Parent PLUS Loans: Are They Right For You?

Parent PLUS loans are one way to help your child pay for college, but they’re not for everyone. Here’s a quick overview of PLUS loans to help you decide if they’re a good option for you and your family.

Amount and Eligibility

You can borrow up to the full cost of attendance of your child’s school, minus any financial aid they’ve already received.

To be eligible for a parent PLUS loan, you need to:

Applying for a parent PLUS loan

Before you apply, your student will need to have submitted the FAFSA. The application will take about 20 minutes to complete.

You’ll need:

*Unlike other federal loans, a credit check will be done for a parent PLUS loan. But don’t worry if you don’t have good credit or a cosigner – your student can still get additional funds if you’re denied! If this happens, contact the college’s financial aid office.

Go to the PLUS loan application site for more information and to apply.

Paying Back Your PLUS Loan

You can begin making payments as soon as the loan is disbursed (paid to the school) or six months after your student graduates or leaves school. There are several repayment plans you could be eligible for. While you can borrow up to the amount of the cost of attendance minus any financial aid your student receives, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should. You can get an idea of what your monthly payment would be by using the Loan Simulator. Remember to factor in any other payments you need to make before you decide to take on a PLUS loan, and for how much.

PLUS Loan vs. Private Loan

For most people, a loan from the federal government is better than one from a private lender. Interest rates on federal loans are fixed (which means they won’t change over time), so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting into. You also have several options for repaying the loan, including ones that depend on your level of income. Private loans tend to have much stricter repayment rules and their interest rates can change at any time. Learn more about the advantages of federal loans over private loans.

For more details about the parent PLUS loan program, check out this publication from

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Our Office of Financial Aid will work with you to ensure you have access to the resources you need to pay for college. Our goal is to make sure all qualified applicants can invest in an education here.

If you have any questions about financial aid, need help filling out the FAFSA or encounter special financial circumstances your family is experiencing, please call us at (804) 123-5678 or email us.

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