What Happens After You Secure Parent PLUS Loan?

PLUS Loan : If you’re a parent getting ready to send your child off to college, you may have considered taking out a Parent PLUS Loan to help cover the costs. While securing this loan can be a significant relief, it’s essential to understand what happens after you secure a Parent PLUS Loan to ensure you make informed decisions and navigate the loan process effectively. In this article, we will explore the various aspects of the Parent PLUS Loan, what to expect after securing it, and how to manage it wisely.

Understanding The Parent PLUS Loan

Before delving into what happens after securing a Parent PLUS Loan, let’s briefly review what this loan is all about. A Parent PLUS Loan is a federal loan designed to help parents pay for their child’s education expenses. These loans are available to biological and adoptive parents, as well as stepparents, who want to support their dependent undergraduate students. Unlike federal student loans, the Parent PLUS Loan is taken out in the parent’s name, making them solely responsible for repaying it.

1. The Application Process

The Application Process
The Application Process

The first step in securing a Parent PLUS Loan is to complete the application process. Here’s a general overview of how to apply:

  • Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): Before applying for a Parent PLUS Loan, your child must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA helps determine the student’s eligibility for federal financial aid programs, including grants and loans.
  • Credit Check: The parent borrower must undergo a credit check as part of the application process. The U.S. Department of Education will review the parent’s credit history to assess their creditworthiness. If the parent has an adverse credit history, they may still be eligible for the loan by obtaining an endorser with good credit or by demonstrating extenuating circumstances.
  • Loan Application: After the credit check, parents can apply for a Parent PLUS Loan through the Federal Direct PLUS Loan Application on the Federal Student Aid website. During this process, you’ll specify the loan amount you wish to borrow.
  • Master Promissory Note (MPN): If approved for the loan, the parent borrower will need to sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) to officially accept the loan’s terms and conditions. This document outlines your responsibilities as a borrower and includes important details about the loan.

2. Loan Approval And Disbursement

Once the application is approved and the MPN is signed, the Parent PLUS Loan will be processed. Here’s what happens next:

  • Loan Approval: If your Parent PLUS Loan application is approved, you will receive a notification detailing the loan amount and the disbursement schedule. Keep in mind that the loan amount is determined by the cost of attendance at your child’s school, minus any other financial aid received.
  • Disbursement To School: The loan funds are typically disbursed directly to your child’s school. The school will first use the loan funds to cover any outstanding tuition and fees. Any remaining funds will be sent to the student to help with other educational expenses like textbooks, room, board, and living expenses.
  • Refund Check: If the loan disbursement exceeds the total cost of attendance and other charges, your child will receive a refund check for the surplus amount. It’s essential to use these funds responsibly and for education-related expenses.

3. Loan Repayment

Loan Repayment
Loan Repayment

Repayment is a critical aspect of the Parent PLUS Loan. Here’s what you need to know about repaying the loan:

  • Timing: Loan repayment typically begins within 60 days of the final disbursement for the academic year. However, you can request a deferment if your child is still in school on at least a half-time basis.
  • Options: There are several repayment plans available for Parent PLUS Loans, including the Standard Repayment Plan, Graduated Repayment Plan, and Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR). Choose the plan that best fits your financial situation and needs.
  • Deferment And Forbearance: If you’re facing financial hardship or difficulties in making payments, you may be eligible for deferment or forbearance. These options allow you to temporarily postpone or reduce your loan payments.
  • Loan Consolidation: Parent PLUS Loans are not eligible for income-driven repayment plans like those available for federal student loans. However, you can consolidate your Parent PLUS Loan into a Direct Consolidation Loan and then choose the Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan. This can make your loan more manageable if you have a high loan balance.
  • Tax Deductibility: You may be eligible to deduct the interest paid on your Parent PLUS Loan from your federal income taxes. Consult with a tax professional to determine your eligibility and the potential tax benefits.

