US Loans

The University of Westminster is certified by the US Department of Education to provide Federal Direct Loans and private student loans via Sallie Mae. The information below refers to undergraduate and graduate/professional students who are studying at least half time.

The first step in the Federal Direct Loan process is to complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and select the University of Westminster as one of your school options. Our school code is G21951. If you are unsure how to fill out your FAFSA please see these tips on filling out the FAFSA.

Please note that completing your FAFSA is not a loan application, it generates a Student Aid Report (SAR) that is used to determine your eligibility for financial aid. Therefore you must still complete the loan process.

We cannot process your loan application until you have accepted the conditional or unconditional offer to study on an eligible course at the University of Westminster.

Types of loans available

The table below shows the types of loans the University of Westminster is certified to approve.

Undergraduate Graduate/professional
Federal Direct Subsidised Loan n/a
Federal Direct Unsubsidised Loan Federal Direct Unsubsidised Loan
Federal Direct PLUS Loan (Dependent students only) Federal Direct PLUS Loan
Sallie Mae Option Student Loan/Parent Loan

Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan/Parent Loan

For more information on these loans please refer to the question below – What types of loans can I borrow?

Federal Direct Loans – Subsidised, Unsubsidised and PLUS
If you intend to borrow Federal Direct Loans, after completing your FAFSA, please email us at the Student Funding Office, [email protected], including your full name, student/reference number, the name of the loan(s) you would like to borrow and the name of your course.

Sallie Mae - Smart Option Student Loan/Parent Loan
If you would like to borrow the Sallie Mae Smart Option please email the Student Funding Office, [email protected], including your full name, student/reference number, the name of the loan you would like to borrow and the name of your course. For more information and to apply for the Smart Option Student Loan, visit the Sallie Mae website.

Veterans Affairs (VA) Benefits - Post-9/11 GI Bill, Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (DEA) etc. (Except Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program)
If you are applying for VA Education Benefits under one of their programs please contact us immediately at the Student Funding Office, [email protected], as we must register your program of study with Veterans Affairs. Normal processing time to register a program of study is 18-20 weeks.

Grants and other student loans including Pell Grant, Perkins Loans etc.
Please be aware that as an overseas institution we cannot approve any grants or other loans except the Federal Direct Loan or the Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan.

Other financial aid
If you would like to borrow a different private student loan or you have an external scholarship or are using a college savings fund that requires us to verify your enrolment please contact us at the Student Funding Office on [email protected]

Study Abroad
If you are a Study Abroad student, we are unable to originate Federal Direct Loans for you because you can receive financial aid from your home school in the US.

The amount you can borrow is called your cost of attendance. Your cost of attendance is the maximum amount you can borrow and you may not need or want to take out the full amount. It comprises tuition fees and living expenses as determined by the University. The figures below are used to calculate your living expenses (not including tuition fees). In addition to these amounts, the University will add on an average cost of a return flight home, entertainment and start-up costs.

The table below shows the Federal Direct Loan annual loan limits you may be eligible to borrow depending on your status (Independent, dependent, graduate/professional) and your year of study.

Undergraduate students can find out whether their status is dependent or independent by viewing the Dependency Status on their Student Aid Report generated from their FAFSA.

The Aggregate Loan Limit is the maximum you can borrow in Direct Subsidised and Unsubsidised Loans during your education.

Loan Amounts 

Dependent Undergraduates Initial Subsidized Stafford Additional Unsubsidised Stafford Combined (maximum) Levels
1st Year $3500 $2000 $5500
2nd Year $4500 $2000 $6500
3rd Year and Up $5500 $2000  $7500
Independent Undergraduate and Dependent Undergrad where Parent is denied Parent PLUS.
1st Year $3500 $6000 $9500
2nd Year $4500 $6000 $10500
3rd Year and Up $5500 $7000 $12500
Graduate/Professional      
Each Academic Year (A, B, C...) $0.00 $20500 $20500
Aggregate Limits
  Subsidized Sub and Unsub Combined
Dependent Undergrads $23,000 $31,000
Independent Undergrads $23,000 $57,500
Graduate & Professional $65,500 $138,500
As you can see from these amounts, the Direct Subsidised and Unsubsidised Loans are not enough to pay the full cost of tuition for undergraduate courses and some postgraduate courses. Therefore you will need to consider how you intend to pay the outstanding balance of your tuition fees and your living expenses. You can make up the difference with your own funds, a Federal Direct PLUS Loan or a private student loan.

