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Federal Direct Loans

Northumbria University participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program. This webpage outlines the types of loans available, how to apply for them and when and how they are disbursed. We will also keep you informed at each step of the process by email.

In the Direct Loan Program, the U.S. Department of Education lends the money directly to students through the student’s school. 

Loans Available

There are three types of loan available to students through the Federal program. These are the Direct Subsidized, Direct Unsubsidized and Direct PLUS loans. If you are a Graduate, you can apply for a PLUS loan in your own right. If you are an undergraduate student you cannot apply for the PLUS, but your parents can apply on your behalf. This is known as a Parent PLUS loan.

The maximum you can borrow through the two schemes is the estimated cost of attendance.

The sum of your Federal and any private loans cannot exceed the Cost of Attendance so you should think carefully, should you decide to take out both. See examples of breakdowns and the maximum loans available to you.

PLUS loans are credit based.

Eligibility for Direct Loans

US students attending an overseas university are able to apply for Direct and PLUS loans. To be eligible to take out US Direct Loans you need to:

1. Be a US citizen or an eligible non-citizen.

2. Have a valid US social security number.

3. Be accepted on to a programme of full-time or at least part-time study with Northumbria University.

4. If an existing student at Northumbria University, have been assessed to have made satisfactory academic progress to continue your studies.

5. Have not borrowed over your federal loan limits or defaulted on repaying previous loans.

6. If you are a male under the age of 26, have signed up for selective service or have been officially exempted from selective service.

7. Not have any outstanding convictions for drug-related offences.

Ineligible Programmes

The following programmes are not currently eligible for federal loan funding and if you are intending to study these degrees, please fully consider how you will fund your studies without Direct Loans:

  • Distance Learning Courses
  • Courses at Northumbria University London Campus
  • All short courses
  • Study Abroad and Exchanges Programmes

All of the above courses can, however, have access to private loans such as the Sallie Mae loans with the exception of Short Courses and Study Abroad and Exchange courses.

Study Abroad students can borrow loans but these loans will need to be applied for and certified through the home/US-based institution, NOT Northumbria University. If you intend to undertake a Study Abroad programme to attend Northumbria University for one, two or three terms, please contact your home institution’s Financial Aid Office for more information about applying for loans. 

No Study in the USA

Students wishing to study with Northumbria University cannot borrow loans to fund any part of their studies in the USA. This includes:

  • Students undertaking a work placement.
  • Students seeking to return to the USA to finish their MA or PhD dissertations.
  • Students wishing to undertake research in the USA.

The US Department of Education encourages international study and thus returning to the USA to study when enrolled at an overseas institution is not allowed with regards to receiving federal funding.

If you wish to take part of your study in the USA, please note that you will be ineligible for federal loans during that period. Should students require funding, private loans may be available to you.

Starting the Process

You will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). We will use the information from your FAFSA to assist in determining your eligibility for a Direct Subsidized Loan and/or a Direct Unsubsidized Loan.

  • You may complete the FAFSA electronically via the FAFSA on the website.
  • To complete the FAFSA electronically, you must have a FSA ID. 
  • To apply for a FSA ID if you do not already have one, or for customer service regarding a previously assigned FSA ID, visit the Federal Student Aid FSA ID website.
  • After the Department 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.
  • Northumbria University's School Code is 030295

Award Notification

Once you have completed your FAFSA and listed Northumbria University, our Financial Aid Officer will issue you with an estimated Cost of Attendance for your program.

The Cost of Attendance will depend upon your intended program of study, Estimated Family Contribution and other funding (including any International Scholarships you may have been awarded). If you do not wish to borrow the full amount you are eligible to, you must inform the Financial Aid Officer that you wish to cancel or reduce your loan amounts.

Depending on your status, we may also include information in your Cost of Attendance about a Direct PLUS Loan award for which you or your parent may be eligible. 

Direct Loan MPN Completion

You must complete a new Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) for each loan type you wish to borrow. 

The MPN is the legal document through which you promise to repay your Direct Loans and any accrued interest and fees to the Department.  It also explains the terms and conditions of your loans.  You will need to complete a new Direct Loan MPN each academic year that you receive a Direct Subsidized Loan and/or a Direct Unsubsidized Loan at our school.

  • You may complete a Direct Loan MPN electronically via studentloans.gov
  • To complete a Direct Loan MPN electronically, you must have a FSA ID.  This is the same FSA ID used to complete the FAFSA.
  • After you complete your MPN, you will be able to print and retain it for your records.  You do not need to provide us with a copy; we will be notified electronically of your completion.

Direct Loan Entrance Counseling Completion

You must complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling each year before you can receive a Direct Loan.

  • You may complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling electronically via studentloans.gov
  • To complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling electronically, you must have a FSA ID  This is the same FSA ID used to complete the FAFSA.
  • After you complete entrance counseling, we will be notified electronically.
  • You will need to complete Entrance Counseling for each type of Loan you borrow.
  • Parents are not required to complete Entrance Counseling for a Parent PLUS loan.

You will also be required to complete Exit Counseling shortly before you complete your studies. Federal Student Aid also have Financial Awareness Counselling. Whilst this is not compulsory you may find it of use when planning your borrowing and spending.

Loan Certification

Once you have completed the required processes and necessary documentation, we will originate (certify) the loans and send a Notification of Student Loan letter to you. If you need a visa to study in the UK, you will be able to use this letter to support your visa application.

Federal loans can only be disbursed in three instalments (for graduates) or two instalments (undergraduates) and are allocated to any due Tuition or Accommodation fees first.

Please note that once originated, loan information will be sent to the National Student Loan Data System.

Disbursement of Funds

Before each disbursement Northumbria University is required to confirm you are still eligible to receive funds. This includes ensuring you are making Satisfactory Academic Progress and are studying 'at least half time' and you are not conducting any study or research in the US.

The loans will be disbursed to Northumbria University who will then arrange to convert the loans to pounds sterling. Once we know the amount in pounds received the money is allocated to tuition and accommodation fees as laid down in the US Dept of Education regulations before any excess is returned to you. You will then be notified of how the loan has been allocated.

Excess funds are returned to you in GBP by bank transfer to a UK bank account. Students must complete and return a Student Bank Details Form to the Financial Aid Office.

Additional Information

You should be aware of our Return to Title IV Policy.  For further information on Northumbria University, relating to Federal Aid requirements, please see Northumbria University's Consumer Information pages.

Visit the Direct Loans website or contact the Financial Aid Office via Email or on +44 (0) 191 227 3018 for further information


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