US Student Loans

US Student Loans

These webpages are currently being updated for 24/25 academic year - 22 May 2024

The University of Aberdeen administers US Federal Direct Loans, US Private Loans and US Veterans Educational Benefits (or GI Bill) for students who are US citizens or eligible non-citizens. We can also certify documents for Americorps and 529 College Plans.  If you have a document requiring certification, please email it to usaloans@abdn.ac.uk

The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program offers Direct Loans to eligible students and parents to help pay for the cost of a student's education after high school. The lender is the U.S. Department of Education, though you may deal with a different agency as your loan servicer.

The University of Aberdeen is recognised as a Foreign School by the US Department of Education and is eligible to certify loans for eligible students as an approved Title IV institution.

Foreign Schools are NOT eligible to certify Pell loans or grants.

The US Government requires institutions that offer Federal student loans to disclose specific consumer information.  This webpage provides students with information on all US Federal Student Aid, including:-

  • The US Loan process at the University of Aberdeen
  • Type of aid
  • Method and frequency of disbursements
  • How to remain eligible for aid

If you do not follow the steps detailed in the How to Apply section and do not return your signed financial aid package, we will assume that you do not wish to apply for a loan for the current academic year.

Financial Aid Package Information

2023/2024 Academic Year

If you are requiring a Financial Aid Package for 2023/2024 academic year (starting or returning between July 2023 and June 2024) please email usaloans@abdn.ac.uk with your University of Aberdeen applicant ID number/student ID number. If you have not received your Aid Package from us at least 6 weeks before your start date, please send an email to usaloans@abdn.ac.uk with your University of Aberdeen applicant ID number/student ID number. 

If you are a PhD student starting in any month except September and October and wish to be assessed for a Federal Loan, please contact usaloans@abdn.ac.uk ASAP with your student ID number and your start date.

2024/2025 Academic Year

Financial Aid Packages for the 2024/2025 academic year will start to be carried out from May 2024. Information on this page, including the cost of attendance for 2024/2025, will be updated in April 2024. If you have completed a FAFSA for the 2024/2025 year, have applied to the University of Aberdeen and have received a conditional or unconditional offer, we will automatically calculate your loan entitlement.  This information will be emailed to you as a Financial Aid Package.  If you have applied directly to the University or via UCAS we will be in contact in May / June 2024 with information regarding your Financial Aid Package.  If you are a Common App applicant, you will need to accept your place at the University of Aberdeen before we can carry out your assessment as the package is specific to your degree/ situation.  If you complete your FAFSA after the 1st September 2024 or if you have not received your Aid Package from us at least 6 weeks before your start date, please send an email to usaloans@abdn.ac.uk with your University of Aberdeen applicant ID number/student ID number. 

Eligibility

Your eligibility for US Federal Title IV Loans will be assessed according to the information provided by you on your FAFSA.

For the purpose of US Financial Aid, the University of Aberdeen is classified as a 'foreign school'.  This means that there are slightly different rules and areas of eligibility that you may not be used to if you have used Federal Aid before at a domestic School in the US.

Most of our full-time and part-time degree programmes are eligible for Direct, Parent PLUS and Graduate PLUS loans.

Enrolment Status

You must be enrolled and continue to be enrolled at least half-time at the University of Aberdeen, which will allow you to remain eligible for Federal Loans and deferred payment status. Please note that if you withdraw or drop below half-time enrolment then you must email usaloans@abdn.ac.uk immediately.

Courses Ineligible for Federal Loans

Students receiving US Federal Aid are governed by stringent US Department of Education regulations.  Only campus-based students studying on a full-time or at least half-time basis are eligible to apply.  The following programmes are NOT eligible to receive Federal Direct Loans.

  • Certificate and Diploma Programmes
  • Online, Blended or Distance Learning Programmes
  • Programmes with study of less than half-time
  • Medicine/Dentistry Programmes
  • Foundation Year Programmes
  • Programmes undertaken through the Interactive Design Institute (IDI)
  • Programmes undertaken at Qatar Campus
  • Programmes undertaken at the South China Normal University (SCNU) Campus
  • Programmes undertaken at Shandong Normal University (SDNU) Campus
  • Visiting and Exchange students.  You are required to apply for Financial Aid through your home institution. 
  • All degree programmes that are joint, double or dual with other partner institutions.

If your programme of study is not eligible, you may wish to apply for private loans to cover your cost of attendance.

You are deemed to be ineligible for loans if you have defaulted on payments for loans taken out before your studies here.  You can check the status of any previous loans that have been recorded on the  by logging into Studentaid.gov. We use the NSLDS database to check your loan history. If a default status is recorded, there is little point in proceeding with your loan application at this point. You must make arrangements to pay any arrears with your loan servicer. The NSLDS system can take some time to update status changes so you may have to provide evidence from your loan servicer to show that your loans are in good standing.

International Institutions that participate in the Federal Direct Loans (Direct Loan) programme can be found here:- 

https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/types/international#participating-schools

Study Abroad

Degree programmes which involve study outwith the University of Aberdeen through a formal arrangement (Written Agreement) with another institution must satisfy the following conditions to remain eligible for Federal Aid:--

  • For study located outside of the USA, the institution does not have to be approved to participate in the Federal Aid (Title IV) Programme
  • For study located in the USA, the institution must be a participating and approved Federal Aid (Title IV) School
  • The study abroad period must account for no more than 25% of the total length of the programme of study
  • The Host institution must agree to sign the Consortium / Contractual Agreement with the University of Aberdeen relating to your Federal Direct Loans. 

Information about our existing Partnership and Consortium agreements can be found here:

Where can I go? https://www.abdn.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/where-can-i-go-3067.php

Please email usaloans@abdn.ac.uk before applying for your loan so that we can assess your eligibility.

General Eligibility Conditions for Financial Aid

To receive financial aid, including Federal Direct and PLUS Loans, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Must be a US citizen or eligible non-citizen with a valid Social Security number.
  • Must be a student enrolled or accepted for enrolment in an eligible programme at an eligible institution.
  • Must be enrolled at least half-time for the period for which the loan is originated. (PhD students who have submitted their thesis for examination do not meet this requirement)
  • Must comply with the University's Satisfactory Academic Progress policy.
  • Must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year.
  • Must have a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Must not be in default on an educational loan and must not owe a repayment on an adjusted federal grant.

Mature Student Provision

USA Federal Regulations state that you must have a secondary school completion credential (high school diploma) or the recognized equivalent of a secondary school completion credential to be eligible to receive Federal Student Aid.

The University of Aberdeen does not have a Mature Student Admissions provision policy.

Returning to the United States

If any part of your funding, at any time, is through US Federal Direct Loans, you are prohibited under USA Federal Regulations from returning to the United States to undertake fieldwork, research, a placement, an internship or externship or to write your thesis.

The only exception to this is if you undertake independent research in the United States during your dissertation (write-up) phase of a doctoral program under the guidance of faculty, and the research can only be conducted in the United States. Please note that prior approval must have been given by the Financial Aid Office (usaloans@abdn.ac.uk) and you can only do this for a maximum of one academic year.

Thesis Submission

The registration status for PhD students drops to less than half-time when you submit your thesis. Less than half-time status means that you become ineligible for further financial aid and your Loan Servicer will contact you regarding loan repayment.

Federal Work-Study

Employment is not provided as part of the financial aid package at this University. ​​​​

Types of Federal Loans and Amounts

The amount that you are eligible to borrow in each academic year is assessed according to your grade level; whether you are a dependent or independent student; and your financial need and cost of attendance.

The following loan types are offered:

  • Subsidized: available to undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need as determined by USDE regulations. No interest is charged whilst you are studying at least half-time, during the grace period (the first 6 months after you finish University) and during deferment periods (a postponement of loan payments).
  • Unsubsidized: not based on financial need and both undergraduate and postgraduate students can apply. Interest is charged during all periods.
  • Parent PLUS: available to parents of undergraduate students who are classed as dependent.  Parents can borrow up to the total estimated Cost of Attendance as issued by the University of Aberdeen. Parent PLUS loans are the responsibility of the parent and not the student.
  • Grad PLUS: available to postgraduate students.  A graduate student may borrow up to the total estimated Cost of Attendance as issued by the University of Aberdeen.
  • Private student loans are not federal loans but are available to most US citizens. 

Students studying in the UK are NOT eligible for Perkins Loans or Pell Grants.

Subsidized and unsubsidized loans are capped and have maximum limits.

The following charts show the annual and aggregate limits for subsidized and unsubsidized loans.

