Side-By-SIde Comparison​​

​Feature ​Direct PLUS Loan ​Private Loans*
Program Description Direct PLUS Loans are available to parents or custodial step-parents for dependent undergraduate students attending school at least half-time and to graduate students.  PLUS loans are solely the responsibility of the  borrower. Private loans are generally available to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at least half-time.  The loan is primarily the responsibility of the student, although a credit-worthy cosigner is usually expected to sign the promissory note as well.
Eligibility​ Direct PLUS loans are not dependent on family income or assets, and no collateral or cosigner is required.  Borrower must, however, meet certain credit criteria. Terms vary by lender, most of whom use credit scores or debt-to-income ratios to determine creditworthiness, interest rates, and fees.  International students may usually  borrow with a creditworthy U.S. citizen cosigner
​Interest Rate Fixed at 7.90% Variable rate typically adjusted quarterly, based on Prime or LIBOR ** rate, and is not capped.
Loan Limits Up to full cost of education minus any other financial aid received. Most program allow borrowing up to cost of education minus any financial aid received.
​Fees A 4% federal origination fee/insurance premium may be deducted from the loan proceeds prior to disbursement. Fees vary among lenders, and may go up to 9%.  Often, fees will be determined in part by measure of creditworthiness.
​Repayment Terms and Plan Repayment typically begins within 60 days after the full disbursement of the loan for the academic year.  Repayment term is 10 years, and there are no prepayment penalties.  Graduated repayment or extended terms may be available if you qualify. Repayment plans vary by lender and may begin immediately or be deferred until six months after student ceases half-time enrollment.  Students may select from several repayment plans, and most lenders allow prepayment and early payoff without penalty.
Deferments​ You may qualify for deferment if legitimate circumstances seriously affect your ability to repay the loan.  Loan(s) can be canceled in the event of total disability or death. Payments may generally defer while a student is enrolled at least half-time.  Loan cancellation due to disability or death is generally not available without purchase of an additional option.