What are Federal PLUS loans?

Federal PLUS Loans are low-interest loans made to parents of undergraduate dependent students and to graduate or professional students. Here are some highlights:

  • Federal PLUS loans are not based on financial need; however, we do require a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)  to be on file so we can ensure students are aware of all the federal financial aid available to them.
  • The loan amount can't exceed the school's Cost of Attendance (COA) minus any other financial aid the student may receive.
  • Borrowers are responsible for all interest accrued.

To learn more, visit Parent loans or Graduate PLUS loans.

How do I apply for a parent PLUS Loan?

You apply for the PLUS Loan through the federal loan website at studentloans.gov .

  • Use your FSA ID  and password to sign in.
  • After you sign in, click on "Apply for a PLUS Loan".

At CU Boulder, we do require a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)  to be on file so we can ensure students are aware of all the federal financial aid available to them.

If this is the first time you have applied for a PLUS Loan, you will also be required to complete the Loan Agreement for a PLUS Loan (also referred to as Master Promissory Note or MPN). Learn more about how to apply for parent loans.

How much PLUS Loan can I borrow?

Parents can borrow up to the student's full cost of attendance, less other financial aid received.

Graduate students can borrow up to their full cost of attendance, less other financial aid received.

I do not have the option to accept or decline the PLUS Loan on the student portal, how do I accept/decline the loan?

Upon receipt of your PLUS Loan application from the Federal Direct Loan Servicer, the Office of Financial Aid will accept the loan amount, which you will be able to see in Buff Portal (i.e., you don't need to accept it since you or your parents applied for it specifically). If your loan request is more than you are eligible for, it will be adjusted accordingly.

If you have been offered a PLUS loan that you do not want, you can contact us to remove it from your account.

How do I check the status of my parent PLUS Loan?

Once our office receives the PLUS application back from the Federal Direct Loan Servicer, we will determine if additional loan documents are required. An email will be sent to the student directing them to view their "To-Do List" in their student portal. The borrower will also receive a disclosure statement from the Federal Direct Loan Servicer which will verify the loan has been approved.

How can I decline, cancel or reduce a PLUS loan?

If you applied for PLUS loan that you do not wish to borrow, you can contact our office and request to get it removed from your financial aid award as long as it has not already been applied to your university bill.

If your loan has already been paid toward your university bill, you will need to complete a Loan Reduction or Cancellation form and submit it to the Office of Financial Aid in-person or by fax 303-492-0838.

How do I increase my PLUS Loan?

If the borrower had already completed a PLUS application, then they will need to contact the Office of Financial Aid to inquire about additional eligibility. The request can be in-person or by telephone, 303-492-5091. If we offer a new loan, you will have to complete another PLUS application on studentaid.gov .

Who can borrow a PLUS loan?

Biological parents are eligible to apply for this loan whether or not their information is provided on the FAFSA. A stepparent is eligible to apply for a Federal PLUS Loan only if his or her information was provided on the FAFSA. Grandparents and other relatives are not eligible for this type of loan.

What if I am denied a PLUS Loan due to adverse credit history?
Submit an Appeal

If you believe there was an error on your credit report, you may appeal the credit decision with the U.S. Department of Education. Sign in to studentaid.gov  and select "Appeal a Credit Decision" from the "Apply for Aid" drop-down in the top navigation. . After you complete your appeal you will be contacted by a representative from the Federal Loan Origination Center within three business days to discuss your appeal. If you do not receive a call, you may contact them at 1-800-557-7394.

Obtain an Endorser

If the parent applicant is not approved for the PLUS loan, he or she will have the ability to obtain an endorser (cosigner) by completing the request on studentaid.gov . The endorser will need the PLUS Endorser Code which can be found in the confirmation email received in the denial notice or by logging into studentaid.gov and selecting "Endorse a PLUS Loan" from the "Apply for Aid" drop-down in the top navigation.  If the parent does not have an endorser, the student can contact our office to request an additional unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan ($4,000 for freshman and sophomore level, $5,000 for junior and senior level).

If you qualify for a Direct PLUS Loan after obtaining an endorser or documenting extenuating circumstances, you will be required to complete loan credit counseling on studentaid.gov .

If a graduate student is denied a PLUS Loan, they can explore private loan options.

How is the parent PLUS Loan applied toward my student's tuition bill?

Typically, the student's financial aid will be applied toward the tuition and fee bill first. However, if there is any balance at the time the PLUS loan is disbursed, it will be applied toward the remaining bill. The remaining loan will be refunded to whoever was designated on the PLUS application submitted through studentaid.gov . If you elect for the student to receive the refund, it will be sent to their direct deposit approximately three days prior to the beginning of the semester. If you elect to receive the refund directly, a check will be mailed to you (this process could take up to two weeks).

Can parents request to have payments on a Federal PLUS Loan deferred?

Parents can request a deferment (a temporary suspension of loan payments) for specific situations such as reenrollment in school, unemployment, or economic hardship. Parents can also request a deferment while their student is enrolled in school at least half-time. Interest that accrues during these periods will be capitalized if not paid by the parent during the deferment. To request a deferment, visit nslds.ed.gov  and select "forms."

When do I have to start repaying the Federal PLUS Loan?

The repayment period for all PLUS Loans begins on the date the loan is fully disbursed, and the first payment is due within 60 days of the final disbursement. However, a graduate student PLUS Loan borrower can defer repayment while the borrower is enrolled at least half-time (4 credit hours).