 

Annual Loan Limits

  Subsidized Loan Limit Unsubsidized Loan Limit Combined Loan Limit (Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loan)
Dependent Undergraduates (except students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans)

First Year Undergraduate

$3,500

$2,000

$5,500

Second Year Undergraduate

$4,500

$2,000

$6,500

Third Year and beyond Undergraduate

$5,500

$2,000

$7,500

Independent Students (and dependent undergraduate students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans)
First Year Undergraduate $3,500 $6,000 $9,500
Second Year Undergraduate $4,500 $6,000 $10,500
Third Year and beyond Undergraduate $5,500 $7,000 $12,500
Graduate or Professional Students

All years

Not Applicable (all graduate and professional students are considered independent)

$20,500 (unsubsidized only)

$20,500 (unsubsidized only)

 

 

Aggregate Loan Limits

  Subsidized Loan Limit Unsubsidized Loan Limit Combined Loan Limit (Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loan)

Dependent Undergraduates

$23,000

$8,000

$31,000

Independent Undergraduates

$23,000

$34,500

$57,500

Graduates and Professional Students

$65,500

$73,000

$138,500 (includes all federal loans received for undergraduate study)

Most postgraduate students will borrow the first $20,500 through the unsubsidized loan and top-up borrowing through the PLUS loan.

Fees and Interest Rates of Federal Loans

Origination Fees

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 while enrolled in school.  This means the money you receive will be less than the amount you actually borrow.  You are responsible for repaying the entire amount you borrowed and not just the amount you received.  Origination fees change each year.

Information on origination fees for all Federal loan types is available from:

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

The University’s Cost of Attendance takes origination fees into account so that maximum net borrowings are sufficient to cover educational costs.

Interest Rates

The interest rate varies depending on the loan type and (for more types of federal student loans) the first disbursement date of the loan.  Interest rates change each year from 1st July.

https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/types/loans/interest-rates

How to Apply for Federal Loans

The application process for foreign schools differs from the process for domestic schools in the US.  Although we can access most documents through the Federal systems, they are not sent to us and we are notified when you submit them. As such, we may ask you to confirm once you have completed & submitted them or ask you to forward a document if we are unable to access it. It is your responsibility to complete all required documents we need to confirm your loan entitlement and to apply in good time to meet the University of Aberdeen's tuition fee payment deadline (and accommodation fee due dates, if relevant). Please read the following information carefully. It will save time and inconvenience if you follow each of the steps detailed.

The University of Aberdeen School Code is G09368 (this code may also appear as 009368).

Set out below are the steps you need to take to make an application for a Direct Loan(s) to help cover your educational costs at the University of Aberdeen.  There are no shortcuts to the application process, therefore if the steps below are not completed, your application will not be processed.

You can complete your FAFSA from the October before the academic year you wish to study in, however, you will not receive communication from us regarding your application until approximately 3-4 months before your start date.

  • FAFSA applications for 2024/2025 can be submitted from 1 October 2023
  • FAFSA applications for 2025/2026 can be submitted from 1 October 2024
  • The University of Aberdeen US Loans teams will process applications in strict order of receipt.

Application Steps

Notes:

Private Loans

If your programme is ineligible for Direct Loans or if you decide to use private loans with or instead of Federal loans, you need to apply directly to the lender. Please see the Private Loan section for more information.

 

Unusual Circumstances - Dependency Override

The law governing Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs is based on the premise that the family is the first source of the student’s support. The law provides several criteria that indicate whether a student is considered independent of their parents when determining eligibility for financial aid. The criteria are indicated on the FAFSA and can be found at studentaid.gov

If you are a dependent student, you are required to provide parent information on the FAFSA. Federal regulations specifically prohibit schools from processing a dependency override for any of the following reasons:

  • Parents refuse to contribute to the student's education.
  • Parents are unwilling to provide information on the application.
  • Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes.
  • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency.

If you have an unusual circumstance, you may qualify for a dependency override. A dependency override permits an aid administrator to make an adjustment to your dependency status, if you are unable to contact a parent or if contacting your parent poses a risk to you.

An unusual circumstance can include situations such as:

  • Parental abandonment, estrangement, abuse or neglect;
  • Parental incarceration;
  • Human trafficking;
  • Legally granted refugee or asylum status.

Students whose parents refuse to support them and will not provide information for the student's FAFSA, but are not included in the circumstances above, are not eligible for a dependency override; however, the student may be eligible to receive dependent level Direct Unsubsidized loans. For example, a dependent 2nd year undergraduate could receive up to $6,500 as a Direct Unsubsidized loan. To determine if this is an option, please email usaloans@abdn.ac.uk with details of your situation.

If you do have any of the unusual circumstances mentioned above, please email usaloans@abdn.ac.uk providing details of your situation (including the timeline of events, current living arrangements and how you support yourself) and documentation that supports your requests such as one of the following options:

  • Legal documentation (i.e., police/incident reports, court orders, Child Protective Service (CPS) documentation, proof of incarceration or institutionalization, death certificate, asylum, or refugee status, etc.)
  • At least two (2) statements by professional third parties that confirm the relationship with your parents.  Professional third parties can include clergy, counsellor, teacher, lawyer, etc.  A personal acquaintance or family member is not considered a professional third party.  
  • A written statement from an attorney, guardian ad litem, a court-appointed special advocate (or similar), or a representative of a TRIO or GEAR UP program that confirms the circumstances and the person’s relationship to the student.
  • A documented determination of independence made by a financial aid administrator at another institution in the same or a prior award year.
  • Utility bills, health insurance, or other documents that demonstrate a separation from parents or legal guardians.
  • A written statement, which confirms the unusual circumstances with a State, county, or Tribal welfare agency, an independent living case worker who supports current and former foster youth with the transition to adulthood; or a public or private agency, facility, or program servicing the victims of abuse, neglect, assault, or violence.

NOTE: If you are unable to obtain any of the above items, please clearly address the circumstances in your personal statement as to why there is no supporting documentation.  

If your unusual circumstances dependency override is approved, you will be eligible for a full independent level Direct Subsidized & Unsubsidized loans (in accordance with aggregate loan limits).

Special Circumstances

Special Circumstances - Changes to FAFSA

When you submit the FAFSA, you are required to enter income information from two years prior to the current year. If your family’s financial situation has changed in a subsequent completed tax year, you may be eligible for additional financial aid through a special circumstance evaluation.

Examples of these circumstances may include the following:

  • Your parent listed on the FAFSA lost their job;
  • There was a death to a parent or spouse;
  • Your family’s income decreased;
  • Your family had high out of pocket medical expenses;

If you are in one of the situations below, completing this process most likely will not result in an increase in your financial aid eligibility:

  • If you are an undergraduate student already receiving maximum Direct Subsidized loans for your dependency status and year of study.
  • If you are in a graduate program, including the LLB accelerated program, and you are receiving the maximum loan amount you are eligible for, this review would not increase your loan amount or eligibility.

Please email usaloans@abdn.ac.uk with details of the change you are requesting along with proof of the change to financial status or personal circumstances.

Special Circumstance – Update to Cost of Attendance Budget

On a case-by-case basis, your cost of attendance may be adjusted to account for a special circumstance. An increase to your cost of attendance increases the amount of loans you may be eligible for through either Parent/ Grad PLUS Direct Loans or Private loans. This review does not increase the amount of Direct Subsidized/ Unsubsidized loans you will be eligible for.

Special circumstances considered for a cost of attendance adjustment may include:

  • Tuition expenses at a nursery;
  • Medical expenses not covered by the NHS;
  • Child or dependent care expenses;
  • Disability or learning difference of the student.

Please email usaloans@abdn.ac.uk with details of the circumstances you are requesting additional funds for and details of the additional costs.

My parents are not eligible for a Parent PLUS loan. Is there another option?

If your parent is not eligible to borrow a Parent PLUS loan, you may be eligible to borrow what is referred to as an “Additional Unsubsidized Loans” in the amount up to the maximum annual limit for independent students (e.g. $4,000 for a 1st year undergraduate with remaining federal loan eligibility). 

If your parent receives a declined credit check from their Parent PLUS loan application and is unable to use an Endorser, please email usaloans@abdn.ac.uk to advise us that you wish to be considered for the Additional Unsubsidized Loans as an independent student. Once you are changed to an Independent student for these additional loans, you cannot be reassessed at a later date as a dependent student.   

Cost of Attendance (CoA)

Cost of Attendance (CoA) is part of the University of Aberdeen Loan Application process. The CoA is an estimate of your education-related costs for the academic year. The CoA will specify the maximum amount you may be eligible to borrow minus any other aid you may be receiving such as bursaries, scholarships or other loans. If you are eligible for a Subsidized loan, your Student Aid Index (SAI) will also be deducted from a CoA figure to establish your ‘financial need’. Our Packaging Policy explains how loans are packaged and how financial aid is determined.

