Will bad credit or bankruptcy keep me from taking out a Parent PLUS loan for my child to go to college?

Yes.

One of the requirements for being approved for a Parent PLUS student loan is that the applicant not have an "adverse credit history." The Department of Education has just made "credit check" requirements to go into effect on March 29, 2015.

The new rules say that the Department will consider whether an applicant has an adverse credit history if the prospective borrower:

1. has one or more debts with a total outstanding balance greater than $2,085;

2. has debts that are 90 or more days delinquent as of the date of the credit report; or

3. has debts that have been placed in collection or charged off as defined in the regulations during the two year preceding the date of the credit report OR

4. if the applicant has been the subject of a default determination, bankruptcy discharge, foreclosure, repossession, tax lien, wage garnishment, or write-off of a federal student loan debt during the five years preceding the date of the credit report. 

Not having a credit history won't keep someone from qualifying for a PLUS loan. Also an applicant may still qualify for a PLUS loan even if they have adverse credit histories, if they can obtain an endorser (co-signer) who does not have an adverse credit history, or prove to the DOE's satisfaction that there are extenuating circumstances.