Direct Parent PLUS loans for parents are federal loans parents of dependent undergraduate students can use to help pay education expenses. The U.S. Department of Education is the lender.
You (the parent borrower) must be the biological or adoptive parent of the student for whom the Direct PLUS Loan is being borrowed. The spouse of a parent who has remarried (i.e., the student's stepparent) is also eligible to borrow a PLUS loan if his/her income and assets have been included on the eligible student's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Multiple parents may get a PLUS loan providing the total aid package does not exceed the student's cost of attendance.
The student needs to have a current official FAFSA on file and have received an award notification from our office or have had his/her federal aid eligibility evaluated.
You and the student must meet the basic eligibility requirements for federal student aid, which includes:
- You must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
- You must not be in default on a federal student loan nor owe money on a federal student grant
- The student needs to be an eligible dependent undergraduate student who is enrolled at least half time (six credit hours) in an eligible program of study.
- You (the parent borrower) must not have an adverse credit history. A credit check will be performed during the application process. If a parent is denied a PLUS loan due to adverse credit, the parent may obtain an endorser or appeal the credit decision. These options will be provided as part of the application process. If a parent is able to secure a PLUS loan after initially being denied for adverse credit, PLUS counseling is required. If a parent is unable to secure a PLUS loan, the undergraduate dependent student may be eligible for additional Direct Unsubsidized Loan funds. Amounts vary depending on the student's academic level. Additional information is provided below.
Borrowing Limits for PLUS Loans
The parent borrower may borrow up to the undergraduate dependent student's cost of attendance minus other financial assistance received. If you request a loan amount greater than the student's eligibility, the loan will automatically be reduced to the maximum amount eligible. If the student's award package changes after the PLUS loan is awarded, the PLUS loan and/or other aid the student is awarded are subject to adjustment and/or cancellation.
How Parents Apply
The student must have a current official FAFSA on file and have received an award notification from our office or have had his/her federal aid eligibility evaluated. Do not complete the next steps if this step is not complete!
To apply, you must go to StudentAid.gov (Note: This is the U.S. Department of Education's official student loan website, which has a .gov extension. Do not use StudentLoans.com, which is a commercial website.).
Sign in under Manage My Direct Loan using your U.S. Department of Education FSA ID. If you do not already have an FSA ID, you will need to apply for one at fsaid.ed.gov.
When the next page opens, select Apply For a Direct PLUS Loan and then select Direct Parent PLUS Application for Parents as the loan type.
Select an Award Year:
- For Fall 2019, Spring 2020 or Summer 2020, choose Award Year = 2019-2020
- For Fall 2020, Spring 2021 or Summer 2021, choose Award Year = 2020-2021.
Complete the Student Information section.
Complete the School and Loan Information section.
- In the School Name section, be sure to select the University of Louisville.
- In the Loan Period section, select the appropriate loan period start and end dates. After the last day of enrollment for the period requested, our office cannot certify a PLUS Loan Request. Please allow up to 14 business days for processing.
For academic year 2020-2021 select Loan Period = 08/2020 - 05/2021
For summer 2020 select Loan Period = 05/2020 - 08/2020
Follow the steps to complete the remaining portions of the application. Be sure to complete all questions and use your legal name as it appears on your Social Security card.
Complete the credit check. The results of your credit check will be available immediately.
- If your credit is approved, you will be given two options:
- Not continue with the application, or
- Continue and complete a PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note, if you have not already completed one.
- If your credit is not approved, you will be given the following options:
- Not pursue the loan,
- Obtain an endorser, or
- Appeal the credit decision.
Credit checks are only valid for 180 days. It is best not to complete your PLUS Loan Request until less than 60 days prior to the student's planned start date of enrollment. We begin processing PLUS Loan Requests for the fall and spring approximately 2 months prior to the start of the terms, but after the student has had his/her federal eligibility assessed. We continue to process PLUS Loan Requests until our office's published deadlines, which never exceed the end of the student's enrollment period.
If you do not pass the credit check and the student wants to apply for the additional Direct Unsubsidized Loan, please have the student complete the Request for Additional Direct Unsubsidized Loan form.
If you are an eligible non-citizen, you must submit documentation to confirm your citizenship status to the Student Financial Aid Office. Copy both sides of your valid eligible non-citizenship documentation, write "PLUS Loan", the student's name, and UofL ID on the copies, and fax to our office at (502) 852-0182 or send them electronically secured.
You may contact our office to receive a paper version of the PLUS loan application. The paper application requires additional processing time, and you will not know the credit check results until your application is processed.
A Parent PLUS loan is borrowed by the parent, not the student. Responsibility for repayment rests with the parent. Interest is charged on the loan from the date the first disbursement is made until the loan is paid in full. Repayment begins once the loan is fully disbursed. However, a parent may apply for deferment by contacting the Direct Loan Servicing Center at 800-557-7394 while the parent/child is attending at least half-time in an eligible program of study and for an additional six months after the child ceases to be enrolled at least half-time.
For additional information regarding the Direct PLUS loan, such as interest rates, repayment, and more, please visit http://studentaid.ed.gov.
Exemption for Exceptional Circumstances
If a student's parent cannot process a PLUS loan due to exceptional circumstances, an exemption may be requested. Exceptional circumstances may include:
- The parent is incarcerated.
- The parent has filed for bankruptcy and has provided a letter from the bankruptcy court stating that as a condition of the bankruptcy filing, the parent may not incur any additional debt.
- The parent's income is limited to public assistance or disability benefits and our office has documented that the parent would not be able to repay the PLUS loan.
- The parent of a dependent student is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, or is not able to provide evidence from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service that he or she is in the United States for other than a temporary purpose with the intention of becoming a citizen or permanent resident.
If exceptional circumstances should be considered, the student and parent may complete the Exemption Request Form (adobe pdf).
After the Parent Applies
After a parent applies and is approved for a Direct PLUS loan, the Student Financial Aid Office will review the student's account. If eligible, the PLUS loan will be awarded based on the parent borrower's requested amount, not to exceed the maximum calculated eligibility.
Once the student begins enrollment for the term the PLUS is awarded and we re-confirm eligibility, the funds will be posted to the student's account at the Bursar's Office. Parent PLUS funds are always applied/re-applied towards the student's charges. If the Parent PLUS proceeds exceed the student's charges, the university's Bursar's Office will mail a check to the parent's mailing address provided on the PLUS application or the latest mailing address available on the parent's account at UofL.
For More Information
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Federal Student Aid, PLUS Loans
U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid, Site for Managing Student Loans, Studentaid.gov