William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Programme

William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Programme

US Federal Aid Information

If you are requiring a Financial Aid Package for 2022/2023 academic year (starting or returning between July 2022 and June 2023) please email usaloans@abdn.ac.uk with your University of Aberdeen applicant ID number/student ID number.

Financial Aid Packages for the 2023/2024 academic year will start to be carried out from May 2023. Information on this page, including the cost of attendance for 2023/2024, will be updated over the next few months.  If you have completed a FAFSA for the 2023/2024 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 2023 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 they are specific to your degree/ situation.  If you complete your FAFSA after the 1st September 2023 or if you have not received your Aid Package from us for 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.


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.

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


Tips for FAFSA Completion

  • Students commencing a new postgraduate taught programme of study at the University of Aberdeen are advised to select "1st Yr. College Graduate/ Professional" as the Grade level in their FAFSA application even if they have previously studied at postgraduate taught level. This includes those that are commencing study on the LLB Accelerated programme.
  • Students commencing a postgraduate research programme at the University of Aberdeen are advised to select "Continuing Graduate/ Professional or Beyond" as the Grade level in their FAFSA application.
  • If you are including your driver’s licence information on your FAFSA application, please ensure you complete both Driver’s Licence Number and Driver’s Licence State.
  • If you do not follow the steps detailed in the 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.

Your eligibility for US Federal Title IV Lans 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 or Distance Learning Programmes
  • Programmes with study of less than half-time.
  • Medicine/Dentistry Programmes
  • Foundation Year Programmes
  • Programmes undertaken through Interactive Design Institute (IDI)
  • Programmes undertaken at Qatar Campus
  • Programmes undertaken at 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 and 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 prior to your studies here.  Check the status of any previous loans on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) which is the system we will use 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 arrears with your loan servicer. The NSLDS system can take some time to update status changes so you may have to present evidence from your loan servicer to show that your loans are in good standing.

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 in order 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

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

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

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


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 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 USA Federal Direct Loan funds, 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 and you can only do this for a maximum of one academic year.

Thesis Submission

The registered 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 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 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 shows 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




Second Year Undergraduate




Third Year and beyond Undergraduate




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




Independent Undergraduates




Graduates and Professional Students



$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

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:


The University’s Cost of Attendance take 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.


How to Apply

The application process for foreign schools differs from the process for domestic schools in the US.  It is your responsibility to send us the 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, if relevant). Please read this 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 2022/2023 can be submitted from 1 October 2021
  • FAFSA applications for 2023/2024 can be submitted from 1 October 2022
  • FAFSA applications for 2024/2025 can be submitted from 1 October 2023
  • The University of Aberdeen US Loans teams will process applications in strict order of receipt.

Application Steps


Private Loans

If your programme is ineligible for Direct Loans or if you decide to use private loans instead of the Federal loans, you need to apply directly to the lender.

Cost of Attendance (CoA)

A 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 through federal loans minus any other aid you may be receiving such as bursaries or scholarships. If you are eligible for a Subsidized loan, your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will also be deducted from a CoA figure to establish your ‘financial need’.

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, whilst your CoA can 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 scholarship 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.

How Much Can I Borrow?

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

Maximum Cost of Living Expenses 2022/2023



Weekly £

No of weeks

Total Academic Year




£4,625 GBP




£1,480 GBP




£2,220 GBP

Travel Expenses



£  740 GBP




£2,590 GBP

Books / Computer Equipment / Printing



£  800 GBP

Flights home (2 per year)



£2,140 GBP

Loan Origination Fees * - - £1,500 GBP




£16,095 GBP



Conversion Rate



  Maximum Loan for Living Expenses   $22,533 USD
  •  Visa and Healthcare Fees (For 1st year students only - covers 4 years of study) - additional £2,859
  • * This is an approximate value. Actual origination fees will vary with type and value of loan. Origination fees for 2022/2023 will be available here once determined by the US Department of Education.



