How to Get Parent Student Loan Forgiveness

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Federal Parent PLUS student loans offer parents of college students a way to help their children pay for their education. And like other federal student loans, Parent PLUS Loans provide opportunities for loan forgiveness.

However, qualifying for Parent PLUS student loan forgiveness can be somewhat difficult, as there are fewer paths to forgiveness than are offered to federal Direct and Graduate PLUS student loan borrowers.

Here’s what you need to know about qualifying for parent student loan forgiveness:

What are Parent PLUS Loans?

When paying for higher education, students may sometimes need more financial aid than they’re eligible to receive from federal student loans in their own name. When this happens, federal Parent PLUS student loans may help fill the gaps. To be eligible for a Parent PLUS Loan, the borrower must be the biological or adoptive parent (or in some cases, the step-parent) of the student, and must not have an adverse credit history.

With a Parent PLUS Loan, the parent can borrow up to the cost of attendance at the student’s school, minus any other financial assistance (including other federal student loans) the student has received.

These loans are unsubsidized, which means the parent is responsible for the interest that accrues while the student is in school. Parents can choose to make interest-only payments while their child is in school or have the interest capitalize (be tacked onto the principal loan balance).

Good to know: The interest rate for Parent PLUS Loans is currently set at 7.54%, with a disbursement fee (also known as an origination fee) of 4.228%. The disbursement fee is taken from the total loan amount, but you’re still responsible for paying back the full amount of the loan.

Check Out: Parent PLUS Loans vs. Private Parent Loans: How to Choose

Are Parent PLUS Loans eligible for forgiveness?

Like other federal student loans, Parent PLUS Loans offer a few avenues for forgiveness, provided the borrower meets eligibility and other requirements:

Income-Contingent Repayment Plan

Income-driven repayment plans offer federal student loan borrowers alternate or longer repayment periods to keep their monthly payments affordable. Under income-driven repayment, any remaining balance is forgiven at the end of the repayment period.

Unfortunately, Parent PLUS Loans aren’t directly eligible for any of the income-driven repayment plans. However, Parent PLUS Loan borrowers can access the Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan if they consolidate their Parent PLUS Loan(s) into a Direct Consolidation loan — provided the borrower started repayment of the Parent PLUS Loan on or after July 1, 2006.

Under the ICR Plan, the monthly payment amount is set at either 20% of your discretionary income or the amount you’d pay under a 12-year repayment plan — whichever is lower. If you’re still making payments on your Parent PLUS Loan after 25 years of on-time payments (for a total of 300 payments), the remaining balance of your loan will be forgiven.

When your remaining balance is forgiven, you can generally expect to owe income tax on the forgiven amount, as it will be considered taxable income. However, if your remaining federal Parent PLUS Loan balance is forgiven anytime before the end of 2025, the forgiven amount will be tax-free as part of the American Rescue Plan of 2021.

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See Also: The Complete List of Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

PSLF for Parent PLUS Loans

Parent borrowers can be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) for their federal Parent PLUS Loans — but the process can be a bit complex.

To start, it’s important to understand how the PSLF Program works. In order to be eligible for this kind of loan forgiveness, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:

  • Work full-time for a U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government or not-for-profit organization
  • Are a Direct Loan borrower (Parent PLUS Loan borrowers are considered Direct Loan borrowers)
  • Make 120 qualifying payments

Parent PLUS student loan borrowers can potentially qualify for this forgiveness plan. However, under the standard 10-year repayment plan — which is the only repayment plan available to Parent PLUS borrowers — there will be no balance left to forgive after 120 payments. The standard repayment is set up to have the loan paid off after the 120th payment.

However, parent borrowers can access the PSLF Program by consolidating their Parent PLUS Loan(s) into a Direct Consolidation loan. Once they’ve done that, they can sign up for an Income-Contingent Repayment Plan.

Remember: While on the ICR Plan, if you meet the other eligibility requirements for PSLF, you can qualify for forgiveness of whatever balance is left after 120 on-time payments.

Check Out: Up to $20K in Student Loan Forgiveness for Some Borrowers, and Payments Remain Paused

Other options for parent loan forgiveness

In addition to the ICR Plan and PSLF, a Parent PLUS student loan can be forgiven in a few other ways, including:

  • Military service: U.S. military service counts toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Parent borrowers can potentially be eligible for PSLF if they’re serving in the U.S. military, provided they meet the other eligibility requirements.
  • Identity theft: If an identity thief has fraudulently taken a Parent PLUS Loan in your name, you may be eligible for a discharge of the fraudulent loan.
  • Bankruptcy: In some cases, federal student loan borrowers may have their loans discharged in bankruptcy, although the process is neither automatic nor guaranteed.
  • Disability: Federal student loans, including Parent PLUS Loans, may be eligible for a discharge if the borrower becomes permanently and completely disabled.
  • Death: If the student for whom you borrowed the student loan dies, your Parent PLUS Loan may be discharged.

