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How far in advance can parents apply for Plus loans? Can they apply in Feb if school starts in Fall?

mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,594 Forum Champion
And if the parent can apply for a Plus loan now (in Feb) for next fall, do they name a particular school? And what if the child ends up attending a different school?

Replies to: How far in advance can parents apply for Plus loans? Can they apply in Feb if school starts in Fall?

  • sybbie719sybbie719 Super Moderator Posts: 22,367 Super Moderator
    they should probably minimally wait until they have next year's financial aid package in hand and know where exactly they are attending. They can borrow up to the cost of attendance - any financial aid. I believe that the loan will be made out to the school with any remaining monies going back to the parent.
  • kelsmomkelsmom Registered User Posts: 15,279 Senior Member
    edited February 8
    There are two parts to this - one is the credit check, which the parent must pass in order to borrow, and the other is the loan application. The credit check is good for 180 days. If a parent applies for a PLUS loan online now (through studentloans.gov), the credit check is done now. As long as the loan is originated by the school within the 180 days, the results of that credit check will be used. The online application is not always used by schools (I don't use it) - even if it is, the school is not going to process it until they do their 2019-2020 loan processing (generally in the summer).

    Let's say the school uses the online app ... when they do process Parent PLUS loans, they'll use the application file that is completed now, but they will probably also require that the loan somehow be "accepted" through the school. I used to work at a school that used the online app, but they wouldn't process it until the parent submitted a paper application to the school. If more than 180 days has elapsed before the loan is actually originated by the school, the credit check will be done again ... and an approval "can" become a denial.

    If the school uses its own app only, if the parent also completed the online application at studentloans.gov, that credit check will still be used if it is within 180 days.

    If the parent applies for PLUS loans at more than one school (let's say the student changes his mind about schools), the credit check from the first loan will be used for the new loan at the new school, assuming it has been 180 days or less.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,594 Forum Champion
    edited February 8
    Thank you!!!

    So the credit check is good for about 6 months. That’s fine for those who are making financial decisions, applying for Plus in March or later and picking schools by May 1.

    Sounds like Feb is borderline early, but may be ok. Certainly no one should apply for Plus in October after filling out FAFSA on Oct 1st for the following school year.


    I can see where things could get sticky for those with ED acceptances. A family might apply for Plus in Dec, but that would expire, and then maybe get denied in spring/summer when applying again.
  • kelsmomkelsmom Registered User Posts: 15,279 Senior Member
    That is definitely a possibility for ED acceptances. Generally speaking, a parent doesn't need to worry about that as long as they keep their bills current. The credit requirements for PLUS are pretty lenient: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/sites/default/files/plus-adverse-credit.pdf .


  • NYDreammomNYDreammom Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
    Thank you. Also does the Plus Loan require employment verification? Wondering about that in case timing is important if parent may be switching jobs.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 20,188 Senior Member
    No employment requirement at all.
  • NYDreammomNYDreammom Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
    Another question- can a Parent Plus loan be only for one of the semesters of the school year (say Spring) and if so do you apply for it early too (before Fall semester starts) or depends on the school?
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 20,188 Senior Member
    A PLUS loan can be for any part of the tuition for the year. You can apply at any time. The same is true for the direct loan to the student too. Usually on the student's account, it will ask which loans you want to accept and you just check the boxes for fall or spring and you can fill in a different amount.
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