Information for Prospective Students
U.S. Student Financial Aid at UCL
William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program (Direct Loans)
UCL participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program (Direct Loans). This is the main U.S Federal funding available to U.S students in the UK. UCL’s Direct Loan federal code is G06695 (or 00669500), we are listed as University of London: University College.
Please follow the instructions below to apply for Direct Loans at UCL.
We will not know you wish to apply for Direct Loans until you submit an application to the Student Funding Office at UCL.
We will be taking applications for 2014/2015 from May 2014.
Programme eligibility for Direct Loans
Most degree programmes at UCL are eligible for Direct Loans, however some are not.
Ineligible programmes include all non-degree programmes; programmes with any element of
distance learning; programmes based in the UCL Medical School, and most programmes
with a taught element offered at non-UCL sites. This includes most UCL degrees with a year studied abroad.
Students will not be eligible for Federal Direct Loans whilst on any part of a programme based in the U.S,
including study leave, with the exception of the writing-up period of a PhD.
Due to the large number of courses offered by UCL it is your responsibility to ensure that the Student Funding Office is made aware of any element of your course which may contravene the US federal regulations. See the Terms and Conditions tab for further details.
Accommodation at UCL
Please note that there is an early deadline for applying for student accommodation at UCL. See the UCL Student Accommodation web pages for details.
1.1 Calculating Your Cost of Attendance
The Cost of Attendance (CoA) is the amount of money a student needs to pay their tuition fees, living expenses and course materials for an academic year.
The living expenses and course materials are up to a maximum of £18,770 for full-time graduates (52 weeks), £14,530 for full-time undergraduates (39 weeks).
Most students will need a combination of loans (Subsidised, Unsubsidised and PLUS loans) to cover the full CoA. Students studying less than full time will be eligible for a corresponding percentage of the living and course material costs.
The weekly breakdown of living and course costs are as follows:
Accommodation (on/off campus)
Travel (excl. flights)
Clothes / Personal
|Phone and Internet||
|Computing supplies (laptop / printer etc)||£10|
|International Flights (return tickets x 2)||
The Loans Fees are deducted at source by the US Dept of Education and you can borrow an amount to cover them. We will calculate this amount and add it to your Direct PLUS loan if you request it in your application.
1.3 Expected Family Contribution
The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is based on the information you provided in the FAFSA about you or your family’s income for the year prior to the year for which you are requesting the loan. This is the amount of funding that the U.S Department of Education expects you and your family to contribute towards funding your studies. The EFC only affects the Direct Subsidised loan eligibility.
1.4 Estimated Financial Assistance
The Estimated Financial Aid (EFA) is any other institutional funding you are expecting to receive to fund your studies. This includes scholarships, grants, bursaries (except Veterans Affairs Benefits). You are required to inform the UCL Student Funding Office about any institutional funding you have secured for your studies at UCL.
1.5 Loan Entitlement
The following formulas are used to calculate loan entitlements:
|Direct Subsidised Loan eligibility||= CoA – (EFC + EFA)*|
|Direct Unsubsidised Loan eligibility||= CoA - EFA (inc. Direct Subsidised Loan)*|
|Direct PLUS Loan eligibility||= CoA – EFA (inc. Direct Subsidised, Unsubsidised and any other expected funding)|
*Within maximum annual and aggregate loan borrowing limits.
1.6 Workout your own estimated CoA
Using the CoA Calculator you can calculate your own estimate CoA. You will need your tuition fee rate (available here) . Please note: living costs cannot exceed the limits mentioned above. Medical costs and additional course costs can be added if evidence is provided. These can be added at any time during the academic year if necessary.
UCL will start processing 2014/2015 Direct Loan applications in May 2014. We will not know you have applied for Direct Loans until you submit your application pack to the UCL Student Funding Office.
Please follow the step-by-step instructions below in order to make an application:
2.1 Complete Your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
You will need to complete the FAFSA, this can be done online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. You will need the following information to successfully complete the application:
- A Federal Student Aid PIN. For queries contact Federal Student Aid PIN;
- Your Social Security Number;
- Your tax return (if you filed one);
- Your parents’ income tax return for the past year (dependent students only);
- UCL’s Federal School Code G06695 (or 00669500).
