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Offering Evidence Based Insights on Parent PLUS Loans

Offering Evidence Based Insights on Parent PLUS Loans

In 2021-22, over 546,000 families borrowed a Parent PLUS Loan. These represented $10.4 billion in debt and 11% of all federal student loans.

Our research

The Parent PLUS (or Debt PLUS) Project explores the characteristics, enrollment patterns, and descriptive outcomes of Parent PLUS Loans, including how borrowing varies across student, family, and institutional contexts.  

The project leverages quantitative analyses with qualitative insights from students, parents, and financial aid administrators to produce actionable strategies for federal policymaking, to better inform consumers, and to build a foundation for future research.

PLUS loans

Unlike other federal programs, PLUS loan debt is virtually unlimited. In practice, the burden of Parent PLUS Loans falls disproportionately on Black, Latinx, and low-income families, as well as students at comparatively underfunded institutions. These students are more likely to borrow, borrow higher amounts, and face challenges in repayment.
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Faculty from these institutions have joined together, with the support of Arnold Ventures, to compile these resources for students, practitioners, families, and communities.
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