If you are considering or have already included Aston University on your FAFSA, please let us know by emailing ForeignLoans@aston.ac.uk. This will allow us to assist you in a timely manner.

Postal enquiries can be sent to:
Student Funds Officer – US Loans
Student & Academic Services
Room G25, Main Building
Aston University
Birmingham B4 7ET
United Kingdom

Quick guide to applying for Federal loans

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

For more details, see 'Applying for a Title IV Direct Loan – Application Guidance' below.

About Aston University

Aston University has 2,500 international students from over 130 countries studying a wide range of subjects in our safe and friendly city centre campus.

We are 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, and 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 authorised 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.

For further information about Aston in your country please visit this page

Programme Information - eligible and ineligible courses

Eligible Programmes 

We can authorise loans for US students 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.

Where a Graduate programme in our Prospectus is designed to be offered in part by another entity, (articulation agreements and collaborative programmes) please contact ForeignLoans@aston.ac.uk 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 
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

In these circumstances you may be able to obtain a private loan from Sallie Mae to fund your studies.   

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

Title IV Direct Loans

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.

Applying for a Title IV Direct Loan - Application guidance

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).

The FAFSA collects information from the student and their spouse (if applicable) or their parents if dependent. This must be completed each academic year.

Please ensure you list Aston University on the FAFSA - our Federal School Code is G12258. Please contact us to confirm that you have completed the FAFSA:

Student Funds Officer 
Student & Academic Services
Room G25, Main Building 
Aston University 
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 are 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, and 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) Confirm the figures on the Cost of Attendance (COA) spreadsheet we will email to you.

When you have confirmed completion of your FAFSA you will be supplied with a COA which will include average costs of living and studying in Birmingham, and an indication of loans you are eligible for. 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. 

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.

When confirming the COA you should 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.

6) 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.

7) Contact us by email (ForeignLoans@aston.ac.uk) to confirm your intention to borrow. 

Deadlines: For academic year 2022/23 we need you to have successfully completed the above process at the latest by Friday 23 September 2022.

Exit Counselling

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, as exit counselling provides important information you will need as you prepare to repay your federal student loan.

Applying for a Title IV Direct Loan - What we will do

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 Tuition Fees 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 normally be waived by your academic faculty, but please discuss this with your admissions team.

We aim to disburse your loans as three equal installments.

For the 2022/23 academic year:

Disbursement 1: Monday 10 October 2022 Disbursement 2: Monday 2 January 2023 Disbursement 3: Monday 1 May 2023


Delays to your disbursements: Aston University will not place you on University Sanctions if your payment of 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.

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.  


Private Loans

Sallie Mae Student Loans 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 private loan options for both 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) that we will send you. 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 Student loans.

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

Federal Student Aid Policy

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 Student Visa

Please visit this page for more information. 

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.

Consumer Information & other Important University information

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.

  • 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.

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