What is Parent PLUS loan forgiveness?

Learn everything about Parent PLUS Loan Forgiveness Programs, their repayment terms, interest, benefits, drawbacks and more.

Updated by Sagar.C on 20th July 2019

Every parent would love to give their child a bright future so they can always consider the option of Parent PLUS Loan. In today's time, education cost is quite high so in this case, Parent PLUS Loan becomes a great deal for parents.

If it becomes difficult to pay those loans in the future there are some options that can give relief towards your debt. Borrowers can take the route of Parent PLUS loan forgiveness and forget about Loan worries as a borrower.

Think before you consider the option of Parent PLUS Loans because your child is going to get the burden for repayment. He/she will be at the beginning of their career and you might be winding up yours when the repayment hits. So always do your research before you go for any student loan.

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Income Contingent Repayment for Parent PLUS Loan

There are four main Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans one of them is Income Contingent Repayment (ICR). Under Parent PLUS loans, only ICR qualifies for forgiveness.

This plan will cap 20% of your discretionary income or the fixed monthly payment amount will be on the bases of 12 years term, whichever is lower. The loan term can be extended from 10 years to 25 years.

To apply for the ICR you need to go through loan consolidation. Your PLUS loans should be consolidated under the Federal Direct Consolidation Loan Program. Then you need to involve your loan servicer and inform them. You should always consult your student loan servicer.

The loan servicer will show you the right way and advice you for the best choice in your interest. You need to apply every year to update your financial situation which might affect your monthly payments.

[ Learn more on student loan servicers ]

The remainder of your loan will be forgiven after 25 years of repayment and that amount will be considered as your taxable income.

With ICR borrower's 20% discretionary income will be considered for the loan payments. Your discretionary income is the difference between the minimum level based on the federal poverty guideline for your state and family size and your net income.

Ways to get Parent PLUS Loan Forgiveness

1 - Direct Consolidation Loan

The Direct Consolidation loan is nothing but gathering all the loans under one roof which gives you a single monthly payment. It will help you pay your loans smoothly.

Consolidation depends on which type of loans you have. If you have federal loans then, this is the wise option for you to choose. 

So, all the Federal loans will be converted into single Direct Consolidation loan but it is necessary to know about the interest rates because they might be high or low.

Rates will be calculated by considering the average of the interest rate on your current loan and rounding up to the nearest one-eighth of 1%, this will be your fixed rate for the life of the loan. 

2 - Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF)

Another option is to consider is Public Service Loan Forgiveness which takes less time than ICR.

Parents who are engaged or working full time for government entities or nonprofits and timely paying their loans for 10 years they loans will be forgiven under PSLF.

Under PSLF, Federal student loans will be canceled, once you make 120 qualifying payments. However, there are some criteria which you need to fulfill.

Borrowers need to be on an income-driven repayment plan to be eligible for PSLF this way just like ICR Direct Consolidation of loan is necessary. After this, you need to apply for ICR and once ICR is approved then you can submit your PSLF Employment Certification Form.

You can qualify for PSLF if you are working with - 

1. Government Organization at any level (federal, state, local, or tribal)

2. Non-Profit in Public Services.

3. Non-Profit 501(c)(3) (under this).

  • Military service

  • Public safety, or law enforcement services

  • Public health services, public education or public library services

  • School library and other school-based services

  • Public interest law services

  • Early childhood education

  • Public service for individuals with disabilities and the elderly.

  • Emergency management

Repayment options

Other than ICR and PSLF there are also different ways to repay Parent PLUS loan. These type of options will help you lessen your loan burden more.

For example, there is one option where you can transfer your loan to your child. As parents, you might have a concern about your savings, so check out the options which will give you a fair amount of information regarding interest rates, refinancing options with private lenders, and more, for Parent PLUS Loan Repayment.  

1 - Regular Parent PLUS Loan repayment

This repayment plan comes along with the Parent PLUS loan repayment. You will automatically be enrolled for this. Under this plan, you need to make a fixed monthly payment for 10 years. If you can afford to make the monthly payment then this is the best repayment option but if you can't afford then you should look for other options.

It is always good to check other graduate repayment and extended repayment plans but they are not preferable to ICR or other options. For example, extended repayment will build more time and interest in the total payment. Your interest will be high, though the monthly payment is low.

2 -Transferring your Parent PLUS Loans to your child

Instead of considering ICR or PSLF the option you should see on the other side where you can transfer your loans to your child. You can trade this option with the help of student loan refinancing.

