U.S. Federal Student Aid

Aston University is authorised as a Foreign School to provide William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan aid via the United States Department of Education.

Our Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) number is: OPE01225800

Our School Code is: G12258

We are also registered with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and are able to submit individual student requests for the awarding of these Benefits for education funding.  

As a Foreign School able to originate and disburse Title IV Aid we are also able to accept Qualified Tuition Program (QTP/Section 529 Plan) funds towards the calculation of your Cost of Attendance (COA).  Your regional based College Board will be able to provide you with all the information that you need.

Quick guide to applying for Federal loans

  1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  2. Complete Financial Awareness Counselling 
  3. Complete Entrance Counselling
  4. Complete Master Promissory Note (MPN)
  5. Complete Cost of Attendance (COA)
  6. Contact us by email (ForeignLoans@aston.ac.uk)

For more detail see Applying for a Title IV Direct Loan - Application guidance below.

Please direct all enquiries to ForeignLoans@aston.ac.uk 

Primary Destination Point Administrator / Student Funds Officer
Student & Academic Services

Room G25, Main Building
Aston University
Birmingham B4 7ET

To allow us to pass on information, if you are considering or have already included Aston University on your FAFSA please let us know by emailing ForeignLoans@aston.ac.uk.

Eligible Programmes 

(Degrees which may be funded by Federal Student Aid and/or Sallie Mae)

We are able to authorise loans for students with US nationality enrolled in programmes that are:

  • Degrees certificated and 
  • Delivered and received within the UK and
  • At least 50% of a full-time degree         

We are also able to authorise loans for U.S. Doctoral students who are: 

Conducting independent research within the United States during their dissertation period for no more than one academic year and where the research can only be conducted in the United States and under the guidance of their Aston academic School 

Please note: Some of our programmes are not eligible for US Federal Aid.  In these circumstances you may be able to obtain a private loan from Sallie Mae to fund your studies.  

Information about Sallie Mae loans can be found here.

Where a Graduate programme in our Prospectus is designed to be offered in part by another entity, (articulation agreements and collaborative programmes) please contact the Primary Destination Point Administrator for information on the proportion of the programme not being offer by Aston University, the name of the other School, method of delivery and estimated additional costs that may incur due to the arrangement.  Before you plan to enrol at Aston University you should contact us detailing the degree programme you are interested in.

Programmes that are not eligible 

(Degrees which may not be funded by Federal Student Aid but may be funded by Sallie Mae - contact Sallie Mae for eligibility terms and conditions)

The US Department of Education do not permit us to authorise loans for students enrolled in:  

  • Certificate programmes 
  • Diploma programmes
  • Distance learning programmes (in whole or in part) (including KeyPath) 
  • Telecommunications or correspondence courses (in whole or in part) (including KeyPath) 
  • Direct assessment programmes
  • Non-compulsory study abroad or student exchange agreements*
  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery - MBChB

As a foreign school Aston University is unable to disburse: 

  • Federal College Work Study 
  • Federal Pell Grants
  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • Federal Supplementary Opportunity Grant
  • State Grant

Full programme information

Aston University provides Undergraduate Study Placement opportunities, none of which are compulsory for international students. Federal Student Aid is not available for any non-compulsory placement years. 

However, Sallie Mae may provide you with loan funding should you wish to take the placement year.

As a foreign school Aston University are permitted by the Department of Education to disburse the following loans:

Direct Subsidized Loans

Available for Undergraduate students - you need to demonstrate financial need. The interest is paid by the US Department of Education whilst you are studying and for 6 months after you graduate.

Direct Unsubsidized Loans

Available for Undergraduate and Postgraduate students – you do not need to demonstrate financial need. You are responsible for paying the interest for all periods unless you defer it during study. During this deferment period the interest will accrue.

Direct PLUS Loans (Parent Loan Undergraduate Students)

Available for Postgraduate and Professional Degree students or the parents of a dependent Undergraduate student. You/your parents are responsible for paying the interest for all periods unless it is deferred during study. During this deferment period the interest will accrue.