Weekly £

No of weeks

Total Academic Year




£6,500 GBP




£2,080 GBP




£3,120 GBP

Travel Expenses



£1,040 GBP




£3,640 GBP

Books / Computing Equipment / Printing



£  860 GBP           

Flights home (2 per year)



£2,140 GBP

Loan Origination Fees * - - £1,500 GBP




£20,880 GBP



Conversion Rate



  Maximum Loan for Living Expenses   $29,232 USD
  • Visa and Healthcare Fees (For 1 year PG Taught Programmes) - additional £987
  • Visa and Healthcare Fees (For 1st year of PhD Programme only - Visa cost covers 3 years & Healthcare fees covers 4 years of study) - additional £2,859
  • * This is an approximate value. Actual origination fees will vary with type and value of loan. Origination fees for 2022/2023 will be available here once determined by the US Department of Education.

**Exchange rate is 1.3065 at the time of compiling this table.  Regulations allow us to set theoretical exchange rate to convert GBP costs to USD values to allow for volatility in the exchange rate as the year progresses.

*Origination fees are taken into consideration within the CoA but you need to ensure that you keep these in mind when deciding the amount you wish to borrow.

NB We use Convera (Western Union) as our bank for processing your loan payments when the money is released by US Treasury.  Convera (Western Union) 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 offer on the day your loan is released.

Disbursement / Receiving your Loans

Your award letter is proof that you have fully completed the loan application process. The award letter will be accepted by the visa authorities as evidence that you have the required funds to support your studies for the current academic year.

We cannot request the release of your loan until you have completed all stages of the student registration process. If you have received your award letter, completed the registration process, and if there are no US Department of Education system maintenance or failures, your loan payment should be paid within 14 days of your course starting so it’s important that you have money of your own to cover expenses until your loan payment is made.

Multiple Payments

Loan payments will be paid directly to the University via Western Union and converted into UK currency (GBP). In accordance with US Department of Education regulations, your loan will then be paid to you in two or three equal instalments according to the dates on your award letter:

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

Before each disbursement, the US Department of Education deducts their origination (loan) fees from each of the Direct Loan payments. The payments will then be sent to the University of Aberdeen for distribution.  For information about origination fees, please see: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/interest-rates

Students must make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in order to receive the next disbursement.

Opening a UK Bank Account

If you do not already have a UK bank account, you can open one when you arrive in Aberdeen. Loan payments can be processed quickly when paid to a UK bank account.  However, we can also work with 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. 

Information about how to open a UK bank account can be found here.

Paying Tuition and Accommodation Fees

We will automatically set up a tuition fee payment plan for you, allowing you to pay your institutional charges in two or three instalments to coincide with your loan instalments. If you are living in University managed accommodation, your accommodation fees will also be included in the payment plan. Provided you are borrowing enough to cover these amounts, you do not have to make any payments before arriving in Aberdeen (although some Masters programmes within the Business School will require payment of a non-refundable deposit. Deposit payments must be made in advance of registration to secure the offer of your place).

If you do not borrow enough to cover the full cost of your tuition fees, you will be required to pay a minimum of 50% of your total tuition fee charge to complete registration.  Your loan payments can then be applied to your tuition fees to reduce the balance payable later in the year. 

Living Expenses

When the institutional charges are paid, any excess amount from your loan payment will be refunded to you via electronic bank transfer (provided we have your bank account details). This process is normally completed within 14 days of your programme start date.

Post Disbursement Exchange Rate

We use Western Union as our bank for processing your loan payments when the $USD value is released by the US Treasury. Western Union will use a mid-exchange rate. Other banks may offer better rates. We have no plans to change our payment processing and your loan payments will be converted to £GBP according to the rate Western Union offer on the day your payment is released.

Amending, decreasing or cancelling a loan

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

If you wish to decrease your Federal US Loans please email usaloans@abdn.ac.uk. The reduction will be spread across any remaining funds.

If you wish to cancel your loan, please email usaloans@abdn.ac.uk at least two weeks before the upcoming disbursement 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, but you will be responsible for all bank charges and fees 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 make a payment direct to your loan servicer. You are advised to contact your loan servicer  for up to date details about cancelling your loan – your loan servicer  details can be found on NSLDS.

