Comparing the PLUS Loan to Private Education Loans 

 The Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) is offered by the U.S. Department of Education. The PLUS Loan is in the parent’s name. Various lenders offer private education loans. Private loans are typically in the student’s name along with a co-signer. 

The table below highlights some of the differences between the two loan programs. Feel free to contact the Office of Financial Aid for additional information. 

Federal Parent PLUS Loan Private Education Loan
Interest Rate A fixed rate loan with the rate set annually each July 1 by the U.S. Department of Education.Variable or fixed rate products. Rate is provided after an application has been submitted. 
Fees There is a 4.228% origination fee. This fee is set annually on October 1 by the U.S. Department of Education. Typically zero fees; check with lender to be informed. 
Loan Limits Up to cost of attendance minus financial aid awarded. Amount is determined by lender through the application process. The maximum is up to cost of attendance minus financial aid awarded. 
Application Process Apply each year online at  New borrowers will also need to complete a Master promissory note (MPN). Apply each year through the lender’s web site. Transy provides a lender list which can be accessed online at 
Credit Requirements A credit check is required. Applicants and/or co-signers must meet minimum income and debt-to-income ratio requirements. 
Repayment Repayment begins 60 days after the loan has been fully disbursed. Repayment may be postponed until after student graduates; contact servicer for more information. Typical repayment begins after student graduates unless other option chosen. 
Additional Requirements Student must complete the FAFSA. None unless notified by lender.