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Federal Parent PLUS Loan

Federal Parent PLUS Loans are federal loans in the parent's name for their student's educational expenses.  These are credit-based loans and subject to a credit check.  Only parents of students considered dependent for federal aid purposes can apply for this loan.

Borrower:   Parent

How to Apply: 

  1. Complete the  The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  2. Log into studentloans.gov with the parent's Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) and apply for a Direct PLUS Loan for Parents.  The application usually becomes available in late March or early April for the upcoming academic year.

Enrollment Requirements:   Students must be enrolled at least half-time in  federal aid-eligible courses.

Additional Requirements:  

Funds cannot be disbursed to the student's account until all requirements are complete.  After the parent is approved for the loan, they must:

  1. Log into studentloans.gov with their FSA ID (not the student's).
  2. Click on "Complete Loan Agreement (Master Promissory Note).
  3. Scroll down to "PLUS MPN for Parents" and click on the "Start" button on the right.
  4. If the Parent PLUS loan was initially denied and the parent appealed the denial to the U.S. Department of Education OR obtained an endorser/cosigner for the loan, the parent must also complete PLUS Credit Counseling at studentloans.gov.
    1. Log into studentloans.gov with their FSA ID (not the student's).
    2. Click on "Complete Counseling (Entrance, Financial Awareness, Exit)"
    3. Scroll down to PLUS Credit Counseling and click the "Start" button on the right to begin.
    4. Complete and submit the counseling.

Quick Facts:



Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Who is eligible?
  2. What is the interest rate?
  3. Are there any additional fees?
  4. When do I have to repay the loan?
  5. How much can I borrow?
  6. What do I do if my credit is denied?
  7. What are the differences between the Parent PLUS Loan and private loans?
  8. Where can I find additional information?


Who Is Eligible?

The Parent PLUS is available to parents of dependent undergraduate students who are enrolled at least half-time in federal aid-eligible courses.  The loan application is subject to a credit check.

Students must also be meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress standards for financial aid eligibility for the loan to disburse.

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What Is the Interest Rate?

Interest rates on Federal PLUS Loans are fixed, meaning the interest rate on the amount borrowed for an academic year will remain the same for the life of the loan.  Interest accrues from the date the loan funds are disbursed until the loan is repaid in full.

Federal loan borrowers can monitor loan debt, check interest rates, and find their loan servicer by logging into the  National Student Loan Data System with their Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID).

Additional information on interest rates, fees, and calculation can be found at  studentaid.ed.gov.

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Are There Any Additional Fees?

Yes.  There is an origination fee on all PLUS Loans. An origination fee is deducted from each disbursement and retained by the federal government.

View origination fees for the current aid year. The fees vary based on what date the loan disburses.

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When Do I Have to Repay the Loan?

The first repayment begins sixty days after the final loan disbursement each aid year.

The parent may also choose to defer repayment while the student is enrolled in school at least half-time by selecting this option when they complete the PLUS application at  studentloans.gov. However, the parent will still be charged interest during the deferred period.

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How Much Can I Borrow?

The maximum amount eligible parents can borrow is the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid.

To determine the maximum amount that can be borrowed, the student can:

  1. Go to star.wvu.edu
  2. Click on "STAR Information System Login"
  3. Enter login credentials (WVU username and password)
  4. Click on "Financial Aid"
  5. Click on "Award"
  6. Select aid year
  7. Click on "Award Overview Tab"
  8. Take the "Cost of Attendance" for the year and subtract any anticipated financial aid and outside resources.
Please note if a parent chooses the “maximum loan amount” while completing the PLUS application, the cost of attendance will be increased to accommodate origination fees. As such, the borrowed amount may be more than anticipated.  See "Are There Any Additional Fees?" for more information.

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What Do I Do if My Credit Is Denied?

If the Parent PLUS Loan is denied due to credit history, the federal government will send the parent information about appealing the credit decision or using an endorser/co-signer.

If the parent does not pursue these options, the student may obtain an “ Additional Unsubsidized Loan” of up to $4,000 for a freshman or sophomore or $5,000 for a junior or senior.

A "Request for an Additional Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan" form will be made available on the student's STAR account after the PLUS denial information is received by our office or can be found under our Forms section.

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What Are the Differences Between the Parent PLUS Loan and Private Loans?

There are various differences between federal and private lenders such as the borrower, the lender, interest rates, fees, and terms. The information and chart below can help you compare options.

Top Four Differences Between the Parent PLUS and Private Loans
  1. Lender: The lender for Parent PLUS Loans is the federal government. Private lenders – banks or credit unions – are the lenders for private student loans.
  2. Borrower:  With Parent PLUS Loans, the parent applies for the loan, and the loan/debt remains in the parent’s name. Only parents of students who are dependent for federal aid purposes can apply for this loan. With private loans, the student or the parent (depending on the lender) may apply for the loan. If the student applies for the private loan, they may need the parent as an endorser/cosigner (depending on the student’s credit history).
  3. Interest Rate:  Parent PLUS loans have fixed interest rates for the life of the loan. Interest rates can be found at  View interest rates. Interest rates for private loans are based on the borrower’s credit history. The lender may offer fixed or variable interest rate options to the borrower.
  4. Loan Terms:  PLUS Loans can be deferred while a student is enrolled at least half-time at an accredited institution. This may not be true for all private loans. There may even be a limitation on the amount of time a borrower qualifies for an in-school deferment. In addition, PLUS loans generally have more flexible repayment options than a private lender may provide.

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Where Can I Find Additional Information?

Find out more about the Parent PLUS Loan at the Student Aid website.

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