Apply for US Federal Loan financial aid for Dundee

Updated on 3 October 2023

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. The lender is the U.S. Department of Education, though you may deal with a different agency as your loan servicer.

On this page

Effective from Wednesday 5 April 2023, the University of Dundee has withdrawn its participation in the Federal Loan Program. What this means for you will depend on your year of study at the University of Dundee.

Read Notice of change of status for US Federal Loan Program for more details.

The information on this page is only relevant for current students who are already in receipt of US Federal Loans.

Exchange rate

We will use a theoretical exchange rate of 1.35 to calculate the 2023/4 Cost of Attendance amounts. This is generally determined in May each year for next cohort of applicants at the same time as we calculate our Cost of Attendance, and it set to ensure we allow for volatility in the exchange rate as the year progresses.

At each disbursement of loans, when exchanging funds from dollars to sterling, we will use the rate applicable on the day we receive the funds from the US Department of Education.


Students receiving US Federal Aid are governed by stringent US Department of Education regulations. Borrowing is intended for on campus study only.

To be eligible for Federal Direct Loans, you need to:

  • be a US citizen or eligible non-citizen with a valid Social Security Number
  • be a student enrolled or accepted for enrolment in an eligible programme at an eligible institution and have a high school diploma
  • be enrolled at least half-time for the period for which the loan is originated
  • complete the Free Application for Federal Student aid (FAFSA) annually
  • not be convicted of possessing or selling illegal drugs while receiving financial aid
  • if male and aged 18-25 must be registered for Selective Service
  • not be in default on an educational loan and must not owe a repayment on an adjusted federal grant
  • comply with the University’s Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy

Students undertaking the following courses are NOT eligible to receive Federal Direct Loans:

  • Certificate and Diploma Programmes
  • Distance Learning/Online Programmes
  • Medicine/Dentistry/Nursing Programmes
  • Programmes which have a compulsory year abroad, unless the abroad school is a Federal Loan approved institution, and the study abroad is not in the US
  • Incoming study aboard and exchange programmes (non-graduating), students should apply for financial aid through the home university
  • PhD students who carry out periods of research in the US
  • Courses that are taught or part taught with another institution that is not eligible or not certified to participate in the William D Ford Direct Loans (Direct Loan) programme.
  • Joint programmes taught with Dundee & Angus College and University of Toulouse

Study Abroad

if you intend to complete a Study Abroad period while at Dundee you cannot do this back in the US. The abroad school must be a Federal Loan approved institution. You must check this with Registry prior to accepting a Study Abroad place. Please also refer to the Student Aid website for further information.

Postgraduate students

If you wish to return to the US before the end of the academic year and complete your dissertation at home this makes you ineligible for federal loans. Dependent on the date that you leave the UK, funds from your previous disbursement may have to be returned to the US Dept. of Education and any subsequent disbursements will not be released to you.

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

If you have defaulted on payments for loans taken out prior to your studies here you will not be eligible for a loan. If a default status is recorded you must make arrangements to pay arrears with your loan servicer. We are unable to proceed with any loans until the default has been cleared.


Types of loans and limits

For information and up-to-date interest charges and repayment rules please see Federal Student Aid.

The amount that you are eligible to borrow in each academic year is assessed by 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: for undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need as determined by USDE regulations
  • Unsubsidized: not based on financial need and both undergraduate and postgraduate students can apply
  • PLUS: graduate/professional students and parents of dependent undergraduate students can apply for the Graduate or Parent PLUS loan

Subsidized and unsubsidized loans are capped and have maximum limits.

Loan limits

The maximum Stafford Loans you are allowed to borrow annually and over your academic career are set by the US Government. The amount available depends on your degree level; whether you have been classed as dependant or independent on your FAFSA; your financial need and your cost of attendance.