The CoA for students studying at the University of Aberdeen is based on average local costs. This will increase in line with inflation for each academic year.  These educational costs relate only to you, the student.  These costs cannot include costs for partners or children (other than childcare or nursery costs).

Please note, that whilst our CoA does include travel, we cannot issue loan payments before the beginning of the academic year, so you should not rely on your first loan payment to finance your travel to Aberdeen and the UK.

If you are in receipt of private loans, scholarships, or bursary funding, either from the University or another source, you must inform us so that this can be factored into your Cost of Attendance. Failure to do so will result in a recalculation and reduction of your loan later in the academic year when it is evident you are in receipt of additional sources of funding.

While your costs may vary depending on where you stay in Aberdeen, we expect your cost of attendance to be roughly in line with our estimates.

We have provided information below on various student scenarios.

If you have completed a FAFSA for the University of Aberdeen and have applied to study with us, you will receive information specific to your degree/situation in your financial aid package.

How much can I borrow?

Students can borrow amounts equal to the Cost of Attendance (CoA). The CoA consists of 2 elements:

How much should I borrow?

It can be difficult to know how much to borrow when you haven’t experienced the cost of living in the city you will be studying in for the next year.  We cannot tell you how much to borrow, but we can reassure you that you do have options to change your loan amount at any time over the academic year.

Our cost of attendance is set at a generous level.  As well as tuition and accommodation fees, it covers the cost of two return flights, origination fees (for Federal Loans), IT devices and allows a little extra for any clubs, societies, hobbies, trips etc.

You do not have to accept the maximum loan which is detailed on your financial aid package.  You can live comfortably in Aberdeen on less money, and you can specify the loan amount that you think will best meet your needs.  

If you are still unsure, you do have options to increase or decrease your loan at any stage over the next year.

Undergraduate (BSc, MA, BMus) and Postgraduate Research (PhD, MRes) have their loans paid in two instalments across the year.  Postgraduate Taught (MSc, MLitt, MPhil) have their loans paid in three instalments across the year.

The below example is for a PG Taught student.

  • The maximum loan entitlement is $47,000 but you request to borrow only $36,000. 
  • The loan will be paid in three instalments of $12,000.  Institutional charges will be paid in three instalments to coincide with your loan payments and the excess payment from each of those instalments will be refunded to you for living expenses.
  • If you find that you did not need the full $12,000 payment for the first term, you can ask us to reduce your loan instalments for the 2nd and/or 3rd disbursements.
  • If you find that the $12,000 payment in the first term did not meet your expenses, you can ask us to increase your loan instalments for the 2nd and/or 3rd disbursements (up to the maximum loan of $47,000 detailed on the financial aid package). 

Your financial aid package will have a different loan amount, but this gives an idea of the flexibility you have regarding making changes as the year progresses.

The same principle is applied for loans that are paid in two instalments for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Research students. 

What is included in the Living Expenses?

Most undergraduate programmes are 35 weeks in length.  If your programme is longer than this (i.e. PGDE, MBChB), we will amend your Cost of Attendance Living Expenses accordingly.

Postgraduate Taught and Research students are assessed 12 months at a time. Extensions or programmes taking more than 12 months, but less than 24 months will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Items included

  • Rent / Housing
    • Your contract may be longer than your programme length. If so, you will need to cover any extra through funds outwith your loans. 
    • If you want to look for a flatmate, our Student Association does have a facility to help https://www.ausa.org.uk/advice/findaflatmate/
    • University Accommodation options can be found here
    • You can also search the internet for private student accommodation or leasing agents.
  • Utilities
    • This includes gas, electricity and internet.
    • Some accommodation may include this within your rent.
    • The figure that we use is based on average figures for a 2 bedroom flat when shared with another person (50/50 split).
    • You may be able to change your energy and/ or internet provider to get a better price. 
      • There are websites you can search for better prices such as USwitch
  • Food
    • This is an average weekly shop for a single adult.
    • Nearby supermarkets include Lidl, Aldi, Tesco, Asda & Morrisons.
    • Convenience supermarkets can be more expensive than larger stores.
    • The University does offer a weekly food card for students wanting to eat mainly at university outlets on campus.
  • Travel Expenses
    • This is the approximate cost of a First Bus Weekly Student Pass.  You can download the FirstBus app to purchase this.
    • First Bus is the main bus provider around Aberdeen.
    • Stagecoach buses are available within the city but are mainly used for trips to surrounding local areas.
    • The cost of a student railcard cannot be included in your cost of attendance but if you wish to explore more of Scotland you can purchase a student railcard on the Scotrail website.
  • Personal Costs - this can include (but is not limited to) the following - 
    • Toiletries
    • Socialising
    • Gym Membership
    • Sports Club / Society Membership
    • Clothing
    • Reading (not university related)
    • Music apps
  • Books / Computer Equipment / Printing
    • University books
      • The University library will have most books for your courses in either physical or electronic formats.
      • Blackwells Bookstore on campus also provides a student discount.
    • Laptop
      • Funds for this are spread across your studies.
      • If additional software is required for disabilities or learning differences, please let us know and we can liaise with the Student Support team.
    • Printing
      • You can top up your student ID card to print on campus.
  • Return Flights
    • The figure that we have used is the average cost of a flight from Aberdeen to various locations in the US when booked 2-3 months in advance.
    • We include funds for 2 return flights.
  • Visa
    • We will include the cost of your visa as part of your cost of attendance within your 1st year of study.
  • Healthcare surcharge
    • We will include the cost of the healthcare surcharge within your 1st year of study for the duration of your studies.
    • PhD students often request an extension to complete their thesis. As such, we include the cost for 4 years instead of 3 years.
  • Origination Fees
    • We will include an approximate value based on your situation. Actual origination fees will vary. Origination fees for 2024/2025 are available here once determined by the US Department of Education.
    • This is only available to students taking Federal Direct Loans.
    • If you are not taking PLUS loans or are taking private loans, the value you are eligible for your origination fees will be amended as required.
    • You need to ensure that you keep these in mind when deciding the amount you wish to borrow.
  • Conversion rate
    • As the values for your cost of attendance are calculated in GBP, we need to convert the values to USD.
    • The Exchange rate is 1.2911 at the time of compiling these tables. 
    • Regulations allow us to set a theoretical exchange rate to convert GBP to USD values to allow for volatility in the exchange rate as the year progresses.
    • The exchange rate that we have used for the 2024/2025 academic year is 1.35
      • £1 = $1.35
      • $1 = £0.74
    • The actual exchange rate is determined by Convera on the day that your loans are released by the US Treasury. 

You will receive a statement from noreply@convera.com when your funds are disbursed. The email will detail the net value released, the exchange rate, the funds paid towards your institutional charges, and the funds transferred to you for living expenses.  If you have any questions relating to your statement, please email usaloans@abdn.ac.uk

Maximum Cost of Living Expenses

Undergraduate 1st year taking Federal Loans - Dependent

Undergraduate 1st year taking Federal Loans - Independent

Undergraduate 1st Year taking Private Loans only

Undergraduate 2nd Year taking Federal Loans - Dependent

Undergraduate 2nd Year taking Federal Loans - Independent

Undergraduate 2nd Year taking Private Loans only

Undergraduate 3rd/ 4th/ 5th year taking Federal Loans - Dependent

Undergraduate 3rd/ 4th/ 5th year taking Federal Loans - Independent

Undergraduate 3rd/ 4th/ 5th year taking Private Loans Only

LLB Accelerated - 1st year

LLB Accelerated - 2nd year

PGDE - Private Loans Only

Postgraduate Taught (1 year full-time) & Postgraduate Research (1 year - i.e. MRes)

Postgraduate Taught (part-time) 1st year

Postgraduate Taught (part-time) 2nd year

Postgraduate Research 1st year (i.e. PhD)

Postgraduate Research 2nd year and above (i.e. PhD)

  • Extensions are assessed on a pro-rata basis depending on the number of months that you have been approved for.

The Exchange rate is 1.2911 at the time of compiling these tables. Regulations allow us to set a theoretical exchange rate to convert GBP costs to USD values to allow for volatility in the exchange rate as the year progresses.

NB. We use Convera as our bank for processing your loan payments when the money is released by the US Treasury. Convera will use a mid-exchange rate and other banks may offer better rates. We have no plans to change our payment processing and your loans will be paid according to the rate Convera offers on the day your loan is released.

Disbursement / Receiving your Loans

Loan Confirmation Letter and Disbursement

  • Your Loan Confirmation letter is confirmation that you have fully completed the US Federal Loan application process. 
  • Visa authorities accept this letter as evidence that you have the required funds to support your studies for the current academic year.
  • To have your loan released, you must have completed the student registration process, and provided your banking information.
  • Your loan payment should be made within 21 days of your programme starting, providing all conditions are met and there is no US Department of Education system maintenance or failures.
  • Ensure you have enough personal loans to cover expenses until your loan disbursement.

