Benefits of federal PLUS loans
Although there are many benefits to federal PLUS loans, it is recommended, and sometimes required by schools that the borrower
exhausts all federal Stafford loans, scholarships, and grants before applying for a PLUS loan. The parent and grad PLUS loans
have a relatively high fixed interest rate of 8.5% compared to the 6 or 6.8% rate currently applied to Stafford loans. The amount
of the PLUS loan an applicant is eligible for is determined by the total estimated cost of school related expenses minus all other
financial aid already awarded. For example, if the school estimates the total cost of attendance for one year to be $30,000 and
you receive $15,000 in Stafford loans and/or other financial aid, the most you may receive from a PLUS loan is the remaining $15,000.
All school related expenses may include, but are not limited to tuition, room and board, travel, books, and computers. Other unique
benefits of the PLUS loans are that no collateral is necessary, interest may be tax deductible, and many times the government will
reduce certain fees for eligible borrowers. Such fees may include a .25% interest rate reduction if an automatic payment plan is used.
No cosigner is needed for the grad PLUS loan unless there is history of credit difficulties and students always have the option to
claim deferment and/or forbearance during times of financial hardship.
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