Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan

Key Features

  • Can borrow total annual cost of attendance minus other financial aid
  • A minimal credit check is required
  • The borrower is a parent of a dependent student
  • Interest rate is “variable-fixed”:  the PLUS Loan interest rate is adjusted each year for new loans but remains fixed for the life of that particular loan.
  • Repayment period is ten years.
  • You (the parent) can request to defer a plus loan for up to four years while student is enrolled as an undergraduate (all requests are accepted). To request a deferment on a Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan, you must call Direct Loan Servicing at 1-800-848-0979. Be sure to find out who your loan servicer is so you can request the deferment from them. 


While the credit approval process on a Federal Direct PLUS Loan is more lenient than private, alternative education loans through an outside lender in that there is no debt-to-income ratio calculation, please note that if you have one of the following items on your credit report, you will likely be declined on a PLUS Loan: 

  1. 90 or more days delinquent on any debt
  2. Declared bankruptcy chapter 7, 11 or chapter 12
  3. Account in foreclosure
  4. Account in Repossession
  5. Tax lien (county, state or federal)
  6. Lease or contract terminated by default
  7. Wage garnishment
  8. Default on a student loan
  9. Charged off account with an account balance greater than zero dollars
  10. Collection account with an account balance greater than zero dollars

Due to changes in the Federal PLUS Loan credit criteria a few years ago, individuals previously approved on a PLUS Loan may now encounter a denial if they have item 9 or 10 as noted above on their credit report.  

Apply for a Federal Direct PLUS Loan

To use a PLUS loan, the borrower must follow these steps:

1. The parent borrower logs into www.studentaid.gov using their own FSA ID and password.

2.  Under Apply for Aid, click on Apply for PLUS loan.

3.  If approved, complete a Federal Direct PLUS MPN (Master Promissory Note) online at http://studentloans.gov.  FSA ID required.  Only required for first-time Federal Direct PLUS borrowers.  MPN is good for ten years. 

Keep in Mind

  • The PLUS loan is only available to cover charges during the current academic year and cannot be used for prior academic years.
  • In the event that you are denied for the PLUS Loan on the basis of your credit, the federal government automatically allows your student to receive an additional Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan in his/her name, totaling $4,000/year as a freshman or sophomore; $5,000/year as a junior or senior. You must apply for the Federal Direct PLUS Loan and be denied each year for your student to qualify.
  • If you wish to appeal the credit denial on your Federal Direct PLUS Loan, contact Direct Loan Applicant Services at 1-800-557-7394 for information on the process.
  • If you fail the PLUS Loan credit check, you may choose to use an endorser (co-signer) on the PLUS Loan. To do so, contact your student's financial aid counselor directly at 215-572-2980 or via email. 
    • Your endorser will need to obtain a FSA ID and then complete the Endorser Addendum online via www.Studentloans.gov. (they must sign in using their own SSNO and FSA ID).
    • Your endorser will need a Loan ID, which the Financial Aid Office will provide. 
    • If the endorser is approved, you (the parent borrower) must complete a new PLUS MPN at http://studentloans.gov, even if you previously completed a PLUS MPN in a prior year. Every endorsed loan requires a new PLUS MPN.