Loan Payment Schedule

Following US Department of Education regulations, your loan will be paid to you in two or three equal instalments according to the dates on your loan confirmation letter.

  • Undergraduate Students: 2 instalments - October and February
  • PG Taught Students (Sept Starts): 3 instalments - October, February and June
  • PG Taught Students (Jan/Feb Starts): 3 instalments - February, June and September
  • PG Research Students: 2 instalments 6 months apart i.e. October Starts - October and April

Loan Payment Process

  • Approximately 14 days before your disbursement, you will receive a "Right to Cancel" email advising you of the net funds expected, your right to cancel or amend the loan before disbursement, and anything else you need to know or do to receive your disbursement.
  • Before each disbursement, the US Department of Education deducts origination (loan) fees from each Direct Loan payment. For information about origination fees, please see: https://studentaid.gov/sa/types/loans/interest-rates
  • Loan payments are paid directly to the University via Convera and converted to GBP.  Funds are assigned to your university charges (Tuition Fees & University Accommodation), and then any excess funds are refunded to the bank details provided. 
  • When the disbursement is made, you will receive an email with the breakdown & exchange rate used for your disbursement.
  • Students must make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) to receive the next disbursement.

Opening a UK Bank Account

  • If you do not have a UK bank account, you can open one when you arrive in Aberdeen. Loan payments can be processed faster when paid to a UK bank account. 
  • We can make payments to US bank accounts, however, due to international banking time frames, payments can take a few days longer to reach your account. 
  • Information about how to open a UK bank account can be found here.

Paying Tuition and Accommodation Fees

  • A payment plan will be set up to align with your loan instalments. If you will live in University managed accommodation, your accommodation fees will also be included in the payment plan.
  • Provided you are borrowing enough loans to cover your tuition fees, you do not have to make any tuition payments before arriving in Aberdeen or to confirm your registration.
  • If you are not borrowing enough loans to cover your tuition fees, you will be required to pay 50% of your tuition fees to be registered. The remaining 50% will be split between your disbursement dates to reduce the balance payable later in the year.
  • If you are studying a Postgraduate Taught Programme and your full fees are due to be covered by US Federal Loans or US Private Student Loans, you may not need to pay a deposit to confirm your place. https://www.abdn.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-taught/deposits.php 

Living Expenses

  • After institutional charges are deducted, any excess loan funds will be refunded to you via the bank details you provided. 

Post Disbursement Exchange Rate

  • Loan payments are processed through Convera, which uses a mid-exchange rate. Loan payments are converted to GBP based on the rate Convera offers on the day the funds are received from the US Treasury.
  • Other banks may offer better rates. We have no plans to change our payment process.
Amending, decreasing or cancelling a loan

If you wish to increase your Federal US Loans during the academic year and your current borrowing is less than the maximum Cost of Attendance (CoA) stated in your financial aid package, please email usaloans@abdn.ac.uk to request the amendment. You cannot borrow more than your maximum CoA figure.

If you wish to decrease your Federal US Loans please email usaloans@abdn.ac.uk to request the amendment. The reduction will be spread across any remaining disbursements. Please notify us by the date in your "Right to Cancel" email.

If you wish to cancel your loan, please email usaloans@abdn.ac.uk by the date provided in your "Right to Cancel" email, before the upcoming release date. There is a short period after receipt of your disbursement where you can ask the University to return Federal loan funds to the US Treasury, however, you will be responsible for all bank charges if the payment has already been released.

If you wish to cancel your Federal Loan and the timeframe for doing so through the University has passed, you can still pay your loan service provider directly. You are advised to contact your loan service provider for up-to-date details about cancelling your loan – your loan service provider details can be found on the Studentaid.gov website once you log in.

If you cancel your Federal loan after receiving a disbursement or you are withdrawing/ suspending your studies, you must complete Exit Counselling.

We will contact you before each loan disbursement to remind you of your Right to Cancel and to give you the option to reduce, cancel or increase the next loan disbursement.

Changing your studies (suspending, transferring, mode of study, early submission, etc)

You must email usaloans@abdn.ac.uk before you request any for the following changes to the status of your studies:

  • Suspending (taking a break)
  • Withdrawal 
  • Transfer programme
  • Leave of Absence - Policy can be found here
  • Upgrade/downgrade i.e. MSc to PG Diploma, PhD to MRes/MLitt
  • Change from full-time to half-time or less than half-time
  • Early submission of your thesis

Under US Federal law, the University is required to report any changes to your enrolment within tight timescales.  For students who withdraw, suspend and complete their studies earlier than expected, it may be necessary, to complete a Return to Title IV (R2T4) calculation, and arrange for the return of any ‘unearned’ funds to the US Department of Education.

For Federal student loan administration, a student receiving Federal Loan funds and is granted an approved Leave of Absence (LOA) is not to be considered withdrawn and therefore no return of Title IV calculation is required.  If a student does not meet the LOA criteria, they may be considered to have withdrawn (for Federal loan purposes), and a Title IV return of funds calculation will be required.  Further information can be found in the Return to Title IV policy.

If you are thinking of changing the status of your studies and want to know what the implications for your US Federal Loan entitlement will be, please email usaloans@abdn.ac.uk

Loan requirements during your studies

NSLDS reporting

In accordance with Federal Regulations, the University of Aberdeen must report your enrolment status to the US Department of Education via the National Student Loan Data System () every 60 days. Reporting students as studying full-time or at least half-time at the University of Aberdeen will allow deferred payment status for any previous Federal US Loans taken out before you started your studies with us.

The University is required to confirm enrolment status as follows on the NSLDS system:

  • Students studying full-time will be reported as F, or H if studying at least half-time, and will remain eligible to receive Federal US Loans.
  • Students who are studying less than half-time will be reported an L and will be ineligible for Federal US Loans and deferred payment status. Students who have completed their studies but are awaiting the outcome of the exam board will be reported as L.
  • Students will be reported as G (graduated) once the exam board confirms the student has completed their studies.
  • Students who suspend or withdraw from their studies will be reported as W and will be ineligible for US Federal Loans.
  • PG Research students who meet the conditions for an approved Leave of Absence will be reported as and will be ineligible for Federal US Loans during that time, however, your loans will remain as deferred.
  • PG Research students are reported as H when they move into an extension period following their supervised studies. Once your thesis is submitted for assessment, you will be reported as L (less than half-time) and are no longer eligible for loans unless major corrections are required following your viva. Once you are reported to Registry as having sustained your PhD, you will be reported as G (graduated).
  • If your mode of attendance is reported as less than half-time, withdrawn or graduated, you will no longer be eligible for any in-school deferment requests. Refer to the Repayment terms of your loans when the status of your studies changes.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Students must meet satisfactory academic progress (SAP) requirements to remain eligible for Federal US Loans. This will be checked before each disbursement. Students are advised to familiarise themselves with the SAP Policy.

Your supervisor or Registry Officer are required to complete a form to confirm if you (the student) is meeting SAP before each disbursement. Outwith these periods, the Financial Aid Administrator will check the Student Record System to ensure that SAP is being met.

More information

Exit Counselling

Students coming to the end of their studies must complete Exit Counselling if Federal US Loans have been borrowed.  This is a condition of your loan terms.

  • You will be emailed to remind you to complete Exit Counselling. We ask that you email usaloans@abdn.ac.uk once you have completed Exit Counselling.
  • You are required to complete Exit Counselling if you drop to less than half-time, withdraw/ suspend from your studies or complete your studies.
  • You can complete Exit Counselling on the StudentLoans.gov website.
Satisfactory Academic Progress

The U.S. Department of Education requires institutions of higher education to establish minimum standards of satisfactory academic progress for students receiving Federal aid. Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) means the student is proceeding positively toward fulfilling degree requirements. SAP includes two standards; qualitative and quantitative. Students must meet both standards to continue receiving financial aid.

Students are advised to familiarise themselves with these SAP guidelines to successfully complete their academic process and continue to receive federal student loans.

In accordance with Federal Student Aid regulations, the University will update your enrolment status in NSLDS every 60 days.

To maintain eligibility for financial aid with the qualitative standard, a student must maintain the academic standing necessary to proceed.

The University of Aberdeen Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy for Title IV Financial Aid Recipients can be found on the below link.

Overview

To remain eligible for US federal student loans, students must make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). This policy applies to all full-time and part-time undergraduate and postgraduate students in receipt of funding via the Federal Direct Loan Program (also known as ‘financial aid’ and ‘Title IV aid’) at the University of Aberdeen. The University of Aberdeen is required by US Federal Law (34CFR 668.16) to monitor that any student in receipt of US Federal Student Aid is making Satisfactory Academic Progress towards completion of their academic program.  The University of Aberdeen cannot waive the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirement for any student.