Stafford Loan Limits
Year of Study Annual Subsidised Annual Total Combined Loans
(Sub & Unsub)
Aggregate Subsidised Aggregate Combined Loans
(Sub & Unsub)
Undergraduate Dependent Students
Year 1 $3,500 $5,500 $23,000 $31,000
Year 2 $4,500 $6,500 $23,000 $31,000
Year 3+ $5,500 $7,500 $23,000 $31,000
Undergraduate Independent Students
Year 1 $3,500 $9,500 $23,000 $57,000
Year 2 $4,500 $10,500 $23,000 $57,000
Year 3+ $5,500 $12,500 $23,000 $57,000
Graduates & Professional Students
All Years $0 $20,500 $0 $138,500

Private alternative loan

A private loan is a non-federal loan through a private lender and is usually in the student’s name and requires a co-signer.

Undergraduate students who have been classed as independent on their FAFSA would need to take up this type of loan if they need to borrow more that the Subsidised/ Unsubsidised Direct Loan limits. As with a federal loan, you cannot borrow more than the maximum Cost of Attendance (see below).

Private loans are disbursed in two instalments similar to Direct Loans.
There are very few lenders still doing educational loans for students attending schools outside the US. Below is a list of lenders that the University of Dundee has liaised with. This is not a comprehensive list of all lenders. It is not an endorsement or recommendation by the University.

Florida College Prepaid Plan

We are an approved provider for the Florida College Prepaid Plan. In order the release the funds, you should login into your account or download and fill out a transfer authorization naming the University of Dundee as their school. We will then receive notification of the payment process. Your funds will be disbursed once you have completed the matriculation process.

Cost of Attendance (CoA)

A student may only borrow up to an amount equal to their Cost of Attendance (COA). The Direct Loan Regulations stipulate that scholarships/awards should be deducted from a student's Cost of Attendance this reducing the loans available.

The COA reflects typical student expenses and consists of two basic components:

  • Direct Educational Costs – tuition, books and supplies
  • Indirect (living) Costs – accommodation, travel and personal expenses

You do not have to borrow the full amount of your CoA at the start of your course. You may wish to only borrow part of this. If you require access to part or the remainder of your loan you can e-mail to request this is released during your studies. However, you cannot request access to these funds once your course has finished.

A breakdown of COA for studying at the University are as given below:

The exchange rate for 2023/4 is calculated as $1.35/£1


Undergraduate Cost of Attendance for Academic Year 2023/4


Element GBP Sterling US Dollars
Rent 6,480 8,748
Utilities 1,980 2,673
Food 2,340 3,159
Travel 1,080 1,458
Computer Equipment & misc 900 1,215
Personal/Living Expenses 2,520 3,402
Flights (2 rounds trips) 2,200 2,970
Total 17,500 23,625


Postgraduate Cost of Attendance for Academic Year 2023/4 GB Pounds US Dollars


Element GBP Sterling US Dollars
Rent 9,360 12,636
Utilities 2,860 3,861
Food 3,380 4,563
Travel 1,560 2,106
Computing equipment & misc 1,300 1,755
Personal/Living Expenses 3,640 4,914
Flights (2 rounds trips) 2,200 2,970
Total 24,300 32,805


Dependent costs

The US Dept. of Education does not allow additional lending for a spouse. However if you have dependent children the regulations will allow for the cost of childcare whilst you are attending your studies. Please note that this is the only cost allowed for dependents

How to Apply

1. Submit a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

Students wishing to apply for financial aid are required to submit a FAFSA 

On the FAFSA website you will find details of how to obtain a PIN number which you will need in order to complete your application.

The school code for University of Dundee is G10864.

Once your FAFSA is completed and processed it will generate a Student Aid Report (SAR). Please review this to ensure you have made any corrections necessary. The SAR is used by the University of Dundee to determine your eligibility for a loan as stipulated by the US Department of Education.

Please e-mail Dawn Tindal to confirm that your SAR is complete.

2. Complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN)

All students taking out a federal Direct Loan are required to complete a Master Promissory Note annually. The MPN is the legal document through which you promise to repay your Direct Loans and any accrued interest and fees to the Department. It also explains the terms and conditions of your loans.

