How to Apply for the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan

Eligibility

Both your student and the parent borrower must meet specific eligibility requirements in order for you to qualify for the Parent PLUS Loan. The first step is to have a completed FAFSA on file. Your student must have been awarded their loan eligibility first, before we can certify the Direct Parent PLUS loan.

Your Student must:

You - the Parent Borrower must:

  • Be the biological, adoptive, or step-parent of the student.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen (permanent resident).
  • Not be in default on repayment of federal aid. If you are currently in default, go here.
  • Consent to, and pass a credit check by the U.S. Department of Education.

Before you Apply

Determine the loan period for which you plan to apply. If your student is planning to be enrolled for both fall and spring semesters, we recommend that you apply for the fall/spring Loan term. The summer loan term cannot be combined with other terms.

If you choose a fall/spring loan period, the amount of the loan will be split equally between the two semesters; so the disbursement of a $10,000 fall/spring loan would be $5,000 for the fall semester and $5,000 for the spring semester.

There are four loan term periods at Penn State:

Term Period Application Opens
Fall/Spring August - May June
Fall only August - December June
Spring only January -May October
Summer only May - August April

Interest Rate

The fixed interest rate for loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2018 7.60%
The fixed interest rate for loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2019 7.08%

Origination Fees

The origination fee for loans first disbursed on or after October 1, 2018 4.248%
The origination fee for loans first disbursed on or after October 1, 2019 4.236%

Create a Student Budget

We have several tools that can help you to determine how much you will need to borrow in a Parent PLUS Loan:

Open slide of our Paren PLUS Loan Tutorial

Calculate the Loan Fee (Net vs. Gross)

Divide the total loan amount you want to borrow by 0.95764. For example, to receive a net amount of $10,000, request a gross amount of $10,442 ($10,000/0.95764 = $10,442)

Your approved and accepted Direct PLUS loan will appear on both the Award Summary and Student Account Statement in LionPATH, however, the loan amounts will be different.

The loan amount on the Award Summary is the gross amount. In contrast, the Tuition Bill shows the net amount after the loan origination fees have been deducted.

Apply

Parents will need to apply for the Direct Parent PLUS Loan on studentaid.gov. Like the FAFSA, Direct Parent PLUS Loans must be requested each academic year.

You must log on to the studentloans.gov website with your own FSA ID. If you are not the parent on the FAFSA and do not have an FSA ID, you will need to create one before applying for the Direct Parent PLUS Loan.

Preview a read-only version of the Direct Parent PLUS application here.

Credit Check

You will be notified at the time that you submit your application if your credit has been approved or denied.

Your debt-to-income ratio, credit score, and employment status are not taken into consideration; however, adverse credit typically results in a Direct PLUS loan denial.

For more information about adverse credit, visit studentaid.gov.

If you are denied the Direct Parent PLUS loan, go here for more options.

Application Approved

If your application has been credit approved, your application will be send electronically to us in 2-3 business days. Once the application has been loaded into LionPATH, we will create the application and add the award to your student's Aid Summary. Processing for the upcoming academic year will begin in July. Spring-only in October, and Summer in April.

The application will NOT process if your student:

  • Is listed as the borrower of the loan
  • Is not enrolled in a degree-seeking program
  • Does not have a FAFSA on file for Penn State
  • Has not been awarded their federal aid eligibility (either we have not started awarding or your student is not eligible for federal aid)

First-time parent borrowers are required to Complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) for the Direct Parent PLUS Loan at studentaid.gov. The Master Promissory Note must be signed for the loan to appear as a credit on the bill and disburse to the student account.

In most cases, you will only need to sign an MPN once during your student's college career. You do not need to sign a new MPN for every application submitted; unless your application is denied and then later approved with an endorser.

You can preview a copy of the PLUS MPN on StudentLoans.gov or for more information and/or to complete the MPN log into studentaid.gov.

If you have technical difficulty signing the MPN, please contact the U.S. Department of Education's Student Loan Support Center at 800-557-7394.

Apply for the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan