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Direct Parent PLUS Loans

The U.S. Department of Education will be the lender for your loan. 

A credit check will be conducted at the time of application. The applicant must not have an adverse credit history. The U.S. Department of Education determines if the applicant meets credit history criteria. Salem State is only notified of the credit decision and has no input regarding the credit decision. For more information, please visit Parent PLUS Loans and Adverse Credit.

The interest rate for Direct PLUS Loans is fixed for the life of the loan. In addition to interest, a loan fee is applied to all Direct PLUS Loans.

The loan fee is a percentage of the principal amount of the loan and is proportionately deducted from each loan disbursement. This means the amount received will be less than the amount you actually borrowed. Borrowers are responsible for repaying the entire loan amount, not just the amount their student receives. Be sure to include the loan fees in the amount you apply for. 

Loan fees cannot be waived and must be deducted per federal law. For more information on interest rates and loan fees, please visit Interest Rates and Fees for Federal Student Loans. 

Parent PLUS Loans are unsubsidized loans, meaning the interest accrues throughout the life of the loan, including while the student is enrolled in school. 

Parents cannot transfer their loans to their children. The parent is the borrower and is legally responsible for repaying the loan. 

Federal Student Loans: Direct PLUS Loan Basics for Parents provides parents with information on Direct PLUS Loans for parents. It includes an overview of eligibility, the application process, and repayment.

To receive a Direct Parent PLUS loan, you must: 

  • Be the biological or adoptive parent (or, in some cases, the stepparent) of a dependent undergraduate student enrolled at least half-time at Salem State.
    • A stepparent may only borrow a PLUS loan if they are married to the custodial parent, and their financial information was reported on the FAFSA of record.
    • If a student's parent(s) are divorced, both the custodial and non-custodial may borrow a PLUS loan for their dependent undergraduate student.
    • Grandparents (unless they have legally adopted the dependent student) and legal guardians are not eligible to receive parent PLUS loans, even if they have had primary responsibility for raising the student. 
  • Not have an adverse credit history.
  • The borrower and student must be U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens
  • Not be in default on any federal education loan
  • Not owe an overpayment on a federal education grant
  • Meet the general eligibility requirements for federal student aid

It is the students' and their families' personal choice regarding who should apply for a Parent PLUS Loan. 

To apply for a Parent PLUS Loan, please complete the Direct PLUS Loan Application for Parents at Parents will need their Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) and password to complete the application.

If the parent applying for the Parent PLUS Loan has placed a security freeze on their credit file, they must lift or remove the freeze at each credit bureau before starting the PLUS application. The Department of Education will not process the application if there is a security freeze on their credit file.

Parents approved for a Parent PLUS Loan must sign a Direct PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) before any loan funds are disbursed to your student's account. The MPN explains the terms and conditions of the loan and constitutes a legally binding agreement to repay all Parent PLUS Loans received under the Direct PLUS Loan MPN.

If a parent borrows a Parent PLUS Loan for more than one child, they must complete separate Direct PLUS MPNs for each child's loan.  

There are no set borrowing limits for Parent PLUS Loans; however, the maximum amount a parent may borrow is the estimated cost of attendance minus any other financial aid received.

Estimated COA - Other Financial Aid Received = Amount of PLUS Loan. 

  • For example, suppose the estimated cost of attendance is $22,000, and the student will receive $10,000 in other financial aid (including Federal Direct Loans, grants, or scholarships). In that case, a parent may borrow up to $12,000 for the academic year.

Parents may apply for an amount over the estimated cost of attendance, but Salem State cannot award the loan over the cost of attendance.

Parents should apply for the actual enrollment period their student will be attending. If your student is enrolled in the entire academic year (the Fall and Spring terms), you should apply for the whole academic year. Parents can apply for a single term only if they choose.

If your student will be enrolled in classes in the Summer term, parents must apply for a separate loan for the Summer term only. Students must submit the Summer Financial Aid Application listed on the Forms page even if they will only receive a Parent PLUS Loan for the Summer term.

The loan will be disbursed or paid to the student's account in two halves: half of the loan will apply in the Fall term and half in the Spring term. If a student only attends one term, the loan will be disbursed within the requested term.

We strongly suggest students add their parent(s) as an "Authorized User" to their TouchNet account. An Authorized User can see the account activity, current bill, anticipated aid, and anticipated refunds. For information on tuition, fees, and billing, please visit the following:

If a borrower is denied a Parent PLUS Loan, there are several options to move forward.

