Federal PLUS Loans

What they are: These are federal loans for parents of dependent, undergraduate students enrolled at least half time. (If you are a graduate student, see "Graduate PLUS Loans" below.)

Who can borrow: U.S. citizens and permanent U.S. residents can apply.

Maximum amount: The loans cover the cost of attendance minus other aid.

Repayment: Payment begins 60 days after the last disbursement of the year is made.

Interest: The rate is variable, capped at 8.5%, is adjusted each year on July 1.

How to apply: Complete the PLUS Application online at StudentLoans.gov . Approval is subject to a credit check.

Other requirements: When applying, you must sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) for funds to be disbursed.

Graduate PLUS Loans

Graduate PLUS loans are federally sponsored loans for students attending graduate school. (They have the same interest rate as the federal PLUS loan.) With a Grad PLUS loan, you can borrow up to the full cost of your education minus other financial aid received, including Federal Stafford loans. To apply for a Grad PLUS loan, you must complete both a FAFSA and the Graduate PLUS Loan Application at StudentLoans.gov . As with any education loan, you must sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) for funds to disburse.