Instructional Leadership, emphasis: K-12 School Leadership (MEd)
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Federal PLUS loans

What they are

The federal government offers the Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) to parents of undergraduate dependent students, as well as to graduate students. A direct PLUS loan is commonly referred to as a parent PLUS loan when made to a parent, and as a grad PLUS loan when made to a graduate or professional student.

Student sitting at a desk, looking at a computer with a marker-board in the background.

How to apply for a PLUS loan

  1. Sign in at Federal Student Aid using your FSA ID and password. You’ll have a chance to create an account if you don’t already have one.
  2. Select an award year for the loan.
  3. Parent applicants must identify the student receiving the PLUS loan.
  4. Select options for “deferment,” or pausing payments on your PLUS loan.
  5. Select whether you want to “Authorize for School to Use Loan Funds to Satisfy Other Charges.” If you select this option, NAU may use your loan funds to pay for charges on the LOUIE account such as parking, Campus Health Services balances, etc. This is not a requirement. If you do not provide authorization, the loan funds will only pay for tuition and fees, and housing and meals if living on-campus, and will refund any additional remaining funds to the student or parent.
  6. Select where the payment of any remaining credit should be sent.
  7. Add school information, select the loan amount desired, and then select the loan period.
  8. Borrower information for the parent applicants should include the parent applicant’s information, while the grad PLUS loan applications will only require the student applicant information.
  9. Review your information to verify it’s correct.
  10. You must authorize credit check and certifications before the application is processed—this section cannot be left blank.
  11. The final page shows whether the loan application has been approved or denied.

View the dates and deadlines to apply for Federal PLUS Loans.

How to increase an existing PLUS loan amount

Parent PLUS loan

If the borrower, loan period, and designated student remain the same:

  1. Log in at Federal Student Aid.
  2. Select the link titled “Apply for a Direct PLUS Loan” (even though you already have an existing PLUS Loan).
  3. Once there, select from two options:

Option 1

Add to an existing PLUS loan

  • Select the “Change the application” option to change the existing loan.
  • Include the Application ID number of the application being modified.
  • Enter the new total loan amount after the increase, not the amount the loan is being increased by.

Example: if a loan is being increased from $7,500 to $10,000, enter $10,000 as the loan amount instead of the $2,500 difference. Entering $2,500 as the amount would result in the application being submitted as a loan amount decrease.

Option 2

Increase funds by submitting an additional PLUS loan

  • Select the “new application” option.
  • If using this option, submit the application with the increased funds listed as the loan amount. Using the example shown for Option 1 above, the $2,500 would be entered as the total loan amount on a new PLUS loan application.

For a different borrower, or the same borrower in a different loan period and/or different designated student:

  • The “new application” option must be selected; changes cannot be made to the original application in these cases.

How to decrease an existing PLUS loan amount

How to receive an Endorsed Federal Direct PLUS Loan

If denied for the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan or Graduate PLUS loan, a borrower can obtain an endorser for the Federal Direct PLUS loan. An endorser is someone who agrees to vouch for a PLUS Loan, similar to a co-signer, and will repay the PLUS loan if the borrower is unable to do so.

The student cannot serve as an endorser for their parent for a Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan. Upon credit denial, an Application ID number will be provided to the borrower (parent or graduate student). The endorser will need this Application ID number from the borrower’s denied application to endorse the PLUS Loan.

Frequently asked questions

For the parent PLUS loan, the parent who applied for the loan is the borrower. For the grad PLUS loan, the graduate student is the borrower.

The PLUS loan should disburse in about six business days after all items are complete:

  • PLUS Application completed by the borrower
  • PLUS MPN completed by the borrower
  • If the PLUS Loan is endorsed or appealed, PLUS Counseling completed by the borrower

As with all financial aid, the initial disbursement is no more than 10 days prior to the start of the term.