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Comparing PLUS and Private Loans

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


General Information

Topic Parent PLUS Private Graduate PLUS
Student Level Undergraduate Undergraduate, graduate or professional Graduate or professional
Loan Borrower Parent of a dependent undergraduate student Student or parent (varies by lender) Graduate or professional student
Lender Federal government Private lenders and financial institutions Federal government
Annual Loan Limits Cost of attendance minus other student aid Cost of attendance minus other student aid Cost of attendance minus other student aid

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Requirements

Topic Parent PLUS Private Graduate PLUS
FAFSA Required Yes Depends on the lender Yes
Application Required Yes ( studentloans.gov) Yes (contact the lender) Yes ( studentloans.gov)
Requires Certification by WVU Yes Yes Yes
Credit Criteria Borrower may not have an adverse credit history; if so, they must have a creditworthy endorser/cosigner Varies by lender but may include credit score, debt-to-income ratio, or no adverse credit history Borrower may not have an adverse credit history; if so, they must have a creditworthy endorser/cosigner
Endorser or Cosigner Required Borrowers with little or no credit history (or an adverse credit history) may require an endorser Borrowers with little or no credit history (or an adverse credit history) may require an endorser (varies by lender) Borrowers with little or no credit history (or an adverse credit history) may require an endorser
Impact of Loan Denial Potential to increase unsubsidized loan amount; maximum increase amount varies by student level No increase in other aid eligibility No increase in other aid eligibility

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Interest Rates and Fees

Topic Parent PLUS Private Graduate PLUS
Type of Interest Fixed Fixed and variable options (varies by lender) Fixed
Interest Rate Rates can be found at studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/interest-rates#rates Depends on the borrower and/or endorser credit (varies by lender) Rates can be found at studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/interest-rates#rates
Loan Fees Loan fees can be found at studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/interest-rates#fees Varies by lender Loan fees can be found at studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/interest-rates#fees

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Repayment

Topic Parent PLUS Private Graduate PLUS
In-School and Grace Period Deferment Options Full deferment or immediate repayment options available (as determined by the application) Varies by lender Full deferment or immediate repayment options available (as determined by the application)
Prepayment Penalties No Varies by lender No
Repayment Plans The government offers various repayment plans, including income-based options; more information at studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/understand/plans Varies by lender The government offers various repayment plans, including income-based options; more information at studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/understand/plans
Disability Discharge Parent only Varies by lender Student only
Death Discharge Student or parent Varies by lender Student

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