Our definition of SAP may be different to other University of Aberdeen policies and is not intended to contradict anything in the University academic regulations; this policy may impose a more stringent definition of SAP than other University regulations.

The US Department of Education regulations require students in receipt of US Federal Aid to be enrolled in an eligible educational programme and make Satisfactory Academic Progress to be eligible to receive any Title IV (Direct Loan funds).

Under Direct Loan regulations, the University of Aberdeen is obliged to check student progress and will do so before the release of the second and third disbursement (if applicable), each academic year.

Students who receive US Federal Aid will be evaluated at the end of each term.  This evaluation process will consider your progress under the following criteria;

  • Quantitative (time-based) measurement
  • Qualitative (grade-based) measurement

To receive US Federal Aid, you must meet the minimum standard for both the above-mentioned components while simultaneously adhering to academic progress rules and the UK Government’s Immigration Rules.

Financial aid will be disbursed early in each semester. Students who withdraw after that will have their eligibility to retain part of their financial aid calculated on the percentage of the semester attended. Students who attend more than 60% of the term may retain all of their aid. See the section on Return to Title IV (R2T4).

Repayments

It is your responsibility to repay your loans. When you leave your programme or drop below at least half-time study, this will be reported to NSLDS and you will enter a six-month grace period (this does not apply to PLUS loans which go into repayment immediately, but you can request a deferment through your loan servicer).

It is important that you understand your rights and obligations when borrowing Federal US Loans. Students are advised to fully research and understand responsible borrowing and repayment before requesting Federal Student Loans. The Federal Student Aid webpage has an estimate calculator where you can calculate your estimated loan repayments.

There are several repayment options available and you should discuss these with your loan servicer to determine which is the most appropriate for you. If you do not select a repayment plan you will be placed on the standard plan with fixed repayments for up to ten years. You can find details of your loan servicer on the Studentaid.gov website.

Entrance Counselling and Exit Counselling is a condition of your loan agreement and Entrance Counselling should be completed before you start your programme at the University of Aberdeen, and Exit Counselling as you are coming to the end of your studies with us. It will inform you about repayment and money management, and advise you how to make the necessary arrangements before and during repayment.

Your Student Loan must be repaid. If you do not meet the loan repayments as required by your loan servicer, you will go into default. You are advised to keep in touch with your loan servicer and discuss your options if you are struggling to meet your repayments. You are also advised to update your loan servicer of any changes to your personal details such as address, phone number, and enrolment status.

Useful guides on repaying loans and default:

Deferments and 1098T Tax Information

Deferment

If you have taken out Federal student loans before coming to Aberdeen, and if you are taking out loans in the current year, we will automatically update your enrolment details on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) to ensure that your repayments are deferred. The information we provide is shared with all of the US Department of Education's servicing agents, who are responsible for administering loan repayments.

If you are not taking out loans for your studies while you are here and need a loan deferment for previous loans, you should email the US Loan Administrators (usaloans@abdn.ac.uk) using our encrypted service zendto.abdn.ac.uk giving your Social Security Number (SSN) and we will add your information to the NSLDS database.

We do not complete the paper In School Deferment forms for US Federal Loans but can complete them for private loans.  If you need to have a paper form completed, please email it to usaloans@abdn.ac.uk or hand it in to the Infohub when you arrive on campus.

Please note that once you have completed your period of registered or supervised study you cease to be enrolled at least half-time with us. The date when your studies end is not the same as the date when you will graduate and receive your degree. If you are a doctoral student and go on to a writing-up year, you will continue to be classified as enrolled at least half-time and still be able to defer your loans until your expected submission date. Your completion date will be the date that you submit your thesis.

1098T Tax Forms

The IRS has confirmed that foreign schools are not required to provide students with the 1098T form. However, you will still be able to submit your request for tax credits by submitting details of the tuition fees paid and the University of Aberdeen's EIN.

To provide evidence of the amount you have paid in tuition fees, you can provide a statement from the University showing these details.  You may also be required to provide proof of your current enrolment, such as a Student Certificate.

  • To request a receipt for the tuition fees paid, please email our Payments Sections (payments@abdn.ac.uk) to request this.
  • To request a Student Certificate you can visit the Infohub or email them at infohub@abdn.ac.uk

Our EIN is 98-0584963.

Please include your University Student ID number in emails.

Entrance and Exit Counselling

Entrance Counselling

All students who take out Direct Loans must complete entrance counselling as part of the loan application process to make sure that you understand the responsibilities and the terms and conditions of your loan.

You'll need your PIN - the same one you used for your FAFSA. If you are only taking a Direct Stafford Loan the Direct Stafford Loan entrance counselling will need to be completed. If you are also taking a PLUS Loan please complete the PLUS Loan entrance counselling.

In addition, you'll need to save your counselling confirmation and email it to us at usaloans@abdn.ac.uk with your MPNs as we require proof that the counselling session(s) have been completed.

We will not be able to proceed with your loan assessment until we have a copy of the counselling confirmation.

Exit Counselling

In accordance with USDE regulations, you must complete exit counselling before you graduate, drop below half-time attendance, or withdraw. The counselling session will help you understand your rights and responsibilities as a student loan borrower and provide useful tips and information to help you manage your loans.

We will prompt you to complete your exit counselling just before your final loan disbursement is scheduled for payment.

You'll need your PIN - the same one you used for your FAFSA and it will take you approximately 30 minutes.

You must notify the US Loans Office by emailing usaloans@abdn.ac.uk  that you have completed the counselling.  A report can then be obtained by the US Loans Office that shows that you have met the US Department of Education's requirements.

Private Loans, Scholarships and Funding

Scholarships and Funding

The University of Aberdeen offers a range of scholarships and funding opportunities for international students.  More information on these can be found here -

These are two external websites that I am aware of that list scholarships that are potentially available to students studying at foreign schools.  If you are aware of any others, please let me know and I will add them.

It is also worth having a look at your home state, county, or town/city government websites as they may also have scholarships listed that you can apply for.

Private Loans

If your programme of study is not eligible for Federal Loans you may want to consider Private (credit-based) loans to help pay for university expenses. Even if your programme of study is eligible for Federal Loans, you may still choose to borrow through a Private Lender but it would be sensible to do a comparison between the terms and conditions of both loan sources before making a final decision.

You and/or your family must apply for credit-based loans directly with the lender. Applicants must meet credit and other eligibility requirements set by the individual lender.

The University of Aberdeen does not recommend any private lender, however as far as we are aware there are only two private lenders that make loans available to US citizens studying a degree at a foreign school.  These lenders are listed in the information below.  However, the university will work with any other private lender willing to lend to students who attend a foreign school.

Before taking out any credit-based loan, you should read the terms and conditions carefully before committing. You do not need to borrow the maximum sum, but you cannot borrow more than the maximum Cost of Attendance (COA). If you would like to know the exact value that you are eligible for, please email usaloans@abdn.ac.uk and let us know that you are planning on using private loans to fund your studies.

The University of Aberdeen encourages students and families using private loans to apply for one full academic year at a time rather than on a per-term basis. This prevents multiple credit hits on borrower credit reports and ensures that a student has a way to cover their costs for a full academic year. We recommend that students apply for a private loan with a co-signer. A co-signer assumes responsibility for a loan should the borrower fail to repay. Having a co-signer on the loan often results in a lower interest rate and reduced fees.

When you have submitted the online application and approval has been granted, you should email the US Loan Administrator (usaloans@abdn.ac.uk) to advise that your application has been approved. Provided you have completed all admission requirements, we will certify your application for payment release.

Private loan payments are normally paid in one single disbursement after you have completed all stages of the registration process.

The payment will come directly to the University for campus-based students. Institutional charges will be deducted and any excess payment refunded to you for living expenses, therefore, you should ensure that you set up a UK bank account on arrival. Alternatively, we can use a US Bank Account but, because any payment we process will be subject to international banking time frames, payments will take a few days longer to reach that account. 

As you will not receive your loan at the immediate start of the academic year, we would advise you to ensure that you have sufficient funds to cover your travel to the University plus expenses for a minimum of 3 weeks from the beginning of Semester 1.

Our federal school code is G09368 and our OPEID is 00936800.

Lenders

Below is a list of lenders offering private educational loans that are commonly utilized by University of Aberdeen students. This is not a comprehensive list of all the educational loans available to you. You are not required to select one of these lenders. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement or recommendation by the University of Aberdeen. If a parent or student has worked with a lender not listed below and has received excellent benefits and quality service, please recommend this lender to us by emailing usaloans@abdn.ac.uk

Each lender's loan program may have different requirements. Be sure to check with your lender regarding the loan programs you qualify for that best suit your needs.

