Parent Loan Frequently Asked Questions

Brazos Parent Loan Overview

Who may apply for a Brazos Parent Loan?

Brazos Parent Loans allow parents or other creditworthy individuals, who are Texas residents, to finance a benefiting student's undergraduate or graduate education at one of over 2,000 schools nationwide. The benefiting student does not have to be a resident of Texas.

Where is Brazos able to lend?

Currently, Brazos only lends to U.S. Citizens or Nationals, or permanent residents that are residents of Texas. Note, the student beneficiary may reside outside the State of Texas and be attending one of over 2,000 schools nationwide.

If you’re not a Texas resident we can still help.

How much can I borrow with a Brazos Parent Loan?

You may borrow up to the cost of attendance, less other financial aid received, as certified by the school your student is attending. The minimum loan amount is $1,000.

Can the Brazos Parent Loan be used for more than tuition?

Yes, it can be used to cover any school-certified costs, including tuition, housing, books and more. All loan proceeds, however, will be disbursed to the school. See the "Certifying the Cost of Attendance" section for more details.

Can I take out the Brazos Parent Loan for someone other than my child or dependent?

Yes. Unlike the federal Direct Parent PLUS loan, the Brazos Parent Loan is available to help any student, not just a dependent. Typical borrowers may include parents, grandparents, spouses, other family members or friends with strong credit histories that want to give the gift of education to a loved one.

Can a Brazos Parent Loan be used to pay for graduate school?

Yes. Unlike the federal Direct Parent PLUS loan, the Brazos Parent Loan is available to help pay for a benefiting student's graduate degree. The Brazos Parent Loan is a great option to help pay for law school, medical school, dental school, an MBA or other advanced degree programs.

How does a Brazos Parent Loan differ from a federal Direct PLUS loan?

See our comparison chart here.

Why choose Brazos?

Brazos is a nonprofit student loan company that is managed by The Brazos Higher Education Service Corporation, a nonprofit company that has been helping families finance the cost of their college education for over 40 years. Brazos is not affiliated with any school, and as a nonprofit, our goal is to save you money by charging the most competitive rates possible. For additional information about Brazos, check out our About Us page.

Parent Loan Eligibility Requirements

Am I eligible for a Brazos Parent Loan?

To be eligible for a Brazos Parent Loan, you must:

  • Be a U.S. Citizen or National, or a non-citizen with government issued, non-expired documentation of permanent resident status, or if applying with an Eligible Cosigner, a non-citizen with a work or student visa,
  • Be a Texas resident and be at least the age 18 years old, (Not a Texas resident?)
  • Be applying to finance the education of a student who is enrolled at least half-time in a degree granting program at one of over 2,000 schools nation-wide,
  • Apply for an amount that is certified by the school your student is attending (see the "Certifying the Cost of Attendance" section of the FAQs),
  • Have a verified income and a strong credit history, and
  • Demonstrate the ability to support the repayment of the new loan

Please review our Eligibility Criteria for further details.

Should I apply with a cosigner?

If your credit history does not meet our minimum credit criteria, you may still qualify by applying with a qualified cosigner. Additionally, even if you meet the minimum requirements, applying with a cosigner who has a stronger credit history may reduce the interest rate on your student loan rate even further, thereby saving you more money over the life of the loan.

Is there a cosigner release program?

We do not offer a cosigner release program. However, in the future, if you feel your credit has improved or that you would otherwise qualify by yourself, you may apply to refinance your loan without a cosigner.

If I default on my loan, is my cosigner responsible for repaying my loan?

Yes. If you default on your Brazos Parent Loan and have a cosigner, your cosigner will be liable to pay your loan.

When my benefiting student graduates, can I transfer my loan to him/her?

No. The loan will be in your name and cannot be transferred to your benefiting student.

Brazos Parent Loan Options

What types of Parent Loans do you offer?

We offer variable and fixed rate loans with repayment terms of 5, 7, 10, 15 and 20-years.2

What are variable and fixed rate loans?

Variable rate loans carry an interest rate that is recalculated periodically based on a market index rate plus a set number of percentage points. The interest you pay on these loans may increase or decrease after it has been originated depending upon changes to that market index rate. Because the rate may change, your payment may vary over the life of the loan as well. Variable rate loans tend to be less expensive at the beginning of the loan than comparable fixed rate loans of the same term.

Fixed rate loans carry a set interest rate and payment for the life of the loan. This provides predictable payments for the borrower. Because fixed rate loans create some interest rate risk for the lender, fixed interest rates tend to be higher at the beginning of the loan than comparable variable rate loans.

Are there any fees charged to take out a Brazos Parent Loan?

No, unlike the federal Direct PLUS program, we do not charge any origination fees or application fees. Additionally, we do not charge prepayment penalties and borrowers may prepay their loans at any time.