Information, interest rates and maximum amounts of these loans can be found here.

Loan fees: 

As a foreign school we do not charge you a fee for processing and handling your application for Federal Student Aid. However prior to disbursements the US Government will deduct a loan fee.

Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan and Sallie Mae Parent Loan are the only private loan options for US students/parents of students attending Foreign Schools.  The interest and repayment terms may be less favourable than Title IV, HEA programme loans. You may qualify for Title IV Direct Loans and should check first before applying for a private loan.

Sallie Mae provides the private ‘Smart Option Student Loan’ for Undergraduates and Postgraduates. With a choice of repayment plans these non-federal loans generally have higher interest rates. 

To make an application to Sallie Mae we need the following steps completed:

1) Complete a Cost of Attendance Spreadsheet (COA). This has been populated with average costs to study and live in Birmingham. Amounts can be adjusted by you to reflect your study costs.  We may ask for evidence to support any costs higher than the averages.  You may borrow up to the maximum of the COA and no more. 

If you are studying through Distance Learning (not from the UK) please complete this Cost of Attendance Spreadsheet (COA).

2) You must include any funding you receive from any additional source such as scholarships, bursaries that you have been awarded or that you are waiting for a decision on.

3) You can only apply for the costs for the relevant academic year for example: Postgraduate 52 weeks or Undergraduate 39 weeks.

4) When completing the COA you should also carefully consider and limit the level of borrowing you require ensuring that you understand future repayment obligations. 

5) Apply online via Sallie Mae.

6) Send us a copy of your e-signed Promissory Note together with your completed Cost of Attendance spreadsheet and Self Certification Form.

Please ensure you use the relevant COA for your level of study and attendance

As a borrower you should familiarise yourself with the steps below and read the information accessible from the links within the text.

1a) Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You may now submit the FAFSA earlier from the 1 October for the following academic year.  This gives applicants more time to consider their choices and how much college is going to cost.  For help with making this decision please refer to point 5 below which describes the average cost of living in Birmingham (UK).

Please ensure you list Aston University on the FAFSA, our Federal School Code is: G12258.  The FAFSA collects information from the student and their spouse (if applicable) or their parents if dependent.  This must be completed each academic year. 

We are unable to accept any FAFSA for the 2018/2019 academic year until after 1 July 2018.

Please contact us using the details below to confirm that you have completed the FAFSA. 

Email: ForeignLoans@aston.ac.uk 

Primary Destination Point Administrator / Student Funds Officer
Student & Academic Services
Room G25, Main Building

Aston University
Birmingham B4 7ET

Following completion of your FAFSA you will receive a Student Aid Record (SAR)

1b) If you are male you need to be registered for Selective Service before your 26th birthday.  If this is not the case then your Title IV Direct Loans application will be rejected.  If you are exempt or became an eligible citizen after your 26th birthday you will need to provide evidence of this.

2) Ensure that as a borrower you have familiarised yourself with Financial Awareness Counselling 

Repayment options, terms and conditions here.

3) Ensure as a borrower you have carried out and submitted evidence to us of Entrance Counselling:

This online module must be completed for every new first time borrower, we will not disburse any loan funds until this has been completed.  Direct Loan Entrance Counselling ensures that you are aware of your loan package, interest rates and borrower commitments. 

4) Complete and submit the Master Promissory Note (MPN) for each type of loan you wish to borrow and for each new academic year:

The MPN must be completed by all loan applicants prior to the disbursement of any funds by Aston University.  The MPN is a legally binding document between the borrower and the lender which details your rights and responsibilities as a lender.  The MPN is also where you agree to repay the loan and accrued interest to the U.S. Department of Education.

