Federal Parent PLUS Loan Process

Federal Parent PLUS Loans are available to parents of dependent undergraduate students who are enrolled at least half-time and meeting academic progress standards with a completed FAFSA on file.

Parents wishing to borrow the Parent PLUS Loan must be U.S. citizens, may be biological, adoptive, or stepparent of the dependent student, and do not have to be the same parent used on the FAFSA – though they likely will become the FAFSA parent in subsequent years based on their support of the student's education.

Amounts and Terms

Parents may borrow up to the cost of attendance minus all other financial aid the student will receive. The remaining cost of attendance is available within Catalyst (https://catalyst.uc.edu).

  1. Go to the "My Finances" tile.
  2. Hit "Manage Financial Aid" and then "View Financial Aid."
  3. Select the year you wish to review.
  4. Use the "Financial Aid Summary" link toward the bottom of the display to see your cost of attendance, aid summary, and remaining financial need. Your maximum PLUS eligibility is your cost of attendance minus your aid.

Families can use a worksheet* with their financial aid offer to calculate a PLUS amount to meet billed costs. Also, you can contact One Stop at 513-556-1000 or onestop@uc.edu to help determine a Parent PLUS Loan amount, particularly if you are targeting specific costs to be met with the loan.

Federal loans have an origination fee, and the loan's interest rate is set annually for the life of the loan and begins accruing on the date of the first loan disbursement. Repayment on the loan begins 60 days after the final payment of that year's loan, though a deferment option can be exercised. Further information about repayment and deferment options will be sent to you from the assigned Direct Loan Servicer.

The Federal Parent PLUS Loan, unlike student loans, is credit-based. The borrower will be reviewed for adverse credit including past credit on-time payment history.  

Applying for a Parent PLUS Loan

The Federal Parent PLUS Loan process begins at https://studentloans.gov where the parent will log on using their Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID. 

  1. Complete credit check for loan approval.
    • Click on the tab that says "Parent Borrowers" and select "Apply for a PLUS Loan." 
    • Fill out the application and submit. 
    • For amount you can specify an amount to borrow for the year or indicate "maximum eligibility."
    • Credit check information is only valid for 90 days.  
    • Limited options are available if the loan is denied based on credit. 

  2. Sign a PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN).**
    • When approved, follow the links for the MPN, or go to https://studentloans.gov and tab "Parent Borrowers" to use the link that says "Complete Loan Agreement for a PLUS (MPN)."
    • Complete the MPN providing all required information.
    • Electronically sign your MPN using your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID. 

UC will be informed of your loan approval and completion of the MPN. Student Financial Aid will then process the Parent PLUS Loan that will show as part of the student's award offer. The amount of the loan will be based on the amount requested on the MPN or the maximum eligibility, whichever is lower. It is then certified by UC and set for disbursement at the appropriate time. This process of awarding and certifying the loan can take up to 10 business days following the completion of the parent's process at https://studentloans.gov.

In cases of increases or decreases to a Parent PLUS Loan already certified by UC and showing on the award offer, please contact One Stop.

PLUS Credit Counseling

PLUS credit counseling is available at https://studentloans.gov.  PLUS credit counseling may be completed voluntarily at any time by the parent borrower. 

PLUS credit counseling is required if the U.S. Department of Education has informed you that you have an adverse credit history and you obtained an endorser or documented to the satisfaction of the Department that there are extenuating circumstances related to your adverse credit history. In these cases, your Parent PLUS Loan will not disburse until the counseling requirement is met.

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** Because an MPN is a multi-year loan agreement, parent borrowers who have an active MPN on file with that student will not need to complete a new MPN following loan approval.

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Federal Parent PLUS Loans are one option to cover unmet educational costs, address non-tuition costs, or reduce reliance on student loans.

Other options include

While a Parent PLUS Loan is available throughout the enrollment of a dependent undergraduate student, please complete the Parent PLUS Loan process at least one month prior to the start of a term to ensure timely disbursement of the loan.