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Financial Aid

Parent/Plus Loans

What is a Direct Parent/Plus Loan?

Plus loans are loans that allow parents (of dependent children) with good credit histories to borrow and pay the education expenses of each child who is an undergraduate. As part of the eligibility requirements, parents will need to pass a credit check.

Where can I learn more about this type of loan?

Since UMFK is a Direct Lending (DL) school, we will now be processing Direct Parent/Plus Loans. To learn more about this type of loan, click the following link:

Direct Plus Loans - What you Should Know Before You Apply

Before applying for this type of loan, get the best deal first! Although not required, but highly recommended, we encourage the dependent student to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). By completing this form, the student will be considered for free money, (i.e. grants and scholarships), as well as, other possible student loans (i.e. Stafford and Perkins loans). Consideration form Free money is always better than borrowing loan money. Exhaust scholarship and grant possibilities first. The aid offered by the school (including Federal loans) is usually the better deal.

What are the eligibility requirements for a Plus loan?

Plus loan applicants and the student must meet general eligibility requirements for federal student aid.

To qualify, the parent's child/student must be enrolled full or at least half-time at an eligible school and the parent must meet the credit criteria. The Direct Parent/Plus loan is a loan that a parent takes out on behalf of their child/dependent student. The loan is in a parent's name and usually requires the applicant to be credit-worthy. A cosigner may be required.

Services are also available online at Direct Lending. They can also be reached by phone at 1-800-557-7394.

Important: If for whatever reason a Direct Parent/Plus loan is denied, the student should contact his/her college financial aid office for additional information and instructions.

What is the interest rate of a Parent/Plus Loan?

2017-2018 Parent/Plus Loan Interest Rate

  • Current Interest Rate: 7%

Rate courtesy the U.S. Department of Education

The interest rate is variable, which means that the interest rate could change each year of repayment. The rate will never exceed 9 percent. Repayment begins within 60 days after the final loan disbursement. There is no grace period. Interest begins to accumulate at the time the first disbursement is made until the loan is paid in full. Parents' must begin repaying both principal and interest while the student is in school. 

Other than interest, is there a charge to get a Direct Parent/Plus Loan?

Parents will pay a fee of up to 4 percent of the loan. This fee will be deducted from the funds that you will receive.

How much can I borrow?

Parent/PLUS Loan borrowing limits vary with each student. The yearly limit is equal to student's cost of attendance minus other financial aid. In other words, a Plus loan, when added to all financial aid received, (including Perkins and Stafford loans, grants, scholarships and work-study), cannot exceed the student's Cost of Attendance.

The Parent/Plus Loan Application Process

The application process consists of completing three steps:

  1. Complete the UMFK Direct Parent/Plus Loan Application
  2. Complete the Direct Parent/Plus Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN)
  3. Complete the Direct Parent/Plus Request Process on studentloans.gov

All items can be completed here.

Note: All required paperwork must be completed and the school informed before the school can consider and/or certify your loan request.

If you choose to not complete the process online, you will need to:

  1. Contact the UMFK Financial Aid Office for a Direct Loan Plus Application
  2. Contact Direct Lending at 1-800-557-7394 to request a Master Promissory Note (MPN)

If you are completing a paper application, the parent and the student must complete each of their sections on the form and you will need to forward the form(s) according to the instructions provided. Keep in mind that the paper process usually requires more time to process.

My Plus Loan Application and MPN are completed, what happens next?

Your loan will either be approved or denied.

If your loan is denied, the student should contact his/her college financial aid office for additional information and instructions. There may be other lending options available.

If your loan is approved, your lender (the Department of Education) will inform the school that your loan has been approved. If the school has your Plus application, they will certify the loan.

Note: The school cannot certify a loan amount that is greater than the student's cost of attendance minus other financial aid. Other eligibility requirements also apply.

How and when do I get my Parents' Plus Loan money?

Funds are credited to the student's account only when:

  • The student's financial aid file is complete
  • The Direct Parent/Plus Application and Parent/Plus Master Promissory Note is complete
  • The Direct Parent/Plus Loan funds are received from the Department of Education
  • The lender approves the loan
  • The parent returns the "Plus Authorization" form to the UMFK Business Office
  • The student is registered
  • The semester has begun
  • The financial aid office recertifies the loan amount

Loans are normally disbursed in two equal disbursement/installments, half of the total amount each semester. Loan funds must first be used to pay for the student's tuition, fees, room and board and other school charges.