How will the interest rate be determined?

Fixed Rates. The interest rate for a fixed rate parent loan depends on your credit profile and the length of repayment term that you select for the loan. The rate will remain constant for the life of the loan, except for periods where you may take advantage of the Auto-Pay Discount.

Variable Rates. Variable Rate is equal to the ”Rate Index” as described below plus the margin. The Variable Rate may change on the first day of the calendar month after the Rate Index is determined (a “Change Date”). In no event will the Variable Rate exceed 9.90%. A change in the Variable Rate will cause the monthly payment amount to change.

Rate Index. The Rate Index will be the One-Month LIBOR that was published in The Wall Street Journal “Money Rates” table on the twenty-fifth (25th) day (or if such a day is not a business day, the next business day thereafter) of the month immediately preceding the Change Date. For example, the Rate Index that will be used on the Change Date of April 1 will be the Rate Index that was published on March 25. The Rate Index will be in effect for each monthly period from the Change Date through and including the last day of the calendar month. The Rate Index will be rounded to two decimal places (eg. 5.755% to 5.76% and 5.753% to 5.75%).

Please visit our Parent Loan Rates & Terms for more information about our interest rate options.

Should I choose a fixed interest rate or variable interest rate loan?

Whether you choose a fixed or variable interest rate really depends on your particular financial situation.

Do you offer a reduction in interest rates for automatic payments?

Yes, we offer a 0.25% rate reduction (the "Auto-Pay Discount") when you sign up with your loan servicer to have your payments automatically drafted from your bank account. Failure to make payments may result in the loss of the 0.25% Auto-Pay Discount. You may requalify for the Auto-Pay Discount upon reauthorization of automatic payments from a valid bank account. The Auto-Pay Discount will not apply during periods of deferment or forbearance. Once your loan disburses, you may contact your loan servicer, Firstmark Services, to enroll in this program.

Certifying the Cost of Attendance

What is the Cost of Attendance?

As defined by Congress, the Cost of Attendance is an estimate of the cost to attend a particular school for one academic year. The Cost of Attendance includes tuition and fees; on-campus room and board (or a housing and food allowance for off-campus students); and allowances for books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, and if applicable, dependent care. It can also include other expenses like an allowance for the rental or purchase of a personal computer, costs related to a disability, or costs for eligible study-abroad programs.

Where can I find the Cost of Attendance?

The Cost of Attendance is determined, specifically for your situation, by the school your student is attending, and may be obtained from the school's financial aid office.

What is a Private Education Loan Self Certification?

During the application process, you will be required to complete and certify a Private Education Loan Self Certification. This is a list of the Cost of Attendance as well as other financial aid that has been awarded on the student's behalf. It is used to help promote awareness of the amount you are borrowing, as well as to help prevent borrowers from borrowing more than the total cost of attendance.

What is the School Certification Process?

In addition to the Private Education Loan Self-Certification, the school will certify certain information related to your student's enrollment. We will obtain the school certification from the school as a part of the application process. The school your student is attending must certify that:

  • the loan amount does not exceed the cost of attendance minus other financial aid received,
  • the loan period which the loan covers,
  • your student's enrollment status,
  • your student's grade level,
  • your student's expected graduation date,
  • the disbursement dates, and
  • the individual disbursement amounts if the loan has multiple disbursement dates.

What happens if a school certifies an amount which differs from the requested loan amount?

Sometimes the school may certify an amount that is different than the loan amount that you request. If the amount the school certifies is higher than the amount you request, the certification will cover the lower amount that you have requested and the loan will be approved for the lower amount that you requested.

If the school certifies an amount less than the amount you have requested, but is within the program limits, the loan amount will be adjusted to match the amount the school certifies. This adjustment will be evident when you receive your Final Approval Disclosure as part of the loan process.

If the school certifies an amount less than the program minimum ($1,000), the loan will be denied.

Applying For a Loan

Who is originating my loan?

Brazos loans are originated by Brazos Education Lending Corporation. Firstmark Services, a division of Nelnet, is the processor for Brazos originations. When you click "Apply Now" to apply for a Brazos loan, you will leave the website and be taken to the Firstmark Services loan origination website for the processing of your application.

Does applying for a loan affect my credit score?

Yes, the application process involves a “hard credit pull” which may affect your credit score. The hard credit pull will not affect the benefiting student's credit score. We strive to provide transparent pricing. Visit our Find My Rate to see what rates are available if you qualify for a loan.

What do I need to apply?

