Families looking for long-term financing may wish to consider the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan to finance their child's education.


The student must:

  • Be considered a dependent for the purposes of receiving federal need-based aid;
  • Be enrolled at least half-time (6 units) in undergraduate status*;
  • Be enrolled in the number of units indicated in your Financial Aid Summary;
  • Submit all required documents; and
  • Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress.

*Your enrollment status will be calculated based only on those courses that are required for, or that can be applied as an eligible elective credit toward, your degree or certificate program.

The loan is for undergraduate students only, but must be taken out in the parent’s name. It is not based on the student’s financial need. No collateral is required.

The Federal Direct Loan Servicer will perform a credit check to ensure the parent meets the federally established credit criteria. Parents who do not meet the criteria can apply with an endorser (co-signer) who does.

The parent and student must be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens. The parent must be the biological or adoptive parent, or stepparent, of the student and the parent's credit must be free of the following adverse items:

  • Currently 90 days or more delinquent on repayment on any debt.
  • Debt placed in collection or charged off (written off) with the past two years.
  • Evidence of a bankruptcy, default, discharge, foreclosure, tax lien, repossession, wage garnishment, or write-off of a debt during the past five years.
  • Collection Accounts or Charge Offs with a balance greater than $2,085.

If the parent is considered ineligible for the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan due to adverse credit, they may still participate in the PLUS Loan program through an approved appeal or endorser (co-borrower) application. Borrowers approved with endorsers or appeals will need to complete Enhanced PLUS Counseling. More information regarding the PLUS Loan Credit appeals, endorser applications, and Enhanced PLUS Counseling can be found on studentloans.gov.

If the parent is considered ineligible for the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan: The student may be able to borrow an additional Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, up to $6,000 or $7,000. For more information, click here.

how to apply

  • Complete the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan request, by visiting studentloans.gov and signing in, then click on Request a Direct PLUS Loan. Once you have completed the process, the Department of Education will notify us electronically. USC processes a separate PLUS Loan for each enrolled term. If you wish to borrow the PLUS Loan for multiple terms, please submit a separate application for each term. Credit is checked once every 180-days for those with multiple applications.
  • If you did not apply for need-based aid, you must also submit a Enrollment and Housing (Supplemental) Form. Log in to My Financial Aid and Documents and click on the Document Library to access the form.
  • Complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online.

receiving your funds

Once the Financial Aid Office processes your Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan and notifies the Department of Education, we will e-mail you confirmation.

You will be able to sign your Master Promissory Note (MPN) online after your loan has been approved by the Department of Education at studentloans.gov

  • You and your parent will need the Personal Identification Number (PIN) issued to you by the Department of Education when you completed your FAFSA. If you need a PIN or have forgotten it, you can retrieve it through studentloans.gov.
  • Your parent will not be required to complete a new MPN if:
    • He or she previously borrowed a Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan for you at another school;
    • The existing MPN for a Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan  is not more than 10 years old; and
    • Your parent was approved for that loan without an endorser.

General Information

The interest rate is fixed at 7.21 percent for loans first disbursed between July 1, 2014 - June 30, 2015.  There is no penalty for early repayment.

A Federal Origination Fee will be deducted from each disbursement:

  • 4.292 percent for all loans made on or after October 1, 2014
  • 4.272 percent for all loans made on or after October 1, 2015

benefits of the Federal Parent PLUS Loan

  • You do not need to submit your tax returns to the Financial Aid Office.
  • You can borrow up to the USC estimated cost of attendance, including tuition, mandatory fees, room and board, books and supplies, and even transportation, less other aid received.
  • Either parent may apply for the loan, or both parents may apply for separate Federal Direct Parent PLUS loans.
  • Low fixed interest rate.
  • No prepayment penalty.
  • No required income-to-debt ratio.
  • Credit checks are less strict than those for private student loans.
  • Parents who do not meet the credit requirements may apply with a co-signer (called an “endorser”).
  • Parents can postpone payments while the student is enrolled at least half-time and for an additional 6 months after the student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time.
  • Payment flexibility: Income-sensitive, graduated and extended payment options.
  • Accrued interest capitalizes once at repayment.
  • Federally insured against death and disability.


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