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Parent PLUS Loans

Parent PLUS Loans are offered by the Department of Education (Dept.) for parents of dependent undergraduate students who are considered dependent in terms of federal aid.  Borrowers must be U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens. Approval is credit-based, and the borrowing limit is the cost of education minus all other aid.

Requests should be submitted after the student's aid award has been determined and the health insurance decision has been made. But they should be made before the August 10th due date for fall-only or full-year loans, and before January 10th for spring-only loans.

Single-term loans are allowed, but parents typically borrow full-year loans for full-year students. Some parents may find that financing is needed for the fall term, but are uncertain about spring. In such cases, we recommend borrowing for the full year and having us cancel the spring portion if it is not needed. This way, financing is in place for spring if needed and, if not needed, it can be canceled or reduced (which is simpler and quicker than borrowing a second loan if needed).

Smith uses the online request method at StudentLoans.gov, which activates for use on July 1.

Please review the information below on how to apply for a plus loan, and then submit any further questions or concerns to loanhelp@smith.edu.

Terms of the Loan

First Disbursed Interest Rate
July 1, 2018–June 30, 2019 7.60% (fixed)
July 1, 2019–June 30, 2020 7.08% (fixed)
July 1, 2020-June 30, 2021 TBD

Note: Interest begins to accrue on disbursed amounts upon disbursement.

First Disbursed Origination Fee
October 1, 2018-September 30, 2019 4.248%
October 1, 2019-September 30, 2020 4.236%

Note: Origination fees are deducted from the requested loan amount. Therefore, the amount that is credited to tuition accounts is a bit less than the processed loan amount.

For detailed rights and responsibilities and repayment terms, refer to the read-only Master Promissory Note (if a Master Promissory Note is required for your loan, then you must complete one online instead of using the read-only version)

 

 

How to Apply

Please wait to request a PLUS Loan until after the following items are completed:

A. The official aid award has been determined, as a PLUS Loan cannot be processed before then.

  • Note that the paper award that is issued with admission letters is a tentative award.  Final awards for entering students are issued after they enroll and are online-only.
  • If the student is not an aid applicant and the PLUS Loan will be the only form of aid, then a FAFSA must be filed and we must be contacted at loanhelp@smith.edu to arrange for special handling.
  • Make sure that the aid application is complete so that the official aid award can be determined.

B. The annually required health insurance decision has been made (regardless of the waiver deadline).

  • The decision affects the amount due (all students are automatically billed for insurance) as well as the borrowing limit (it affects the cost of attendance in regard to loan aid).  This online process activates around July 1 each year.  Instructions are sent to students via email.

C. If assistance is needed in determining a PLUS Loan amount, then wait until the term bill has been issued and you contact and receive assistance from our office (via email at loanhelp@smith.edu)

 

During the loan request process you must either request a specific whole dollar amount or check the box requesting the maximum amount.

Keep in mind that the loan fee is deducted before payout.

Also keep in mind that the maximum loan amount is NOT the same amount as the billed balance due.

If you need assistance, contact us via email at loanhelp@smith.edu.

Example: You want $20,000 to pay to the account.

$20,000/ 2 terms = $10,000

$10,000/.95764* = $10,442.34 round DOWN to whole dollar

$10,442 x 2 terms = $20,884 = full year loan amount to request

Example: You requested $20,000.

$20,000/ 2 terms = $10,000 per term

$10,000 x .95764* = $9,576 = term disbursement amount

$9,576 x 2 terms = $19,152 = full year disbursement

* This multiplier/divisor is based on 100% minus the 4.236% loan fee. In other words, 95.764% of the loan amount is what is credited to tuition accounts.

Requests are made online.

  • At the top, select Apply for Aid and then select Apply for a PLUS Loan in the drop-down menu.  Be sure to select the correct PLUS Loan below; the request are different for parents and for grad students.

You will need your (not the student's) FSA ID to sign in.  If you do not have one, you will need to request one.  Click on the Log In button and then select the Create an Account option.

If you will be a first time borrower of this loan type for the named student, or if you previously borrowed this loan using an endorser, you must complete a PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note. If you have previously borrowed a PLUS Loan for the named student without an endorser, skip this step.

Policies & Guidelines

  • A parent requests a loan at studentloans.gov
  • The request data is transmitted to Smith College.
  • A PLUS loan is added to the aid award.
  • The current term portion is entered as a pending credit on the student account.
  • The loan is originated with the Department of Education.
  • The Department sends a disclosure to the borrower.
  • The loan is linked to a master promissory note (MPN).
  • The current term portion of MPN-linked loans disburses.
  • The disbursed loan is reported to the Department.
  • The Department assigns the loan to a loan servicer.
  • The servicer notifies the borrower of this assignment.
  • The borrower repays the loan via the servicer.
  • Loan proceeds pay directly to the student's tuition account.
  • Full-year loan amounts are split equally between both terms.
  • Disbursement typically occurs on a weekly basis during the aid year.
  • Email notification of disbursement is sent to borrowers.
  • Note: Unsatisfied aid requirements can prevent disbursement.
  • PLUS Loan overpayments are refunded to the borrower.
  • During the online request process borrowers may authorize surplus loan amounts to be paid to the student directly.
  • Repayment of the loan begins 60 days after final disbursement. (For a single-term loan, final disbursement is the only disbursement. For a full-year loan, the spring disbursement is the final disbursement.)
  • Borrowers may defer repayment while the student is enrolled. This option may be selected during the online request process.
  • Denials may be overridden via appeal or by use of an endorser.
  • Borrowers with loans approved via appeal or use of an endorser must complete "PLUS Counseling" at https://studentloans.gov.
  • Endorsers must complete Endorser Addendums at StudentLoans.gov.
  • Denials allow students an increased federal unsubsidized loan maximum.
  • Unsubsidized loan increases due to PLUS denials are made upon request.
  • Please notify us by email of whether you intend to pursue a denied loan or not so that we can close the case or provide added assistance.
  • Applicant Services can provide appeal/endorser help at (800) 557-7394.