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 http://www.studentaid.ed.gov/.
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 https://studentaid.ed.gov/fafsa/filling-out/dependency#dependent-or-independent
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:
* 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).
When should I apply?
For the 2016/17 academic year, you can apply for federal aid between 1st January 2016 and 30th June 2017, 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 21st January 2016. Please note, the 2016/17 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.
*The graduate aggregate limit includes all federal loans received for undergraduate study.
Direct PLUS Loans
**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 2016/17 academic year.
For undergraduates, the cost of attendance is based on 36 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 at http://www.studentloans.gov/.
When do I repay the loans?
Details of various repayment plans that are available can be found at https://www.studentaid.ed.gov/repay-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
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 (email@example.com) 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:
* 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 https://studentaid.ed.gov/eligibility/staying-eligible#meet-basic-criteria.
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.
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.
* 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 the Student Administration Division at email@example.com or on +44 (0)23 9284 3429 / +44 (0)23 9284 3492. Alternatively you can visit us at Academic Registry, Ground Floor, University House, Winston Churchill Avenue, Portsmouth, PO1 2UP, United Kingdom.
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.