If you have a dependent child enrolled in college, then you may qualify for a PLUS Loan. PLUS Loans are also known as parent loans in the world of student loans and financial aid. PLUS Loans are available through the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program. They are also available through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. As a parent of a student, your credit history will come into play when applying for a PLUS Loan.
If your child is already receiving financial aid or other student loans, then you may or may not qualify for an additional PLUS Loan during the same enrollment period. Your child has to be enrolled at least half time in an eligible school for you to receive PLUS Loan money. Applications for PLUS Loans are available through lenders or directly from the school. You may consider going through a company that matches you with the lender that’s best for you, or at least gives you many different lenders to choose from. If a school offers you one lender for a PLUS Loan, then make sure that you check around and consider all of your options. The one that they offer you may not be the best deal around.
If your credit as a parent is not that great, then you still may qualify for a PLUS Loan if you can exhibit certain extenuating circumstances. Check with the lenders for specifics that could help qualify you for the loan. Parents can borrow as much money as the student needs to attend college. If the student is already receiving some financial aid, then it is considered and subtracted from the cost of attendance. You can not borrow more than the cost of attendance with a PLUS Loan.
PLUS Loan money is sent directly to the school. Money can be put towards tuition, room and board, school fees and other school related expenses. Any extra money borrowed that is not necessary for school will be sent directly to you, the parent. You can choose to have the money deposited in a school account where it will be held for future school needs. In any case, all of the remaining money must be used for school and school expenses.
The interest rate on PLUS Loans is currently 8.02 percent. This rate changes every year on the first of July. There are also fees associated with PLUS Loans. Usually when there is a loan payment dispersed, which can be one or two times per enrollment period, the parents will pay a 4 percent fee. This money goes to the lender and/or the government to keep the cost of managing PLUS Loans down to a minimum. You don’t get the luxury of a grace period with a PLUS Loan like you do with some other types of student aid. Payments start immediately after the first disbursement is made, or within sixty days of the first disbursement. As soon as the first disbursement is made, interest starts accruing and continues to accrue for the life of the loan.