After the U.S. Department of Education processes your FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). Please retain the SAR for your records and be prepared to provide it to us if we ask.
2.2 Master Promissory Notes
Each year a Master Promissory Note (MPN) must be completed for the Direct Subsidised/Unsubsidised Loan and another, separate MPN for the Direct PLUS Loan. MPNs completed for other schools and previous school years are invalid. Please complete the MPN electronically via the U.S Student Loans website. To complete a Direct Loan MPN electronically you must have your Federal Student Aid PIN. After you complete your MPN(s), please send us a PDF copy in your application pack.
2.3 Entrance Counseling
You must complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling the first time you take out a Direct Loan. You can complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling electronically via the U.S Student Loans website, you will need your Federal Student Aid PIN. After you complete your entrance counseling, please send us a copy of the notification with your application pack.
2.4 PLUS Loan and Credit Check
To request a PLUS loan please complete the Direct PLUS request electronically via the U.S Student Loans website, you will need your Federal Student Aid PIN. After you complete your Direct PLUS Request, the U.S Department of Education will conduct the credit check and notify you of the results. Please enclose the notification of outcome of the credit check letter in your application pack.
Please note that we cannot guarantee to process your application within the 90 days validity of the credit check, so you might be required to request a new one, or one might be automatically requested for you. This credit check will determine your eligibility for a Direct PLUS loan. If you are required to find an Endorser, you will need to send us the Endorser Addendum and the endorser's SSS. You may also need to complete a new Direct PLUS MPN.
2.5 Application Pack to send to UCL
Please download and complete the Direct Loan Cover Sheet. If you wish to borrow the maximum amount available to you, please enter 'maximum' in the relevant amount sections (section 3).
In section 2 we need you to give us the US Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) Code of your intended course. You can search for it on the CIP User Site here. Find the code which closest matches the subject of your intended course.
You must include the following documents in your application pack as PDF files:
- Direct Loan Cover Sheet;
- Copy of Entrance Counseling completion report;
- Copy of MPN for each loan (for example - if you are applying for the Sub/Unsub loan and the PLUS loan you will need to include a copy of both MPNs);
- Copy of PLUS loan credit check notification (PLUS loan applicants only).
Please email the above documents to firstname.lastname@example.org and use the subject line "Direct Loan Application Pack"
Incomplete applications will not be processed and you will be asked to submit a new complete application pack.
2.6 UCL's Confirmation to you
After we review your application for a Direct Loan, we will contact you by email confirming the loans available to you. We will then issue you with a Notification of Student Loans letter, which has been approved by the UK Border Agency as proof of student funding for visa purposes. If required at all, only the original copy will be acceptable. The letter will detail the loan funds available to you and the disbursement dates. This letter is only valid for 30 days for visa applications, so we will not send it out until late June. You may wish to check with the UK Border Agency whether you are a "low risk" applicant and so may not be required to provide evidence of adequate funding on application for your visa.
You will also receive a separate letter confirming the same information for your records and a reply slip which you will need to sign and return to the Student Funding Office before your loans can be requested from the U.S Department of Education.
Please note that mail to the US can take up to 3 weeks to arrive.
3.1 Disbursement Dates
Direct Loans are disbursed by the U.S. Department of Education electronically to UCL. The funds will be requested in three equal instalments at the start of each term;
22 September 2014, 12 January 2015 and 27 April 2015. The funds usually take 10 days to arrive at UCL and be ready for disbursement to you.
Please note the first disbursement will not be requested in the first term until you have enrolled at UCL and in subsequent terms until you have completed a Satisfactory Academic Progress report.
3.2 Loan Fees
The U.S. Department of Education applies a 1.072% fee charge on Direct Subsidised and Unsubsidised loans, 4.288% on Direct Plus loans. UCL does not charge any loan fees. UCL’s third party agent Western Union, acts on our behalf receiving the USD loan funds and converts this into the equivalent GBP according to their daily exchange rate.