There are also companies available to support your search for private loans - 

Check with your specific lender regarding their process for certification and disbursement and whether they offer loans to students studying outside of the US.

Student requirements for Private Educational Loans

Student borrowers are now required to complete a self-certification form (supplied by your lender). To help you complete this our cost of attendance information can be found here. If you have any questions regarding the cost of attendance or wish for us to provide you with the value that you are eligible for, you can email usaloans@abdn.ac.uk

Active Acceptance of Loan

Student borrowers are now required to “actively accept” the terms of their loan approval before their school will be notified that school certification is required. The lender’s terms for how to “accept” the loan terms can be found on the private loan approval disclosure form that they will provide to the borrower.

Right to Cancel

Borrowers and/or cosigners have the right to cancel or rescind a loan offer within 3 business days after receipt of Final Disclosure. During this time, the lender cannot disburse loan funds. This cancellation period cannot be waived for funds to disburse more quickly. This may cause a delay in the disbursement of loan funds to your student account. Be sure to apply several weeks before funding is needed.

Anticipated fees on your loans

Keep in mind when calculating how much to borrow that the gross amount of the loan may be reduced by fees charged by the lender. For loan types other than Parent PLUS or Grad PLUS, if your loan is in "anticipated" status (not yet disbursed) on your bill, the amount indicated is the gross amount. Therefore, the amount you owe may be higher than what is reflected on your bill.

Advice

The US Loans Office suggests that you fully research the loan and lender that best suits your needs. It is a good idea to compare the benefits and costs of several supplemental loans before you apply, as the loan terms can vary. Also, remember that it is always in the best interest of students and parents to explore federal student and parent loan options before applying for private loan products.

The following are some questions that you may want to ask your lender or consider when choosing a lender/loan option:

  • Do you charge any fees for disbursement, repayment, or deferments?
  • Are the fees deducted from the loan disbursements or added to the total loan amount?
  • Are in-school payments required?
  • What is the interest rate? 
  • Is the interest rate variable or fixed? 
  • When is interest capitalized?
  • Do you offer flexible repayment options? 
  • Can I request a deferment or forbearance after I leave school and enter repayment?
  • Do you offer interest rate reductions for auto-debit payments?
  • How much experience do your customer service representatives have? 
  • Can I talk to a person, not an automated system? How long is the wait time typically?
  • Can I email an account representative if needed?
  • Is there an online application process and instant approval? 
  • Do you have online account access?
  • How long have you been lending loans?
  • Do you have a history of selling loans?
  • What are my options for loan consolidation?

Disclosure

  • The University of Aberdeen (UoA) has no affiliation with and receives no financial incentives from Sallie Mae or any other private lender. UoA does not endorse any Private Education Loan provider located in the United States who offer loans for study at Foreign Schools. UoA does not have any revenue-sharing arrangements with any lender, accept gifts from a lender, guarantor or loan service, have any contracting arrangement providing financial benefit from any lender or affiliate of a lender, direct borrowers to particular lenders, or refuse or delay loan certifications, offer funds for private loans, offer any staffing assistance to lenders or loan services, offer any advisory board compensation, have any preferred lender.

 

VA Educational Benefits

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Education Service provides benefits and resources to help US service members, Veterans and their eligible dependents pay for their education. 

If you are eligible for VA educational assistance, you may be able to use your Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) or Survivors and Dependents Education Assistance (Chapter 35) benefits at the University of Aberdeen.

The University of Aberdeen (UoA) is approved by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to process VA Benefits for students studying on campus in Aberdeen. Eligibility for GI Bill benefits is determined by the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

As a foreign school, there are some important exceptions to the use of your benefits at the University of Aberdeen:

  • The specific course that you’ll be studying will need to be approved by VA.

Ineligible Programmes

The VA will not grant programme approval for the following:-

  • Any element of online, blended or distance learning
  • Certificate and Diploma Programmes
  • Any programme that includes placement/study abroad
  • VA education benefits cannot be used for student exchange programmes or programmes including study abroad
  • Courses which require completion of practical training are not approved for the use of VA education benefits, this includes work placement years.
  • Any programme studied at a partner institution including joint, double, or dual programmes such as Qatar, SCNU, IDI
  • Yellow Ribbon Benefits

Applying for Benefits

Register with https://www.va.gov/education/ to determine your eligibility for benefits and to check if your programme of study is on the VA approved list for the University of Aberdeen. 

If the programme is showing on VA systems as approved, follow the guidance for in the How to use your VA benefits at the University of Aberdeen section.

How to plan for studying at the University of Aberdeen

It is important that you contact us as soon as your Certificate of Eligibility letter is sent out, as the VA will not inform the University of Aberdeen. In addition, to receive VA funding for studying overseas, the course you are applying for needs to be approved by the VA. The list of programmes already approved at the University of Aberdeen can be found in the Current Approved Programmes section below. 

It is important to note that while some programmes may have similar names and/or content, each specific programme must be individually approved. 

Please note that if studying a degree that lasts multiple years, you'll need to confirm before each year of study that you want to continue using your VA benefit entitlement.

Current Approved Programmes (updated 19 December 2023)

Undergraduate

  • MA Anthropology
  • MA Art History & Theology
  • MA Economics & Inter Rels
  • MA History
  • Bachelor of Music (BMus)
  • MA Sociology
  • BSc Neuroscience with Psychology

Postgraduate Taught

  • MSc Archaeology
  • MSc Archaeology of the North
  • MBA (Business Administration)
  • MLitt Creative Writing
  • MSc Geographical Information Systems
  • MSc Human Nutrition
  • LLB Accelerated
  • LLM Human Rights & Criminal Justice
  • MSc Immunology
  • MSc Osteoarchaeology
  • MSc Peace and Conflict Studies
  • MSc Strategic Studies & International Relations
  • MLitt Viking and Medieval Nordic Studies

Postgraduate Research

  • MRes Social Anthropology (1 year)
  • PhD Archaeology
  • PhD Divinity

What do to if the programme you want to study is not listed above?

If your programme of study is not listed on the VA website as approved, we can request approval provided that you hold an offer to study at UoA.  You must contact us at usaloans@abdn.ac.uk as early as possible to ask us to proceed with the programme approval process.  

The VA advise that their approval process is taking up to 12 months for new programmes to be added to their approved list.  We strongly advise that you do not start your programme of study until the VA has granted approval. 

Without formal VA programme approval, you will become liable for tuition fee payment at the start of your studies. The delay in processing new programme approvals is not restricted to the University of Aberdeen – all Foreign Schools are experiencing the same delays and difficulties. 

You can use private or Federal loans to pay your tuition if your programme is not approved on time. Any additional funds paid to your tuition fees can be refunded to you when your VA benefits are received by the University of Aberdeen. 

How to use your VA benefits at the University of Aberdeen 

Step 1 - Check your eligibility for VA funding.

Step 2 - Submit your application on the VA Website. If your application is approved, the VA will send you a Certificate of Eligibility letter.

Step 3 - Check whether the programme you plan to study is listed in our Currently Approved Programmes above. If not, please see the guidance in What do to if the programme you want to study is not listed above? section.

Step 4 - Ensure that your programme of study is 100% based in Aberdeen and does not include any off-campus periods for placements/study abroad or online elements. If you are unsure please email usaloans@abdn.ac.uk and we can liaise with the relevant teams.

Step 5 - Securely submit your Certificate of Eligibility (issued by VA) via https://zendto.abdn.ac.uk/ to usaloans@abdn.ac.uk.  Include your SSN and UoA applicant/student ID number in the message.

Step 6 - If your programme is approved by the VA and you have completed the UoA registration process, we will submit a Certification of Enrolment using VA systems.  It is important to note that Certifications can take several weeks to process through the VA at peak times.

Please note that if studying a degree that lasts multiple years, you'll need to confirm before each year of study that you want to continue using your VA benefit entitlement.

You must notify usaloans@abdn.ac.uk if you make any changes to your study pattern, programme of study or attendance. 

How and when will the funds be received?

 

Once your attendance at the University of Aberdeen has been confirmed at the start of the academic year, we will submit an enrolment certificate to the VA.

The VA does not provide a timeframe of when students will receive their funding once the enrolment certificate has been submitted. Due to data protection laws, the VA will never share your funding details with the University of Aberdeen. As such, we will not be able to assist you if you have specific queries about your funding.

If you have any questions about the payment of your benefits, you will need to contact the VA directly.

The VA can only pay your personal maintenance benefits into a US bank account. It will be your responsibility to transfer them to a UK bank account so that you can access them while at the University of Aberdeen.

If you receive financial support for tuition, your tuition payments will be made directly to the University of Aberdeen by the VA. They will convert the GBP amount into USD using the rate provided by Convera at the time the funds are received. 

