Is a Parents Plus loan financial aid?

Is the Parents Plus loan something that school’s financial aid office offers you? Or can anyone do it?

All schools that offer federal loans will allow a parent to apply for a Parent PLUS loan. Some offer it on the financial aid award letter, while others want you to contact them to ask about it. The amount you can borrow is Cost of Attendance - all aid (scholarships, grants, work study, student loans). The parent has to qualify (credit does not have to be “good”, it just can’t be bad). If the parent is denied the loan based on credit, the student can borrow an additional $4,000 unsubsidized loan freshman year.

It’s not financial aid because it’s a loan, not a grant, your parents have to pay it back, so if the university included it in your package it means they “gapped you”, ie., they know you cannot afford to go yet make it look like you can if your parents get into tons of debt. (Except why would you do that to your parents? So they try to make it look like its normal or ok and hope you don’t notice.)
It’s a federal program so any parent can request ir, for any school (even if a college doesn’t put in your package, you can ask for a Parent PLUS loan up to COA).
Whatever college suggested you pay with parent PLUS loans is not affordable.

Any other option?

Rule of thumb

  1. ask your parents how much they can afford to pay out of pocket, from current income and savings.

  2. calculate
    (Tuition, fees, tools, board)- (Grants, scholarships)=$…

  3. should be equal or smaller than 1)

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I disagree; a parent plus loan is financial aid just like a student federal direct loan is financial aid. They are both financial assistance (“aid”) that can cover educational expenses if the student or parents don’t have cash on hand to bridge a gap left after grants, scholarships and other financial aid are all applied. Now, this doesn’t mean that a parent plus loan is necessarily a smart way to help pay for a college education; it’s just another tool in the financial aid toolbox.

Many families are able to afford college by borrowing Parent PLUS loans. Is it ideal? Probably not, but when it is the best option for a family, it is available. Not every family can afford even a local college without some borrowing. Keeping loans to a reasonable level is wise, of course. But every family has to determine what works for them.