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PLUS Loan Application Tips

Please note: Credit decisions are good for 180 days. If credit approval has expired, increases in PLUS Loans or new PLUS Loan applications will automatically generate a new credit check.

  • 1. Log in at studentloans.gov using your own FSA ID. The Federal PIN is no longer used. Students, parents, and borrowers are now required to use an FSA ID, made up of a username and password, to access certain U.S. Department of Education websites. Your FSA ID is used to confirm your identity wnen accessing your financial and and loan information and electronically signing your fderal student aid documents. If you have not yet set up your FSA ID and/or need to replace an existing Federal PIN, please visit https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm  before visiting http://studentloans.gov 

  • 2. Click on the link that reads “Request a Direct PLUS Loan.”

  • 3. Read the small print and then click on the “Parent PLUS” link at the bottom of the page.

  • 4. Be sure to choose the correct award year! The summer term is called a “trailer” and belongs in the same year as fall/spring loans. Use this chart to help:

    Loan is for:

    Select Award Year:

    Fall 2015 and/or Spring 2016

    2015-16

    Summer 2016

    2015-16

    Fall 2016 and/or Spring 2017

    2016-17

  • 5. In the Student Information section:

    Choose your principal repayment deferment option. It will cost you less overall if you choose not to defer principal repayments.

    Choose the Other Charges option: if you authorize, PLUS funds will be used to pay any existing charges on your student’s CARS account.

    Choose a Credit Balance option. Most parents choose “The Student” because this is the most efficient way to get funds to where they are needed. If you choose “Me,” any refund will be issued via paper check and mailed to you (the parent) at the address on your PLUS application.

  • 6. In the School and Loan Information section:

    Enter a specific amount in the Loan Amount Requested section to minimize your borrowing.

    • If you choose to borrow the maximum, additional PLUS loans will be processed anytime your maximum eligibility increases. This happens automatically, and will result in higher debt.

    • If you choose “I don’t know,” we will not process your application.

    For Loan Period, choose from the chart below. At certain times of the year, your options will be limited, which means it is either too late or too early to apply for your desired loan period.

    Loan is for:

    Select Start Date:

    Fall 2015 and/or Spring 2016

    8/2015-5/2016

    Summer 2016

    5/2016-8/2016

    Fall 2016 and/or Spring 2017

    8/2016-5/2017

  • 7. Continue through the application. You will see your approval status immediately. If you are approved, click on the “Complete an MPN” link and follow the directions. Take some time to read all the small print as it contains important information about interest, fees, your repayment obligation, and your borrower rights.

  • 8. If you are not approved, you will be presented with some options. You can:

    Appeal the decision. Decisions may be appealed by calling Applicant Services at (800) 557-7394.

    Secure an endorser. If you have decided to pursue an endorser, the endorser will complete the “Endorse Direct PLUS Loan” section at studentloans.gov. The endorser will need their own federal PIN to sign the endorser addendum.

    Not pursue a Direct Loan at this time. We will zero out your PLUS Loan and offer your student additional Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan if you choose this option.

    Undecided. No action will be taken by the school.

    If you change your mind about how to proceed after you have submitted your response, please let us know by contacting the Financial Aid Office at studentcentral.berkeley.edu/open-case. The email you submit should include your name, your student’s name and student ID number, and it must be sent from the same parent email account that is recorded on the PLUS application.

  • 9. Once you electronically sign your MPN, it will be transmitted to UC Berkeley electronically and linked with your application.

  • 10. The whole process will take a minimum of three business days, resulting in loan payments to CARS within five business days if all other basic eligibility requirements are met.