You can E-sign your MPN on the Student Aid website using your Federal Aid PIN which is the same as used for your FAFSA. Once you have signed in, chose Complete MPN and then Subsidised/Unsubsidised.

For Graduate PLUS or Parent PLUS loans a separate MPN is required. PLUS loans are subject to a credit check and must be signed using a US postal address, otherwise the credit check will be pended.

Please ensure you chose the University of Dundee as your school, our code is G10864.

You can print the MPN and keep for your own records.

3. Entrance Counselling

All students applying for Direct Loans through the University of Dundee for the first time are required to complete Entrance Counselling. This provides you with information that will help you understand your rights and responsibilities as a loan borrower, as well as other information to assist you with managing your loans.

You complete this online using the student loan website, with your PIN which is the same as for your FAFSA.

You should complete counselling for each type of loan (i.e. subsidised/unsubsidised and/or Grad Plus) you are borrowing.

Please ensure you chose the University of Dundee as your school, our code is G10864.

4. Credit Check

Credit checks are required for PLUS loans, both ParentPLUS and GradPLUS as this type of loan is credit based.

You can complete the Grad PLUS application via the student loan website. This has an option for the Credit Check. You will require your FSA ID number which is the same as used for your FAFSA.

To be eligible for a PLUS loan the Credit Check decision must be “Accepted”.

Please ensure you chose the University of Dundee as your school, our code is G10864.

Credit check & endorser alternative

To be eligible for a PLUS Loan, you must not have an adverse credit history, which the Department will check for when you apply for the loan. If you are found to have an adverse credit history, you may still borrow a PLUS Loan if you get an endorser who does not have such a history. An endorser is someone who agrees to repay the loan if you do not. The endorser may not be the student on whose behalf a parent obtains a PLUS Loan. In some cases you may also be able to obtain a PLUS Loan if you document to our satisfaction that there are extenuating circumstances related to your adverse credit history

Continuing students

Students are required to complete a FAFSA for each year of their degree programme. Continuing students should complete a renewal FAFSA which is designed for continuing students. You should use the same FSA ID from previous years – if you have forgotten your ID you can obtain this from the FSA website.

Students are also required to complete an MPN and credit check (if required) as section 2 and 4 above. Continuing students are not required to complete Entrance Counselling unless they are enrolling on a new degree programme, i.e. have completed MSc and returning to complete PhD.

What Happens Next?

We can’t start work on your loan assessment until you have received and accepted a firm offer of admission for your programme of study. If your offer of admission is still at the conditional stage or if you haven’t sent your acceptance, we will hold your FAFSA application on file until you have completed the admissions process.

If you have any questions about the admissions process contact our undergraduate or postgraduate admissions team for further information.

Assuming you have been cleared for admission, we will assess your eligibility and loan entitlement once you have completed your FAFSA and MPN etc as above. We will calculate your Cost of Attendance and e-mail this to you, this will detail the maximum loan entitlement for your course. We will then ask you to confirm to us, by e-mail, your acceptance of the loan and the amounts you wish to borrow.

When we receive your acceptance of the loan amounts, a formal Award Letter will be mailed to our Admissions Team, as evidence of funding to support your visa application. The Admissions Team will then proceed with your application and issuing of your CAS, and will e-mail the Award Letter to you.

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 2022/3 year.

Loan Disbursement

Once your loans have been certified you will receive confirmation of the amounts, disbursement dates and amounts of each disbursement. This letter may be used as proof of funding for VISA purposes.

Loans will be disbursed in equal amounts, once you have matriculated and following satisfactory academic progression. We cannot request the release of your loan until you have completed the matriculation process.

Please ensure you have sufficient funds to see you through the first 3-4 weeks when you arrive. This will allow time for you to open a UK bank account, your loan to be disbursed and the initial funds to clear in your account.

Tuition fees will be payable in two or three instalments to coincide with your disbursements as will any residences fees due for university accommodation.

