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Private Loans

Private loans are credit based loans that could be borrowed instead of or in addition to US Federal Direct Loans up to the Cost of Attendance.

Private loans are not part of the US federal loan programme and therefore are not covered by the Federal Student Aid regulations. It is important to understand and consider the terms and conditions of these loans carefully. If there is an option, students should borrow through the federal Direct Loan programme, which includes numerous benefits: fixed interest rates, income-driven repayment plans and are generally more affordable.

The total of all loans taken for the academic year, including private and federal loans, scholarships, and grants cannot exceed the Cost of Attendance.

When to consider a private loan

A private loan may be an option for students who are unable to access US Federal Loans for any of the following reasons:

  • Their course is not eligible for the US Federal Loans funding - check UAL ineligible course list.
  • Independent undergraduate students who are not eligible for a PLUS loan, but require the funds in addition to their subsidised and unsubsidised loans.
  • Students who have reached the aggregate loan limit for Direct Subsidised and Unsubsidised Loans.

Students should always consider borrowing through the Direct Loan program before applying for a private loan. More information on federal versus private student loans can be found on the Federal Student Aid website.

Private loan lenders

Sallie Mae Smart Option Loans are available for US citizens enrolled on eligible courses at UAL.

UAL is willing to work with any private lender who will agree to lend to students studying outside the United States. Presently we work with Sallie Mae, who provides Smart Option Student Loans for undergraduates and their parents as well as graduate students. Further information on eligibility, how to apply, latest interest rates and loan repayment terms, can be found on the Sallie Mae website.

How to apply for a private loan

While each lender has their specific requirements, students will need to take the following steps to apply for a private loan:

  • Email UAL Student Funding Service at to request the Cost of Attendance.
  • Submit their loan application form via the lender’s website and complete Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification.
  • Notify UAL Student Funding Service once the loan has been approved.
  • UAL will approve the loans for students who have accepted their offers on the eligible courses.

Private loan certificate

A private lender will issue a notification letter confirming the approved loan amount and disbursement date.

Please note that UAL is unable to issue a confirmation of the loan for private loans, therefore students have to ensure their lender provides them with one.

Private loan payment schedule

A private loan will be disbursed in a single instalment after student has arrived to UK, enrolled on their course and met all visa and immigration requirements.

  • A private loan payment will be made at the start of the term.
  • If a student has not paid their tuition fees in full prior the start of the course we will deduct the total outstanding tuition fee balance from their private loan.
  • Any remaining funds will be paid to the student as a GBP cheque.
  • Any costs incurred prior to the start of the course (including flights, tuition fee pre-payment, rent and others) in the first instance will need to be covered from the student's personal funds.
  • All students are advised to have sufficient funds available to cover their expenses for the first few weeks of their course.
  • UAL works with a third party foreign exchange provider to process foreign transactions and deliver the loan payments. Loans will be disbursed in USD and converted to GBP using the exchange rate available on the day of conversion. The exchange rates fluctuate daily and are out of the University’s control.