The business office will also include an "Authorization form for Parent/Plus Excess Funds Holding" to complete. This form will ask the parent borrower what he/she would like UMFK Business Office to do with any excess funds, should a credit balance remain after the Plus loan funds are applied to the student's account. The parent will be instructed to completed form and return it to the UMFK Business Office.

If a credit balance remains on the student's account as a result of the Plus loan, the parent will automatically receive the refund amount, as a check or in cash, unless the parent authorizes UMFK to release the funds to the student or be applied to the student's school account. Any remaining loan money must be used for the student's education expenses.

How will I know if my loan funds have been applied to my student account/bill?

To check if your Direct Parent/Plus Loan funds have been received and applied to the student's UMFK student billing account: 

  • Visit my.umfk.edu
  • Have the student login using his or her email username and password
  • Click on the MaineStreet icon (located on the left-hand side of the portal homepage)
  • Click on Student Self Service
  • Click on Student Center
  • Go to the Finances section of the Student Center

Note: Need help to navigate in MaineStreet? Click on the "User Guides & Demos" available in MaineStreet.

If a "PLUS Loan" is listed as a "Payment" on the student's bill in MaineStreet, then the amount posted has been received and deducted from their bill. Review the amounts for accuracy. If a bill is paid in full and any balance remains, that balance will be refunded to the student or the parent, in accordance with instructions received from the parent borrower. Contact the UMFK Business Office at (207) 834-7552 for more information.

What do parents need to know about paying back the Parent/Plus Loan?

Direct Parent/Plus Loans require repayment. These loans enter repayment once fully disbursed; there is no grace period for Parent/Plus Loans. More information on paying back your Parent/Plus Loans may be found on our Repaying Your Loans page. Additional links and information may also be found under Additional Parent/Plus Loan Resources.

What lender(s) did my parent(s) borrow from and how can we contact them?

Effective for the 2010-11 school year, UMFK will be processing Parent/Plus loans through Direct Lending, with the Department of Education as the lender.

For those who borrowed prior to the 2010-2011 school year, the majority of UMFK's Direct Loans were processed through Sallie Mae and/or Nelnet. The old lender names and information appears on the Lender/Servicer chart below.

Note: You should know the name of your servicer before making contact with them. If you are unsure about who your lender/servicer or guarantor is, how much you borrowed, when you borrowed, etc., you may try locating your loans via the National Student Loan Data System. Or as a last resort, contact the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME). FAME can be reached by:

Servicer Website Phone Number
Direct Parent/Plus Loan Serving Center (ACS) www.studentaid.ed.gov 1-800-557-7394
Nelnet www.nelnet.com 1-888-486-4722
Sallie Mae www.salliemae.com 1-888-272-5543

Where can I find more information regarding Parent/Plus Loan Repayment, Consolidation and Deferments?

Generally, repayment must begin within 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed. There is no grace period for these loans. This means interest begins to accumulate at the time the first disbursement is made. Parents must begin repaying both principal and interest while the student is still in school.

Under certain circumstances, parents can receive a deferment or forbearance on their loan, as long as it isn't in default. Generally, the same deferment or forbearance provisions that apply to Stafford Loans also apply to PLUS Loans.

Additional information on loan repayment and deferment may be found on our Repaying Your Loans page and under Additional Parent/Plus Loan Resources. Links and information pertaining to loan consolidation may be found on our Consolidation page.

OSFA Ombudsman Information

Ombudsman Contact Information

  • Phone: 1-877-557-2575
  • Fax: (202) 275-2549
  • Ombudsman Website
  • Mailing Address:
    U.S. Department of Education
    FSA Ombudsman
    830 First Street, NE
    Fourth Floor
    Washington, DC 20202-5144

The SFA Ombudsman is working with student loan borrowers to informally resolve loan disputes and problems. They help borrowers having problems with the following federal loans:

  • Direct Parent/Plus Loans - Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Student Loans, Direct PLUS Loans (for parents), and Direct Consolidation Loans
  • Federal Family Education Loans - Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, FFEL, PLUS Loans (for parents), and FFEL Consolidation Loans
  • Guaranteed Student Loans, SLS Loans
  • Perkins Loans

Where Can I Find More Loan Information?

Additional links and resources relating to Parent/Plus Loans may be found under Additional Parent/Plus Loan Resources.