Please note: If you do not borrow enough money to cover the full cost of your tuition fees you are expected to pay the outstanding balance yourself.

The total for graduate/professionals taking a full calendar year (52 weeks) is £26,650 and £23,725 for students (34 weeks).

  Weekly (£) 52 Weeks (PG) 34 Weeks (UG)
Rent 250 13000 13000 (full year)
Food 70 3640 2380
Travel 33 1716 1122
Household/Utilities 20 1040 680
Course Supplies n/a 1000 1000
Laptop/PC/Tablet n/a 800 800
Personal Allowance 50 2600 1700
Health Surcharge    225  See below
Clothing n/a 300 250
Visa n/a 328 328
Flights n/a 2000 2000

We are unable to increase your cost of attendance unless you have very specific reasons such as medical costs.

Please note: If you have a scholarship, are in the process of applying for a scholarship or are awaiting a decision, you should inform us as this will affect your cost of attendance.

Health Surcharge: The surcharge was introduced on 6 April 2015. It applies to applications where payment is made on or after 6 April and is payable in full at the time of the immigration application. The amount of the charge is based on the amount of time a migrant would be permitted to stay in the UK under the relevant category in the Immigration Rules.  

Postgraduate 1 year course £225
Undergraduate 3 year course £525
Undergraduate 4 year course £675
 

Calculator: https://www.immigration-health-surcharge.service.gov.uk/checker/Summary

Totals for living expenses:

Postgraduate: £26,650 (approximately $33,850
Undergraduate (per year): £23,785 (approximately $30,210)
If you want to enrol on a 4 year undergraduate course, your costs will differ for your third year of study (i.e. your placement year) – please contact the student funding office for details

Types of Loans
Undergraduate Graduate/professional
Federal Direct Subsidised Loan n/a
Federal Direct Unsubsidised Loan Federal Direct Unsubsidised Loan
Federal Direct PLUS Loan (Dependent students only) Federal Direct PLUS Loan
Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan/Parent Loan

Subsidised Direct Loan - This loan is assessed on financial need, as determined by Federal regulations. No interest is charged while you are in school at least half-time, during the grace period or during deferment periods.

Unsubsidised Direct Loan - Not based on financial need. Interest is accrued during the period of study and during the grace and deferment periods.

PLUS Loan - Parents of dependent students as well as graduate/professional students can apply for the Direct PLUS Loan to cover any additional educational costs up to the cost of attendance minus all other financial aid. Interest is charged on Direct PLUS Loans during all periods, but you do not have to pay it while you are in school. If you choose not to, it will be added to the principle balance of your loan.

Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan/Parent Loan - Private student loans may also be taken out either on top of, or instead of, Direct Loans or Direct PLUS Loans, subject to credit checking and only to the value of the Cost of Attendance.

Currently, Sallie Mae is the only private loan lender that we are aware of that disburses funds to overseas institutions.

If you would like to borrow a private student loan from a different lender please investigate whether your lender disburses loans overseas and inform the Student Funding Office of your choice.

Before choosing to borrow a private student loan please investigate Federal and private student loans. We advise that you take some time to compare interest rates and repayment terms with both loans to see which is better for you.

Federal Direct Loans incur an origination fee, which is a percentage of each loan you receive and is deducted proportionately from each loan disbursement. This means the money that is disbursed to you is actually less than the amount you borrow and you are responsible for repaying the whole amount borrowed, not just the amount disbursed.

The loan fee that you are charged will be reflected in a disclosure statement sent to you from the US Department of Education. You are encouraged to check all fees, rebates and interest rates when applying for your loans. Find out about Federal loan interest rates.

Step 1 – FAFSA

You must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid if you intend to borrow Federal Direct loans.

The University of Westminster's school code is G21951.

The following steps must be completed via the Student Loans website.

Step 2 - Master Promissory Note (MPN)

A Master Promissory Note (MPN) is a legal document that you are required to complete and sign when borrowing Federal Direct Loans. It details the terms and conditions of your loan and repayment, including how interest is calculated and requires details of 2 referees.

