The Federal Direct Parent Plus Loan

The Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan is a credit-based educational loan available to parents of dependent undergraduates. Parent borrowers are defined as a student’s biological mother or father, adoptive mother or father, or step-parent who was listed on the FAFSA application.  The PLUS loan is not transferable to the student during repayment. 


  • Parent borrower must meet the credit criteria
  • Student must have submitted a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Parent borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Parent or student can't be in default on a federal loan.
  • Student must be enrolled at least half-time.
  • Student must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).
  • Males 18-25 years of age must register with Selective Service.  
  • Parent borrower must complete a Master Promissory Note online at
  • PLUS Loans are available regardless of income or assets and no collateral is required.
  • You may borrow up to the Cost of Attendance less all other financial aid, scholarships, assistantships, and graduate fee waivers.
  • You can only borrow at UW-Madison Federal Direct Parent PLUS loans up to five times in an academic year, and up to two times in the summer session. Be sure you accept the amount needed for the whole year when applying for your loans.

  Interest Rate

As of July 1, 2016 the fixed interest rate will be 6.31% and begins to accrue on the date of disbursement.

 Loan Fees

An origination fee applies to the Federal Direct Plus loans at the time of disbursement.

  • Direct PLUS loans with a first disbursement on or after October 1, 2015 will have a 4.272% origination fee.
  • Direct PLUS loans with a first disbursement on or after October 1, 2016 will have a 4.276% origination fee.

PLUS loan denial process

After we process the PLUS loan the Department of Education will pull the parent's credit and notify the parent whether the loan has been approved or denied.  If the loan is denied the Department will send the parent an explanation of the following three options;

  • Add a cosigner to the loan (parent will also be required to complete PLUS Counseling)
  • File an appeal with the Department (parent will also be required to complete PLUS Counseling)
  • Accept the denial, and contact the school about having additional unsubsidized loan added to the student's aid package.

 Conditions for a Denied Credit Check

  • Bankruptcy (Chapters 7, 11, or 12 within the past 5 years)
    Note: Department Policy does not consider Chapter 13 bankruptcy as adverse credit.
  • Voluntary surrender within the last 5 years
  • Repossession within the last 5 years
  • Foreclosure proceedings started
  • Foreclosure within the last 5 years
  • Deed in lieu of foreclosure
  • Accounts currently 90 days or more delinquent
    Note: Unpaid collection accounts and charge offs are considered adverse credit. Wage garnishment within the last 5 years
  • Defaulted loan that has been claim paid
  • Lease or contract terminated by default
  • County/State/Federal tax lien, within the past 5 years

Loan Repayment

Repayment begins sixty days after the final loan disbursement. Parent borrowers may request an in-school deferment from their loan servicer as long as the student for whom the loan was borrowed is enrolled at least half-time.

Automatic Electronic Debit

If the borrower chooses to repay the loan using electronic debit they are eligible to reduce their interest rate by .25%.

Deferment and Forbearance

Those who qualify due to unforeseen financial, health or military circumstances can request a deferment or forbearance. You may also qualify for an In-School Deferment if you return to school at least half-time. Contact your loan servicer for the appropriate forms.