Would anyone that decided to take private over the PLUS loans please let us know if it worked out to your advantage?
Also - does anyone know how home equity lines work? I've never had to take out student loans before, so all of this is new to me. When I was talking to my mom about the PLUS vs. private loans, she offered to do an equity line on her house. I have no clue if that is a good/bad idea...
That's kind of a broad question.
Home equity lines of credit (HELOC) typically have variable interest rates. Some programs are offering a rate of prime. The advantage of a heloc is that you only pay interest on what you owe, so your parents wouldn't have to advance the money until you need it, and they wouldn't have to pay interest while the money just sits there waiting for you to use it. The payments on these types of loans are almost always interest only for a term, and then they change into a payback period after 5, 7, or 10 years etc.
They could also do a fixed second mortgage on their home equity. The advantage is that you'd get a fixed rate of around 6-7%, but your parents would get all the money up front in a lump sum. They would have to pay interest on all the money the whole time.
If you have more specific questions let me know.