What is a U.S. Federal Loan?

If you are an American national or permanent resident you can apply for a loan if you have accepted an offer of a place at the University of Portsmouth (UoP). We are an eligible Federal Loan institution and our school code is G21159. For further information, visit the Student Aid website.

What types of loan do they offer?

The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, offers low-interest direct loans to eligible students to help cover costs whilst studying here at the University of Portsmouth. Eligible students borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education. The Direct Loan Program offers the following types of loan:

Subsidized Loan - Subsidized loans are for undergraduate students with financial need. We will review the results of your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and determine the amount you can borrow. You are not charged interest while you are in school at least half-time and during grace periods and deferment periods, as the U.S. Department of Education pays the interest during these times.

Unsubsidized Loan – Unsubsidized loans are for undergraduate and graduate students, and you are not required to demonstrate financial need. Like subsidized loans, the University will determine the amount you can borrow. Interest accrues (accumulates) on an unsubsidized loan from the time it’s first paid out. You can pay the interest whilst you are at University and during grace periods and deferment or forbearance periods, or you can allow it to accrue and be capitalized (that is, added to the principal amount of your loan). If you choose not to pay the interest as it accrues, this will increase the total amount you have to repay because you will be charged interest on a higher principal amount.

Parent PLUS Loan – Parent PLUS loans are unsubsidized loans for parents of dependent undergraduate students, to help pay their child's education expenses, as long as certain eligibility requirements are met. Should the parents of a dependent undergraduate student not be eligible for a PLUS loan, the student may be eligible for additional unsubsidized loans. Interest is charged during all periods.

Grad PLUS Loan – Grad PLUS loans are unsubsidized loans for graduate and professional degree students, to help cover education expenses. Interest is charged during all periods.

To find out if you are a dependent or independent undergraduate student please visit the Student Aid website.

Am I eligible for a U.S. Federal loan?

If you wish to apply for any of the loans outlined above you cannot choose to study on the following program types:

  • Non-degree programs e.g. CertED, CertHE, HND
  • Distance learning programs
  • Part-time programs
  • Programs with a taught element offered at a non-UoP site 
  • Programs with a compulsory study abroad or placement year*

 * You can study on programs with an optional study abroad or placement year; however you cannot undertake the study abroad or placement year. Please note, once in receipt of federal aid you will not be allowed to undertake the study abroad or placement year if you later decide that you would like to do so.

How can I apply?

To apply, you (or your child, in the case of parent borrowers) must first complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

  1. Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid to generate the essential Student Aid Report. (A PDF or paper form is also available if required).
  2. Using your unique PIN, log onto Student Loans and complete the Entrance counselling, a tool to ensure you understand your obligation to repay the loan. This process should take about 30 minutes to complete.
  3. Using your unique PIN, log onto Student Loans and sign the Master Promissory Note (MPN), agreeing to the terms of the loan. This process should take about 30 minutes to complete.
  4. Email directloan@port.ac.uk to notify us that you wish to participate in the Direct Loan Program. (We will not know you are making a genuine application, or know how much you wish to borrow until you send us the information we need)

When should I apply?

For the 2019/20 academic year, you can apply for federal aid between 1st January 2019 and 30th June 2020, however it is recommended that you apply as soon as you can.

You will need to apply for these loans on an annual basis.

Any application being received within a month of the course start date cannot be guaranteed to be processed in time for the start of the course or to provide the required documentation for any Visa.

How much can I borrow?

The tables below show the amounts of different loans students can borrow each year, the total aggregate limit, any loan fee and interest rates. Amounts and rates are correct as of 3rd July 2019.  Please Note: the 2019/20 interest rates are yet to be confirmed by the U.S Department of Education.  We will update this table as soon as they become available. 

Direct Loans

Course Type

Course Year

Sub Loan

Unsub Loan

Combined Loan Total

Aggregate Limits

Loan Fee



- Dependent





Sub: $23,000

Combined: $31,000

Sub/Unsub: 1.062%

Sub/Unsub: 5.05%










- Independent





Sub: $23,000

Combined: $57,500

Sub/Unsub: 1.062%

Sub/Unsub: 5.05%









Graduate/ Professional

Each Year




Sub: $65,500 *

Combined: $138,500

Unsub: 1.062%

Unsub: 6.60%

*The graduate aggregate limit includes all federal loans received for undergraduate study.

