Parent Checklist

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Where do I Start?

1Learn more about financial aid.

2Have your student apply for financial aid and scholarships.

3Create or log-in with your FSA ID and password.

4See if you qualify for a Parent PLUS Loan.

5Learn how to pay tuition and fees at SHSU.

6Understand your Parental Access to student financial information.


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How do I apply for the Parent PLUS Loan?

The Direct Parent PLUS Loan is an optional credit-based loan used to pay for your dependent student’s educational expenses.

1Your student must complete the FAFSA each year beginning October 1st

What Your Student Needs to Do

Submit their FAFSA at StudentAid.gov

  • Complete the FAFSA online and include SHSU’s school code - 003606 and be sure to apply for the correct aid year.
  • Look for your Student Aid Report (SAR) from the Department of Education.

What We Do

  • Starting Mid-November of each year, we begin downloading FAFSA information and review student eligibility for Financial Aid.

2Your student must accept the Direct Parent PLUS Loan once they receive their aid notification

What Your Student Needs to Do

Your student must log into their MySam account and accept the Direct Parent PLUS Loan aid offer to process this loan.

What We Do

Wait for the Direct Parent PLUS Loan application; see Step 3.

3Apply for the Direct Parent PLUS Loan

What Parent Needs to Do

  1. On or after April 27th, sign into StudentAid.gov with your parent FSA ID.
  2. Hover over the Apply for Aid tab at the top and select Apply for a Parent PLUS Loan
    parent plus loan link
  3. Click on the Start button to begin your Parent PLUS Loan application
    parent plus loan start
  4. Follow the prompts to complete your Parent PLUS Loan application
  5. Continue to Step 4 below for what you need to do if your credit is Approved or Denied
    • Be sure to review the loan amount requested for the aid year.
    • Choose to have the school pay the credit balance (refund) directly to you or to the student.

4Check Your Loan Status

What Parent Needs to Do

If Your Credit is Approved

If Your Credit is Denied

  1. Undecided OR I Will not Pursue the Parent PLUS Loan
    • If this option is selected the Financial Aid Office will offer your student an additional unsubsidized loan if their budget allows.
  2. Pursue an Endorser
  3. Appeal Decision

What We Do

  • Once your loan application is approved, the master promissory note is submitted and the loan counseling (if required) is complete, the federal government sends us the completed loan documents. This typically takes 5-7 business days.
  • Once the completed loan documents are received, we begin processing your loan. From Application to Disbursement, Direct Parent PLUS Loan takes approximately 15 business days to process.

5Check for Disbursed Funds

What Parent Needs to Do

Complete all previously listed requirements and submit the PLUS Disbursement Authorization form, found on your student’s MySam account or at the Financial Aid front desk, to the Financial Aid Office.

What We Do

  • Verify your student’s Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) status is in good standing.
  • Verify your student’s enrollment meets disbursement requirements for this aid.
  • Disburse the Direct Parent PLUS loan as a credit to your student’s account balance with the SHSU Cashier’s Office.
  • Remaining balances may be disbursed as a refund to you or your student via their Bearkat OneCard preference.

6How do I Avoid Common Mistakes?

  1. Wrong School Year:
    • Schools process for two award years simultaneously, so make sure the correct aid year is selected!
  2. Social Security Numbers:
    • If a wrong Social Security number is entered for the student or parent, the school will not be able to match the record to the student.
  3. Reversed Information:
    • If the first and last name are reversed, or if the parent data is entered in the student section, the school will not be able to match the record to the student's account.
  4. Application must be completed annually:
    • Keep in mind the parent loan application is different than the master promissory note and must be completed every year.
    • The credit check for the Direct Parent PLUS Loan expires after 180 days.
  5. MPN Completion Requirement:
    • The MPN must only be completed by a first-time borrower one time per 10-year period. The only exception is when an endorser is involved, and the endorser must complete the MPN every year.


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Parental Access

Educational records are protected by The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). To grant a parent access to personal financial aid information, the student will need to fill out the FERPA release of information form.

FERPA Consent to Release


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