We are one month closer to the start of fall semester at WSU! That means we are one month closer to Week of Welcome, moving into dorms, and one month closer to tuition bills and financial aid disbursements. Student Financial Services is committed helping prepare, reduce stress, and ensure a great year for our students so let’s discuss next steps with aid packages for June.
Last month we reviewed the types of loans you may see on student aid packages. For student loans, be sure to look at last month’s article for the steps needed to keep federal Direct or Perkins loan(s) on schedule for disbursement when tuition bills hit accounts in August. The first month of classes finds many students visiting our office because they need to figure out why their loans are not disbursing and why they still have a balance due on their account. It is easy for students to stay ahead of schedule and save time, worry, and potential late fees by spending a few minutes reviewing those instructions.
Parent PLUS Loans
Remember, student loans are limited each year so WSU fills the gap in financial need with Parent PLUS Loan offers. Since we are beginning to process Parent PLUS applications now, this is a good time to talk about these loans a bit more.
WSU offers the Parent PLUS Loan to parents on behalf of the Department of Education (your lender). This is a credit-based loan, so it does require completing an application through myWSU. Instructions for WSU’s application process can be found on our website.
The Third Party Access your student has set up for you provides the needed access to complete the application. Since parents are responsible for repayment of the loan, the student is not able to complete the application through the student’s myWSU account.
How Much Do I Borrow? Do I Have Other Options?
WSU offers aid up to the estimated cost of attendance for students to attend WSU for fall and spring term. This means the Parent PLUS loan can be a fairly substantial loan amount. Remember, though, that cost of attendance includes such things as books, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses which you may be able to cover out of pocket without increasing your debt load.
If you do not want to accept the full amount of the loan, we encourage you to determine the amount you need to borrow prior to completing the application so you can reduce the amount accepted when completing the application. Once you submit the Parent PLUS loan application, you can repay any excess to your lender, but we cannot reduce the loan amount that has been processed.
If you want to explore other payment options besides the Parent PLUS loan, you are welcome to comparison shop with private education lenders either through your bank, or through some of the common lenders. Be sure to review origination fees (the administrative cost of creating the loan) and interest rates, along with repayment requirements, and to make the best decision for your family.
I Completed the PLUS Loan Application, What Next?
Once you fill out the PLUS loan application, both the parent and the student will be sent a confirmation email with further instructions. The PLUS loan application is then forwarded to the Department of Education for a credit decision. You will be notified by email of approval, generally, within a week by the Department of Education. Student Financial Services will also notify parents and students of credit decisions regarding the Parent PLUS application via email.
If you are denied the Parent PLUS loan you will be provided additional information regarding options and next steps in your notification email from WSU.
Items student should see in their myWSU account if they have student and parent loans are reminders (we call them checklist items) to complete Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling at studentloans.gov. Students are responsible for completing a MPN and Entrance Counseling for their Direct Loans. Parents are also required to complete a MPN for the Parent PLUS loans. Loan funds will not disburse until these steps are completed and WSU is notified.
When Do I Start Paying on My Parent PLUS Loan?
Unlike federal Direct Student Loans, Parent PLUS loans do not provide automatic deferment while the student is enrolled. Parents begin repayment 60-90 days after the final loan disbursement. Your lender will be in contact with you regarding this process, and can discuss options for deferment, extended repayment, income-driven repayment plans, and more.
It’s still not too late to apply for scholarships!
Apply, Apply, Apply! The summer leading up to the fall semester is a great time for students to work on scholarship applications. The more time spent on applying for scholarships the better chances of receiving one! There are still tons of scholarship opportunities for students to take advantage of for the upcoming school year. We encourage students to visit our Outside Scholarships page on our website, to view several different scholarship opportunities. The Private Donor listing has over 130 pages of potential scholarship opportunities!
We Are Here to Help!
Preparing to send your student to college can be a daunting task, and our articles may not provide all the information you seek. Don’t worry! You are not alone, and we are here to support your family through this unfamiliar process.
For assistance with your question or concerns, you can contact SFS Mon-Fri from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST by calling 509-335-9711 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If students or parents are visiting the Pullman campus this summer, they can also schedule an appointment to meet with a Financial Aid advisor Mon- Fri from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. by visiting financialaid.wsu.edu.