Direct PLUS Loans

Course Type

Course Year

Loan Limits

Loan Fee


Parent/Grad PLUS**

Each Year

Cost of attendance (determined by the school) minus any other financial aid



**Parent/Grad PLUS Loans are intended to cover any remaining costs of attendance the student has, up to the cost of attendance set by the University. Private loans are also available for this reason.

What is the cost of attendance?

The cost of attendance includes tuition fees and living costs and is set by the University. Below is a guide to the cost of attendance you can expect for our University for the 2019/20 academic year. 

Tuition Fees

Most course fees are up to £15,900, however there are some courses with higher fees e.g. Master of Business Administration, so please check the fee for your course.


£169 per week


£40 per week

Utility Bills

£15 per week

Travel to/from University

£15 per week

Personal (e.g Phonecard, toiletries)

£13 per week


£40 per week

 T.V. Licence

£155 per year

Study Materials (incl. Laptop)

£900 per year 

Travel to/from U.S.

£1,700 per year 

For undergraduates, the cost of attendance is based on 39 weeks of study.
For postgraduates, the cost of attendance is based on 52 weeks of study.

When will the funds be disbursed?

We will request that loans are disbursed in three instalments in accordance with U.S. laws. The first disbursements will be requested to be available for when you have registered for the start of the relevant academic year. The subsequent instalments will be available at the start of each study period (January and April).

Should you apply late, your first instalment may not be available for the start of the year.

Please note that the first and last disbursements will not be issued without prior completion of Entrance and Exit counselling respectively, which can be found on the Student Loans website.

When do I repay the loans?

Details of various repayment plans that are available can be found on the Student Aid website.

Direct Loans

After you graduate, leave school, or drop below half time enrolment, you will have a six month grace period before you are required to begin payment.

Direct PLUS Loans

Your PLUS loan enters repayment once your loan is fully disbursed (paid out).

Parent PLUS Loans - Your parents can contact their loan servicer to request a deferment whilst you are enrolled at least half time and for an additional six months after you cease to be enrolled at least half time.

Grad PLUS Loans - If you are a graduate or professional student, your loan will be placed into deferment while you are enrolled at least half time and for an additional six months after you cease to be enrolled at least half time.

If your loan is deferred, interest will accrue on the loan during the deferment. You may choose to pay the accrued interest or allow the interest to capitalize when the deferment period ends.

Remaining Eligible for Federal Aid

To remain eligible to continue receiving federal aid, you must meet certain criteria as follows:

  • Remain in Portsmouth for the full duration of your course (excluding vacations), including any dissertation period.
  • Continue to meet the ‘Basic Eligibility Criteria’
  • Make ‘Satisfactory Academic Progress’
  • Fill out the ‘Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)’ each year

Remain in Portsmouth for the full duration of your course (excluding vacations), including any dissertation period

You are required to remain in Portsmouth for the full duration of your course due to the fact that you have applied to receive federal aid for this period of time. Any interruption in studies or short term leave of absence must be approved by the Direct Loan Team (directloan@port.ac.uk) prior to any change in your registration status being permitted. 

Continue to meet the ‘Basic Eligibility Criteria'

The basic eligibility criteria that allow you to get federal aid apply from when you complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and throughout the time you are receiving aid. Please visit the Federal Student Aid website for a list of ‘Basic Eligibility Criteria’.

Make ‘Satisfactory Academic Progress’

All students must progress satisfactorily towards completion of a chosen academic program in order to remain eligible to receive federal aid. The guidelines below have been established to encourage students to successfully complete the academic program they attend and continue to receive federal aid. A student should:           

  • not exceed 150% of the published time frame for the course and should remain at least half time
  • make satisfactory academic progress *

* The University classifies satisfactory academic progress as a minimum of 40% pass. Exceptions may apply to some courses, including those with accreditation. Satisfactory academic progress will be checked before any loan funds are released to a student.