In addition to these types of forgiveness, several additional circumstances could also result in the full or partial discharge of your Parent PLUS Loan, including:

  • The student for whom you borrowed the loan couldn’t complete their studies because the school closed.
  • The school falsely certified your eligibility to receive the loan.
  • The student withdrew from the school, but you didn’t receive a refund of your loan money from the school despite it being required by applicable laws and regulations.

Learn More: What to Know About the $8.5 Billion Corinthian Colleges Loan Forgiveness

Can I consolidate Parent PLUS Loans?

Parent PLUS Loans are eligible for the federal Direct Consolidation Loan program, as long as the borrower started repayment of the loan on or after July 1, 2006. Consolidating your Parent PLUS Loan into a federal Direct Consolidation Loan is the only way that a Parent PLUS borrower can access Public Service Loan Forgiveness . When you consolidate, opt for the Income-Contingent Repayment Plan in order to be eligible for PSLF.

Keep in mind: If you have multiple children for whom you plan to borrow a Parent PLUS Loan, you may want to wait until the youngest child has graduated from college before consolidating into a single federal Direct Consolidation Loan. That will allow you to pay a single monthly payment to handle all your loans and give you access to forgiveness via the 25-year ICR Plan or 10-year PSLF Program.

How to refinance a Parent PLUS Loan

In addition to pursuing federal student loan forgiveness, you may also want to look into refinancing your Parent PLUS Loan as another option for reducing your loan costs, repayment timeline, or interest rate.

Refinancing means taking out a new, private loan that you use to pay off the Parent PLUS Loan(s), and then making payments on the private loan until you’ve paid it off. If you have good credit, you may be able to qualify for a more favorable interest rate with a private loan than the current Parent PLUS Loan rate of 7.54%.

The student loan consolidation companies in the table below are Credible’s approved partner lenders. Because they compete for your business through Credible, you can request rates from all of them by filling out a single form. Then, you can compare your available options side-by-side. Requesting rates is free, doesn’t affect your credit score, and your personal information is not shared with our partner lenders unless you see an option you like.

Lender Variable rates from (APR) Fixed rates from (APR)


Credible Rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

N/A
2.94%+
  • Fixed APR:

    2.94%+
  • Variable APR:
    N/A
  • Min. credit score:
    Does not disclose
  • Loan amount:
    $7,500 up to $500,000
  • Loan terms (years):
    10, 15, 20
  • Max. undergraduate loan balance:
    $250,000 – $500,000
  • Time to fund:
    4 days
  • Repayment options:
    Immediate repayment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees:
    None
  • Discounts:
    Autopay
  • Eligibility:
    Must be a U.S. citizen or noncitizen with proof of residency card, have an acceptable income and credit history or an approved cosigner, and have entered grace or repayment on the loans he or she wants to refinance
  • Customer service:
    Phone
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Cosigner release:
    After 12 months
  • Loan servicer:
    Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation
  • Max. graduate loan balance:
    $250,000 – $500,000
  • Credible Review:
    Advantage Education Loan review
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing :
    Yes


Credible Rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


4.22%+

2.4%+
  • Fixed APR:

    2.4%+
  • Variable APR:

    4.22%+
  • Min. credit score:
    690
  • Loan amount:
    $10,000 to $400,000
  • Loan terms (years):
    5, 7, 10, 15, 20
  • Repayment options:
    Military deferment, forbearance
  • Fees:
    Late fee
  • Discounts:
    Autopay
  • Eligibility:
    Must have a credit score of at least 720, a minimum income of $60,000, and must be a resident of Texas
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone
  • Soft credit check:
    Does not disclose
  • Cosigner release:
    No
  • Loan servicer:
    Firstmark Services
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance:
    $100,000 – $149,000
  • Max. Graduate Loan Balance:
    $200,000 – $400,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
    Does not disclose


Credible Rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


3.69%+1

4.49%+1
  • Fixed APR:

    4.49%+1
  • Variable APR:

    3.69%+1
  • Min. credit score:
    Does not disclose
  • Loan amount:
    $10,000 to $750,000
  • Loan terms (years):
    5, 7, 10, 15, 20
  • Repayment options:
    Immediate repayment, academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees:
    Late fee
  • Discounts:
    Autopay, loyalty
  • Eligibility:
    Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have at least $10,000 in student loans
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Cosigner release:
    After 24 to 36 months
  • Loan servicer:
    Firstmark Services
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance:
    $100,000 to $149,000
  • Max. Graduate Loan Balance:
    Less than $150,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
    Yes


Credible Rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


3.44%+2

3.99%+2
  • Fixed APR:

    3.99%+2
  • Variable APR:

    3.44%+2
  • Min. credit score:
    Does not disclose
  • Loan amount:
    $5,000 to $300,000
  • Loan terms (years):
    5, 7, 10, 12, 15
  • Repayment options:
    Military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees:
    Late fee
  • Discounts:
    Autopay
  • Eligibility:
    All states except for ME
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Cosigner release:
    After 24 to 36 months
  • Loan servicer:
    College Ave Servicing LLC
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance:
    $100,000 to $149,000
  • Max. Graduate Loan Balance:
    Less than $300,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
    Yes


