This article (link at end of post) does an amazing job of highlighting the problems with parental PLUS loans. Kudos to Rachel Fishman at New America Foundation for nailing this topic so well.
This vignette, which Fishman draws from a piece advocating the loosening of credit standards on PLUS loans, is supposed to create outrage that this parent was denied a PLUS loan:
"Kristina, a senior English major at Claflin University, needed a $10,770 Parent PLUS Loan to finish her senior year; her request was denied. Her single father is doing his best, but he has only a high school education and seven other children to support. Like so many HBCU students, Kristina is looking toward a career of service after graduation, as an officer in the U.S. Air Force."
A single father with only a HS education and 7 kids should take out a loan that is not dischargeable in bankruptcy so his kid can finish college? That's insane.
The solution here is an income-contingent loan for the student whose prospects are so bright - not to place Kristina's dad and six siblings in economic peril.