Maximum Parent PLUS Loan Amount? There Is No Limit

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Updated on October 9, 2023

The maximum Parent PLUS Loan amount a parent can borrow equals the school’s cost of attendance minus any other financial aid the student receives.

Parent PLUS Loans are a type of federal student loan tailored for parents of dependent undergraduate students and are part of the Direct PLUS Loan program. They help cover education expenses, including tuition, room, board, and other associated costs.

Here’s a breakdown of the key aspects of Parent PLUS Loans:

  • Purpose: These loans are designed by the S. Department of Education to help families meet educational expenses, filling the gap where other financial aid may fall short.

  • Interest and Repayment: Unlike typical student loans, Parent PLUS Loans feature a fixed interest rate and offer options for repayment and deferment, providing parents with control and flexibility.

  • Eligibility and Application Process: Eligibility is assessed through a credit check, and the maximum loan amount is determined by the school’s cost of attendance and other financial aid. The journey begins with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as FAFSA.

Related: When Do Parent PLUS Loans Get Disbursed?

How Is Eligibility Determined?

Wondering if you qualify for a Parent PLUS Loan? It starts with a credit check and an understanding of the maximum loan amount based on your child’s school costs and other financial aid.

Here’s what you need to know.

  • Relationship to Student: You must be a biological, adoptive parent, or stepparent of a dependent undergraduate student.

  • Enrollment: Your child must be enrolled at least half-time in an eligible Title IV school.

  • Citizenship and Identification: Both you and your child must be S. citizens or eligible noncitizens and have valid Social Security numbers.

  • Credit History: Your credit must be in good standing. If it needs improvement, options exist, such as providing extenuating circumstances or adding an endorser.

How Much Can Parents Borrow Through Parent PLUS Loan?

The maximum amount is tied to the school’s cost of attendance and other aid. Let’s see how it works.

  • Understanding the Borrowing Limit: The maximum amount equals the school’s cost of attendance minus other financial aid. This ensures alignment with actual expenses.

  • Assessing Your Needs: Consider your specific financial situation and the school’s costs to determine how much to borrow.

  • Role of FAFSA: Submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial step. While it doesn’t directly set the Parent PLUS Loan amount, it supports your child’s overall financial aid The aid awarded through FAFSA can impact the remaining cost of attendance, and thus the amount you might need to borrow through Parent PLUS Loans.

What Are the Borrower Guidelines?

From financial aid considerations to credit checks, here’s a guide to understanding the process.

  • Financial Aid Considerations: Explore options and resources like the FSA website, gov, and consult your school’s financial aid office for personalized assistance.

  • Enrollment and Academic Year: Your child must be enrolled at least half-time, and the academic year’s structure may affect loan disbursement and eligibility.

  • Adverse Credit History and Other Qualifying Factors: A credit check is part of the process, and specific eligibility requirements must be met to qualify for the loan.

How Can Parent PLUS Loan Funds Be Used?

Parent PLUS Loans are designated for specific education expenses. Here’s how to use the funds responsibly.

  • Education Expenses Only: These funds are strictly for education-related expenses, including tuition, room and board, books, supplies, transportation, and other school-related costs.

  • Responsible Borrowing Guidelines: Borrow only what’s necessary. Assess the actual education expenses and consider other financial aid, scholarships, and personal contributions.

What Are the Repayment Options?

Parent PLUS Loan repayment options don’t have to be a maze. Here’s a detailed look at your choices, from standard plans to deferment.

  • Standard Repayment: Regular fixed monthly payments over a set period, usually 10 years. Ideal for those wanting predictable payments and to pay off the loan quickly.

  • Direct Consolidation Loan: Combines multiple federal loans into one loan with a single loan servicer. Great for parents looking to simplify repayment or extend the repayment. You can apply for a Parent PLUS Loan Consolidation on

  • Deferment and Forbearance: Offers temporary postponement or reduction of payments due to financial hardship. Helpful for those facing temporary financial difficulties or who need a breather immediately after their child drops below half-time enrollment because there’s no Parent PLUS Loan grace period.

  • Income-Driven Repayment Plans: Payments are based on factors like income and family size. A good fit for parents needing lower monthly payments that align with their income.

  • Graduated Repayment Plans: Payments start low and gradually increase. Suitable for those expecting their income to grow.

  • Wage Garnishment and Consequences of Default: Understanding that failure to make payments can lead to wage garnishment or other legal actions is essential. It underscores the serious consequences of defaulting on the loan.

What Repayment Plans Are Available?

Repayment is more than just monthly payments. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Federal Repayment Options: Parent PLUS Loan borrowers can choose Standard, Graduated, Extended, or Income-Contingent Repayment plans. These provide various ways to manage your monthly payments.

  • Refinancing Opportunities: Refinancing with a private lender might lower interest rates and save money. But this comes with trade-offs, like losing access to federal protections such as income-driven repayment plans and Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

  • Lender Considerations: Different lenders may offer unique options, like transferring the loan to the child’s name. Understanding these specifics can help you find the right fit.

  • Informed Borrowing Decisions: Your financial situation, goals, and potential trade-offs should guide your decisions on repayment or refinancing. Consider interest rates, origination fees, fixed or variable interest rates, and the potential loss of federal benefits when choosing your path. You’ll need a good credit score or a cosigner with one to get the best refinancing loan interest rates.

Related: Parent PLUS Loan Tax Deduction

What Are the Interest Rate Considerations for Student Loans?

Understanding the differences in interest rates for Parent PLUS Loans versus private student loans is vital in choosing the right option for your child’s education.

Here’s a breakdown

  • Fixed vs. Variable Rates: Parent PLUS Loans have a fixed interest rate of 8.05% for the 2023-2024 academic year. Private student loans can have either fixed or variable rates, ranging from 2% to 14%, depending on creditworthiness.

  • Borrowing Options: Parent PLUS Loans allow borrowing up to the cost of attendance minus other financial aid. Private loans may have different borrowing limits based on credit.

  • Comparison Considerations: Parent PLUS Loans offer stability with a fixed rate, though usually higher. Private loans might have lower but variable rates. Evaluate these factors when deciding how to finance your child’s education.

Bottom Line

Parent PLUS Loans provide a flexible solution for parents investing in their child’s higher education. Understanding the eligibility, interest rates, and repayment options the U.S. Department of Education offers is vital to making informed decisions. Careful consideration and responsible borrowing are key to avoiding future challenges.

For more personalized guidance, consult a financial aid office, explore resources on, or book a call with my team to get a personalized strategy.

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What is the average amount of a parent PLUS loan?

The average amount of a Parent PLUS Loan is $30,189.19, according to the latest data from the Education Department.

Are parent PLUS Loans unlimited?

Parent PLUS Loans are not unlimited; parents can borrow up to the full cost of attendance minus other financial aid.

What is the maximum loan amount for a parent PLUS loan?

The maximum loan amount for a Parent PLUS Loan is the cost of attendance at your child's school minus any other financial aid received.

Can you get an increase in a parent PLUS loan?

You can request an increase in a Parent PLUS Loan if needed. If the maximum loan amount was selected initially, an increase can be processed through the loan adjustment form.

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