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Direct Parent PLUS Loan

Parents of undergraduate students may borrow a Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) to help cover educational expenses their student may incur while attending college. The 2020-21 interest rate for PLUS loans is fixed at 5.3 percent. An origination fee is deducted from the disbursed amount at 4.236 percent when disbursed prior to October 1, 2020 and at 4.228 percent when disbursed on or after October 1, 2020. Parents can borrow up to the Cost of Attendance less any other financial aid (the total of all grants, scholarships and other loans) awarded to the student. Parents may continue to borrow each year, but must reapply and complete a new credit check annually. Please see the Direct PLUS Loan Basics for Parents publication from The Department of Education.

Who is Eligible to Borrow a Parent PLUS Loan?

In order to borrow a PLUS loan, a parent must be:

  • A US citizen, permanent resident or other eligible non-citizen.
  • Be the biological or adoptive parent of the students. Step-parents can be eligible to borrow a plus loan only if their income is reported on the FAFSA.
  • Not in default on a federal student loan or have adverse credit history.

How to Apply

Parents interested in borrowing a Federal Direct PLUS Loan will complete the online application process and Master Promissory Note (MPN) through the Department of Education at An instant credit check is a part of this application process. A Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID is necessary to complete the process. Go to to create your FSA ID.

Apply for a Parent PLUS Loan for the current school year

Go to Click on the green "Sign-In" button

  • Sign in using your FSA ID
  • Choose "Request a Parent PLUS Loan"

Please note if more than one parent wishes to borrow PLUS loan funds, each parent must apply for their own FSA ID, complete their own PLUS application and MPN.

Determining a Loan Amount

You will be given three options to indicate how much you would like to borrow when completing the PLUS application:

I want to borrow the maximum PLUS loan amount for which I am eligible.

Choosing this option, SDSU will process your PLUS loan for the maximum amount possible (Cost of attendance less other financial aid) for the academic year.

I would like to specify an amount.

By selecting this option, you will enter in the dollar amount you would like to borrow. SDSU will process your PLUS loan for this amount.

I do not know the amount.

By selecting this option, SDSU will hold your PLUS application until you contact us, in writing, to tell us the amount you wish to borrow.

If you decide at any point you need to increase your PLUS loan, you can contact SDSU, in writing, to request an increase. As long as your credit check is still valid, a second PLUS application is not needed.

For credit checks before March 29, 2015 the decision is valid for 90 days.

For credit checks on or after March 29, 2015 the decision is valid for 180 days.

You can send all requests to:

Credit Balances

PLUS loan funds automatically pay any charges on your student's account. If there are any funds remaining, the credit balance will be issued as a refund. SDSU will automatically send this refund to the student unless notified in writing. The parent borrower must also indicate who will receive the refund during the application process.

Student - This option allows the student to receive the refund.

Me - This option allows the parent borrower to receive the refund.

Denied Applications

If your credit check is denied, there are several options which can be pursued:

Parents can choose "I want to appeal the decision." This allows a parent to appeal the credit decision with the Department of Education. Parents can choose "I want to obtain an Endorser (cosigner)." The Department of Education will provide you with information for reapplying with an Endorser (cosigner).


SPECIAL NOTE: If the student does not want to borrow the additional unsubsidized loan or only wishes to accept a partial amount of the additional unsubsidized loan, please contact our office at

  • Parents can choose "I do not wish to pursue a PLUS loan at this time." If selecting this option, the Office of Financial Aid will automatically process an additional unsubsidized Direct Loan in the student's name based on their grade level:
    • Freshmen (0-29 credit hours) and Sophomores (30-59 credit hours) will receive an additional $4,000.
    • Juniors (60-89 credit hours) and Seniors (90+ credit hours) will receive an additional $5,000. 
Approved Applications

If the credit check is approved, the parent completing the application must complete a Parent PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN).

Complete Federal Direct PLUS Master Promissory Note

Go to Click on green "Sign-In" button Sign in using your information and FSA ID Click on "Complete Master Promissory Note"

  • Select "Parent PLUS" and follow the instructions

The SAME parent must be listed on both the initial application (credit check) and Master Promissory Note.

The process is not complete until you see a "Congratulations" message.

Please print confirmations for your personal records. South Dakota State University will be notified electronically within 24-48 hours once you have completed the process. The student will receive an email to his or her SDSU email account once the Parent PLUS has been approved and processed. All PLUS Loan funds will be electronically transferred to the student's account.


Parent PLUS loans go into repayment 60 days after the loan fully disburses; however, parents may also opt to defer payments for up to four years while their student is enrolled at least half-time. Please note that interest will accrue and capitalize if you choose to defer payments. Parents can choose to defer payments as part of the application process. If you choose to defer repayment after the application process, please contact the loan servicer for more information.

For more information about the Parent PLUS Loan, please visit the Federal Student Aid website.