Fill out the ‘Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)’ each year

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is specific for the year you are applying for aid. Therefore you must complete a new FAFSA for each and every year of study.

For full details on eligibility, please visit Student Aid

Changes to Study

Suspension of Studies

Students who wish to suspend their studies (Leave of Absence) are entitled to do so if approved by the Head of Department/School, however, leaves of absence must not exceed a total of 180 days in any 12 month period including days in which the University is not in session, together with any additional leave of absence. Please contact us for further information if you are thinking of suspending your studies. See our contact details below.


Please note that the U.S. Department of Education’s repayment policy on withdrawals and suspensions differs from the University’s tuition fee policy. Both policies will be taken into account should you withdraw.

In the event that you withdraw at any time your fees will be calculated according to payment liability periods in accordance with the University’s tuition fee policy which can be found at ‘Where can I find tuition fee policies and procedures?’.

In the event you withdraw within the first 60% of any particular study period (payment liability period), we will return any ‘unearned’ aid funds to the Department of Education in accordance with their repayment policy, on withdrawals and suspensions.

Any ‘unearned’ aid (i.e. any funds that you are not entitled to, due to an early withdrawal) will be deducted from any possible refund that would have been paid to you in accordance with the University’s refund policy. Should the ‘unearned’ aid amount be more than you were due to be refunded, this could result in additional costs being charged to you.

Consumer Information

Please see below links to key consumer information for students participating in the Direct Loan Program.  If required, further University strategies, policies, procedures and codes can be found in the online Document Warehouse.

  • Academic Programmes Available at the UoP 
    • For information about the University’s academic programmes please refer to the courses webpage on our website.
  • Code of Conduct for Education Loans
    • The University expects any of its employees who have responsibilities with respect to U.S. loans to abide by a code of conduct, which prohibits:
      • revenue-sharing arrangements with any lender; 
      • receiving gifts from a lender, a guarantor, or a loan servicer;
      • contracting arrangements providing financial benefit from any lender or affiliate of a lender; 
      • directing borrowers to particular lenders* or refusing or delaying loan certifications; 
      • offers of funds for private loans; 
      • call centre or financial aid office staffing assistance; and
      • advisory board compensation.

* If you are applying for a private U.S. student loan the University will work with, in most cases, whichever private lender you decide to use, if they are willing to work with us. Please note that we are only aware of one lender currently offering such loans, which is Sallie Mae. Sallie Mae is not a preferred lender and this does not represent a preferred lender arrangement.

  • Textbook Information
    • Information about any required and recommended textbooks for your course will be provided to you by your department. Should you require specific information about textbooks, please contact the relevant department for advice.
  • Vaccinations Policy
    • For information regarding student health and well-being, including vaccination information, please refer to the health and well-being icon on our MyPort.
  • Withdrawing and Return of Title IV Policy
    • If a student who receives Title IV funding withdraws, interrupts for more than 180 days, or drops below half time attendance the University will follow the requirements of returning funds laid down by the U.S. Department of Education.  For further information please refer to the University’s Return of Title IV Funds guidance.

Additional Loans Available

In addition to Direct/Direct PLUS Loans, students can also apply for a private loan to help cover the remainder of their cost of attendance. The only private loan that we are aware of, which is currently available to students at foreign schools, is the Smart Loan from Sallie Mae.

To apply for a Smart Loan, and find details of repayment options and interest rates, please visit Sallie Mae at: https://www.salliemae.com/.

Once you have applied online, please send a signed self-certification form to the lender, and your e-signed Promissory Note to directloan@port.ac.uk, so that we can then approve the loan if applicable.

Enquiries or additional information

If you have any further enquiries regarding the Direct Loan Program please contact Student Administration Services at directloan@port.ac.uk or on +44 (0)23 9284 3429 / +44 (0)23 9284 3492.

Please note: If you will be receiving loan funds to cover your living expenses, please remember that you will not receive your first disbursement until on or around the first day of the start of your course. You must plan ahead and ensure that you have enough money to live on from when you arrive in the UK until this date.

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