For this, your child needs to apply for student loan refinancing and it should be approved under particular criteria. Applicants need to have a decent credit score to fall under the eligibility for student loan refinancing. So your child should have a decent income to repay your Parent PLUS loans.

If everything goes good he/she will be offered a lower interest rate than 7% under this plan. Borrowers also have the freedom to choose their repayment terms either it can be shorter or longer in length.

You might be considering this option as a fair deal as now your child can pay for their own loans, as they are graduate and now have a decent income but this option makes your federal loan into a private one. Because of this, your child will lose all the federal protection like forbearance income-driven repayment plans and PSLF. If you love federal protection then you should go for standard refinancing.

Pros of transferring the loan to the student

If you transfer your student loan to your child then you will be debt-free and now you can use that amount towards your retirement plan and make it financially secure. 

Depend on the scenario, your child can receive a lower interest rate and monthly payment. The interest rate on Parent PLUS Loans is 7% currently which is quite higher than federal student loan as the refinancing rate is lower to 2.74% So transferring the Parent PLUS Loans to your child would be the wise decision.

Cons of transferring the loan to your child

After transferring the Parent PLUS loan the process cannot be reversed now your child is responsible for the student loan. keep them updated with all the loan details you have from interest rates to monthly payment. 

It will be difficult for your child to take that burden on his/her shoulder if they have just recently finished their education. So transferring the loan won't be that wise decision. However, you can wait for your child to earn decent enough to pay the loan amount and interest then transferring the Parent PLUS loans will be advisable.

3 - Refinancing your Parent PLUS Loans with private lenders

If you're having difficulties to pay your Parent PLUS loans then start researching for Private lenders for your refinancing options. Usually, parents as borrowers have longer credit history than student borrowers so lenders will have more information about you when they give you a quote.

If you have a high credit score or by chance, it went up because you took the Parent PLUS Loan, you will end up having fewer interest rates with refinancing. So lower interest won't pinch your pocket much.

As you enter the world of private student loan provider, you will lose all the federal loan forgiveness options. So do your research, make some inquiries and then apply for refinancing your Parent PLUS Loans.

Drawbacks for Parent PLUS Loan Refinancing 

The only drawback with Parent PLUS loan forgiveness is that it takes a lot of time. You need to consolidate your loans then sign up for ICR and pay for 25 years or work in public service for 10 years.

If you think that this is not for you and its gonna exceed your financial burden than you should not apply for it. Keep your existing plan in progress.

You might try to get another income source or ask for help from your employer for loan assistance.


  Can Parent PLUS loans be discharged?

The Parents PLUS loans will be discharged in the case of you die or If your child face a permanent disability or you go bankrupt. If you have borrowed loan for your child and he dies then also the loan will be discharged.

  How can I get my parent PLUS loan forgiven?

  • Put an application for Direct Consolidation Loan through StudentLoans.gov.

  • Have chat with your loan servicer and select ICR option.

  • Pay your loan amount for 25 years to obtain your loan forgiveness.

  Can a parent PLUS loan be transferred to the student?

Through Private lenders, a student can transfer their Parent’s PPL with the help of refinancing option. Directly you cannot transfer parent PLUS loans, only you can repay this loan as said by the Department of Education.

  Do Parent PLUS loans die with you?  

Yes, Parent PLUS loans will get discharged if you or your parent dies.

  Do Parent PLUS loans affect your credit?  

If you\'re applying for Parent PLUS loans then you need a very high credit score. The score cannot be affected if you apply for this loan but yeah if you don\'t repay the loan amount then you will get a hit on your credit score.

  Are Parent PLUS loans tax deductible?  

You can claim up to $2500 on your interest paid for a qualified student loan.

  Are Parent PLUS loans forgiven after 20 years?  

No, it might take up to 25 years. Under ICR program if you pay your loan payments till 25 years than if any remainder left will be forgiven.

  Should I refinance parent PLUS loans?

There are many benefits for refinancing,

  • Your parents will be released from the financial burden after refinancing.

  • A child can build their credit on the bases of on-time payments.

  • You might be offered a lower interest rate under the parent PLUS loan.

  How do I qualify for student loan forgiveness

  • You can join the military.

  • Choose the option of Income-Based Repayment Plan.

  • Become a public school teacher in a low-income area.

Get a job in the public service sector, government or non-profit organization

  Do student loans get forgiven after 10 years?  

If you choose Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and qualify for the same then under that your loan can be forgiven after 10 years or 120 payments. You don\'t need to wait till 20 to 25 year for loan forgiveness.