5) Complete the Cost of Attendance (COA) spreadsheet:

Undergraduate student COA

Graduate student COA

When you have confirmed completion of your FAFSA you will need to complete the COA by placing figures within it of how much it will cost you to study at Aston University and what you are eligible for. We have populated the COA with average costs for studying and living in Birmingham. You can adjust these figures but we may require evidence from you to support these higher costs. Information on the loan limits can be found here. The total amount of money you apply for should not exceed your Cost of Attendance.

Our COA uses these average costs:

  • Accommodation/Rent: £139 p/wk
  • Clothing & Leisure: £60 p/wk
  • Computer Laptop Broadband: £800 (Yr. 1 and £200 in subsequent years) 
  • Food & Toiletries: £60 p/wk
  • Mobile (Cell) Phone: £15 p/wk
  • Textbooks/Photocopying: £13 p/wk
  • Transportation: £15 p/wk
  • Utilities: £25 p/wk

You may have other optional costs:

  • Childcare
  • Other course costs
  • Flights costs of two return economy flights
  • Immigration Health Surcharge
  • Visa application fee

There are help notes within our COA sheet, please read them.

You must include any funding you receive from any additional source such as scholarships, bursaries that you have been awarded or that you are waiting for a decision on.

You can only apply for the costs for the relevant academic year for example: Postgraduate 52 weeks or Undergraduate 39 weeks.

When completing the COA you should also carefully consider and limit the level of borrowing you require ensuring that you understand future repayment obligations.

The repayment estimator will aid you in your borrowing decision.

The International Student Calculator may also assist you.

6) Contact us by email (ForeignLoans@aston.ac.uk) to confirm your intention to borrow and to submit the following:

  • Your completed Cost of Attendance

  • Your Master Promissory Note

  • Your Entrance Counselling Certificate    

7) (for PLUS loan applicants): Your Credit Check: 

Students needing a PLUS loan will have to submit a Credit Check for them or their endorser as part of their application.  If you or your endorser fails the credit check then you will not be eligible for the PLUS loan. 

Credit Checks expire after 180 days.

Deadlines: For academic year 2018/19 we need you to have successfully completed the above process at the latest by Friday 28 September 2018.

Once you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) we are able to view your Student Aid Report (SAR) via the Student Aid Internet Gateway (SAIG).  The information that you have provided will be used to determine your eligibility for loans.

We will contact you using the email address you have provided.

As a foreign school we ask you to complete a Cost of Attendance (COA) document which is in Microsoft Excel format.  You will need to complete and return this document to us via email.

For a Tier 4 Visa the Home Office guidance (from 1 July 2016) is that you have £1,015 available for your living costs for each month of the programme you are studying in the UK, up to a maximum of 9 months.  In addition you will also need finance in place to cover your full tuition fees (dependant on the programme).  There are University Immigration advisers in the Hub who can offer you free advice and support.  Email them at: issu@aston.ac.uk There is more detail about this process that you should read.

Your cost of attendance at Aston University is determined by us.  Your cost of attendance and determining award amount is calculated by Aston University, we use average expenditure figures for student life in Birmingham which have been entered into the COA.  If your estimated expenditure is higher than these averages we may request documentary evidence to support them.

Payment of your Loan(s): Title IV loans are paid direct to Aston University.  Any payment disbursement of your loan will automatically have your university direct costs (Tuition Fees and Accommodation Fees if living on-campus) deducted from it.  You will receive the remaining loan disbursement (if there is any loan remaining) dependent on the exchange rate at the time it is disbursed minus the Department of Education Fee.

Your Tuition Fee Deposit will be waived by your academic faculty.  Please discuss this with your admissions team.  As you are being funded via Federal Student Aid or Sallie Mae your loan is paid direct to Aston University with your direct costs taking priority (see above paragraph).

We aim to disburse your loans as three equal installments on the dates below during the 2017/2018 academic year:

  • Disbursement 1: Monday 16 October 2017
  • Disbursement 2: Monday 08 January 2018
  • Disbursement 3: Tuesday 01 May 2018

Please remember that the amount you receive in UK Sterling will depend on the exchange rate.

