying my loan?
As a parent PLUS loan borrower, can I transfer responsibility for repaying the loan to my child?
Can I cancel the loan if I decide that I don’t need it or if I need less than the amount offered?
Can my loan ever be forgiven (canceled) or discharged?
Where can I find information about the parent PLUS loans I’ve received?
To receive a parent PLUS loan, you must
- be the biological or adoptive parent (or in some cases, the stepparent) of a dependent undergraduate student enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school;
- not have an adverse credit history (unless you meet certain additional requirements); and
- meet the general eligibility requirements for federal student aid. (Your child must also meet these requirements.)
Note: Grandparents (unless they have legally adopted the dependent student) and legal guardians are not eligible to receive parent PLUS loans, even if they have had primary responsibility for raising the student.
Try This Resource
Federal Student Loans: Direct PLUS Loan Basics for Parents—Provides parents with information on Direct PLUS Loans for parents. Includes an overview of eligibility, the application process, and repayment.
For Direct PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2018, and before July 1, 2019, the interest rate is 7.6%. This is a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan.
The maximum PLUS loan amount you can borrow is the cost of attendance at the school your child will attend minus any other financial assistance your child receives. The cost of attendance is determined by the school.
If you request a deferment, you will not need to make payments while your child is enrolled at least half-time and for an additional six months after your child graduates, leaves school, or drops below half-time enrollment. If the school your child is attending requires you to submit your request for a parent PLUS loan at StudentLoans.gov, you’ll have the option of requesting a deferment as part of the loan request process. You can also contact your loan servicer to request a deferment.
If you do not request a deferment, you will be expected to begin making payments after the loan is fully disbursed (paid out).
During any period when you’re not required to make payments, interest will accrue on your loan. You may choose to pay the accrued interest or allow the interest to be capitalized (added to your loan principal balance) when you have to start making payments. Your loan servicer will notify you when your first payment is due.
A credit check will be performed during the application process. If you have an adverse credit history, you may still receive a parent PLUS loan through one of these two options:
- Obtaining an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history. An endorser is someone who agrees to repay the parent PLUS loan if you do not repay it. The endorser cannot be the child on whose behalf you are borrowing.
- Documenting to the satisfaction of the U.S. Department of Education that there are extenuating circumstances relating to your adverse credit history.
With either option 1 or option 2, you also must complete credit counseling for parent PLUS loan borrowers on the StudentLoans.gov website.
Try This Resource
Direct PLUS Loans and Adverse Credit—Answers common questions about how an adverse credit history affects Direct PLUS Loan eligibility.
If you are unable to obtain a parent PLUS loan, your child may be eligible for additional unsubsidized loans. Your child should contact the school’s financial aid office for more information.
Important: Most schools require you to apply for a Direct PLUS Loan online at StudentLoans.gov, but some schools have different application processes. The StudentLoans.gov site has a list of schools that participate in the Direct Loan Program. When you select your child’s school from the list, the site will tell you if the school has a different application process. In that case, check with the school’s financial aid office to find out how to request a parent PLUS loan.
Note: Before applying for a parent PLUS loan, make sure your child has filled out the FAFSA form.
If you are eligible for a parent PLUS loan, you will be required to sign a Direct PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN), agreeing to the terms of the loan. Contact the financial aid office at the school your child is planning to attend for details regarding the process at that school.
If you’re taking out parent PLUS loans for more than one child, you’ll need to sign separate Direct PLUS Loan MPNs for the loans you receive for each child.
Yes, there is a loan fee on all Direct PLUS Loans. The loan fee is a percentage of the loan amount and is proportionately deducted from each loan disbursement. The percentage varies depending on when the loan is first disbursed, as shown in the chart below.
Loan Fees for Direct PLUS Loans
First Disbursement Date
|On or after Oct. 1, 2017, and before Oct. 1, 2018||4.264%|
|On or after Oct. 1, 2018, and before Oct. 1, 2019||4.248%|
Loans first disbursed before Oct. 1, 2017, have different loan fees.
The school will first apply parent PLUS loan funds to the student’s school account to pay for tuition, fees, room and board, and other school charges. If any loan funds remain, your child’s school will give them to you to help pay other education expenses for the student. With your authorization, the school can pay the remaining loan funds directly to the student. Get more information about receiving aid.
After you receive your parent PLUS loan, you will be contacted by your loan servicer (you will repay your loan to the loan servicer). Your loan servicer will provide regular updates on the status of your parent PLUS loan.
Parent PLUS borrowers are eligible for the following repayment plans:
Use the Repayment Estimator to get an early estimate of what your monthly payment amount would be under the plans for which you’re eligible.
If you are unable to make your scheduled loan payments, contact your loan servicer immediately. Your servicer can help you understand your options for keeping your loan in good standing. For example, you may wish to change your repayment plan to lower your monthly payment or request a deferment or forbearance that allows you to temporarily stop or lower the payments on your loan. Learn more about deferment and forbearance options.
No, a Direct PLUS Loan made to a parent cannot be transferred to the child. You, the parent borrower, are legally responsible for repaying the loan.
Yes. Before your loan money is disbursed, you may cancel all or part of your loan at any time by notifying your child’s school. After your loan is disbursed, you may cancel all or part of the loan within certain time frames. Your promissory note and additional information you’ll receive from the school will explain the procedures and time frames for canceling your loan.
Under certain conditions, you may be eligible to have all or part of your loan forgiven (canceled) or discharged. Find out about loan forgiveness, cancellation, and discharge.
If you are seeking Public Service Loan Forgiveness, you will need to repay your loans under an income-driven repayment plan. The Income-Contingent Repayment Plan is the only income-driven repayment plan available to parent PLUS borrowers, and to repay your parent PLUS loans under the Income-Contingent Repayment Plan, you must first consolidate the loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan.
Visit “My Federal Student Aid” to view information about all of the federal student loans and other financial aid you have received and to get contact information for your loan servicer.