Fees and scholarships

Federal Loan Programs for American Applicants

The University of West London participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program for students coming from the US.

Our application cycle for entry in September 2017 is currently open.

Please read through the information provided below before starting the application process: you may find the process for applying and receiving Federal Direct Loans may differ from a US institution. 

If a prospective or current student is exploring private loan options, please consult the section below regarding private loan providers. 

To apply, read:

What is the Federal Direct Loan Program?

The University of West London Financial Aid team administers Federal Direct Loans to eligible students from the US studying at University of West London and has been approved by the US Department of Education for the origination and disbursal of Federal Direct Loans.

Federal Direct Loans are low-interest loans to help undergraduate and graduate students pay for their education.

Direct Loans are provided by the US government and are available to US citizens, US permanent residents and eligible non-citizens. These loans are provided to those students who have firmly accepted an unconditional offer to study at the University of West London.  

UWL administers Federal Direct Student Loans, Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans and Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans. 
 

Federal Direct Student Loans

Federal Direct Student Loans are Subsidized and Unsubsidized, low-interest student loans that are provided directly to the student. Federal Direct Subsidized Loans are based on financial need; Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans are not based on financial need.

Please note that graduate and professional students are only able to receive Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans as of July 1, 2012.
 

Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans

These are a low-interest loans for parent borrowers to assist their dependent students throughout their studies. This loan is not based on financial need but on credit-worthiness. The parent borrower must also be a US Citizen, US Permanent Resident or Eligible Non-Citizen.

Please note that Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans can only be administered to students classified as Dependent Students. If the student borrower is considered an Independent Student, they are ineligible to receive parental support from a Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan. However, these students may apply for a private loan.

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans

The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan provides graduate and professional students with additional funds for their education as these students are ineligible for Federal Direct Subsidized Loans. Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans are not based on financial need, but on credit-worthiness.

Other US Federal Grants and Aid

The University of West London is unable to participate in many of the need-based programs, such as Pell Grants, SEOG Grants and Perkins Loans as these are not applicable at a foreign school. UWL does not participate in the Federal Work Study Program either for this reason.

Eligibility for Federal Aid

To be eligible for the Federal Direct Loans program students must:

  • Be a US Citizen, US Permanent Resident or an Eligible Non-Citizen
    • A citizen of the Freely Associated States: the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republics of Palau and the Marshall Islands. These students can only receive aid from some of the financial aid programs.
  • Have a valid US social security number
  • Be accepted as a full-time or part-time student
  • Have made satisfactory academic progress
  • Be living outside the US during the course of studies, be enrolled with the University of West London and will not undertake any studies within the United States of America
  • Have not borrowed over the federal loan limits or are still in default on repaying previous loans
  • Have signed up for selective service or have been officially exempted from selective service if the student is male and aged 18 or older
  • Not have any outstanding convictions for drug-related offences
  • Register for an eligible course. Ineligible courses include (but may not be restricted to) those listed below:
  • Undergraduate degree courses that include a 'year abroad' option to institutions that are not Title IV Eligible.
  • Standalone Foundation Degrees, Diplomas, or pre-Masters courses.
  • Nursing courses
  • Any programme that has a compulsory online element or distance learning element. Such programmes are ineligible for any US Federal Loan funds. Ref: US Higher Education Reconciliation Act (HERA), July 1, 2006.

How to apply - the step by step procedure you must follow exactly to apply for a loan

There are several steps to make a loan application. While the process is relatively straightforward, it is of the utmost importance that prospective and current students inform the UWL Financial Aid Team when they have completed the process for the Federal Direct Loan Program.

Each step for completing the process is described in greater detail below:

1. Complete FAFSA
2. Federal Direct Loans Entitlement
3. Complete Master Promissory Note(s)
4. Federal Direct Loan Entrance Counselling
5. Completed US Federal Direct Loan Application submission to the University of West London
6. Next Steps
7. Applying for a UK Tier 4 (General) – Student Visa
8. Accessing Student Loan Funds

After completing all requisite actions, collect all necessary documentation stipulated below, and email them as attachments in one email to the UWL Financial Aid Team. For priority treatment please address all communications:

To: US.Loans@uwl.ac.uk
Subject: 'FAFSA, Full Legal Name (as appears on passport), Student Number’

 1. Complete FAFSA

In order to access US Student Federal Aid, students must first complete a 'Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)'. Students can access the FAFSA application at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Only when the student specifies the University of West London as a nominated school will these loans be applicable to their studies at UWL. Students indicate their preference of schools on the FAFSA application by inputting the Federal School Code. University of West London’s Federal University / School code is:

  • Federal School Code: 039453
  • OPE-ID: 03945300

Upon receipt of the student's FAFSA information by University of West London, the UWL Financial Aid Team will provide further application instructions to those students who have received valid offers of study.

