The Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) lets parents borrow money to pay the education expenses of their dependent student. To be eligible, students must be enrolled in six or more credits each semester, and the parent applicant must pass a credit check. A FAFSA is required.
The amount that a parent can borrow per year is equal to your total cost of attendance for the year minus the sum of all other financial aid you are awarded. For example, if your total cost of attendance is $20,000, and you are awarded $4,000 in other financial aid, your parents could borrow up to, but no more than, $16,000. For a single semester loan, the borrowing limit equals the semester cost of attendance minus the sum of all other financial aid awarded for that semester.
Because a full-year PLUS Loan requires us to divide the borrowed amount into two equal disbursements, there sometimes are good reasons to consider a single semester PLUS Loan. One example is when a toolkit is needed for the fall semester, resulting in a higher fall semester cost compared to the spring semester cost. Learn more.
PLUS Loan Fee Calculator
The PLUS Origination Loan Fee Calculator helps borrowers account for the origination fee and determine how much to borrow. The U.S. Department of Education deducts this fee from the borrowed amount of a PLUS Loan at the time of disbursement. The fee can be different each year. The fee from October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2023 is 4.228%.
It’s wise to consider the fee when determining how much to borrow. For example, if $10,000 is precisely what you need to supplement other aid and cover the balance of all educational expenses, the PLUS calculator tells you that the amount to borrow should be $10,441, to account for the fee. Borrowing a total of $10,000 would mean the disbursed amount would be over $400 short.
The calculator is easy to use. Whether you are borrowing for a single semester or for a full academic year (fall and spring semesters), simply enter the expected PLUS Loan funding needed for the period and the calculator will tell you what the origination fee will be and how much to borrow to get your desired loan funding.
Please note, an origination fee is subtracted from the borrowed amount prior to disbursement. If you wish to receive a specific loan amount, please enter that figure and the tool will calculate the borrowing amount, accounting for the origination fee.
To apply for a PLUS Loan:
- Submit – or review and revise, if needed – your Penn College Financial Aid Authorization (FAA);
- Complete a FAFSA for the academic year before March 1, Penn College's Priority Application Deadline;
- Parent must submit a Direct PLUS Loan Application, available July 1, 2023 for the fall semester, to initiate a credit check. Your parent will need an FSA ID to sign in to the PLUS Loan Application.
- Parent must complete a Direct PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN), available July 1, 2023 for the fall semester. (Separate MPNs must be submitted for different students in the same family.)
What if my parent's PLUS Loan Application is not approved?
If your parent’s Direct PLUS Loan Application is declined by the U.S. Department of Education due to an adverse credit history, your parent will be provided with two options. Learn more.
Alternatively, students approved for a Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Student Loan can be awarded an increase in the unsubsidized part of that loan, based on the number of credits students have earned toward their program or major. To learn more, contact the Financial Aid Loans team.