Financial Aid

Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)

Parents of dependent students may apply for a Federal Direct PLUS Loan to help pay their child's education expenses, as long as certain eligibility requirements are met. PLUS loans will be issued in the parent's name, and the parent will be responsible for repayment.

When considering all options to pay for school, you may also want to compare Federal Student Loans, Federal Parent PLUS Loans and Private Student Loans using the chart on You may also want to compare the Federal Parent PLUS Loan vs. private loans using  Sallie Mae's Understanding Gap Financing Options: PLUS Loan for Parents and Private Student Loans.


To be eligible, the parent borrower must:

  • Have reported parent information on the student's FAFSA, or be the student's biological or adoptive parent
  • Be applying for a dependent student who is enrolled at least half-time (6 credit hours) in an eligible degree program
  • Not have an adverse credit history (a credit check will be done) - see also Additional Information below
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen

PLUS loans are considered financial aid and students must meet WIU Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements to remain eligible to receive PLUS funds.


PLUS loans are processed through the Federal Direct Loan Program and offer a fixed interest rate. See's FAQ for current intrest rates on PLUS loans. Interest charges will begin when the loan is first disbursed. Parents may borrow up to the student's cost of attendance minus any financial aid received by the student. 

PLUS funds are disbursed directly to the student's University account - semester funds will credit towards any unpaid tuition, fees, and University contracted room and board for that semester. Parent borrowers should refer to credit balance procedures as issued by the Billing & Receivables Office to determine how excess funds will be handled.


Before a Parent PLUS loan can be processed, the student must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Parents may submit a PLUS application after May 1 prior to the start of the academic year (for spring-only PLUS loans, please submit after November 1). It is highly recommended that parents start this PLUS loan application process 6-8 weeks prior to enrollment in order to better guarantee that the disbursement will arrive on time.

PLUS loan applications  must be received by the Financial Aid Office while the student is actively enrolled,  giving a minimum one week notice to allow for processing. Parent PLUS loans  cannot be requested to pay a past due balance  after enrollment has ended for that term.

To Apply for a Parent PLUS loan:

  • Parents will need to log in using FSA ID and password (used to electronically sign their student's FAFSA)
  • Parents will need to specify a loan period -
    • If you would like your PLUS loan to be for the entire academic year (two disbursements - one fall, one spring), your loan period should be from August through May
    • If you would like your PLUS loan to be for the Fall semester only (one disbursement), your loan period should be August through December.
    • If you would like your PLUS loan to be for the Spring semester only (one disbursement), apply after November 1 - your loan period will be January through May
  • Parent may specify the amount they wish to borrow, or allow the school to determine the maximum amount needed for the specified loan period.
  • Parent borrowers must also complete a Master Promissory Note, which is the borrower's agreement to terms and repayment.

Additional Information


Each PLUS Loan has an origination fee. To see the current loan origination fees for PLUS loans, see's FAQ.

If the parent does not pass the PLUS credit check, the parent may still receive the PLUS loan if someone (such as a relative or friend who is able to pass the credit check) agrees to endorse the loan. The endorser promises to repay the loan if the parent fails to do so.

Students whose parent is denied a PLUS loan may be eligible for an additional Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan - for more information, contact the WIU Financial Aid Office.

  • Students with an EFC over $2,000 may be considered for the same additional Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan without applying for a Parent PLUS Loan if the parent(s) can demonstrate that they are unable to repay a PLUS loan due to economic hardship. Please submit the Appeal for Additional Unsubsidized Loan due to Economic Hardship form.
  • Students with an EFC under $2,000 may be considered (by request) for the same additional Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan without applying for a Parent PLUS Loan or submitting additional forms. Please contact the WIU Financial Aid Office to inquire about your eligibility.

Repayment Info

Interest begins to accumulate after the first PLUS disbursement is made. The standard PLUS repayment period begins 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed. However, the parent may elect to defer repayment while the student is enrolled on at least a half-time basis.

For additional information regarding repayment, contact your loan servicer after your application has been approved.