The funds come in dollars directly to the University. We will convert these into £ sterling and will deduct half your tuition fees and, where relevant, university residence fees. The balance of remaining funds will be paid into your UK bank account. **

** If your loans are insufficient to meet your tuition fee needs you will need to arrange to make the shortfall by paying this immediately or by direct debit.

After you have matriculated, and prior to the disbursement of your loans, you are required to have a signed agreement with our Sales Ledger Office regarding your tuition / residence fees. The office is located within the Cash Office (Ground Floor of the Tower Building). If you are unable to attend in person, then this can be arranged by-email with the Sales Ledger Team. Copies of agreement can be signed and scanned back to the e-mail as above.

At each disbursement of loans*, when exchanging funds from dollars to sterling, we will use the rate applicable on the day we receive the funds from the US Department of Education.

Disbursement for SallieMae Private Loans:

SallieMae loans are administered in two disbursements by Western Union. Once you have completed your application and notified us of this, we will supply your details to Western Union. They will then contact you with log in details for their secure site, and request you submit your bank details to them. Once you have matriculated we will notify Sallie Mae and initiate the drawn down of your funds. We will notify Western Union once the funds have been cleared. Your tuition fees and any residence fees will be deducted from the amount and the remainder paid into your chosen bank account.

After you have matriculated, and prior to the disbursement of your loans, you are required to have a signed agreement with our Sales Ledger Office regarding your tuition / residence fees. The office is located within the Cash Office (Ground Floor of the Tower Building). If you are unable to attend in person, then this can be arranged by-email with the Sales Ledger Team. Copies of agreement can be signed and scanned back to the e-mail as above.

*For further disbursements, we require confirmation of your Satisfactory Academic Progress before we will request your funds.

The disbursement dates provided are estimated. Please do not depend on funds being credited to your account on that date. You may need to allow 5-6 working days for the whole release of funds process to complete.


Overview of process

  • Complete FAFSA on-line including entrance counselling, Promissory notes and, if applying for a GradPLUS loan, credit check.
  • The school code for University of Dundee is G10864.
  • e-mail Dawn Tindal to confirm FAFSA has been completed
  • May – University will determine exchange rate and Cost of Attendance amounts for forthcoming session
  • May/June – Registry will contact with you with information regarding your Cost of Attendance and the amount you are eligible to borrow.
  • Decide how much you wish to borrow and confirm to Registry.
  • Registry will produce a letter to confirm your loan with disbursement dates. The document will be passed to our Admissions Office to process with your offer.
  • Admissions Office will e-mail the letter to you as proof of funding for Visa purposes.
  • Once you have matriculated, Registry will notify the U.S. of your enrolment and will initiate the drawn down of funds.
  • You can then print a confirmation of student status via your eVision account, as proof for opening a UK bank account.
  • Contact the Cash Office to confirm the details of your UK bank account and to complete a signed agreement for your tuition/residences fees
  • Registry will e-mail you once your funds have been drawn down from the US bank. You will have 14 days to cancel the funds.
  • Please ensure you have sufficient funds to see you through the first 3-4weeks when you arrive. This will allow time for you to open a UK bank account, your loan to be disbursed and the initial funds to clear in your account.


Opening a UK Bank Account:

We would advise you to open a UK bank account as soon as possible once you have completed the matriculation process. Information regarding opening a bank account is available via our website The bank will need to see ID and a certifying letter confirming your student status with us. You can download that letter once you have completed the matriculation process, via your eVision account. Once you have a note of your bank details, please contact the Cash Office to confirm your bank details, as they will require this information to release your funds.

Tax form 1098T:

As a foreign institution, we cannot issue a 1098-T form for students. If you need a formal document to confirm the tuition fees paid please e-mail Dawn to request a Certificate of Fees Paid.

Deferment and Repayments


If you have taken out Federal student loans prior to coming to Dundee, 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) every 60 days 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, please e-mail your In School Deferment form to Dawn Tindal for completion.

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 for one further 12 month period. Your completion date will be the date that you submit your thesis.


It is your responsibility to repay your loans. When you leave your course or drop below 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).

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

Further details about repayment plans, including interactive calculators can be found at on the Federal Student Aid website.

