Well yikes. There's other concerns here - not the fee at all.
Federal loans are far superior to private loans because you get a ton of benefits. With Parent PLUS Loans, you can still get some access to income-driven repayment, loan forgiveness plans, and if you had one over the last 18 months, your loan would have been completely paused at 0% interest and $0 payments. You will never get that with a private loan.
But... we never recommend Parent PLUS Loans. Why? It's the parent's loan - the child/student has no responsibility to the debt. This is bad news a lot of the time. Read our article on it here: Parent PLUS Loans - What To Know.
So, if you're down to just private vs. Parent PLUS, then yes, private may be better. But I think the actual conversation needs to be on total cost of college - if you're spending $80,000 or more in total, the chance of a positive ROI outcome on your future salary is low unless you're going into medicine.
With that in mind, the tougher conversation needs to be about transferring to a better school to achieve a better outcome.
With that in mind, you should rarely (if ever) get a private student loan. They should be the last resort after all Federal loans and other financial aid are exhausted. And even at that point, you need to really assess the ROI (return on investment) of the cost of college. Just like any other type of debt, if you spend too much, you're going to suffer financially for a lifetime (or at least a few decades).
There are a few companies that offer student loans without a cosigner, but you're trying to close a big gap - and the total spend has me worried.
You're going to borrow $21,000 per year (so $84,000 total) to go to college? That's not going to be good for you after you graduate. There's not many jobs that will provide an entry-level salary that will allow you to pay back these loans.
The rule of thumb for borrowing student loans is to never borrow more than you expect to make in your first year after graduation.
So, what can you do? You need to re-assess your path and funding options. Maybe you defer a year, go to community college and knock out a bunch of basic courses for cheap, and also save money/apply for scholarships. Then go back for years 2-4. That will reduce your expenses a ton and get you ahead.
Honestly, as you said, it's their debt, not yours. And if they consolidated it and mixed it all up with your husbands siblings, how are you planning to sort that out.
There's no real financial advice here to help, but maybe some personal advice.
I'd simply take care of your own debt first. Then, I'd sit them down (only if you want to), and say we'd help with husband's share of the debt, you need to come clean about your finances. No more hiding. If you want the help, that's the offer. If you don't want the help, that's the end of it.
You might remind them that everything is going to come to light at some point - whether now by choice, or when they're older (due to inability to manage their own money), or when they're dead. It's so much easier to work on things now when they're alive, but too many parents make it hard on their kids. You need to gently explain to them that you're not judging, and it's better to work on it now than later. They don't have anything you won't eventually know, so why hide it?
It usually posts on your credit report within a week or so. Yes, it will likely raise your score, but remember, you still have late payments and other factors holding you back. It will take time to dramatically raise it.
When you pay off that loan, it will boost it even more.
Only Direct Loans qualify, as well as certain FFEL and Perkins loans that were bought back by the Department of Education during the 2007-2009 financial crisis (this is a very, very small amount of loans).
As such, the 8 million or so borrowers that have FFEL and Perkins loans are left out of all CARES ACt programs.
Sounds like you have an FFEL loan? Basically, 99% of all loans prior to 2009 were FFEL.