Parents of dependent students complete the MPN. If you are a graduate/professional you complete the application form so that you are the student as well as the borrower.

Overseas institutions are unable to accept multiyear MPNs therefore an MPN must be completed for each year of study by continuing students. You are not required to send us a copy of your MPN as we can access it online.

Step 3 - Entrance Counselling

Entrance Counselling helps you understand your rights and responsibilities as a loan borrower and you are required to complete Entrance Counselling when applying for your loans. Please note that we are unable to disburse the first instalment of your loan if you have not completed the Entrance Counselling session. You can find out more about Entrance Counselling on the Student Loans site here.

You do not need to send us confirmation that you have completed your counselling sessions as we can access your record online.

Step 1 – FAFSA

You must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid if you intend to borrow Federal Direct Loans. You only have to complete it once for all Federal Direct Loans.

The University of Westminster's school code is G21951.

The following steps must be completed via the Student Loans website.

Step 2 - Loan Application

You will need to complete a Direct PLUS application, which details your personal information, school information and the loan amount you have requested. The Direct PLUS Loan also requires you to complete a credit check. In order to be eligible to borrow the Direct PLUS Loan you must have an accepted credit decision. Borrowers with low or little credit may require a co-signer.

Step 3 – Master Promissory Note (MPN)

A Master Promissory Note (MPN) is a legal document that you are required to complete and sign when you borrow the Direct Subsidised, Unsubsidised or Direct PLUS Loan. It details the terms and conditions of your loan and repayment, including how interest is calculated and requires details of 2 referees. You are not required to send us a copy of your MPN as we can access it online.

If you have applied for a Direct PLUS loan as well as the Direct Subsidised and/or Unsubsidised Loan you must complete an MPN for the Direct PLUS loan also.

Step 4 - Entrance Counselling

Entrance Counselling helps you understand your rights and responsibilities as a loan borrower and you are required to complete Entrance Counselling when applying for the Direct Subsidised, Unsubsidised or Direct PLUS Loan. You can find out more about Entrance Counselling on the Student Loans site here.

We can obtain confirmation of your sessions online. We are unable to disburse the first instalment of your loan if you have not completed Entrance Counselling.

Exit Counselling is a requirement for all students who borrow Federal Direct Loans (Subsidised, Unsubsidised and PLUS). Before you graduate, drop below half-time attendance, or withdraw, US regulations require you to complete an Exit Counselling session, regardless of whether you plan to transfer to another school or re-enrol later.

The Exit Counselling sessions provide important information on how to manage your student loans both during and after university and helps you to understand the repayment terms of your loan(s) and your rights and responsibilities as a student loan borrower.

Find out more about Exit Counselling on the Student Loans website here.

We are unable to disburse the final instalment of your loan if you have not completed the Exit Counselling session online.

Borrowers with adverse, low or little credit may require an endorser. Ultimately the endorser agrees to repay the loan if you cannot.

Alternatively, if there are extenuating circumstances related to your credit history and you can provide satisfactory evidence you may still be able to borrow the loan. Please contact the Federal Student Aid Center on 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243)

Both graduate/professionals and undergraduate students can apply for the Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan/Parent Loan, but before we can certify a private student loan we must ensure that you have considered both Federal and private student loans.

We advise that you take some time to compare interest rates and repayment terms with both loans to see which is better for you.

Additionally, if you are considering whether to borrow the Direct PLUS Loan or the Smart Option Student Loan/Parent Loan please investigate which is better for you.

You may be able to defer or reduce your repayments on previous Federal loans and private student loans whilst you are enrolled at least half time at the University of Westminster. To do so, please contact your lender for the In-School Deferment Request form.

Your Federal Funding will be paid to you in US dollars (USD). You can choose to have these funds paid into your US bank account or a UK bank account if you open one.

Private study loans (e.g. Sallie Mae) and funding under the US GI Bill Benefits scheme will only be paid in GBP into a UK bank account.

You will need to provide your US (or UK) bank details to the Student Funding Office. You can do this via email to [email protected] or you can provide the details in person by coming to the Student Funding Office during our opening hours. If you decide to open a UK bank account we require the name and address of your UK bank, the account number and the sort code.

We strongly advise you to have available cash with you when you arrive in London as we are unable to disburse the first instalment of your loans until after you have arrived at the University and completed enrolment. The Admissions Office will send you a letter informing you of your enrolment date.