Exit Counselling

When your enrolment at the University of Dundee ceases you are required to complete exit counselling. This includes graduation or withdrawal from the University.

You will be asked to complete your counselling on the Student Aid website. This session takes approximately 30 mins and provides you with the information on your rights and the repayments of your loans. You will require your FSA ID number as used for your FAFSA application.

Please e-mail Dawn Tindal to confirm this has been completed.


Satisfactory Academic Progress

Students who are attending the University of Dundee and in receipt of US Direct Loans are required to make satisfactory progress in their degree programme. It is a student’s responsibility to read and understand this Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Leave of Absence and withdrawals


Official Withdrawal

A “withdrawal” refers to a student’s intent to completely terminate studies at the University with no expectation of return. Students who subsequently decide to return to their studies, must re-apply for admission through the University’s Office of Admissions.

Unofficial Withdrawal

An unofficial withdrawal is one where the University has not received notice from the student that the student has ceased or will cease attending the University. Similarly, if, when assessing satisfactory academic progress it is determined that a student failed their course because of non-attendance, the School will be contacted in order to determine a date of withdrawal.

An Approved Leave of Absence:

Is a temporary interruption in a student’s program of study for a period not more than 180 days in length. Students returning from an approved leave of absence are not required to re-apply for admission and must enroll again on their course. Where possible students should apply in advance for an approved leave of absence (unless circumstances prevent the student from doing so). The reason for an approved leave of absence must generally be non-academic in nature and must be one that leads to a reasonable expectation that the student will return to their studies within the allowed timeframe. During an approved leave of absence, the student will not be liable for any additional charges from the University for that period, however existing charges will remain. The students financial need will not increase, therefore the student will not be eligible for any disbursements of federal student aid for that period.

Leave of Absence requests will be subject to approval by the relevant school and Immigration Compliance team if you are on a student visa. Notification of your request will be confirmed via email

Students returning from an approved Leave of Absence:

Federal aid recipients at the University that begin an approved leave of absence will be reminded of the consequences of not returning to their studies at the end of the approved period and the effects this will have on the student’s loan repayment terms, including the expiration of the grace period on the loan. A student that is granted an approved leave of absence is not considered to have withdrawn and no return of Title IV calculation is required. Upon the students return they continue to earn the federal aid previously awarded for the period.

If a student fails to return after an approved leave of absence or takes a period of absence that does not qualify as an approved leave of absence, then the date of withdrawal is the start date of the Leave of Absence and a Return of Title IV Calculation will be completed.

Unapproved Leave of Absence:

The university may grant a period of suspension of studies to a student which does not qualify as an approved leave of absence (i.e. for academic reasons). For Title IV purposes this will be considered as a Withdrawal from the academic programme and a return of Title IV funds calculation will be undertaken.

Scheduled Breaks

Institutionally scheduled breaks of five or more consecutive days are excluded from the calculation of funds to be returned.

Institutionally schedules breaks of less than five consecutive days are included in the calculation of funds to be returned

Temporary/Permanent Withdrawal Request Forms

The form required by the University request a withdrawal is available via your School Office.

How to Withdraw:

Students are advised to make an appointment to discuss any withdrawal and leave of absence requests with their School Office, in the first instance. The School Office will submit the relevant withdrawal/absence paperwork to the Registry for processing.

Financial aid will be disbursed on the first day of 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).

Further information

Further information on withdrawals and how it affects your loan can be found in the following documents

Return of Title IV (R2T4) Policy Consumer Disclosure Information (for US Federal Loans)

Default Management Plan

This default management plan contains some of the strategies used by the University of Dundee 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. 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?

On the Federal Student Aid website.


For queries regarding the Direct Loan process

Dawn Tindal

Please remember to advise Dawn, by email, once you have completed your FAFSA.

For queries regarding life at the University or the visa process

Kristell LeGoff
International Engagement Officer 

For queries regarding bank accounts and the signed agreement for tuition/residence fees

From Registry
Guide category Student support