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Direct Parent PLUS

by Partin,Wesley B last modified Mar 31, 2014 04:07 PM

Direct PLUS loans are federal loans that parents of dependent undergraduate students can use to help pay education expenses.  The U.S. Department of Education is the lender.

Parent Eligibility

  1. You (the 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 FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).  Both parents may get a PLUS loan providing the total aid package does not exceed the student’s cost of attendance.
  2. The student needs to have a current official FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) on file and have received an award notification from our office or have had his/her federal aid eligibility evaluated.
  3. You and the student must meet the basic eligibility requirements for federal student aid, which includes:
    1. be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
    2. not be in default on a federal student loan and do not owe money on a federal student grant
  4. 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.
  5. You (the 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 unable to secure a PLUS loan, the undergraduate dependent student may be eligible for additional unsubsidized loans.  Amounts vary depending on the student's academic level.  Additional information is provided below.

Borrowing Limits for PLUS Loans

The parent borrower may borrow an amount up to the undergraduate dependent student’s cost of attendance minus other financial assistance received.  If you request a loan amount greater than your eligibility, the loan will automatically be reduced to the maximum amount eligible.  If the student’s award package changes after the PLUS is awarded, the PLUS loan and/or other aid the student is awarded are subject to adjustment and/or cancellation.

How Parents Apply

  1. 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!
  2. To apply, the parent borrower must go to (Note: This is the U.S. Department of Education’s official student loan website, which has a .gov extension.  Do not use, which is a commercial website.).
  3. Sign in under Manage My Direct Loan using your U.S. Department of Education Personal Identification Number (PIN).  If the parent borrower does not already have a PIN, they will need to apply for one through
  4. When the next page opens, select Request a Direct PLUS Loan and then select Parent PLUS as the loan type.
  5. Select an Award Year:
    • For fall 2013, spring 2014, or summer 2014, choose Award Year = 2013-2014.
    • For fall 2014, spring 2015, or summer 2015, choose Award Year = 2014-2015 (this selection will not be available until June).
  6. Complete the Student Information section.
  7. 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.  Please allow 10-14 days processing time.  After the last day of enrollment in the current term, our office cannot certify a PLUS Loan Request.  
      1. For summer 2014, select Loan Period  = 05/2014 – 08/2014
      2. For academic year 2013-2014, select Loan Period  = 08/2013 – 05/2014
  8. Follow the steps to complete the application.  Be sure to complete all questions and use your legal name as it appears on your Social Security card.
  9. 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:
      1. Not continue with the application, or
      2. 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:
      1. Not pursue the loan,
      2. Obtain an endorser, or
      3. Appeal the credit decision
    • Credit checks are only valid for 90 days.  It is best not to complete your PLUS Loan Request until 90 days or less, 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 term, 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.

Additional Information

  • 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.
  • 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 credit check results until your application is processed.  After completing the application, you must complete a master promissory note online.
  • 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 within 60 days after the final loan disbursement. However, a parent may apply for an in-school deferment by contacting the Direct Loan Servicing Center at 800-848- 0979 while the student is attending at least half-time in an eligible program of study. For additional information regarding the Direct PLUS loan, such as interest rates, repayment, and more, please visit

After the Parent Applies

  • After applying and being 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 request 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 current mailing address.

Direct PLUS Denial Exemption

In addition to potentially being eligible for additional unsubsidized Stafford loan funds if their parents are denied a PLUS, dependent students may also be eligible for additional unsubsidized loan amounts if there are exceptional circumstances which prevent a parent from borrowing a PLUS loan.  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 you have 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 a student's parent cannot process a PLUS loan due to one of these exceptional circumstances, please complete the Direct PLUS Denial Exemption Form (adobe pdf).

For More Information

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Federal Student Aid, PLUS Loans

U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid, Learn About PLUS Loans, Information for Parents

U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid, Site for Managing Student Loans,

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