Parent PLUS Loans

PLUS loans are federal loans that eligible graduate students and parents of dependent undergraduate students can use to help pay education expenses. The U.S. Department of Education makes Direct PLUS Loans to eligible borrowers with a FAFSA application. 

Here’s a quick overview of Direct PLUS Loans:

  • The U.S. Department of Education is the lender.
  • The borrower must not have an adverse credit history.
  • The maximum loan amount is the student’s cost of attendance (determined by the school) minus any other financial aid received.

Here are more details about PLUS Loans & how to apply

What are Direct PLUS Loans?

The PLUS is a long-term, credit-based loan program with a variable interest rate. This program is designed to assist parents of dependent undergraduate students or graduate students in meeting the educational cost of education.

In the case of a parent of a dependent student, the parent is the borrower and is responsible for repayment of the loan. These loans may not exceed the cost of education minus other aid. Generally, repayment must begin 60 days after receipt of funds unless the parents qualify for deferment.

The student must be enrolled at least half time and be eligible for federal student aid. Approval for the PLUS Loan is based on the credit of the borrower. The maximum amount requested can equal the student’s cost of attendance minus other financial aid. Interest is charged during all periods. 

Who is eligible for a Direct PLUS Loan?

To receive a Direct PLUS Loan, you must

  • be a graduate student enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school in a program leading to a degree or certificate, or be the parent (biological, adoptive, or in some cases, stepparent) of a dependent undergraduate student enrolled at least half-time at a participating school;
  • not have an adverse credit history; and
  • meet the general eligibility requirements for federal student aidOpens in new window . If you are borrowing on behalf of your child, your child must also meet these requirements.

How much can I borrow?

The maximum PLUS loan amount you can borrow is the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid awarded to the student.

What is the Interest Rate and Charges?

What is the current interest rate?

For Direct PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2015, and before July 1, 2016, the interest rate is 6.84%. These are fixed interest rates for the life of the loan.

Other than interest, is there a charge for this loan?

Yes, there is a loan fee on all Direct PLUS Loans. The loan fee is a percentage of the loan amount and is proportionately deducted from each loan disbursement. The percentage varies depending on when the loan is first disbursed, as shown in the chart below.

Loan Fees for Direct PLUS Loans

First Disbursement Date Loan Fee
On or after Oct. 1, 2014, and before Oct. 1, 2015 4.292%
On or after Oct. 1, 2015, and before Oct. 1, 2016 4.272%

Loans first disbursed prior to Oct. 1, 2014, have different loan fees.

How do I apply for a Direct PLUS Loan?

In order to receive a Direct PLUS loan, you (or your child, in the case of parent PLUS loan borrowers) must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®).

How to Apply

  • Complete a FAFSA
  • Submit all required documents to the Office of Financial Aid
  • Review the student's Financial Aid summary in their Titan Online Student Center. If the total aid is less than the estimated financial aid and budget, you may apply for the difference in a PLUS loan
  • Go to studentloans.govOpens in new window
  • Borrowers should complete application which includes a credit check
  • Complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) online. Paren't must use their FSA ID not the student's
  • Attach a copy of the MPN to a completed CSUF PLUS applicationPDF File (16-17 application available beginning of June).

How long does processing take?

Due to the value of PLUS applications at peak times (particularly summer and the start of the Fall term), PLUS loans can take 4 weeks for processing and for the loan to be posted on the student's financial aid summary.

How are funds paid or disbursed?

PLUS loan funds are sent via to the University for application to the student's campus account. Accepted loan funds are divided so half the funding is provided for the Fall semester and the other half is provided for the Spring semester. 

Once the funding has been sent to the University, the Office of Financial Aid will again verify the student's eligibility for payment. Then the funds are applied to the student's remaining campus balances, this would include Campus Tuition and Fees, as well as CSUF On-Campus Housing Charges.  Once the student's account has been paid in full, Student Financial Services (SFS) will mail a check for the remainder of the funds to the parent borrower. If the student owes money to the University there will be a temporary hold placed on the disbursement until the balance on the student's account is paid in full.

How do I pay back my loan?

When you receive your Direct PLUS Loan, you will be contacted by your loan servicer. Your loan servicer will provide regular updates on the status of your Direct PLUS Loan and will provide you with information on how and when to repay your loan. You’ll make payments to your loan servicer using one of several repayment plans available to PLUS loan borrowers. 

You can learn more about repayment options hereOpens in new window .

What if I am denied for a Direct PLUS Loan?

Dependent undergraduate students, if your parent is unable to secure a PLUS loan, you may be eligible for additional unsubsidized loans to help pay for your education. You would need to provide the PLUS Loan Application and the denial letter from the Department of Education. The additional Unsubsidized Loan your are eligible for would be offered on your Student Center after processing.

Click hereOpens in new window for additional information about the Federal PLUS Loan program provided by the Department of Education.