Best Parent Loans for College


Parent PLUS loans are federal student loans that are issued to parents. Parents looking to borrow money for their child’s education can also look to private loans offered by banks and online lenders. Private loans generally don’t come with fees, unlike federal parent PLUS loans.

Federal Parent PLUS Loan

Federal PLUS loans are available to parents of undergrads as well as graduate students. They are best for parents who may need the safety net they offer, and for grad students who have hit limits on lower-interest unsubsidized loans.

Pros

  1. More flexible repayment options for struggling borrowers compared with private lenders.
  2. All borrowers who attend a school authorized to receive federal aid can qualify.

Cons

  1. May have higher interest rates compared with private lenders.
  2. You pay an origination fee.
  3. You can’t see if you’ll qualify without a hard credit check.

Qualifications

  1. Parent PLUS loan borrowers must not have adverse credit history.
  2. Borrowers with adverse credit history can still receive a parent PLUS loan by enlisting a co-signer without adverse credit history or documenting extenuating circumstances for their credit history.
  3. Loan amounts: Total cost of attendance minus other financial aid.

Sallie Mae Private Student Loan

Best for parents who want to provide study support to their child.

Pros

  1. One of the few lenders to provide loans to part-time students.
  2. Borrowers can access online tutoring and free credit score tracking.
  3. Non-U.S. citizens, including DACA students, can apply with a U.S. co-signer.

Cons

  1. You can’t see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Qualifications

  1. Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Does not disclose.
  2. Minimum income: Did not disclose.
  3. Loan amounts: $1,000 up to 100% of the school-certified expenses.

Advantage Education Loan Parent Loan

Advantage Education Loans are fixed-rate loans with borrower-friendly features, such as no late fees and a generous amount of forbearance. These loans are from the nonprofit Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corp. and are available outside Kentucky, but not in every state.

Pros

  1. Forbearance of 24 months is twice as long as most lenders.
  2. Loans are available for students enrolled less than half time.

Cons

  1. Loans may not be available depending on where you live or your child goes to school.
  2. Fewer repayment terms than other lenders offer.
  3. Estate is still responsible for the loan if the parent borrower dies.
  4. You can’t see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Qualifications

  1. Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Does not disclose.
  2. Minimum income: Does not disclose.
  3. Loan amounts: Minimum $1,000. Maximum depends on creditworthiness and debt-to-income ratio.

College Ave Parent Student Loan

Best for parents who want to control some of their student’s spending.

Pros

  1. You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  2. Up to $2,500 can be disbursed to you directly for school-related expenses.
  3. You can choose your monthly payment while the student is in school, provided it covers at least the interest.

Cons

  1. No co-signer option.
  2. Estate is still responsible for the loan if the parent borrower dies.

Qualifications

  1. Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Mid-700s.
  2. Minimum income: $70,000 per year.
  3. Loan amounts: $1,000 up to school-certified cost of attendance.

SoFi Private Student Loan

Best for flexible repayment options and no fees.

Pros

  1. You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  2. Multiple in-school repayment options available, including interest-only and flat-fee, and deferred for undergrad and grad students.
  3. Additional perks like career planning, job search assistance and entrepreneurship support available.

Cons

  1. Does not offer bi-weekly payments via autopay.

Qualifications

  1. Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 700+.
  2. Minimum income: No minimum.
  3. Loan amounts: $5,000 minimum.
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