Has your child received all the qualifying loans and grants he or she can get? Is there still a balance due on the cost of attendance, and you do not have it in your bank account? If so, rather than go to a private or state loan, you should look into a Parent PLUS loan!

How Do I Qualify for One?

Yes, the federal Department of Education lends money to parents of students as well! All you need to get one is a child who is a dependent undergraduate student enrolled at least half time and meet the general eligibility requirements for federal student aid.

These loans are credit based, so a credit check will be done. Even if you have an adverse credit history, you can still get a loan. This can be done by either securing an endorser (i.e. a cosigner with a good credit history) who is not your child or providing proof of extenuating circumstances relating to the adverse credit history. If you still cannot get a loan, your child may be eligible for additional unsubsidized loans.

Another great feature is that there is no maximum for this type of loan. You can get the difference between the cost of attendance and any other financial assistance received!

Beware No Automatic Deferment!

Beware that the loan falls due once the funds are disbursed! There is no automatic in-school deferment, as with your child’s loans. However, you can contact your loan servicer to request a deferment.

In-school deferments can be requested while your child is enrolled at least half time and for an additional 6 months after your child is no longer enrolled at least half time. Also note that interest will accrue during deferment and capitalize into principal unless you make arrangements to pay the interest during the deferment.

Choose Parent PLUS Before Private!

These loans are a great way to close a “funding gap” for your child’s education. You should exhaust this option before considering any state or private loans. Parent PLUS loans can also be repaid using any of the many repayment options offered by the Department of Education, including Income Contingent Repayment (ICR).

More Information

If you are looking for more information about federal financial aid for college, then download my free book, Applying for Federal Financial Aid: The Definitive Guide for Students and Parents.

For more information about what happens after you graduate, get my free book, I Graduated; Now What? A Guide to Dealing with Your Student Loans.

You can also access the latest news on student loans, get answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and read articles in my Library. Continue to educate yourself as you go through the process of making smart decisions about college financing!

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Steven J. Richardson
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Bankruptcy, Collections, Student Loan, DUI and Traffic Court attorney in Woodbury, NJ.