The Catholic University of America participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan Program (Direct PLUS). The Direct PLUS Loan program is a non-need based, low-interest loan made to parents (including adoptive or stepparents) of dependent undergraduate students. Parents may borrow an amount up to the cost of attendance less any financial assistance. Please note that each new loan you receive requires a separate payment each month.
- The 2020-2021 PLUS Interest Rate is fixed at 5.30% (until 6/30/2021)
- The PLUS Origination Fee is 4.236% (until 9/30/2020)
Repayment begins 60 days after the full disbursement of the loan, and any changes to the loan must be executed by the University’s Office of Student Financial Assistance within 14 days of disbursement of the loan. Parents may also request a deferment of payment until six months after the student leaves school. For more information, please go to studentaid.gov. Parents must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents to apply for the loan.
Obtain the latest Parent PLUS Loan Application from our Forms page.
Steps to Obtain a Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan at Catholic University
- Do not omit any of the steps (1-3). Your loan will not process unless ALL steps are completed.
- See the “Timeline for Processing the Direct Parent PLUS Loan” section below for details on what happens after application.
- If selected for Federal Verification, loan(s) are not processed until Verification is completed and updates are confirmed.
- Credit inquiry does expire at the credit expiration date (set by federal regulations, currently 180 days)
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at https://www.fafsa.gov. The student and the parent must both have a FSA ID, which can be obtained at https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm.
- The parent borrower must complete the Catholic University “Federal Direct Loan Parent PLUS Application” (found in the Direct Loan Forms section of our Financial Aid Forms page). See bottom of form for where/how to submit.
- The parent borrower must complete the Parent PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) at studentaid.gov. You will only be required to complete another promissory note for a subsequent application if you applied previously with an endorser.
If Your Direct PLUS is Denied by the Department of Education
Federal regulations require a credit check for the parent applicant. Parents with adverse credit history, those who have accounts more than ninety days delinquent, or have filed bankruptcy in the past may be denied the Direct Parent PLUS loan. Parent borrowers will be notified (by Direct Loans) if the application is denied, the reason for the denial, and the name of the credit bureau from which the denial was obtained.
- Parent can call Direct Loans to appeal decision. (800) 557-7394
- Parent can add an Endorser (commonly called a co-signer) to the loan application. Call the Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) and we will help you with this process. (202) 319-5307.
- Student may request to be considered for an additional Unsubsidized Stafford Loan. The student can make this request by completing the “Federal Direct Loan Parent PLUS Denial” Form (The form is available in the Direct Loan Forms section of our Financial Aid Forms page).
- Freshmen and Sophomores may be eligible for a maximum of $4,000 in additional funds.
- Juniors and Seniors may be eligible for a maximum of $5,000 in additional funds.
- If at a later time during the academic year, either of your parents becomes eligible or is approved with a co-signer for a Direct Parent PLUS loan, the additional Unsubsidized Stafford Loan will be cancelled.
- If you are approved through either appeal decision or by adding an Endorser then the borrower will be required to complete Credit Counseling at studentaid.gov.
Disbursement of Funds
- After loan approval, the Direct PLUS funds will be available for disbursement no earlier than 10 days before the start of each term.
- Once the funds are disbursed to the student account, the Office of Enrollment Services will refund any excess funds to the parent unless otherwise specified on the application. Phone (202) 319-5300
Funds are normally payable in two disbursements, one-half of the total loan amount for each semester (Fall/ Spring).
- A financial aid award notice will be available in Cardinal Station indicating the total loan amount of the Direct Parent PLUS loan awarded. The loan will not appear on the student's bill until all requirements have been met.
- If additional financial assistance or other educational resources are received by the student after the Direct Parent PLUS application is certified, one or both of the loan disbursements may be reduced or cancelled to prevent over-awards. Similarly, if tuition charges are reduced because of a change in enrollment, one or both of the loan disbursements may be adjusted.
- You can enroll in direct deposit for refunds using the "Cardinal Pay" tab in the student portal or by contacting the Enrollment Services office (202) 319-5300.
- If you receive any additional resources, or if your enrollment or academic standing changes at any time during the year, the PLUS loan may be reduced or cancelled.
Timeline for Processing the Direct Parent PLUS Loan
- When the FAFSA and the Catholic University "Federal Direct PLUS Application" are received the PLUS loan amount is determined. The university may request additional documentation if needed. This will be communicated through the student’s “To Do List” in Cardinal Station.
- Once the PLUS loan is awarded then Federal Direct Loans will initiate a credit check. This entire process typically takes 5-7 business days from the date we receive the application.
- The PLUS loan will appear as "anticipated" aid on the student's bill once the following conditions are met:
- The credit approval and a valid MPN must be completed.
- The student must be enrolled at least half-time.
Important: We encourage families considering the Direct Parent PLUS Loan to complete the entire application process well in advance of the start of the academic year. Late applications are unlikely to be completed before the fall term due date. Families who find themselves applying late should plan to use other means to cover the cost of attendance while their Direct Parent PLUS Loan application is pending.
Requesting a Change to your Direct Parent PLUS Loan
To request a reduction or to cancel, please complete a Federal Direct Loan Reduction Request available on the Forms page.
To request an increase, please complete the steps above. PLUS Loans cannot be increased. A second PLUS Loan must be initiated following the same steps as the first PLUS loan.
Direct Parent PLUS Loan Refunds
The loan proceeds will be disbursed and applied to your student’s account at Catholic University. Any excess funds on the student's account will be refunded by paper check or direct deposit (if requested). The University Refund Processing Schedule and individual contact information is available from the Office of Enrollment Services - Student Financial Services.
Deferment & Forbearance
For PLUS loans disbursed after July 1, 2008, parents have the option of beginning repayment either 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed or deferring until six months after the dependent student, on whose behalf the parent borrowed, ceases to be enrolled at least half-time. Parents may request a deferment of each new Parent PLUS Loan by contacting the Direct Loan Servicing Center approximately 30 days after their Parent PLUS loan has been fully disbursed. By requesting a deferment, a parent will not go into repayment until after their student is no longer enrolled in at least a half-time status. Parents may need to provide a copy of their student’s academic verification to the Direct Loan Servicing Center. To apply for the in-school deferment, Direct Parent PLUS borrowers should call Borrower Services at 1-800-848-0979.
The Direct Loan Servicing Center will notify you when your first payment is due. If you do not choose a repayment plan, the U.S. Department of Education will place you on the Standard Repayment Plan, with fixed monthly payments for up to 10 years. Most Direct Loan borrowers choose to stay with the Standard Repayment Plan, but there are other options for borrowers who may need more time to repay or who need to make lower payments at the beginning of the repayment period. For additional information about the various repayment plans as well as a repayment plan calculator, visit studentaid.gov.
You can change repayment plans at any time by going to studentaid.gov and logging in to your account.
Direct Parent PLUS Loan Consolidation
For information go to There may be advantages to consolidating (combining) your federal loans into one loan, starting with the convenience of making a single monthly payment. Consolidation generally extends the repayment period, resulting in a lower monthly payment. This may make it easier for you to repay your loans. However, you will pay more interest if you extend your repayment period through consolidation since you will be making payments for a longer period of time. Direct Loans provides an online consolidation calculator that you can use to find out how much you'll pay each month if you consolidate. Contact the Direct Loan Consolidation Center for more information at 1-800-557-7392. You can apply for a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan at the studentaid.gov.
The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) offers several loan forgiveness programs for Teachers and Public Service. For additional information go to studentaid.gov.
Additional Federal Direct Loan Information
Contact the Federal Direct Loan Servicing Center at studentaid.gov or toll-free at (800) 848-0979