If you cancel your federal loan after receiving a disbursement you are required to complete Exit Counselling.

We will contact you automatically in advance of each loan disbursement period to remind you of your Right to Cancel and to give you the option to reduce or increase the next loan disbursement.

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 (NSLDS) 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 all year.
  • Students who are studying less than half-time will be reported a 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 for graduated once the exam board confirms the student has successfully completed their studies.
  • Students who suspend or withdraw from their studies will be reported as W and will be ineligible for Federal US Loans.
  • 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. You should refer to the Repayment terms of your loans when the status of your studies change.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

To remain eligible for Federal US Loans during the academic year, students must meet satisfactory academic progress (SAP), and this will be measured prior to each disbursement. Students are advised to familiarise themselves with the SAP Policy.

The Supervisor or Registry Officer will be required to complete a form to confirm whether the student is or is not meeting SAP prior to 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 are required to complete Exit Counselling for each type of Federal US Loan borrowed.  This is a condition of your loan terms.

  • You will be emailed to remind you to complete Exit Counselling and ask you to 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 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 in a positive manner 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 in order to successfully complete their academic process and continue to receive federal student loans.

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

In order 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.


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 making Satisfactory Academic Progress in order 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 prior to the release of 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 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).

Suspending, withdrawing, transferring course or changing the status of your studies

It is essential that you email usaloans@abdn.ac.uk before you change the status of your studies as follows:

  • Suspend
  • Withdraw
  • Transfer programme
  • Leave of Absence - Policy can be found here
  • Upgrade / downgrade i.e. MSc to PG Dip
  • Change from full-time to half-time or less than half-time

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

For purposes of administering federal financial aid, a student who is receiving financial aid funds and is granted a Leave of Absence (LOA) is not to be considered withdrawn and no return of Title IV calculation is required.  If a student does not meet the LOA criteria, the student is considered to have withdrawn (for financial aid purposes only), and a Title IV return of funds calculation is 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


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 a number of 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 NSLDS 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, enrolment status.

Useful guides on repaying loans and default:

Deferments and 1098T Tax Information


If you have taken out Federal student loans prior to 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 into 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

We do not complete any part of the 1098T tax form.  However, we can issue a receipt for tuition fees paid which can be used as evidence of payment.  Please contact our Payments Section (payments@abdn.ac.uk)  to arrange this.

Our EIN Number is 98-0584963.

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 provides 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 email 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 - https://www.abdn.ac.uk/study/international/scholarships-and-funding.php


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 makes 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 .

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 credits hits on borrower credit report 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 on-line 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.


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 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 programs 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 . If you have any questions regarding the cost of attendance, 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 in order 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 loans on your bill

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 actually be higher than what is reflected on your bill.


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, 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?


  • 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 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.

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 Certification of Enrolment further down this section.

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.  It is important that you 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 can take between 90 – 180 days 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 be come liable for tuition fee payment at the start of your studies.

Ineligible Programmes

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

  • Any element of online or distance learning
  • Any programme that includes placement/study abroad
  • Any programme studied at a partner institution including joint, double, dual programmes such as Qatar, SCNU, IDI
  • Yellow Ribbon Benefits

Certification of Enrolment

UoA is required to certify your enrolment before the VA release any benefits.  In order to have a Certificate of Enrolment submitted on your behalf you must:-

  • Email a copy of your Certificate of Eligibility (issued by VA) to usaloans@abdn.ac.uk .  Include your SSN and UoA applicant/ID number in the email.
  • Request that we seek programme approval if your programme of study is not showing on the VA approved programme listing.
  • 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 element.

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.

Receipt of Funds

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/

Monthly housing allowance and Book stipends are paid directly to you.

It is important that you notify usaloans@abdn.ac.uk if you make any changes to your study pattern, programme of study or attendance. 


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) it is likely that you will be able to use your plan here.

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

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.


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.


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 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 authorise 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


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 student 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.


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

Registry Student Services

University of Aberdeen

Kings College


AB24 3FX



US Loan Administrators

Ashley Fyffe,  Kelsey Pierce & Mandy Ewen