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US Loans Terms and Conditions

The US Department of Education stipulates that the following regulations apply to Direct Loans and certain other federal funds.

Please note

These restrictions do not apply to private US student loans (e.g. Sallie Mae Smart Option Loans) see our page on Veterans Benefits and private loans.

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 Funding can be withdrawn at any time if it contravenes federal regulations.

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 academic tutor at the end of each payment period. The UCL SAP policy is available here.

Counseling

Entrance and Exit Counseling must be completed at the appropriate times. All new students who have not received a 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.

Programmes ineligible for US federal loans

Most degree programmes at UCL are eligible for Direct Loans, however, some are not. 

Ineligible programmes include

  • all non-degree programmes (e.g. Graduate Diploma, PGCE)
  • Foundation courses, including the UCL Undergraduate Preparatory Certificate
  • programmes with any element of distance learning
  • programmes based in the UCL Medical School
  • programmes which include an internship period that is not an assessed, credited and/or compulsory part of the programme
  • most programmes with a taught element offered at non-UCL sites
  • programmes which entail study at an institution that is not eligible to certify Title IV funds
  • all programmes entailing a period of study in the US. 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)

A list of currently ineligible courses can be found in the document below:

Please note that this list is continually updated, and that if your programme is not on this list, but falls into one of the ineligible categories above, you will be ineligible for loans. If you would like to check your programme with us please contact us.

Study in the US

Any student on a programme based in the US will not be eligible for Direct Loans.

Any unit of a programme based in the US will make the student ineligible for Direct Loans for the entire course.

Graduate research students on study leave based in the US are not eligible for Direct Loans.

The only exception to this federal regulation is that PhD students can spend a year in the US whilst in CRS (i.e. writing up).

Distance learning

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.  Examples of courses that may be ineligible for funding:

  • MSc Developmental Psychology and Clinical Practice
  • IMESS: International Masters in Economy, State & Society (depending on where you spend your year abroad)
  • Any undergraduate 4-year Study Abroad programme (depending on where you spend your year abroad)

Course Duration

Undergraduate students must complete their programme within a time frame of no longer than 150% of the published length of the course, and postgraduate students within a timeframe in accordance with UCL’s Academic regulations. We will be unable to certify a loan for a longer period, unless exceptional circumstances apply.

Changes to Enrolment Status

If there are any changes to your enrolment status (e.g. if you withdraw or interrupt) 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. 

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 us-cdn-loans@ucl.ac.uk with any such information.

Borrowers' Right to Cancel

Students will be notified by email around 30 days before each loan disbursement is requested, and will have 14 days to change/cancel any expected loan disbursements. After this period has expired students will be responsible for returning any unwanted funds directly to either the US Department of Education or the Loan Servicer.

Entrance Counselling

On top of completing Entrance Counselling, we also request that you take heed of the following:

Please be aware that Subsidised and Unsubsidised federal loans have lifetime limits on how much you can take out. Taking out a Federal loan now might impact your eligibility for taking out loans in the future, because of the reduced limit. Please visit The Student Aid Website for more information about lifetime limits.

In order to take out a federal loan, you will need to have signed a Master Promissory Note. Please visit the Student Aid Webpage on Promissory Notes for more information.

It is very important that you realise the obligation of your loan repayment. Defaulting on a loan repayment can have negative consequences for your finances. Please visit The Student Aid Webpage on Repayment Plans for more information. 

If you receive a federal loan, you are required to repay that loan with interest. Please visit The Student Aid Webpage on Interest Rates for more information about the kinds of interest rates your loan will be subject to.

Borrowers of Unsubsidised loans have the option of paying interest while in school. If you choose not to pay the interest while you are in school and during grace periods and deferment or forbearance periods, your interest will accrue (accumulate) and be capitalized (that is, your interest will be added to the principal amount of your loan). This will be included in the amount you will ultimately repay after your studies.

Most students choose to complete their studies with a full-time enrolment, but some move down to half-time. Half-time enrolment concerns the mode of attendance in which you study at UCL. Half-time enrolment means that you are studying at a rate that will result in a completion of the degree in twice the time of a full-time enrolee. You will still be able to receive federal loans, and be granted deferment on previous loans, if you are half-time. However, dropping below half-time enrolment means you will no longer be eligible for Federal Loans and previous loans you have taken out will move into repayment.

It is very important that you contact the US Loan team if you choose to withdraw from your studies prior to the completion of a program of study. Withdrawing affects your US Loan eligibility.

Please visit The Student Aid Webpage for more information about monthly repayment amounts and samples of this.

The borrower has an obligation to repay the full amount of the loan they take out, regardless of whether the borrower completes the program or completes within the regular time for completion, is unable to obtain employment upon completion, or is otherwise dissatisfied with or does not receive the education or other services the borrower purchased from the school.

If you don’t make your loan repayments, and your loan is delinquent, you risk going into default. Please visit The Student Aid Webpage on Defaults for more information. 

As part of UCL’s responsibilities, we will upload your loan and enrolment information into the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) so that the US Department of Education can notify your loan servicers that you are enrolled at least half-time and therefore not be asked to repay loans during the time of enrolment. If you ever wish to access your record, then please email the US Loans team and we will provide that for you. We can provide a paper copy if requested.

If you have any questions about your rights as a borrower and responsibilities or terms and conditions of the loan, you can contact Shanaz Begum, Josh Du Sautoy, Philippa Johnson and Ben Nicholson in the US Loans team at us-cdn-loans@ucl.ac.uk