Credible Rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


4.41%+5

4.41%+5
  • Fixed APR:

    4.41%+5
  • Variable APR:

    5.03%+5
  • Min. credit score:
    700
  • Loan amount:
    $7,500 to $200,000
  • Loan terms (years):
    5, 10, 15, 20
  • Repayment options:
    Immediate repayment, academic deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees:
    None
  • Discounts:
    Autopay
  • Eligibility:
    Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and submit two personal references
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Cosigner release:
    After 36 months
  • Loan servicer:
    Granite State Management & Resources (GSM&R)
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance:
    $150,000 to $249,000
  • Max. Graduate Loan Balance:
    $150,000 to $199,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing :
    Yes


Credible Rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


2.48%+3

3.99%+3
  • Fixed APR:

    3.99%+3
  • Variable APR:

    2.48%+3
  • Min. credit score:
    680
  • Loan amount:
    $10,000 to $250,000
  • Loan terms (years):
    5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20
  • Repayment options:
    Forbearance
  • Fees:
    None
  • Discounts:
    None
  • Eligibility:
    Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, have at least $15,000 in student loan debt, and have a bachelor’s degree or higher from an approved school
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Cosigner release:
    No
  • Loan servicer:
    Mohela
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance:
    $250,000
  • Max. Graduate Loan Balance:
    $250,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
    Yes


Credible Rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


3.67%+4

5.18%+4
  • Fixed APR:

    5.18%+4
  • Variable APR:

    3.67%+4
  • Min. credit score:
    670
  • Loan amount:
    $5,000 to $250,000
  • Loan terms (years):
    5, 10, 15, 20
  • Repayment options:
    Academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance
  • Fees:
    Late fee
  • Discounts:
    Autopay
  • Eligibility:
    Must be U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Cosigner release:
    Yes
  • Max undergraduate loan balance:
    $250,000
  • Max graduate loan balance:
    $250,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS refinancing:
    Yes


Credible Rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

N/A
4.5%+
  • Fixed APR:

    4.5%+
  • Variable APR:
    N/A
  • Min. credit score:
    670
  • Loan amount:
    $10,000 up to the total amount
  • Loan terms (years):
    7, 10, 15
  • Repayment options:
    Military deferment, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees:
    None
  • Discounts:
    None
  • Eligibility:
    Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have at least $10,000 in student loans
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Cosigner release:
    No
  • Loan servicer:
    AES
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance:
    No maximum
  • Max. Gradaute Loan Balance:
    No maximum
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
    Yes


Credible Rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

N/A
5.49%+
  • Fixed APR:

    5.49%+
  • Variable APR:
    N/A
  • Min. credit score:
    670
  • Loan amount:
    $7,500 to $300,000
  • Loan terms (years):
    5, 8, 12, 15
  • Repayment options:
    Does not disclose
  • Fees:
    None
  • Discounts:
    None
  • Eligibility:
    Must be a U.S. citizen and have and at least $7,500 in student loans
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Cosigner release:
    After 12 months
  • Loan servicer:
    PenFed
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance:
    $300,000
  • Max. Graduate Loan Balance:
    $300,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
    Yes


Credible Rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

N/A
4.29%+
  • Fixed APR:

    4.29%+
  • Variable APR:
    N/A
  • Min. credit score:
    680
  • Loan amount:
    $7,500 to $250,000
  • Loan terms (years):
    5, 10, 15
  • Repayment options:
    Academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees:
    None
  • Discounts:
    Autopay
  • Eligibility:
    Available in all 50 states; must also have at least $7,500 in student loans and a minimum income of $40,000
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone
  • Soft credit check:
    Does not disclose
  • Cosigner release:
    No
  • Loan servicer:
    Rhode Island Student Loan Authority
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance:
    $150,000 – $249,000
  • Max. Graduate Loan Balance:
    $200,000 – $249,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
    Yes
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To refinance your Parent PLUS Loan, follow these steps:

  1. Compare rates and terms. Checking the refinancing options at a variety of lenders can help you find the loan with the best rates and terms for your needs. Credible makes it easy to compare lenders all at once, without affecting your credit.
  2. Choose your loan and apply. Once you’ve found the right loan for your financial situation, you’ll need to provide some personal information and apply. You can apply online right from Credible’s site.
  3. Receive your loan. Most borrowers working with Credible lenders get an offer within one business day and receive their loan money within a week.

Once you receive your refinanced loan, begin making your payments regularly.

Read More: Private Student Loan Forgiveness Alternatives

About the author

Emily Guy Birken

Emily Guy Birken

Emily Guy Birken is a Credible authority on student loans and personal finance. Her work has been featured by Forbes, Kiplinger’s, Huffington Post, MSN Money, and The Washington Post online.

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