You need to ensure that you have a bank account with any UK Bank.  

Delays to your disbursements: Aston University will not place you on University Sanctions if your payment of accommodation or tuition is late due to a delay to the disbursement of your federal student aid from the US Department of Education.

National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) On entering a loan agreement with you or your parent your loan will be submitted to NSLDS.  This is accessible to authorised servicers and schools.

We are required by Federal Regulations to report your mode of attendance, changes to your mode of attendance, contact address, telephone numbers onto the NSLDS system.

When you graduate or if you leave the programme or fall below the required 50% of a full-time equivalent course you must commence Exit Counselling; this is a condition of your loan.  Exit Counselling provides important information you will need as you prepare to repay your federal student loan.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP):

This is a short summary of our policy.  

To remain eligible for US loans you must be considered to be progressing satisfactorily towards the completion of your programme. 

You must demonstrate this satisfactory progress by passing all modules with a 40% minimum mark for Undergraduate level and 50% minimum mark for Postgraduate level.

You should therefore complete the programme in under 150% of the published time frame of the course and in addition remain on the programme at least half time (50% of a full-time equivalent course).

Prior to any disbursement of US Federal Aid, we will ensure you continue to meet these required rules by asking you to take the Satisfactory Academic Progress Termly progress report (below) to your academic faculty.  A paper copy of this is available from the Hub.

Full Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Termly Progress report

Return of Title IV Direct Loan Funds:

This applies to students who take a Leave of Absence (LOA) of 180 days or more, or who withdraw from their programme.

Aston University is required to calculate the amount of US Federal Aid you have earned using the Department of Education (DoE) R2T4 worksheets.  If the percentage you have earned is less than or equal to 60% we are legally required to repay any unearned loan funds to the US DoE.  If the percentage you have earned is over 60% you will have earned 100% of your US Federal Aid and no refund is made.

The return of US Federal Aid requirements does not match the Aston University Tuition Fees Charging Policy or Accommodation Licence.  In these instances you may be requested to make an additional accommodation or tuition fee payment to the University to replace the US Federal Aid that has been refunded to the DoE.

Please note that on the date you commence a LOA of 180 days, or the date on which you withdraw from your programme, you become responsible for the repayment of your loan(s) or qualify for a 6 month grace period.

Full Return of Title IV Direct Loan Funds Policy

Default Management Plan:


Aston University has adopted the Secretary's Default Management Plan and have summarised this in the attachment below.  The plan is in place to ensure that students taking out Title IV Direct Loans are aware of their repayment responsibilities during their studies, upon graduation and the ending of any grace periods.  The purpose is to reduce, if not eliminate, students defaulting on repayments to their loans.

Full Default Management Plan 

Applying for a Tier 4 Visa:

Please be aware that loans held in the name of your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) cannot be used as evidence of money held by you, even if the loan is for study purposes.

Letter of loan confirmation:

If you would like us to post you a letter confirming the total loan(s) that we have agreed you may do so via this secure link.

Please type "Tier 4 Visa US Loan" letter in the comment section of the request form.

Code of conduct for education loans

In order to prohibit a conflict of interest with the responsibilities of an agent with respect to private education loans, all staff at the University with responsibility for Federal and private education loans from the USA are prohibited from the following:

  • revenue-sharing arrangements with any lender
  • receiving gifts from a lender, a guarantor, or a loan servicer
  • contracting arrangements providing financial benefit from any lender or affiliate of a lender
  • directing borrowers to particular lenders or refusing or delaying loan certifications
  • offers of funds for private loans
  • call centre or financial aid office staffing assistance
  • advisory board compensation.

Preferred lender lists

The University will, in most cases, work with any private lender a prospective borrower decides to use. Prospective borrowers should be aware that the majority of private lenders choose not to offer loans to students studying outside the USA.


If you have any questions or comments about the content of this webpage please email: ForeignLoans@aston.ac.uk


 Checked & Updated on: 20/06/2017 DR