- PLUS loans are available to parents of dependent undergraduate students enrolled at least half time in a degree-granting program.
- The Federal PLUS interest rate is 6.31% for loans borrowed from July 1, 2016, to June 30th, 2017.
- Loan fee: For loans disbursed on or after December 1, 2014 and before October 1, 2015 the fee is 4.292%. (Example: Fee=$429.20 on a $10,000 loan.) For loans disbursed on or after October 1, 2015 and before October 1, 2016 the fee is 4.272%. (Example: Fee= $427.20 on a $10,000 loan.) The fee is deducted from the loan principal.
- A current year FAFSA must be completed for any student whose parent wishes to apply for the PLUS loan
- Request a Federal Direct PLUS Loan online, beginning June 1st.
Note: Parents must have their FAFSA PIN to log in.
Before borrowing a PLUS loan you may want to determine if the Federal Direct Student Loan has been maximized for the academic year: annual student loan maximums.
Who is eligible?
- You must be the student's biological or adoptive parent or the student's stepparent.
- You must have an acceptable credit history. A credit check will be performed during the application process.
- You must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non citizen.
- Please note: federal regulations do not allow PLUS loan requests to be processed for an outstanding balance that is associated with an academic year that has already ended.
Borrowers enter personal information on the new StudentLoans.gov website. First time borrowers must complete a PLUS Application and master promissory note (MPN). The MPN is a legal document in which you promise to repay your loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the Department. It also explains the terms and conditions of your loan(s). The MPN will be provided by the Department. You can complete the MPN online at the Direct Loans e-MPN website. To complete an MPN online, you will be required to use your Department of Education-issued PIN (not your child's). If you do not have a PIN, you may request one from the official PIN site. Prior borrowers won't have to fill out a new MPN, you can borrow additional Direct Loans on a single MPN for up to 10 years.
Student information is entered. Borrowers have the option to select who (borrower or student) should receive a credit balance if applicable. The Federal Direct PLUS can be requested for the cost of education minus financial aid. Per federal regulations, if a parent's credit is denied on a PLUS, the student is then eligible for an additional Unsubsidized Federal Direct Student Loan.
Credit check and submit application. When you apply for a Direct PLUS Loan, the Department will check your credit history. If you are found to have an adverse credit history, you may still borrow a PLUS Loan if you get an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history. An endorser is someone who agrees to repay the Direct PLUS Loan if you do not repay the loan. The endorser may not be the student on whose behalf a parent obtains a Direct PLUS Loan. In some cases, you may also be able to obtain a Direct PLUS Loan if you document to our satisfaction that there are extenuating circumstances related to your adverse credit history.
How is a loan disbursed (paid out)?
Loan proceeds are disbursed in two equal installments, one per semester. Parents are encouraged to apply for a full year loan as credit decisions are only good for 90 days; applying for a second loan in the spring semester requires a second credit decision.
When do parents begin repaying the loan?
There is no grace period for Direct PLUS Loans - the repayment period for each Direct PLUS Loan you receive begins 60 days after the last disbursement of the loan. You can defer repayment of Direct PLUS Loans while the student for whom you obtained the loan is enrolled at least half time, and for an additional 6 months after the student graduates or drops below half-time enrollment. You must separately request each deferment period.
- Full year loans begin repayment in March
- Fall only loans begin repayment in October
- Spring only loans begin repayment in March
Generally, you'll have from 10 to 25 years to repay your loan, depending on the repayment plan that you choose. You can choose to repay your PLUS loan using the Standard, Extended, or Graduated repayment plan. Read more about these repayment plans.
The Direct Loan Servicing Center will notify you of the date your first payment is due. If you do not choose a repayment plan, you will be placed on the Standard Repayment Plan, with fixed monthly payments for up to 10 years. Most Direct Loan borrowers choose to stay with the Standard Repayment Plan, but there are other options for borrowers who may need more time to repay or who need to make lower payments at the beginning of the repayment period. You can change repayment plans at any time by going to the Direct Loan Servicing Center's website and logging in to your account.
Trouble making payments?
If you're having trouble making payments on your loans, contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center as soon as possible. The Direct Loan Servicing Center staff will work with you to determine the best option for you. Options include:
- Changing repayment plans.
- Deferment, if you meet certain requirements. A deferment allows you to temporarily stop making payments on your loan.
- Forbearance, if you don't meet the eligibility requirements for a deferment, but are temporarily unable to make your loan payments. A forbearance allows you to temporarily stop making payments on your loan, temporarily make smaller payments, or extend the time for making payments. Read more about deferments and forbearance.
Additional details are available online: Department of Education.
For questions about credit appeals, PLUS loan issues, and/or endorser processing
Direct Loans Origination Center