You will be regarded as personally responsible for tuition fee payment and your tuition fee charge invoiced to you directly.  The VA will pay tuition fees directly to the University after the Certificate of Enrolment has been processed:-

  • Payment released in 2 instalments for Undergraduate and PhD students
  • Payment released in 3 instalments for Postgraduate Taught students

There is a maximum dollar value that the VA will pay for tuition and after conversion to £GBP, the value that they pay may not cover the full cost of your tuition charges.  In all cases, where there is a shortfall it is your responsibility to pay the outstanding balance.  You can track the payments through https://www.abdn.ac.uk/epayments/

How much funding could you receive?

The GI Bill Comparison Tool can help you estimate how much you could receive. To find out exactly what you are entitled to, please contact the VA directly.

Chapter 33 benefits may include financial support for tuition, fees, books, supplies, and housing. 

The VA sets a maximum value for the tuition fee contribution each year.  The rate is capped at $28,937.09 for the 2024/25 year.  Further information about benefits can be found here https://www.va.gov/education/benefit-rates/post-9-11-gi-bill-rates/future-rates/

Chapter 35 benefits are a monthly payment made directly to the dependent (spouse or child) of a US Veteran. They do not cover tuition fees.

 

529 Plans

If you have a 529 Plan, you may be eligible to use this for your studies at the University of Aberdeen. You should check with your plan administrator, but as the University of Aberdeen is a Title IV approved school (code G09368) you will likely be able to use your plan here.

Please forward any forms that need completing by the University of Aberdeen to the Tuition Fees team at tuitionfees@abdn.ac.uk

529 plan payments are normally made to the plan holder for them to then pay the University. Details for how to make payments to the University can be found here - Making a Payment

What is a 529 Plan?

A 529 plan is a tax-advantaged savings plan designed to encourage saving for future college costs. Legally known as ‘Qualified Tuition Plans’, they are sponsored by States and are authorised by section 529 of the IRS code.

There are 2 types of 529 Plans: Pre-paid tuition plans and College Savings Plans.

Contributions are not tax deductible but the plan earnings are not subject to income tax.

For further information on 529 Plans, see the links below.

National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)

What is the NSLDS?

The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the U.S. Department of Education's national database of information about loans and grants awarded to students under Title IV of the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965 (US Federal Loans), as amended. NSLDS provides a centralized, integrated view of Title IV loans and grants during their complete life cycle, from aid approval through disbursement, repayment, deferment, delinquency, and closure.

Do students have access to the information?

Students and parents have access to their own information on StudentAid.gov.

Student borrowers can track and manage their federal student loans and grants online. The site provides disbursement amounts, outstanding balances, and status per federal fund type.

Never share your FSA user ID or password with anyone. Like your user ID and password, your FSA User ID or password is private and personal.

How to log in to access the information?

The NSLDS site does not summarize non-federal debt, such as:

  • Non-federal alternative student loans (lent by a bank)
  • Unpaid University of Aberdeen student account debt (i.e. outstanding tuition fees or accommodation fees)

How To Determine If You Have Non-Federal Debt

  • Private alternative student loans lent through a bank: Contact your loan service provider.
  • Unpaid University of Aberdeen student account debt: Access your epayments page - www.abdn.ac.uk/epayments
Consumer Disclosure Information

Federal regulations require schools to disclose specific consumer information to prospective and enrolled students. The following is a summary of the consumer information topic areas with links to policies, information, and resources. If you need assistance or paper copies, please contact the University of Aberdeen US Loans Office. 

Records and Privacy Policies will be reviewed on an annual basis. 

Admissions Policies and Procedures

The links below provide an overview of the University of Aberdeen’s general admissions policies.

To receive Federal Direct and PLUS Loans, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Entry requirements can be found on the Study Here pages for each degree programme.

University Policies for Students and Student Agreement

The terms of the relationship between you and the University of Aberdeen are set out in the University of Aberdeen Student Terms and Conditions. This page also lists the key documents you will need and directs you to the policy documents.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fee rates

Accommodation

We offer a mix of on-campus and off-campus accommodation, and also with our Partners.

Ineligible Programmes

Students receiving US Federal Aid are governed by stringent US Department of Education regulations.  Only campus-based students studying on a full-time or at least half-time basis are eligible to apply.  The following programmes are NOT eligible to receive Federal Direct Loans.

  • Certificate and Diploma Programmes
  • Online or Distance Learning Programmes
  • Programmes with study of less than half-time
  • Medicine/Dentistry Programmes
  • Foundation Year Programmes
  • Programmes undertaken through the Interactive Design Institute (IDI)
  • Programmes undertaken at Qatar Campus
  • Programmes undertaken at the South China Normal University (SCNU) Campus
  • Programmes undertaken at Shandong Normal Univesity (SDNU) Campus
  • Visiting and Exchange students.  You are required to apply for Financial Aid through your home institution. 
  • All degree programmes that are joint, double or dual with other partner institutions.

Study Abroad

Degree programmes which involve study out with the University of Aberdeen through a formal arrangement (Written Agreement) with another institution must satisfy the following conditions to remain eligible for Federal Aid:-

  • For study located outside of the USA, the institution does not have to be approved to participate in the Federal Aid (Title IV) Programme
  • For study located in the USA, the institution must be a participating and approved Federal Aid (Title IV) School
  • The study abroad period must account for no more than 25% of the total length of the programme of study
  • Agreement that the Host institution will sign the Consortium / Contractual Agreement with the University of Aberdeen. 

Information on our existing Partnership and Consortium agreements can be found here:

Please email usaloans@abdn.ac.uk before applying for your loan so that we can assess your eligibility

Code of Conduct for Financial Aid Professionals

In compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008, the following Code of Conduct was written in respect to the Title IV Stafford Loan program. Financial Aid employees are held to the following standards:

  • Prohibited from conflicts of interest in respect to loans.
  • Prohibited from revenue sharing arrangements with any lender.
  • Prohibited from the soliciting or acceptance of gifts from a lender, guarantor, or servicer. Gifts include a "gratuity, favour, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, or any other item having a monetary value of more than a de minimis amount, including services, transportation, lodging, and meals. A gift does not include the following:
    • Standard materials, activities, or programs related to a loan being provided.
    • Food, refreshments, training, or informational materials provided as part of a training session conducted by the lender for the institution to improve services.
    • Favourable terms, conditions, or borrower benefits provided to a student employed by the institution if comparable terms are provided to all students of the institution.
    • Entrance and Exit Counselling services provided to borrowers as long as a covered institution's staff is in control of the counselling and the counselling does not promote one specific lender.
    • Philanthropic contributions to an institution unrelated to education loans.
    • State education grants, scholarships, or financial aid funds.
  • Prohibited from receipt of any fees, payments, or any other financial benefits for consulting services by anyone with responsibilities in respect to education loans.
  • Prohibited from assigning first-time borrower's loans to a particular lender and not delaying certification of any loan regardless of the lender or guaranty agency the borrower selects.
  • Prohibited from accepting any funds to be used for private education loans in exchange for the institution providing concessions to the private lender.

 

In general, University of Aberdeen Financial Aid employees hold themselves to the following standards:

  • Refrain from taking any action for their personal benefit.
  • Refrain from taking any action they believe is contrary to law, regulation, or the best interests of the students and parents they serve.
  • Ensure that the information they provide is accurate, unbiased, and does not reflect any preference arising from actual or potential personal gain.
  • Be objective in making decisions and advising their institution regarding relationships with any entity involved in any aspect of student financial aid.
  • Refrain from soliciting or accepting anything of other than nominal value from any entity (other than an institution of higher education or a governmental entity such as the U.S. Department of Education) involved in the making, holding, consolidating, or processing of any student loans, including anything of value (including reimbursement of expenses) for serving on an advisory body or part of a training activity of or sponsored by any such entity.
  • Disclose of their institution, in such manner as their institution may prescribe, any involvement with or interest in any entity involved in any aspect of student financial aid.

All University of Aberdeen employees are held to very high standards to provide the best service to our students and their families.

Privacy of Student Records - Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) does not apply within the UK. However, the UK has similar legislation designed to protect personal data called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018. The University of Aberdeen's Data Protection policies, available here, fulfil our requirements under the GDPR.

The UK Government’s Data Protection Act is summarised here. The UK Government’s guide to GDPR can be found here.

The University of Aberdeen will confirm ongoing attendance and academic achievement with the US Department of Education as required by Federal Student Aid regulations. By applying for, and accepting Federal Student Aid, students are acknowledging and consenting to this sharing of data. Further information about who your data may/can be shared with can be found within your Master Promissory Notes(s) (MPN(s)) that you completed and signed to obtain Federal Aid.