Federal Direct Loans - Loans for undergraduate students will be disbursed in two equal instalments and graduate/professionals will be paid in three equal instalments. From each disbursement we will immediately pay a third of postgraduate tuition fees and 50% of undergraduate tuition fees. The remaining USD balance on each disbursement, if any, will be directly deposited into your UK (or US) bank account.

We will send you the details of your disbursement showing the amount allocated to your tuition fees and the amount paid to you for your living expenses. Your tuition fee payments will not show on your student record immediately as they take longer to process; however the Finance Office are aware of the payments so will not contact you directly for the tuition fees.

Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan/Parent Loan – These loans can only be paid in GBP into a UK bank account so if you have this type of loan, you must open a UK bank account.

Loans will be disbursed in two equal instalments for both undergraduates and graduate/professionals. We will send you the details of your disbursement showing the amount allocated to your tuition fees and the amount paid to you for your living expenses. The actual amount in GBP (£) that you receive for each instalment will vary because it is dependent on the exchange rate that we get from Cambridge Mercantile on the day of the disbursement.

GI Bill Benefits scheme – Payments are sent direct to us way of USD cheques made payable to the University. These are banked and the converted GBP amount is allocated direct to your tuition fees. The actual amount in GBP (£) from each instalment will vary depending on the exchange rate at the time.

Disbursement dates - The expected disbursement dates for the 2017/18 academic year are outlined below. Please be aware that the date for the first disbursement of your loan is dependent on you completing enrolment and providing us with your UK or US bank details.

Disbursement dates

The expected disbursement dates for the 2017/18 academic year are outlined below. Please be aware that the date of the first disbursement is dependent on you completing enrolment and providing us with your UK bank details. For information on banking in the UK visit our Money Matters pages.

Disbursement dates for the 2017/18 academic year are:

  Undergraduate Direct Loans Postgraduate Direct Loans Postgraduate Jan 2015 Direct Loans Sallie Mae Sallie Mae Jan 2016
First payment 18 Sept 2017 18 Sept 2017 15 Jan 2018 18 Sept 2017 15 Jan 2018
Second payment 15 Jan 2018 15 Jan 2018 30 April 2018 15 Jan 2018 30 April 2018 
Third payment n/a 30 April 2018 10 Sept 2108 n/a n/a

Please be aware that if you don't warn us in advance not to draw down your disbursement, you will be responsible for all interest charges and for its repayment.

International student have to pay a deposit before they are issued with their CAS number, however, US students in receipt of Federal or private student loans can defer payment of the deposit. Once your loan has been originated the Admissions Office will send you a pre-visa email asking for information.

When they have received this information and within ten days, your CAS will be produced and you will receive an email with the information given to the UK Border Agency. This is called a CAS statement and you will be able to use the information to make a Tier 4 student visa application.

Please email [email protected] if you have any queries relating to your CAS or a CAS request form that you have submitted.

Federal Direct Loans – Once your loans have been originated we will send you a Notification of Student Loan Letter 2017/18.

This letter is confirmation of your Federal Direct Loans and includes the loan period, the loan type, the amount you are borrowing and the disbursement dates for the academic year. This letter can be used to support your visa application and will be sent to you via courier. We advise you not to make your visa appointment until you have received the letter.

Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan – after your loan has been certified Sallie will send you confirmation, which can be used to support your visa application.

All students receiving US Federal Aid must progress satisfactorily towards completion of a chosen academic programme in order to remain eligible to receive US financial aid. Please see our Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy.

What is the University’s refund policy?

Please inform the Student Funding Office, [email protected], as soon as possible if you decide to withdraw from your course. The University is required by Federal Law to complete a Return to Title IV Refund, which recalculates your financial aid eligibility based on your actual period of attendance.

For more information, please read our Refund Policy (PDF)

Direct Loans - The Direct Loan Program offers loan repayment plans designed to meet the needs of borrowers and allows you to choose your own plan. There are also repayment calculators to help you to estimate your monthly repayments. You can find out more about repayment options by contacting the Federal Student Aid Center on 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).

Smart Option Student Loan – Sallie Mae can help you find an option that fits your budget, simplifies payment, and minimises your total interest cost. Please contact Sallie Mae on (877) 279-7172 for more information.