3.3 Paying Your Tuition Fees
Loan funding will first be used by the Student Fees Office to pay the first third of your tuition fees (U.S. students with Direct Loans are allowed to pay their tuition fees in three instalments at the start of each term). Any credit balance due will be available to you within 10 days, usually three to five working days.
3.4 Receiving Your Living and Course Materials Funding
As loan funds will not be requested until you enrol at UCL, please ensure you have sufficient money to cover your living and course costs until you receive your first loan disbursement. The first refund payment will be made by GBP cheque only, the Student Fees Office will email your UCL email account only when this is available for collection. Further instructions for the second and third payments by bank transfer via our third party agent Western Union will be provided at this point.
Dependent on your bank account, cheques will normally take between three to five working days for funds to clear. Where possible we advise all students to open a UK bank account, so you can have easy access to your funds and avoid any possible bank charges incurred when using your USD bank account in the UK.
The U.S. Department of Education stipulates that the following regulations apply to Direct Loans and certain other federal funds.
Note that these restrictions do not apply to private US student loans e.g. Sallie Mae Smart Option Loans, see the "Other" tab.
The UCL Student Funding Office is responsible for implementing the US Student Financial Aid regulations and all decisions about whether you and your programme are eligible are made solely by the UCL Student Funding Office and communicated directly to you. Funding can be withdrawn at any time if it contravenes federal regulations.
4.1 Satisfactory Academic Progress Review
You must be in good standing and maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) each term according to UCL's Academic Regulations. A Satisfactory Academic Progress review form must be completed and returned by your tutor before the 2nd and 3rd disbursements are released to you. The UCL SAP policy is available here.
Entrance and Exit Counseling must be completed at the appropriate times. All new students who have not received a FFEL Stafford Loan or Direct Loan must complete entrance counseling prior to any funds being requested from the U.S. Department of Education. All final-year students must complete exit counseling in their last term at UCL. If students withdraw early from their programme, they must complete exit counseling and any unearned funding must be returned to the U.S. Department of Education.
4.3 Programmes ineligible for US federal loans
Most degree programmes at UCL are eligible for Direct Loans, however some are not.
Due to the large number of courses offered by UCL it is your responsibility to ensure that the Student Funding Office is notified of any element of your course which may contravene the US federal regulations. To do this you should check with the Course Contact or Course Director precisely how your course is delivered with reference to the conditions described here and report it to the Student Funding Office for them to adjudicate.
Ineligible programmes include:
- all non-degree programmes,
- programmes with any element of distance learning; programmes based in the UCL Medical School,
- most programmes with a taught element offered at non-UCL sites. This includes most UCL degrees with a year studied abroad. The only exception to this rule is where the non-UCL site is itself certified to offer Direct Loans.
Study in the US
Any student on a programme based in the U.S. will not be eligible for Direct Loans.
Any unit of a programme based in the U.S. will make the student ineligible for Direct Loans for that duration.
Graduate research students on study leave based in the U.S. are not eligible for Direct Loans.
The only exception to this federal regulation is that PhD students can spend a year in the U.S. whilst in CRS (i.e. writing up).
Students on a course which has any element offered as "distance learning" will not be eligible to receive federal loans or Veterans Affairs benefits (i.e. G.I. Bill). Examples of distance learning are where your enrolment status is "non-resident", or where teaching is carried out by telecommunications rather than in person.
Study at another institution
If your programme at UCL includes any study element at an institution outside UCL which is not certified by the US Department of Education to offer Direct Loans your entire programme is ineligible for Direct Loans.
4.4 Course Duration
Students must complete their programme within a study time frame of no longer than 150% of the published length of the course. Periods of interruption of study (authorised leave of absence) are not included.
4.5 Changes to Enrolment Status
If there are any changes to your enrolment status (e.g. if you withdraw, interrupt, or change your intensity of study (full time / part time) you must immediately inform the UCL Student Funding Office directly. This will affect your loan eligibility and we will need to re-calculate your Cost of Attendance based on your new student status. If you withdraw early from your programme you must complete exit counseling and any unearned funding must be returned to the U.S. Department of Education according to their guidelines. The policy on returning US loan funds is available here.
