If you're an American national or permanently resident in the US, you can apply for a US Federal Loan if you've accepted an offer to study here.

We're an eligible Federal Loan institution and our school code is G21159.

Direct loans for American students

The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program offers low-interest direct loans to eligible students to help cover costs while studying in the UK.

If you're eligible, you'll borrow directly from the US Department of Education. You can choose from the following types of loan.

Subsidised Loan

If you're an undergraduate student with financial need, you can apply for a subsidised loan. We'll review the results of your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and determine the amount you can borrow.

You're not charged interest while you're in school at least half-time and during grace periods and deferment periods. The US Department of Education pays the interest during these times.

Unsubsidised Loan

If you're an undergraduate or postgraduate student, you can access this loan without demonstrating financial need. We'll determine the amount you can borrow.

Interest accrues (accumulates) on an unsubsidised loan from the time it’s first paid out. You can pay the interest while you're at University and during grace periods and deferment or forbearance periods, or you can allow it to accrue and be capitalised (that is, added to the principal amount of your loan). If you choose not to pay the interest as it accrues, this will increase the total amount you repay because you'll be charged interest on a higher principal amount.

Parent PLUS Loan

If you're a parent of a dependent undergraduate student, you may be eligible for this loan to help pay your child's education expenses. If your parents aren't eligible for a PLUS loan, you may be eligible for additional unsubsidised loans. Interest is charged during all periods.

Grad PLUS Loan

If you're a postgraduate student, you can apply for this unsubsidised loan to help cover your education expenses. Interest is charged during all periods.

You won't be eligible for any of the above loans if you study on the following types of course:

  • Non-degree courses, such as CertED, CertHE and HND
  • Distance learning courses
  • Part-time courses
  • Courses with a taught element offered at a site not operated by the University of Portsmouth
  • Courses with a compulsory study abroad or placement year – if the course has an optional study abroad or placement year, you can still be eligible but you won't be able to undertake the study abroad or placement year

How to apply

To apply for one of these direct loans:

  1. Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This will generate the essential Student Aid Report.
  2. Using your unique PIN, log on the Federal Student Aid Student Loans site and complete the Entrance counselling, a tool to ensure you understand your obligation to repay the loan. This process takes about 30 minutes.
  3. Using your unique PIN, log on the Federal Student Aid Student Loans site and sign the Master Promissory Note (MPN), agreeing to the terms of the loan. This process takes about 30 minutes .
  4. Email directloan@port.ac.uk to tell us you want to participate in the Direct Loan Programme. If possible, also let us know how much you want to borrow.

If you want to join us for the 2018/19 academic year, you can apply for federal aid between 1 January 2018 and 30 June 2019, but we recommend you apply as soon as you can. You'll need to apply for these loans on an annual basis.

If we receive your application within a month of your course start date, we can't guarantee to process it in time for the start of the course or to provide the required documentation for your visa.

Loan amounts

See below for the amount you can borrow each year for each type of loan, plus the total aggregate limit, and any loan fee and interest rates for each loan. These are correct as of 11 June 2018.

Direct Loans

Course type

Course year

Sub loan

Unsub loan

Combined loan total

Aggregate limits

Loan fee








Sub: $23,000

Combined: $31,000

Sub/Unsub: 1.066%

Sub/Unsub: 5.05%















Sub: $23,000

Combined: $57,500

Sub/Unsub: 1.066%

Sub/Unsub: 5.05%









Graduate/ Professional

Each Year




Sub: $65,500*

Combined: $138,500

Unsub: 1.066%

Unsub: 6.60%

*The graduate aggregate limit includes all federal loans received for undergraduate study.

Direct PLUS Loans

Course Type

Course year

Loan limits

Loan fee


Parent/Grad PLUS**

Each year

Cost of attendance (determined by the school) minus any other financial aid



**Parent/Grad PLUS Loans are meant to cover any remaining costs of attendance you have, up to the cost of attendance set by the University. Private loans are also available for this reason.

