Direct PLUS Loan (Parent PLUS)

The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program is the U.S. Department of Education's federal student loan program. The U.S. Department of Education is the lender under this program. Eligible parents of dependent undergraduate may use Direct PLUS loans to fund their child's college education. Direct PLUS loans are also called Parent PLUS loans when the parent is the borrower.

Parent PLUS borrowing requirements, loan limits and interest rates

Borrowing requirements

To receive Parent PLUS Loans, parents must be the adoptive or biological parent (or stepparent) of dependent, undergraduate students who are enrolled in at least half-time at the University.

  • Not possess an adverse credit history
  • Meet the eligibility requirements for federal financial aid
  • Dependent students must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements
  • Students must be enrolled at least half-time (six credits) each semester 
  • Must have a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file.

Unless they have legally adopted the dependent student, legal guardians or grandparents are not eligible for Parent PLUS Loans.

Borrowing limits

The maximum Parent PLUS Loan amount that can be borrowed is the University's cost of attendance minus any other financial assistance the student receives. For example, if the student budget (tuition, fees, books and supplies and room and board) is $20,000 and the student was offered $8,000 in other financial aid/scholarships, the parent could borrow up to $12,000 from the Federal PLUS loan.

The Financial Aid Offer Letter identifies the student budget and all available financial aid/scholarships. Students may view their most recent Financial Aid Offer Letter via MyNEVADA.

Interest and fees

In addition to interest on the loan, parent borrowers must pay fees on the total loan amount. Called the "loan fee," it is a percentage of the loan amount deducted proportionally each time a loan disbursement is made. The loan fee percentage varies, based on when the loan is first disbursed.

Parent PLUS Loans offer a fixed interest rate. Interest starts to accrue from the date the first disbursement is made until the loan is fully repaid. The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships maintains a table of current interest rates for federal loans.

Review loan interest rates

How to apply for a Federal PLUS loan

  • Submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form

    In order to apply for a federal student loan, students must complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA is used to determine if you qualify for any financial aid from the federal government for your student's college education.

  • Request a Federal PLUS loan through Federal Student Aid

    Parent PLUS loans may be requested online through Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education. You may log-in with your parent FSA ID username, email or mobile phone and associated password.

    Request Parent PLUS loan

  • Sign a Direct PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note

    The Master Promissory Note is a legal document that explains the terms and conditions of your loan and where you agree to repay your loan(s), including any fees or interests to the U.S. Department of Education. New borrowers at the University of Nevada, Reno must sign a Master Promissory Note before the University will certify your loan(s) with the lender.

    You may sign your Master Promissory Note through Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education.

    Sign your Master of Promissory Note

    If you do not complete an online Master Promissory Note, the lender will automatically mail you a printed Master Promissory Note. Remember, this process is slower and may delay your funding.

  • Credit check and Disclosure Notice

    The U.S. Department of Education will check your credit history to determine your eligibility for a Direct PLUS Loan. If the loan is approved, parent borrowers receive a "Disclosure Notice" via email from the Direct Loan Servicing Center, which identifies approximate dates for the electronic disbursement of funds.

    If the loan is denied because of a credit check, you may still be eligible to receive a Direct PLUS loan. According to the U.S. Department of Education you may obtain an endorser, or document extenuating circumstances to the satisfaction of the U.S. Department of Education and complete PLUS credit counseling.

Disbursement of Direct PLUS Loan funds

  • Notice of Guarantee (NOG) and disbursement dates

    Once your Direct PLUS Loan is processed and guaranteed, the Federal direct loans processing center will send you a Notice of Guarantee (NOG) listing the approximate disbursement dates.

  • Funds sent to the University

    If the parent's Direct PLUS loan is approved, the Direct Loan Servicing Center electronically disburses funds to the University. One-half of the total loan, minus fees, is disbursed each semester. The funds are used to pay all outstanding obligations to the University.

  • Aid eligibility and Satisfactory Academic Progress check prior to release of funds

    When funds are received our office reconfirms your student's aid eligibility, including Satisfactory Academic Progress. If your student is eligible and registered in the appropriate number of credits, the funds are credited to your student's account. Per federal regulations, funds cannot be disbursed earlier than 10 days prior the start of classes each semester.

    Credit Requirements by Enrollment Funding Status
    Enrollment Funding Status Undergraduate or Teaching Certificate Graduate (must be-graduate-level courses) *GA/TA's are not exempt*
    Full-time 12 or more credits 9 or more credits
    3/4 time 9-12 credits 7-8 credits
    1/2 time 6-8 credits 5-6 credits
  • Notice in writing when loan funds are disbursed

    Our office notifies your student in writing each time loan funds are disbursed into your studen's account. Your student is encouraged to utilize MyNEVADA to check on the status of their financial aid.

  • Remaining funds issued to parent or student by Cashier's Office

    After all University charges are paid, any remaining funds are issued to the the parent or student, depending on the option the parent selected in their Direct PLUS Loan application. The Cashier's Office sends funds to the address listed on MyNEVADA or through direct deposit.

    Direct deposit can be setup using MyNEVADA.

Repaying Direct PLUS Loans

Parent borrowers are legally responsible for repaying the loan to the U.S. Department of Education and loan payments cannot be transferred to the student. Repayment begins when the loan is fully paid out (disbursed) and payments begin 60 days after disbursement. The service lender will notify the borrower when the first payment is due. 


Parent borrowers may request a deferment, allowing for payments to be deferred while the student is in enrolled at least half-time, as well as for an additional six months after the student leaves school, graduates or drops below half-time enrollment. It is important to remember interest accrues on loans during periods when payments are not required to be made. Parent borrowers may choose to allow interest to be added to the loan principal (capitalized) when they have to start making payments or they may choose to pay the accrued interest.

You may request a deferment during the loan request process or contact the loan servicer directly to request a deferment on your Direct PLUS Loan.

Canceling a Direct PLUS Loan

Direct PLUS Loans can be canceled but the canceling process varies on whether or not loan funding has been disbursed.

  • Before loan funding is disbursed. Before the loan funds are disbursed, you may cancel part or all of your loan by notifying the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships in writing.
  • After loan funding has been disbursed. If the Direct PLUS Loan has been disbursed, you may cancel a portion or all of the loan by completing the Federal Funds Return form within 14 days of your student being notified of the loan disbursement. If you decide to cancel the loan, all charges must be paid by the semester fee payment deadline.

Direct PLUS loan denials

If you are denied a Federal PLUS Loan, you may still be able to borrow the loan if:

A credit-worthy co-signer is approved by the Department of Education. If you wish to use a co-signer, please contact Federal Student Aid.  If you qualify, you will also need to complete the Federal Direct PLUS Loan Entrance Counseling before the loan is disbursed into your student's account.

You appeal your denial through the U.S. Department of Education. If you wish to appeal your denial, please appeal through Federal Student Aid. If your appeal is approved, you will also need to complete the Federal Direct PLUS Loan Entrance Counseling before the loan is disbursed into your student's account.

If you are denied the Federal PLUS Loan and cannot obtain a co-signer or appeal, your student may be eligible to receive an additional Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan. You may request the additional funds through your PLUS loan application or your student must complete the Federal Direct Loan Activation form requesting the additional Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan.

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