You will need:

  • Proof of Texas residency (a state ID or Driver’s License),
  • Your social security number,
  • Your student's social security number and date of birth, and the name of the school at which your student is enrolled,
  • The Cost of Attendance as well as the amount of other financial aid you or your student has been awarded,
  • Your permanent address,
  • Proof of income (depending upon your sources of income, this may be your two most recent pay stubs, 1099 Forms, or your most recent tax return), and
  • One reference who is not a cosigner on the loan nor the benefiting student.

How long does it take to receive my Brazos Parent Loan?

Once you apply, most people receive an instant decision regarding pre-qualification. If pre-approved, you will then be asked to upload documents to verify income, cost of attendance, and residence. We estimate the entire process may take a few weeks. Having the documentation ready when you apply will help speed up the process.

Repaying Your New Student Loan

When does repayment begin?

Repayment on your loan begins approximately 30 days after the final disbursement. For example, if your school has scheduled two disbursement dates for the loan, one in September and one in January, your repayment period would begin approximately 30 days after the January disbursement. If your school has only scheduled one disbursement, repayment will begin approximately 30 days after that disbursement. The timing and schedule of disbursements are determined by the school.

When does interest capitalize?

Interest which accrues prior to the final disbursement of the loan, if unpaid, will capitalize and be added to the principal balance of the loan upon entering repayment. Interest will also capitalize subsequently upon re-entering repayment after any period of forbearance.

Can I pay interest on the loan before the loan is fully disbursed?

Yes, you may pay interest on the loan prior to full disbursement. This can help prevent interest from being capitalized and added to the principal balance of the loan at the time the loan is fully disbursed.

Who will service my student loans?

Brazos Parent Loans are serviced by Firstmark Services, a division of Nelnet.

How do I set up payments for my new loan?

Instructions for registering your online account will be provided to you by Firstmark Services. Once registered, you will be able to log in online and setup payments.

Is my interest deductible for tax purposes?

Tax questions are complex and you should consult your own tax advisor to answer this question. However, Brazos loans are considered student loans for federal and state tax considerations. You may or may not be eligible for deducting interest on your student loans depending on your individual situation.

Do you offer graduated or income-sensitive repayment options?

No, our loans begin repayment approximately 30 days after final disbursement. Brazos Parent Loan repayment features are different from the federal Direct PLUS loans. You can learn more about repayment options on Direct Loans by visiting Federal Student Aid.21

What if I am having trouble repaying my loan?

Under certain circumstances, including for economic hardship, you may be eligible for loan forbearance. In this case, you may temporarily postpone making monthly loan payments for a specific period of time. Three types of payment forbearance described below are available. Please contact your servicer, Firstmark Services, for details.

Economic hardship forbearance

Borrowers are able to defer payment on their loan for 3 months at a time, with a cumulative forbearance length of 12 months.

Military forbearance

Borrowers on active duty may apply to have their loan payments deferred while on active duty. Cumulative military forbearance length of 36 months is available.

Natural Disaster forbearance

Borrowers affected by a natural disaster may request a forbearance of up to 12 months, in 3 month increments.

Interest continues to accrue during periods of forbearance. At the end of the forbearance period, the accrued interest is added to the balance of your student loan and the loan is reamortized to ensure the loan pays off in the applicable repayment term. This could change your monthly payments.

Does the Brazos Parent Loan offer a grace period?

No, the Brazos Parent loan does not include any grace period.

What is the difference between interest rate and APR?

The interest rate is the percentage of the loan amount that is charged for borrowing money. The APR includes not only the interest rate, but also certain other fees charged by the lender, and represents the total cost of borrowing.

Will the loan be placed in default or come immediately due if either I or a cosigner files for bankruptcy?

No, the loan will not be placed in default or be deemed immediately due and payable in full if the primary borrower or cosigner files for bankruptcy.

What happens to the loan if the benefitting student, primary borrower or cosigner dies?

We do not accelerate the debt upon death of any party and we do not pursue the estate of a deceased individual.

If the benefitting student dies, the loan is forgiven as to all parties on the loan.

If the primary borrower on the loan dies, and there is no cosigner, the loan is forgiven. If the primary borrower on the loan dies, and there is a cosigner, the primary borrower on the loan is removed and the cosigner is responsible for repayment of the loan for the remainder of the repayment term. If the cosigner dies, the cosigner is removed from the loan, and the borrower continues to be responsible for repayment on the loan for the remainder of the repayment term.

BRAZOS RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. Brazos loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to eligibility requirements and underwriting guidelines. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed in this website and will depend on a variety of factors, including whether your loan has a fixed or variable interest rate, the term of the loan and your credit score. Rates and Terms are subject to change at any time without notice. Brazos loans are originated by Brazos Education Lending Corporation.

None of the information contained in this website constitutes a recommendation, solicitation or offer by Brazos or Brazos Higher Education to buy or sell any securities or other financial instruments or other assets or provide any investment advice or service.

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