Applying For A Parent-Student Loan: Here’s What You Need To Know
As the cost of education continues to rise, parents often find themselves facing the challenge of how to finance their child’s college education. While scholarships, grants, and student loans are widely available, they may not always cover the full cost. In such cases, a parent-student loan can be a viable option. However, before taking this step, it is essential to understand what a parent-student loan entails and to evaluate its implications carefully.
What is a parent-student loan?
A parent-student loan, also known as a Parent PLUS loan, is a federal loan that allows parents to borrow money to help pay for their child’s education expenses. This loan is in the parent’s name, and unlike other student loans, the responsibility for repayment falls solely on the parents. These loans are available to the parents of undergraduate students enrolled at least half-time in an eligible college or university.
What are the eligibility requirements?
To qualify for a parent-student loan, parents must meet certain criteria. They must be a biological or adoptive parent, or in some cases, a stepparent of a dependent undergraduate student. Parents must also be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens, have a good credit history, and not have any recent adverse credit events, such as bankruptcy or foreclosure. Additionally, the student must meet all federal student aid eligibility requirements.
How much can parents borrow?
The maximum amount that parents can borrow through a parent-student loan is determined by the cost of attendance at the institution their child is attending. This cost includes tuition, fees, room and board, books, supplies, and transportation. The amount that can be borrowed may not exceed this total cost minus any other financial aid the student receives.
What are the interest rates and fees?
Parent-student loans have a fixed interest rate, meaning it remains the same throughout the life of the loan. The current interest rate for Parent PLUS loans is 6.28% (as of 2021). In addition to the interest rate, there is also an origination fee to consider. The origination fee is a percentage of the loan amount and is deducted from the total loan disbursement. For parent-student loans, the origination fee is 4.228% (as of 2021).
How does the repayment work?
Repayment on parent-student loans typically begins within 60 days after the loan has been fully disbursed. While the student is still in school, parents have the option to defer repayment. However, interest will continue to accrue during this period. The standard repayment term for parent-student loans is ten years, but there are also extended and graduated repayment plans available. It is important to note that the parent is solely responsible for repayment and cannot transfer this responsibility to the student.
What are the advantages and drawbacks?
One of the significant advantages of a parent-student loan is that it allows parents to provide financial support to their children’s education without requiring them to take on the burden of student loans themselves. It can help bridge the financial gap between scholarships, grants, and other financial aid. Additionally, parent-student loans offer more flexible borrowing limits compared to other student loans.
However, one of the drawbacks is that the loan falls solely on the parents, who are responsible for the repayment. This can create a significant financial burden on the parents, potentially impacting their retirement plans and financial stability. Furthermore, the interest rates and origination fees for parent-student loans may be higher compared to other student loans, adding to the overall cost of borrowing.
Before considering a parent-student loan, it is crucial for both parents and students to carefully evaluate their financial situation and their ability to repay the loan. Exploring other alternatives, such as scholarships, grants, work-study programs, or less expensive colleges, should also be considered. While a parent-student loan can be a valuable tool in financing education, it is essential to fully understand the terms, responsibilities, and potential consequences before committing to the loan.