4. Understanding Interest

Interest is a significant factor in repaying your Parent PLUS Loan. Here’s what you should know:

  • Fixed Interest Rate: Parent PLUS Loans have a fixed interest rate, which means the rate remains constant throughout the life of the loan. The interest rate may vary from year to year, so it’s important to check the current rates before applying.
  • Interest Accrual: Interest on your Parent PLUS Loan starts accruing as soon as the loan is disbursed. This means that even if you defer payments while your child is in school, the interest continues to accumulate. You can choose to pay the interest while your child is in school to prevent it from capitalizing.
  • Capitalization: If you do not pay the interest as it accrues, it will be capitalized, meaning it is added to the loan’s principal balance. This can increase the total amount you owe over time.
  • Interest Subsidy: Unlike some federal student loans, Parent PLUS Loans do not qualify for interest subsidies. This means that you are responsible for all the interest that accrues on the loan.

5. Loan Forgiveness And Cancellation

Loan Forgiveness And Cancellation
Loan Forgiveness And Cancellation

Parent PLUS Loans do not offer the same forgiveness options as federal student loans, but there are some limited scenarios in which you may be eligible for loan discharge or cancellation:

  • Death Or Disability: If the parent borrower becomes permanently disabled or passes away, the loan may be discharged.
  • Closed School Discharge: If your child’s school closes while they are enrolled, the loan may be discharged.
  • Fraud Discharge: If your child’s school engaged in fraudulent activities, and they are unable to complete their program as a result, the loan may be discharged.
  • Teacher Loan Forgiveness: If the parent borrower is also a teacher and meets the eligibility criteria, a portion of the loan may be forgiven through the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program.

6. Financial Planning And Budgeting

Given the financial responsibilities that come with a Parent PLUS Loan, it’s essential to engage in financial planning and budgeting:

  • Create A Budget: Develop a budget that outlines your income, expenses, and savings goals. This can help you manage your finances effectively and allocate funds for loan payments.
  • Emergency Fund: Build and maintain an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses, ensuring that you can continue making loan payments even during financial challenges.
  • Communicate With Your Child: It’s important to communicate with your child about their financial responsibilities and the importance of budgeting and financial literacy.
  • Explore Scholarships And Grants: Encourage your child to explore scholarships and grants to reduce the need for student loans and minimize the overall cost of education.


Securing a Parent PLUS Loan can be a valuable resource for financing your child’s education, but it comes with responsibilities and considerations. Understanding the loan application process, disbursement, repayment, and interest is crucial to managing your finances effectively. Moreover, it’s essential to explore all available options and make informed decisions throughout the loan’s life to ensure that both you and your child enjoy a successful college experience without undue financial stress. By being knowledgeable and proactive, you can navigate the world of Parent PLUS Loans with confidence and ease.

Also Read : What Factors Influence Your Car Loan Interest Rate?


1. What is a Parent PLUS Loan?

A Parent PLUS Loan is a federal student loan program that helps parents finance their dependent undergraduate child’s education. These loans are offered by the U.S. Department of Education.

2. What is the credit check process for a Parent PLUS Loan?

When you apply for a Parent PLUS Loan, the Department of Education conducts a credit check to assess your credit history. While there’s no specific credit score requirement, you must have a good credit history, and adverse credit events (such as bankruptcy or loan defaults) may result in a denial.

3. What are the loan terms and interest rates for a Parent PLUS Loan?

Parent PLUS Loans have a fixed interest rate set by the government. The interest rate may vary from year to year. Loan terms are typically 10 to 25 years, and your monthly payments will depend on the loan amount and term.

4. When do I start repaying a Parent PLUS Loan?

Repayment for a Parent PLUS Loan generally begins within 60 days of the final disbursement of the loan. However, you can request a deferment until after your child graduates, and some schools may offer in-school deferment options.

5. Can I change the repayment plan for my Parent PLUS Loan?

Yes, you can choose from various repayment plans to better suit your financial situation. Options include standard repayment, graduated repayment, and income-driven repayment plans. Income-driven plans adjust your payments based on your income and family size.

6. What if I’m facing financial hardship and can’t make Parent PLUS Loan payments?

If you’re facing financial hardship, you may be eligible for forbearance or deferment, which can temporarily suspend or reduce your loan payments. Alternatively, you can explore income-driven repayment plans to make your payments more manageable.

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