Federal Direct PLUS Loans

Parents of Undergraduate Students

Note: Before completing these steps to apply for a Federal Direct PLUS Loan, parents may wish to consider non-federal alternative loans for parents. A chart comparing federal and private parent loans is available on our Private/Alternative Parent Loans page.


1. Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
The FAFSA is required from all families borrowing Federal Direct PLUS Loans, even those who are not requesting need-based financial aid. If you have already applied for need-based aid, you probably have already filed the FAFSA.


2. Consider using Direct Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized student loans first
Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized student loans have lower interest rates and origination fees than Direct PLUS parent loans. However, if your student is not planning to borrow Direct student loans, and you (the parent) wish to borrow additional PLUS loan funds to cover the amount designated for the student loans, you can send a request to the Financial Aid Office at financialaid@stanford.edu. Please include your name, the student's name, and the student's Stanford ID number.


3. Submit your Federal Direct PLUS Loan application
Applications are submitted online at http://StudentLoans.gov/.  The first step is to log in with your FSA ID username and password (the same ones you used for completing the FAFSA):



Be sure to use your (the parent’s) own FSA ID, not the student’s FSA ID.  Once you have successfully logged in, select the link to Apply for a Direct PLUS Loan:

Apply for a Direct PLUS Loan


You will be taken to a page titled DIRECT PLUS LOAN APPLICATION.  At the bottom of this page you will see two blue START buttons.  The first START button is for graduate students.  You should click on the second START button, for Parents:



Enter your responses to all of the questions on the application page.  In the School and Loan Information section, choose State: California and School: Stanford University; you should then see this image:

The school you selected is participating in the Direct PLUS Loan application process through StudentLoans.gov.


Respond to the rest of the questions on this page, then click CONTINUE:



You will be prompted to review and confirm your entries.  Next, follow the instructions to authorize the required credit check.  You will be presented with the credit decision within a few seconds.  If credit is not approved, you will see information about your options for reconsideration.
Your PLUS loan request information will be sent to the Stanford Financial Aid Office for processing, which may take several weeks.


4. Complete and sign your Master Promissory Note
Note: If you completed a Federal Direct PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) in a prior academic year for the same student at Stanford, you do not need to complete a new MPN. Your existing MPN covers your Federal Direct PLUS Loan borrowing for this student for up to ten years. Master Promissory Notes are also completed online at https://studentloans.gov/.  From the homage page, select the link for Complete Loan Agreement (Master Promissory Note):

Complete Loan Agreement (Master Promissory Note)


You will be taken to a page titled Master Promissory Note (MPN).  At the bottom of this page you will see three blue START buttons.  You should click on the third START button, for PLUS MPN for Parents:



Follow the instructions to complete and electronically sign your MPN.  You do not need to notify Stanford once you have completed the MPN.  Instead, the federal loan processor will match your MPN to the PLUS loan origination record that the Stanford Financial Aid Office will submit after processing your loan application.

If you have questions about completing your MPN, you can call Direct Loan Applicant Services at (800) 557-7394 or contact the Stanford Financial Aid Office.


5. Receive Your Loan Funds
Loans are generally divided evenly over the three quarters of the academic year. If your application has been submitted, your MPN has been electronically signed, and your student has enrolled for classes, your loan funds will be applied to the University bill a few days prior to the beginning of each quarter. If the quarter has already begun, your student can monitor loan disbursement status in Axess.  If the eligible charges on the bill are paid in full, any excess PLUS loan funds will be refunded to you or to your student, depending on your response to the refund question in the PLUS application.


Updated on May 18, 2021 2:12 PM