If you interrupt for more than 180 days we must report you as being withdrawn for US Loans purposes. The conditions on your loans for when you are no longer studying will then come into play. If you subsequently return to education your loan can be reinstated from that point.
4.6 Additional Funding
Students are required to inform the Student Funding Office of any additional institutional funding (expected or received) before and after their student loan entitlement is calculated. This includes scholarships, grants or bursaries but excludes your own funds or gifts/loans from family. Please email email@example.com with any such information.
4.7 Borrowers Right to Cancel
Students will be notified by email 30 days before each loan disbursement is requested, and have 14 days to change/cancel any expected loan disbursements. After this period has expired students will be responsible for returning any unwanted funds to either the U.S. Department of Education or the Loan Servicer.
5.1 Deferment of an Existing Loan
If you are enrolled in full/half-time study, you can defer
your outstanding student loans. We automatically submit enrolment
data to the National Student Clearinghouse and National Student
Loan Data System (NSLDS) who confirm student enrolment to all loan
servicers. If you still require a deferment form to be completed, please
request a deferment form from your Loan Servicer and submit it to the
Student Funding Office by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note deferment forms will not be signed until you are enrolled at UCL.
5.2 Loan Repayment, Grace Periods and Consolidating Loans
- Advice from the US Department of Education on what happens with your loans when you are no longer studying.
5.3 Useful websites:
- Direct Loans information and guide
- Apply for Federal Student Loans
- UCL: UK Visas Information
- UCL: Information for prospective international students
6.1 Other Sources of Funding:
are student loans for provided by a private, non-federal, lenders.
There are many US private lenders but very few will lend to students
studying outside the US. You can check if your state has a non-federal
student loans agency which can lend to students abroad. A private
company which US students studying at UCL have used recently is Sallie Mae.
UCL has no affiliation with and receives no financial incentives from Sallie Mae or any other private lender.
The lending terms for federal loans may be preferable to private loans. See the Dept of Education website for a guide.
Our role in the private loans process is to confirm your Cost of Attendance and certify your enrolment. A copy of your loan certification form will be available from us on request.
Your academic department will issue you with lists of recommended reading for each module, there are no required book purchases.
Federal loan and Tuition Fee refund policies
Effect on federal funding of drug related convictions
If you are convicted of a drug related offence whilst receiving federal student aid you could lose your eligibility for that funding. Further details can be found on the Dept of Education website.
Unauthorised distribution of
copyrighted material may be subject to civil and criminal liabilities. This includes copyright infringement using on-line peer to peer file sharing.
You can find details of UCL's policy on copyright protection and the possible consequences of infringement here.
You can find details of UCL's computer use policy and the possible consequences of infringement here.
Right to review educational records
Each student at UCL will be able to see their educational record on Portico and can approach their department for full details.
Student retention rates and destination data
All student retention and graduate placement data for all UK Universities can be found at the Higher Education Statistics Agency web page: Performance Indicators in Higher Education in the UK
For student retention rates see: Tables T3a and T5 (for the methodology click here)
For leaver's employment destinations see: Table E1
(for the methodology click here)
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7679 0004
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7679 2724
Location: Student Funding, Room G19, UCL Student & Registry Services,
South Wing, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, Bloomsbury campus. Our office visiting hours are between 10am-4pm Monday to Friday.
All US Student Financial Aid is regulated by US federal laws enforced by the US Department of Education. The UCL Student Funding Office is responsible for the implementation of these regulations and has little or no discretion therein.
UCL makes no guarantee that US Student Financial Aid once approved will not be removed in full at any time either by action of the US Department of Education or by UCL in implementing US federal regulations.
Not all UCL programmes are eligible for Direct Loans; these include, but is not limited to, non-degree programmes, programmes offered at non-UCL sites and programmes based in the UCL Medical School. Students on any programme based in the U.S, any unit of a programme based in the U.S, on study leave based in the U.S, are not eligible for Direct Loans.
Page last modified on 05 dec 14 13:54 by Daniel Newcombe
*NOTE: All scholarship and student funding schemes are subject to availability of funds, and details given here are subject to change at any time. Potential applicants are urged to check information regularly to ensure they are aware of current procedures, deadlines etc.