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General Information About Direct PLUS Loans

The parents of a dependent student may borrow a federal Direct PLUS Loan to help pay for the cost of their child’s education. The maximum loan amount is the difference between the cost of attendance and the total amount of financial aid and scholarships awarded to the student.

The interest rate is determined each June for new loans borrowed for the upcoming school year. Each loan has a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan. For example, Direct PLUS Loans borrowed in 2019-20 have a fixed interest rate of 7.08 percent.

Eligibility requirements for parents include: (1) Borrower is a natural or adoptive parent of a dependent student. A stepparent is also eligible to borrow a Direct PLUS Loan if his/her income and assets were required on the student’s FAFSA. (2) Borrower is a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or eligible non-citizen. (3) Borrower does not have an adverse credit history. (Learn more about Direct PLUS Loan Program.)

How to Apply for a Direct PLUS Loan

Step One: File a FAFSA
If your child hasn’t done so already, he/she must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before you (the parent) can apply for a Federal Direct PLUS Loan.

Step Two: Complete the PLUS Request Process On-line
Log into the Federal Student Aid website, and click "Start" under "Apply for a PLUS Loan." Fill in and submit the necessary information.

You will be asked to specify whether you want to borrow the maximum Direct PLUS Loan amount for which you are eligible or a specific amount. If you choose a specific amount, bear in mind that a 4.236% origination fee will be retained by the lender. So if you request $10,000, you will actually receive 95.764% of that amount, or $9,576.40.

This step is repeated each year so that you can request a specific loan amount and consent to have a current credit check performed.

After the parent completes the PLUS Request, the Department of Education will perform a credit review. You will be told immediately whether your request is approved or denied, and an electronic notification will be sent to the Financial Aid Office of the school you specified.

If your PLUS Loan is denied, the student becomes eligible to borrow additional unsubsidized Direct Student Loan funds on top of his/her normal Direct Loan limits: $4,000 more for students in the first two years of undergraduate study and $5,000 more for students in subsequent years. The student should contact the Financial Aid Office if he/she wishes to borrow this additional amount.

If your PLUS Loan is approved, go on to step three.

Step Three: Complete the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN) On-line
While still logged in on the Federal Student Aid website, click on "Parent PLUS MPN" (Master Promissory Note) in the "Complete Aid Process" drop-down menu. Click on "Start" under "Complete a Master Promissory Note". Fill in and submit the necessary information. An electronic notification of your completion will be sent to the Financial Aid Office of the school you specified. The MPN must only be completed once during the student's time at Thomas Aquinas College.

Step Four: Sign and return the updated Financial Aid Award Letter and PLUS Loan Confirmation Form
The Financial Aid Office will send a Financial Aid Award Letter (that includes the PLUS Loan) to the student and a PLUS Loan Confirmation Form to the parent borrower for signature. The student and parent must sign their respective forms and return them to the Financial Aid Office.

Step Five: The Financial Aid Office Processes the PLUS Loan
The Financial Aid Office will begin processing your PLUS Loan, and the Business Office will apply the funds to any outstanding charges owed to the College for the current academic year. Any remainder will be given to the parent or student according to the directions provided by the parent on the Parent PLUS Confirmation Form (see Step Four).

 

After the Financial Aid Office has processed the loan, you will be able to track your PLUS Loan information through the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), the U.S. Department of Education's central database for financial aid records.

Questions? Contact the Financial Aid Office by e-mail.

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