skip to main content

US Federal Loans

UAL participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program which is available to US students enrolled on an eligible undergraduate or graduate courses.

The majority of undergraduate and graduate courses at UAL are eligible for US Federal Direct Loans, however, there are a small number of courses that do not qualify for this funding – check the full list of ineligible courses. US federal loan borrowers have a responsibility to ensure that all the course related work experience, placements, internships or any part of their study takes place outside the US and you must inform the Student Funding Service about any changes immediately.

Which federal loans I can apply for?

There are 3 types of loans available through the Federal Direct Loan Program: Direct Subsidised Loan, Direct Unsubsidised Loan and Direct PLUS Loan.

Direct Subsidised Loans

  • Available to undergraduate students.
  • Subsidised and unsubsidised loan amounts are fixed depending on the year of study, see How much I can borrow section on this page.
  • Interest paid by the US Department of Education while student studies.

Direct Unsubsidised Loans

  • Available to undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Subsidised and unsubsidised loan amounts are fixed depending on the year of study, see How much I can borrow section on this page.
  • Interest charged while in school.

Direct PLUS Loans

  • Available to parents of dependent undergraduate students.
  • Available to graduate/professional students
  • Maximum amount is set by UAL Cost of Attendance
  • Interest charged while in school.

Federal Student Loan fees and interest charges

  • The interest rate varies depending on the loan type and the first disbursement date of the loan.
  • Most federal student loans have loan fees that are a percentage of the total loan amount.
  • The loan fee is deducted proportionately from each loan disbursement you receive.
  • This means the money you receive will be less than the amount you actually borrow.
  • You're responsible for repaying the entire amount you borrowed and not just the amount you received.
  • The information and latest US federal loans interest rates or origination fees are published on the Federal Student Aid website.

Students are advised to consider applying for federal loans first before taking a private loan. Federal and private loans can be compared on the Federal Student Aid website. There might be circumstances where a private loan is a more suitable option, for more information visit UAL Private Loans page.

Am I eligible?

US Federal Loans are available to US citizens and eligible non-citizens with a valid social security number, who have obtained a high school diploma or above and have not defaulted on any previous student loans.

Successful US Federal Direct Loan applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Must be a US citizen or an eligible non-citizen. Information on how to qualify as an eligible non-citizen can be found on the Federal Student Aid website.
  • Enrolled at least half-time on an eligible course, check UAL ineligible course list.
  • Enrolled as a regular student (online, distance learning and Short Courses are not eligible for US Federal Loans).
  • Have a valid Social Security number.
  • Male students are required to be registered with the Selective Service.
  • Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (Satisfactory Academic Progress (PDF 65KB) (SAP).
  • Not in default on any student loans (federal and private) or owe any federal student grant money.
  • Use their federal student aid only for educational purposes.
  • Courses with internships, work placements, compulsory year abroad or research that takes place in the US are not eligible for the US Federal Loans.
  • Study Abroad students studying at UAL as part of their course at another university, are not eligible to receive federal student aid through UAL and need to apply through their ‘home’ institution.

Some programs that do not qualify for the US Federal Loans may still qualify for a private loan, find more information on the UAL Private Loans page.

How much can I borrow?

There is a limit on the total amount of Subsidised and Unsubsidised Loans a student can receive each academic year and over the lifetime of their study.

Subsidised and Unsubsidised annual aggregate limits

Dependent Undergraduates (under age of 24) Subsidised Unsubsidised Total 

Foundation Diploma/Higher Education Certificate/BA/BSc year 1

BA/BSc year 2$4,500$2,000$6,500
Graduate Diploma BA/BSc/ year 3+$5,500$2,000$7,500
Independent Undergraduates (over age of 24)SubsidisedUnsubsidisedTotal
Foundation Diploma/Higher Education Certificate/ BA/BSc year 1$3,500$6,000$9,500
BA/BSc year 2$4,500$6,000$10,500
Graduate Diploma/BA/BSc/year 3+$5,500$7,000$12,500
Postgraduate and Research StudentsSubsidisedUnsubsidisedTotal

Subsidised and Unsubsidised lifetime aggregate limits

Level of studyLifetime aggregate limit
Undergraduate dependent$31,000 (no more than $23,000 of this can be in Subsidised Loans)
Undergraduate independent$57,500 (no more than $23,000 of this can be in Subsidised Loans)
Graduate/professional$138,500 (no more than $65,500 of this can be in Subsidised Loans, includes undergraduate study)

If the total loan amount you receive over the course of your education reaches the aggregate loan limit, you are not eligible to receive additional loans. However, if you repay some of your loans to bring your outstanding loan debt below the aggregate loan limit, you could then borrow again, up to the amount of your remaining eligibility under the aggregate loan limit.

When I will receive my loan?

US Federal Direct Loans are disbursed in equal termly instalments. If a student has not paid their tuition fees in full prior to the start of their course, we will split the fees into equal payments and deduct each payment from their loan instalment prior refunding the student.

Loan disbursements* and payments 2018-19

Course start dateDisbursement 1Disbursement 2Disbursement 3
September 20188 October 201814 January 201929 April 2019
January 201914 January 201929 April 2019n/a

Disbursement dates may vary depending on the course start date, please refer to your US Loan Confirmation Letter.

What is a disbursement date?

A disbursement date shows when the loan funds are scheduled to be released from the US Department of Education accounts. US loans are paid in USD, the University needs to convert the funds into GBP, and issue cheques. This process normally takes several working days, hence students will not receive their funds on the disbursement dates.

When will I be paid?

Students will receive their cheques within 14 calendar days from the disbursement dates. However we work as quickly as we can to deliver the cheques to students within the first week after the disbursement.

The loan funds will be paid in GBP cheques and UK banks normally process cheque payments within 3-5 working days from the date the cheque has been deposited. Find out how to open a bank account in UK on the Life at UAL page.

What can you do?

Students are strongly advised to have funds available to cover their expenses for the first few weeks of their course.

Any costs incurred prior the start of the course (flights, visa costs, tuition fee pre-payment, rent and others) in the first instance will need to be covered from the students' personal funds.

*The disbursement arrangements are a requirement of the US Government’s Deficit Reduction Act 2005 (HEA 428G(e)), effective 1 July 2006, and must be strictly followed.