Cost of attendance

For living costs, we recommend you allow £13,632 per academic year for undergraduate course and £17,259 per academic year for a postgraduate course. This includes your accommodation, course materials, bills, leisure and travel costs and is based on 39 weeks of study for an undergraduate course and 52 weeks of study for a postgraduate course.

These costs don't include your tuition fees – check your course page for details of your tuition fees.

Receiving the loan

We request loans are paid in 3 instalments in accordance with US laws. The first payment will be requested to be available when you have registered for the start of the relevant academic year. The later instalments will be available at the start of each study period in January and April. If you apply late, your first instalment may not be available for the start of the year.

You'll need to complete Entrance Counselling to receive the first payment and Exit Counselling to receive the last.


If you've received a direct loan, you'll start repaying this after you graduate, leave university, or drop below half-time enrolment. You'll have a 6-month grace period before you need to begin payment.

If you've received a Direct Plus loan, this will enter repayment once you've received it.

If your parents have applied for a Parent PLUS Loan, they can contact their loan servicer to request a deferment while you're enrolled at least half time and for an additional 6 months after you cease to be enrolled at least half time.

If you've received a Grad Plus loan, your loan will be placed into deferment while you're enrolled at least half time and for an additional 6 months after you cease to be enrolled at least half time.

If your loan is deferred, interest will accrue on the loan during the deferment. You may choose to pay the accrued interest or allow the interest to capitalise when the deferment period ends.

See full details of repayment plans

Remaining eligible for federal aid

You'll need to meet certain criteria to make sure you remain eligible to continue receiving federal aid.

Firstly, you must remain in Portsmouth for the full duration of your course (excluding vacations), including any dissertation period. Any interruption in studies or short term leave of absence must be approved by the Direct Loan Team prior to any change in your registration status being permitted.

You'll also need to continue to meet basic eligibility criteria as listed on the Federal Student Aid website.

You must also progress satisfactorily towards completion of your chosen academic programme. We classify satisfactory academic progress as a minimum of 40% pass, but exceptions may apply to some courses, including those with accreditation. This progress will be checked before any loan funds are released to you.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is specific for the year you are applying for aid, so you must complete a new FAFSA for each year of study.

See full details on eligibility

Changes to your study

If you want to suspend your studies or take a leave of absence, you're entitled to do so if this is approved by the head of your department or school. However, leaves of absence must not exceed a total of 180 days in any 12-month period including days the University is not in session, together with any additional leave of absence. Contact us to discuss this.

If you withdraw at any time, your fees will be calculated according to payment liability periods in accordance with the University’s tuition fee policy.

If you withdraw within the first 60% of any study period (payment liability period), we'll return any unearned aid funds to the Department of Education in accordance with their repayment policy on withdrawals and suspensions.

Any ‘unearned’ aid (i.e. any funds you aren't entitled to, due to an early withdrawal) will be deducted from any possible refund that would have been paid to you in accordance with the University’s refund policy. Should the ‘unearned’ aid amount be more than you were due to be refunded, this could result in additional costs being charged to you.

Please note the US Department of Education’s repayment policy on withdrawals and suspensions differs from the University’s tuition fee policy. Both policies will be taken into account should you withdraw.

Consumer information

Visit our consumer information for the US loans scheme for links to key pieces of consumer information.

Private loans

You can also apply for a private loan to help cover the remainder of your cost of attendance. You should do your own research to find loan providers. We believe that the only lender working with schools outside of the USA is the Smart Loan from Sallie Mae.

Once you've applied online, please send a signed self-certification form to the lender, and your e-signed Promissory Note to directloan@port.ac.uk, so we can approve the loan if applicable.

Contact details

If you have further enquiries regarding the Direct Loan Program, please contact Student Administration Services at directloan@port.ac.uk or on +44 (0)23 9284 3429 or +44 (0)23 9284 3492.

Please note: If you'll be receiving loan funds to cover your living expenses, remember you won't receive your first payment until around the first day of the start of your course. You must make sure you have enough money from when you arrive in the UK until this date.