Who is eligible to borrow a Parent PLUS loan?

To borrow a PLUS Loan, you need to:

  • Be the biological or adoptive parent of the student. Step-parents are eligible only if their income information is reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  Guardians are not eligible .
  • Be a citizen, permanent resident, or other eligible non-citizen of the United States.
  • Be a creditworthy or secure a creditworthy co-signer (endorser)
  • Have a Federal Student Aid Identification (FSA ID) register for this at (https://studentaid.gov/)

How do I apply for a Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)?

STEP 1: Complete a PLUS Loan Application online at: https://studentaid.gov/. The parent borrower must have an FSA ID to complete the PLUS application. The parent borrower must log onto: https://studentaid.gov/.  Go to Parent tab, Apply for a PLUS LOAN, then Log In to Start.    Review the disclaimer and click "YES".  Press Start to complete the required information.    

  STEP 2: Complete a Master Promissory Note for a Parent PLUS Loan online at https://studentaid.gov/. The parent borrower must have a Federal Student Aid Identification (FSA ID) to complete the PLUS Master Promissory Note. Log onto https://studentaid.gov/,  go to the Parent tab, then "Complete a Master Promissory Note for a Parent PLUS Loan" log in with your FSA ID to start.    

You need to complete only one multi-year MPN. However a new MPN is necessary if a different parent/stepparent wishes to borrow on behalf of the student or if the parent borrower had a previous PLUS Loan that required an endorser.

STEP 3: PLUS Credit Counseling.  PLUS credit counseling is required when the U.S. Department of Education has informed you that you must complete PLUS counseling.  PLUS borrowers notified to complete PLUS counseling must: 

  1. Log on to https://studentaid.gov/ using your Federal Student Aid ID:

    • Select Complete PLUS Credit Counseling
    • Go to START to complete the required counseling.

    If you log onto https://studentaid.gov/, you will be able to:

    • See your federal student loan information available in the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)
    • View proof of counseling completion

Selecting a Loan Amount

When completing the application,  you will be given the following three options to indicate how much PLUS Loan you wish to borrow:

  1. I want to borrow the maximum Direct PLUS loan amount for which I am eligible, as determined by the school.   By choosing "maximum" you are authorizing the University to process the maximum amount of PLUS loan on your student's financial aid package. 
  2. I would like to specify a loan amount.   By entering a specific dollar amount, your loan will be limited to the amount you enter or to the total Parent PLUS Loan amount offered, whichever is lower. 
  3. I do not know the amount I want to borrow.  I will contact the school.  CMU will process the PLUS loan to the maximum amount of PLUS on your student's financial aid package.  You do  not need to contact the school.  If you are unsure of how much to borrow, your maximum eligibility is listed on your student's Financial Aid Status Page.  You are not required to apply for your maximum eligibility.  If you plan to use funds from your current income or savings to make payments for your student's education, you may want to subtract the amount you plan to pay with your own resources from the maximum eligibility listed on your student's Financial Aid Status Page and borrow only what you need.  If you do not plan to use any funds from your own resources, then you may want to borrow the maximum eligibility listed. 

Please note:  Credit approvals are good for 180 days.  If the credit approval has expired, increases in loan eligibility will be subject to a new credit approval.  

Please note: PLUS loan adjustments may be changed by submitting a  Federal Parent Loan Adjustment Form found on the OSFA-Forms Page to the Financial Aid Office.


Selecting the Correct Aid Year and Loan Period

When completing a PLUS Application, be sure to select the correct aid year and loan period.

Loan For
Aid Year
Loan Period
Academic Year 2019-2020
(Fall 2019/Spring 2020)
August 2019-May 2020
Spring 2020
January - May 2020
Summer 2020
May - August  2020


Authorizing a Refund Payment

Upon disbursement, your PLUS loan will automatically pay any current-year charges on your students account.  If there are PLUS funds remaining after the charges are paid, the balance will be issued as a refund.  As the parent borrower, it is up to you to decide who will receive the refund.  When completing the online PLUS application, you will be asked the following question:

"If there is a credit balance after your Direct PLUS Loan has been applied to the student's school account, to whom do you want the school to pay the credit balance?"

You will have two options:

  1. Me (parent borrower).   If you choose to have the refund issued to you (the parent borrower), the refund process will be delayed due to additional internal processes. 
  2. The student.   If you choose to have the refund issued to your student, the refund will be processed within 7 to 10 business days from the date of disbursement of the loan.

Options if Credit is Denied

The final step of the online PLUS application is the credit check.    If your credit is not approved, you will know immediately upon completing the application.  You will be asked what you intend to do:

  1. Appeal the decision.  Do this if you know there is an error on your credit record.
  2. Get an endorser.  If you are pursuing an endorser, the endorser must go to studentloans.gov website and complete the "Endorse Direct PLUS Loan" section.  The endorser must have his or her own FSA ID (https://studentaid.gov/).  If your endorser chooses to complete a paper endorser application, please note this can cause processing delays and you will need to contact the  financial aid office to let us know you have submitted a paper endorser application.   For this reason, we suggest that your endorser complete the online endorser application. 
  3. Not pursue an endorser.  If you are denied and you indicate on the application that you do not intend to pursue an endorser, we will automatically offer your student an additional Unsubsidized Direct Loan as a replacement . 
    • Freshmen and sophomores can borrow a maximum of $ 4,000
    • Juniors and seniors can borrow a maximum of $5,000
  4. Undecided.  If you say "Undecided", we will automatically offer your student an additional Unsubsidized Direct Loan. 
    •  Note: If the PLUS loan is approved with an endorser the student is no longer eligible for the additional Unsubsidized loan mentioned above.

Completing the Process

Once your PLUS application and Loan Agreement/MPN are completed, the information will be transmitted to us and will be posted in our system within approximately 5 business days.  If you are an eligible borrower, your credit was approved, and you completed the PLUS Loan Agreement/MPN, you do not need to take any further action.  If we need any additional information, we will contact you. 

 How do I calculate what my payments will be?

An estimate of the payment may be found using this link to the Federal Student Aid website: https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/mobile/repayment/repaymentEstimator.action