Safeguarding Consumer Information

Information Security Policy

The University of Aberdeen has a robust information security policy which is reviewed at least once a year based on ongoing monitoring and reporting. The policy covers information which belongs to The University of Aberdeen as well as information which does not necessarily belong to The University of Aberdeen, but for which The University of Aberdeen can be made responsible. This includes all staff and student data, financial data, all the data which contributes to the administration of The University of Aberdeen, as well as information which has been passed to The University of Aberdeen by others.

This policy covers all the University of Aberdeen's information, irrespective of how it is stored and communicated.

Legal and Compliance

Disciplinary Regulations

The Code of Practice on Student Discipline (Academic) and the Code of Practice on Student Discipline (Non-Academic) set out the procedures to be followed in the case of disciplinary offences by students.

Disciplinary offences are defined in academic and non-academic terms. Academic offences include, for instance, cheating in an assessment or at an examination, while non-academic offences include, for instance, damaging University property.

In addition to the electronic version, you can also access the Code in hard copy on request from undergraduate@abdn.ac.uk

Appeals and Complaints Procedure

Information on the University's Appeals and Complaints Procedures, through which students may formalise their concerns about aspects of their academic experience or complain when they feel that standards of non-academic service have fallen short of that which they expected.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Students are expected to meet the requirements for progression:

The U.S. Department of Education requires institutions of higher education to establish minimum standards of satisfactory academic progress for students receiving Federal aid. Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) means the student is proceeding positively toward fulfilling degree requirements. SAP includes two standards: qualitative and quantitative. Students must meet both standards to continue receiving financial aid. 

Transportation & Tourism

Information about travel to and around Aberdeen - Aberdeen City Council Website

Information about travel to and around Aberdeen including places to visit - Visit Scotland Website

Student Health and Wellbeing

Information regarding registration with a General Practitioner and Dentist along with guidance on how to stay safe in Aberdeen.

Information regarding the various support and guidance for a variety of different academic, non-academic or wellbeing issues during your time at University can be found here.

Services and Facilities for Students with Disabilities

The University of Aberdeen welcomes disabled students and has dedicated Disability Advisers to offer support.

  • Advice and Assistance

If you require additional funds to support your disability, please email usaloans@abdn.ac.uk to discuss.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention

Drug-related offences will be subject to a non-academic misconduct investigation as outlined in our Code of Practice on Student Discipline.

Cost of Living Information

The University of Aberdeen sets the Living Expenses budget that is used for Federal and US private student loan assessments. All costs are based on limitations to the amounts and other criteria outlined in the Federal Regulations. Cost of attendance is the University’s estimate of a student's educational expense for the period of enrolment. The University may not certify more financial aid than a student’s cost of attendance budget unless under professional judgment of special circumstances. 

The Living expenses budget includes the following items. More detailed information can be found here – https://www.abdn.ac.uk/students/finance/us-federal-direct-loans.php#panel2228

  • Rent / Housing 
  • Utilities (Gas / Electric / Internet) 
  • Food 
  • Local Travel Expenses 
  • Personal Costs (detailed information is available on the CoA link) 
  • Books / Computer Equipment / Printing 
  • 2 Return Flights 
  • Visa (1st year students only) 
  • Healthcare surcharge (1st year students only for the duration of the programme) 
  • Approximate Origination Fees (Federal Loans only) 
  • Childcare or nursery cost (awarded on a case-by-case basis) 

Other information related to living costs in Aberdeen

Book List

Information about required and recommended textbooks and materials will be made available to you by your academic school.

Completion/Graduation and Transfer Out Rates

Information on the University’s completion and transfer-out rates is available from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). Due to the very low non-continuation rate, the University is unable to supply a breakdown of completion or transfer-out rates by gender, ethnicity or recipients of need-based Subsidised loans, as this may reveal personally identifiable information about an individual student, which would break the Data Protection Act.

For the latest rates please refer to the links below. In tables where information is available at an institutional level, you will find data for the University of Aberdeen in the Total Scotland section.

Campus Safety

We want to ensure that our students stay safe by following some simple steps and taking basic precautions.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy

The University of Aberdeen is committed to a comprehensive Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy for all its staff and students.

University Policies

University of Aberdeen policies, procedures, plans and guidelines can be found here:

https://www.abdn.ac.uk/staffnet/governance/policies-proceedures-plans-and-guidlines-399.php

Sports and Athletics Programmes

The UK does not have an ‘intercollegiate athlete programme’ in the same way as US schools. Sports information can be found here:

 https://www.abdn.ac.uk/students/student-life/student-faqs-3731.php#panel3744

 

Default Management Plan

This default management plan contains some of the strategies used by the University of Aberdeen to help our American Loan Students understand the responsibility of borrowing loans to fund their degree studies.  The purpose is to reduce the number of students who default on loan repayments.

1. Entrance and Counselling

All first-time borrowers of the Direct Loan program, new students or students changing study path are required to undertake entrance counselling where students are advised about:

  • how the master promissory note works,
  • the importance of repaying the loan,
  • the consequences of default, and
  • sample monthly repayment amounts

A copy of the Entrance Counselling is retained in the student file.

2. Early Identification and Counselling for Students at Risk of Progression/Withdrawal

The University is responsible for monitoring borrowers who are at risk of non-progression or withdrawing and counselling students according to circumstances with a view to retaining those students.

3. Communication

All Federal Direct Loan students are directed to the mandatory Foreign Schools Consumer Information. Academic progress and enrolment status are held on the central student record system which is accessible by all relevant offices across campus including the office that disburses funds and authorises payments. Up-to-date contact information for both the student and next of kin is obtained from students at enrolment.

4. Exit Counselling

Graduating and withdrawing students are advised that they must undertake Exit Counselling as a condition of borrowing Federal Direct Loans. All students are directed to:

Students must confirm to the US Loan Administrator that they have completed exit counselling and a copy is retained in the student file. 

5. Timely and Accurate Enrolment Reporting

As a condition of our eligibility to certify Direct Loans, we are required to submit accurate enrolment updates to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) at regular intervals throughout the year.

6. Analyse Defaulted Loan Data to Identify Defaulter Characteristics

Defaulted loan data is monitored to identify defaulting borrowers and to analyse reasons the reasons for defaulting. We use this information to improve default prevention and management practices and initiatives. Internal data includes key information such as school attended, program of study, demographics, grades, etc. The Loan Record Detail Report (LRDR) is reviewed to determine if there are common characteristics among defaulters.

We make use of the recommended tools listed below to ensure data accuracy and use effective loan counselling and default prevention management techniques to aid students and the University.

7. Where do I begin?

FSA Assessments for Default Prevention and Management

8. Loan Counselling

9. Enrolment Reporting and Data Accuracy

10. Default Prevention

or contact your Loan Servicer

11. General Connections/Publications

 

Return to Title IV Policy

United States Department of Education

Return to Title IV (R2T4) Regulations

Overview

US Federal Law specifies that should a student withdraw from their programme of study, the University of Aberdeen must complete a Return to Title IV (R2T4) calculation and arrange for any ‘unearned’ Federal Aid funds to be returned to the US Department of Education.

When a student withdraws or interrupts their studies during a payment period, the amount of Title IV programme assistance that has been earned up to that point is determined by a specific formula.

This policy specifies how the University of Aberdeen will determine the amount of US Higher Education Act Title IV programme assistance (Direct and PLUS Loans) that students earn if they withdraw from the University.  For R2T4 purposes, any interruption of studies (e.g., leave of absence) for longer than 180 days or an “unapproved leave of absence” is also deemed to be a withdrawal.

At the University of Aberdeen, the US Loan Administrator is responsible for calculating Return to Title IV Funds (R2T4). by using worksheets and software provided by the US Department of Education.  The Finance Section is responsible for the actual transfer of the resulting funds. All funds must be returned to the US Department of Education within 45 days of the date when the University determines that a student withdrew/interrupted their studies.

If a student has queries regarding their Title IV program funds, students can call the US Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FEDAID (1-800-433-3243). TTY users may call 1-800-730-8913.

Please use the link below to view the policy in full.

Policies and Forms

The following policies and forms are included within these web pages.  If you need assistance or paper copies, please contact the University of Aberdeen US Loans Office usaloans@abdn.ac.uk 

These policies were updated in May 2023 for the 2023/2024 academic year.

Contacts

The US Loan Office are responsible for administering Direct Loans at the University of Aberdeen. Our contact details are:

E: usaloans@abdn.ac.uk

T: Meetings can be arranged via MS Teams or by telephone. Please email to arrange

Hours: Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm

US Loans Office

Registry Student Services

University of Aberdeen

Kings College

Aberdeen

AB24 3FX

SCOTLAND

US Loan Administrators

Ashley Fyffe,  Kelsey Pierce & Mandy Ewen