You can appeal the credit decision with the Department of Education if you think the information causing the adverse credit decision is incorrect or if there are extenuating circumstances relating to the adverse credit history. The borrower must document to the satisfaction of the U.S. Department of Education the extenuating circumstances relating to their advise credit history. 

If you do not wish to appeal the credit decision, you can obtain an endorser (similar to a cosigner) with no adverse credit history. The endorser agrees to repay the Parent PLUS loan if you cannot. The endorser cannot be the child on whose behalf you are borrowing.

Borrowers will receive an Endorser Code, also called an Award Identification Number, which you will give to your endorser.

The endorser must complete the Endorser Addendum at They will be required to create an FSA ID and password. The endorser will need the borrower's last name and the Endorser Code to complete the Endorser Addendum.

With either option, the borrower must complete a Direct PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note and PLUS Credit Counseling.

Salem State will not add an endorsed Parent PLUS Loan to their student's account until we have received the completed Endorser AddendumDirect PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note, and PLUS Credit Counseling from the Department of Education.

Students whose parents are denied a PLUS loan and do not want to appeal the credit decision or obtain an endorser may qualify to receive additional Direct Unsubsidized Loan funds: 

  • First and Second-year students can receive up to an additional $4,000 in Direct Unsubsidized Loan funds.
  • Third Year and beyond can receive up to an additional $5,000 in Direct Unsubsidized Loan funds.

Additional unsubsidized denial loan funds will automatically be added to a student's existing unsubsidized loan after the loan denial is received by Salem State from the Department of Education. Any additional unsubsidized denial loan funds will be a loan the student must accept, and the student will be the borrower.

The Department of Education will assign you a loan servicer. Your loan servicer will update you on the loan status and repayment information. For more information on loan servicers and current repayment plans available, please visit:

When financial aid funds are disbursed, any outstanding balances owed to the university are paid first. If there are any excess funds from your Parent PLUS Loan after the balance has been paid, a refund will be generated. Families may keep their refund or send the extra funds to their loan servicer as a payment on their Parent PLUS Loan. For any questions regarding refunds, please contact the Student Navigation Center.

Parents can request a deferment as part of the PLUS Loan application process. If you request a deferment, you will not need to make any payments while the student is enrolled at least half-time and for an additional six months after the student graduates, leaves school, or drops below half-time enrollment. You can also contact your loan servicer to request a deferment.

During any period of deferment, interest will accrue on the loan. You can pay the accrued interest or allow the interest to be capitalized (added to the principal loan balance) when you begin to make payments on the loan. Your loan servicer will notify you when the first payment is due. 

If a deferment is not requested, you will be expected to begin making payments after the loan is fully disbursed (paid out) to the student's account.

Families can review the Loan Simulator and current repayment plans at to help determine which payment they may be eligible for and see estimates for how much they will pay monthly and overall. 

Parents can request an adjustment to their Parent PLUS Loan by submitting a written statement with the following information:

  • Borrower's Name
  • Date
  • Student's Name and Salem State ID Number
  • The change they would like to make to their loan
    • Examples: Cancel the loan in total or for one term only, or decrease the loan amount
    • If the borrower requests a change to the loan amount, please include the amount from which the loan should be decreased and the revised total loan amount.
    • Amounts must be requested in whole dollars; cents cannot be included.
  • The term in which the adjustment should be made.
    • Examples: Fall/Spring, Fall Only, Spring Only, Summer Only

The statement must be signed with a wet, physical signature. The statement can be emailed to or by secure fax to 978-542-6876.

The adjustment request must come from the parent because they are the legal borrowers of the Parent PLUS Loan. Changes will be made to the Parent PLUS Loan once a statement is received from the parent/borrower.

Before you request an adjustment to your loan, please review your student's account to help you calculate what your student will need to cover their balance. Be sure to include expenses like books and personal costs in your calculations.

Any adjustments to your loan could cause a balance on your student's account for which you will be responsible. If your student receives a refund with their current aid and the loan is reduced, the reduction can affect any possible refund.

Students may assign their parents or guardians as Authorized User to their TouchNet billing account. An Authorized User can see the account activity, current bill, and anticipated aid. For information on tuition, fees, and billing, please visit the following:

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