 2. Federal Direct Loans Entitlement

The amount students can borrow through Direct Loans is determined by the estimated cost of attendance (COA) established by the University of West London’s Financial Aid Team and the borrowing limits set by the US Department of Education.

Cost of Attendance (COA) is an estimation of how much it will cost to study at The University of West London for one academic year. The cost of attendance (COA) is not the bill that students may get from UWL; rather, it is the total amount it will cost a student to go to University each year. The COA includes tuition and fees; on-campus room and board (or a housing and food allowance for off-campus students); and allowances for books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, and, if applicable, dependent care. It can also include other expenses like an allowance for the rental or purchase of a personal computer, costs related to a disability, or costs for eligible study-abroad programs. 

Note: The COA for graduate and professional programs is usually higher than for undergraduate programs.

For students attending less than half-time, the COA includes tuition and fees and an allowance for books, supplies, transportation and dependent care expenses; but can also include room and board for up to three semesters or the equivalent at the institution, but no more than two of those semesters or the equivalent may be consecutive. Students with any unusual expenses that might affect their cost of attendance should contact UWL’s Financial Aid Team with evidence to support this increase. Please be aware, however, that the UWL Financial Aid Team cannot arbitrarily increase a student’s cost of attendance and that the US Government dictates specific criteria to increase a student’s provided cost of attendance. The maximum loans a student can receive may not exceed the yearly cost of attendance.

To calculate this, UWL combines the cost of all tuition fees and living expenses, and subtracts this total from any scholarships a student may receive and the student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC). A set average exchange rate for the academic year is used to convert these costs into US dollars.

Students may borrow up to the cost of their attendance through a combination of Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans and Federal Direct Parent or Graduate PLUS Loans. There are limits on the amount students can borrow through Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans; the amounts students are eligible to take in Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans varies dependent upon the student’s EFC, academic year and dependency status.

Please note that graduate and professional students are only able to receive Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans as of July 1, 2012.

 3. Sign Master Promissory Note(s)

To take out Direct Loans and Parent or Graduate PLUS loans, all applicants must complete Master Promissory Notes (MPN). The MPN can be completed on the Student Loans.gov website. The University of West London will only accept MPN’s that have been digitally signed using a Federal Student Aid PIN.

Students will need to complete an MPN for each loan they intend to take out. For example, if a student decides to apply for the PLUS loan as well as the Direct loan, they must complete both a Direct Loan and PLUS Loan MPN. To be eligible for a PLUS loan, student and parent and parent applicants must complete a Plus Loans application which bears a Credit Check. If the credit check is successful, the student and/or parent should either take a screen shot or include the confirmation email sent to the nominated email address to accompany the requisite documents UWL’s Financial Aid Team requires to process all student loans.

The University of West London requires new Master Promissory Notes to be completed each academic year the student intends to receive US Direct Loans.

4. Direct Loan Entrance Counselling

Loan Entrance counselling is designed by the US Department of Education to inform student and parent borrowers of their rights and obligations. Please note that it is a Federal requirement all new borrowers complete Entrance Counselling. The UWL Financial Aid Team will be unable to originate loans if students and parents do not complete entrance counselling. To complete Entrance Counselling, please visit Student Loans.gov.

5. Completed US Federal Direct Loan Application submission to the University of West London

Once student and parent borrowers have completed the steps above, to expedite the application process, the student borrower must email the requisite documents:

1. Copy of Direct Stafford Loan Master Promissory Note
2. Copy of Direct PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note (if applicable)
3. Copy of accepted credit check confirmation (Parent and Graduate PLUS Loan applicants only)
4. Copy of Direct Loan entrance counselling confirmation
 

Please email the documents to us.loans@uwl.ac.uk. For applications to be as quickly as possible, students should enter in the email’s subject line: FAFSA (Surname, Forename). For example: FAFSA, CLOONEY George

 6. Next Steps

When the UWL Financial Aid Team receives a completed application, they will process it, review the applicant’s offer status and determine US Direct Loans eligibility for Federal Student Aid. If eligible and the student holds either a Conditional or Unconditional Offer of Study with the University of West London, the team will in turn provide those eligible students with an Award Letter, indicating the total maximum amounts the student is eligible to borrow for that academic year. This should be signed and returned as quickly as possible to continue with the application process. The award letter should be e-mailed directly to US.Loans@uwl.ac.uk. Should a student desire to amend award amounts, they should simply cross this out and write the desired amount in its place. The student borrower is not forced to take all loans they are eligible for and can accept, reject or decrease the amount they wish to borrow.

Once all documents are in place and the team has received the signed award letter, the team will only then originate the loans a student borrower is eligible to receive. Once the origination process has been successfully completed, students will receive a Notification of Funds letter, which can be used to demonstrate funding through the Federal Loan system to support a visa application for the UK. During peak application times (May - July), the process can take considerably longer and it is advised that students apply for student loans as early as possible.

