Reminder: PLUS Credit Check and Counseling Changes Effective March 29, 2015

By NASFAA Training & Regulatory Assistance Staff 

Changes to the parent and graduate Direct PLUS Loan credit check criteria and process, as well as new PLUS counseling requirements, go into effect on March 29, 2015. 

New credit criteria will apply to all Direct PLUS Loan credit checks performed on or after March 29, 2015, regardless of the award year or loan period applicable to the loan. As of that date, a parent or graduate PLUS applicant has an adverse credit history if, in addition to other conditions (e.g., bankruptcy, foreclosure, tax lien, or a default determination), the applicant has:

  • One or more debts that are 90 or more days delinquent or that are in collection or have been charged off during the two years preceding the date of the applicant’s credit report; and
  • A total combined outstanding balance of those debts greater than $2,085.

A new PLUS counseling requirement also becomes effective for PLUS credit checks performed on or after March 29, 2015. This counseling applies to those borrowers who initially are denied due to an adverse credit history, but who are subsequently approved using one of the following methods:

  • An appeal process and satisfactorily meeting the “extenuating circumstances” provisions; or
  • Obtaining a credit worthy endorser.

The PLUS counseling will be provided by the Department of Education (ED) on the website starting on March 30, 2015.

To prepare themselves, schools should review the following ED guidance as soon as possible and before March 29, 2015:


Publication Date: 3/23/2015

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