How to Apply for a Federal PLUS Loan

The federal PLUS loan, or Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students, is becoming a popular way to pay for a child's education. This loan type involves allowing parents to use their credit and resources to help apply for money for higher education directly from the government through loan handling services. If you need to apply for a federal PLUS loan, here are the basic steps for completing this sort of procedure to help fund the education of a child.


  1. Image titled Apply for a Federal PLUS Loan Step 1
    Understand eligibility for Federal PLUS loans. In most cases, eligibility for these loans is limited to the parent or adoptive parent of a child. In some cases, a stepparent may also be eligible to take out a federal PLUS loan.
  2. Image titled Apply for a Federal PLUS Loan Step 2
    Complete FAFSA, or federal student aid, paperwork. Some aspects of a federal PLUS loan rest on the already completed financial aid agreement that a student receives for education.
    • Experts point out that typically the parent can borrow the total cost of education minus any FAFSA aid money that applies.
  3. Image titled Apply for a Federal PLUS Loan Step 3
    Find a loan handler. Although Federal PLUS loans are government-backed loans, as a loan applicant you will still need a party to help you apply for the loan.
    • Look to the government's educational loan service provider, Sallie Mae, for a list of legitimate loan handling services for your federal PLUS loan application.
  4. Image titled Apply for a Federal PLUS Loan Step 4
    Evaluate the Federal PLUS loans available to you. Borrowers will want to look carefully at some specific aspects of Federal PLUS loans before going ahead with the application process.
    • Assess loan origination fees that a third party might charge for handling your federal PLUS loan. Some third party loan handlers charge exorbitant handling fees. Make sure that those fees that are proposed are in line with market standards before going ahead with your federal PLUS loan application.
    • Evaluate interest rates. Government offices provide current interest rate values for educational loans on various websites and print resources. Your interest rate will determine how much you pay on your federal PLUS loan over time, so be sure to inspect this aspect of the loan carefully before going ahead with the application. Also look for any clauses, such as prepayment penalties, that you might find unfair from a borrower's perspective.
  5. Image titled Apply for a Federal PLUS Loan Step 5
    Complete a pre-application if necessary. Many handlers of federal PLUS loans rely on pre-application processes to screen loan candidates before going ahead with formally facilitating this federal loan type.
    • Comply with credit requirements. For most federal PLUS loans, the parent is required to undergo a simple credit check in order to further assess credit worthiness.
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    Work with the loan handling company to finalize the loan application. There may be some back-and-forth communication involved in getting your final federal PLUS loan application out the door. Keep contacting the party that has received your original pre-application information and make sure that your loan is on its way to be processed.
  7. Image titled Apply for a Federal PLUS Loan Step 7
    Look for loan disbursement. When you have successfully applied for your federal PLUS loan, make sure you understand how it will end up in your student's account in order to help pay tuition bills promptly.
    • Experts point out that Federal PLUS loans are usually disbursed over the various quarters of a student's education. Understanding the timing of this disbursement can be very much in the family's favor, in order to avoid billing errors that may result in extra charges.

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