7. Applying for a UK Tier 4 (General) – Student Visa

US Federal Direct Loans are recognised by the UKVI as a means to support an application for a UK student visa to study in the UK. Once UWL’s Financial Aid Team have confirmed and originated student loan(s) with the US Department of Education, a Notification of Funds letter detailing the loans the student borrower will be applying towards tuition and maintenance whilst at UWL will be issued to all eligible students. Students will be able to use this letter to demonstrate to the UK authorities their total financial aid package.

8. Accessing Student Loan Funds

Direct Loan funds are disbursed at the start of each term throughout the academic year. Disbursements can only be made to students who are fully enrolled on their programme of study and making satisfactory academic progress. This means that students will not be able to receive funds until they have completed the University's registration and verification process at the start of each academic year.

Once UWL receives the loan funds from the US Department of Education, these funds will be at first applied to the tuition fees and University accommodation costs students owe for the term. If any funds are remaining from the disbursement, these will be paid to student by the University's Finance Department. Refunds can only be made to UK bank accounts and will not be issued in any other format. It is therefore imperative that all students open a GBP currency bank account while in receipt of US Direct Loans and while studying with the University of West London.

Please note that the disbursement date is the date that US Direct Loans are paid against outstanding charges on student accounts and is not the date that remaining funds are deposited into UK Bank Accounts.

Please note it can take up to three weeks to open a UK bank account. Students are advised to bring any necessary funds to cover their first month in the UK. It should also be noted that it is the student’s responsibility to pay for Visa Costs, accommodation deposits and airfare to the UK up front as UWL cannot disburse funds to students who have not yet enrolled with the University. 

Exit Counselling and Repaying US Federal Direct Loans?

It is important that all student and parent borrowers understand their rights and obligations as they prepare to repay US Federal Direct Loans following graduation. Exit counselling is compulsory and is designed to inform borrowers about loan repayment and money management, and will help these individuals make the necessary arrangements before and during repayment. Please see the 'Exit Counselling' section on the Department of Education's Student Loans website for details, or see the section below. 

Veterans Affairs Education and Training Benefits

Eligible students should first visit the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) website and apply for benefits. For further information for students wishing to attend foreign schools, please visit the VA webpage Foreign School Information for Students.

Before commencing a course it is imperative to contact UWL’s Financial Aid Team as early as possible to check if the intended course has been approved for VA benefits. If this course has not yet been approved it could take several weeks for the course approval request to be processed. If the approval of the selected course is denied by the VA, the student will be responsible for funding your studies.

Those entitled to VA Benefits should send their Certificate of Eligibility to US.Loans@uwl.ac.uk. Once enrolled, the UWL Financial Aid Team will complete and submit a VA Form 22-1999. Please note students will not receive payments until enrolment information has been received and processed by the VA.

Private Loans

If a student is applying for a private US student loan, the University will work with whichever private lender the student elects to use, provided they are willing to work with UWL’s Financial Aid and Finance Teams.

Please note: the Financial Aid Team has identified only one lender currently offering private student loans to students at foreign schools. This lender Sallie Mae. Sallie Mae is not a preferred lender and this does not represent a preferred lender arrangement.

The only private loan currently available to students at foreign schools offered by Sallie Mae is the Smart Loan from Sallie Mae.

Prospective and current students are advised to review the Federal Aid Direct Lending programme before they progress with a private loan as this may be a more favourable option.

To apply for Sallie Mae:

Deferments and repayments

During the period of enrolment, all Federal Direct Loans, except for the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan, will be in deferment. This means that students taking out Federal Direct Loans will not be required to make payment on their student loans until after they graduate or drop below half-time. During this time, interest may accrue for which the student will be responsible.

If a student has received Federal Direct Loans or Federal Grants prior to attending the University of West London, UWL’s Financial Aid Team will automatically update the student’s details with the US Department of Education once they have fully enrolled as a full- or half-time student. During this period all Federal Direct Loans will be deferred until the student graduates or drops below half-time. The information provided is shared with all US Department of Education Servicing Agents, who are responsible for administrating loan repayments.

If a student believes that their enrolment status has not been correctly registered with their servicing agent, please inform the UWL Financial Aid Team.

If a student enrolling with the UWL has US Direct Loans, but will not be taking out new student loans must notify the UWL Financial Aid Team to ensure their enrolment status is reported. Please email US.Loans@uwl.ac.uk to report this.

Interest Rates for Federal Direct Loans disbursed after July 1, 2017:

Interest Rates for Federal Direct Loans disbursed after July 1, 2017:

https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/interest-rates

 

Origination Fees for Federal Direct Loans for the 2016/17 and 2017/18 Academic Years:

Origination Fees for Federal Direct Loans for the 2016/17 and 2017/18 Academic Years:

https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/interest-rates#fees

 

How to manage to student loans:

University of West London Deferral or Leave of Absence Policy

Deferral of studies is where a student is unable to undertake or complete their semester or year of study, due to circumstances that are outside a student’s control. A period of deferral is an agreed temporary postponement of studies. For example, where a student is unable to attend their module or course and/or submit for assessment and will not be able to submit at the next assessment point, this will be considered as a potential course deferral. Module deferrals are not allowed. Circumstances that could be grounds for deferral shall be the same as those for mitigation and shall include the following:

  • physical or mental ill-health;
  • severe financial hardship;
  • emotional/personal difficulties, e.g. bereavement;
  • disability i.e. where student’s disability comes to light for the first time at the assessment;
  • Unavoidable absence from the University, e.g. requirements of employer;
  • unavoidable absence from domicile, e.g. eviction;
  • loss of immigration status;
  • other serious circumstances which could not be foreseen by the student.

Note: The above examples are for illustration only and not intended to be definitive or exhaustive.

The circumstances causing the deferral request, are regarded as confidential. The University may defer a student for the reasons listed above.

 University of West London Deferral or Leave of Absence Policy 

Deferral of studies is where a student is unable to undertake or complete their semester or year of study, due to circumstances that are outside a student’s control. A period of deferral is an agreed temporary postponement of studies. For example, where a student is unable to attend their module or course and/or submit for assessment and will not be able to submit at the next assessment point, this will be considered as a potential course deferral. Module deferrals are not allowed. Circumstances that could be grounds for deferral shall be the same as those for mitigation and shall include the following:

  • physical or mental ill-health;
  • severe financial hardship;
  • emotional/personal difficulties, e.g. bereavement;
  • disability i.e. where student’s disability comes to light for the first time at the assessment;
  • Unavoidable absence from the University, e.g. requirements of employer;
  • unavoidable absence from domicile, e.g. eviction;
  • loss of immigration status;
  • Other serious circumstances which could not be foreseen by the student.

Note: The above examples are for illustration only and not intended to be definitive or exhaustive.

The circumstances causing the deferral request, are regarded as confidential. The University may defer a student for the reasons listed above.

How to request a Deferral of Studies

Where a student wishes to defer their course of study, the request must first be considered by their Personal Tutor or Course Leader, who will establish whether deferral is the most appropriate option. A student may defer their course of study at any time, with the following consequences:

  • The result for any module – either pass or fail – for which all assessments have been completed, will be retained;
  • The result for any module that has not been completed, for example, the student has submitted to Assessment 1 but not Assessment 2, will not be retained. The student shall re-register on that module on their return, however they will not be charged again for that module, and the assessments will not count as a retake, therefore will not be capped;
  • Students must refer to Student Services for advice on the implications of deferral of their studies on their student loan and their finances;
  • Where applicable: the relevant funding body or professional, statutory, regulatory or governing body or other agencies (for example UKVI), will be notified.

A Tier 4 student may defer their studies but in most cases their visa will be curtailed and the student will have to return to their home country. A new visa application must be obtained in order for the student to return to study in the UK.

A student may defer up to a maximum period totalling two calendar years, subject to the period of registration, Tier 4 sponsorship and/or any Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body requirements. Students who need to defer their course of study for a period of more than two calendar years shall be withdrawn and, where applicable, receive an exit award. These students may apply for APEL/APCL to re-join the course. Students enrolled on courses under Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body regulations should refer to their specific course regulations. Where the request is approved, the Course Leader must ensure that a return date is agreed and the Deferral Form is completed. The form is sent to the Course Administrator for processing and submission to the Student Record and Data Team. If the student is subsequently unable to return on the agreed date, the student must notify their Course Leader.

Explanation of Deferral and Withdrawal from Studies

When a student defers from their studies, it means they are taking time out from their course of study with the intention of re-joining their studies at the next available opportunity. While deferred, a student is still considered to be a student of the University for most purposes, but student loan funding is not usually available during periods of deferral. When a student withdraws from their studies, it means that they are leaving their course of study completely, with no intention of returning at a later date. When a student has withdrawn, they will no longer be considered a student of the University, and if they consider at a later date to reapply to study at the University, they must apply via the accreditation of prior learning route.

Further information

If there are any questions about the Federal Direct Loans Program that has not been covered here, please do not hesitate to contact UWL’s Financial Aid Team. Below are a number of links to information prospective and current students may find useful: 

The International Office is open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm (GMT). To speak with a member of the UWL Financial Aid Team, please contact:

International Office
University of West London
St. Mary’s Road
Ealing
London
W5 5RF

Tel: +44 (0)20 8231 2440
Email: us.loans@uwl.ac.uk