Frequently asked questions
Applying for a US federal loan
How do I apply for a loan?
Here is a brief step by step outline of the process of applying for your loan:
- Step 1 – Complete your FAFSA
- Step 2 – Complete your PLUS loan request (if applicable)
- Step 3 – Complete your Master Promissory Note(s) (MPNs)
- Step 4 – Complete entrance counselling
- Step 5 – Forward your MPN and Entrance Counselling to UWE Bristol
- Step 6 – Complete UWE Bristol's Cost of attendance (CoA) form
- Step 7 - Proof of funding for visa purposes.
When should I apply for my loan and how long will it take to process?
We begin processing loans for the new academic year in May. Applications for federal loans need to be received a minimum of one calendar month before the next disbursement date in order to ensure the receipt of funds on that date. Please see the Payment of loans for more information.
The loan approval process can take up to four weeks during peak processing periods (June to October) or longer if there are difficulties with your application. Therefore, if you need your application to be processed for a particular deadline, please ensure you apply in plenty of time (we recommend applying at least five weeks before a deadline).
It is your responsibility to ensure that a complete loan application is submitted in a timely manner.
It is also possible to apply for or adjust your loans during the year. Please see Amending, decreasing or cancelling a loan.
I have completed my Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) but I haven't heard anything – what should I do?
I have not been offered a place at UWE Bristol yet - can I apply for my loan now?
Can I apply for a loan mid-year?
You can apply for a loan during the academic year, however you must have submitted your application in time for us to process this and disburse the funds before the end of your academic year (eg June for undergraduates). There is a US Department of Education deadline for submitting your FAFSA, so you must ensure that this is also met.
Please be aware that the loan approval process can take up to four weeks during peak processing periods or longer if your application is incomplete or complicated, and disbursing funds can take a number of weeks, so you should factor this in when deciding if you are applying for a loan for the current academic year.
I received a US student loan last year. Do I need to re-apply or will I automatically receive loans for each year of my course?
I am returning from a period of suspension - how and when should I apply for a US loan?
What is 'Cost of Attendance' (COA)?
What exchange rate is used when calculating my Cost of attendance (COA)?
What should I do if I'm awarded a scholarship after my loan has been approved?
What is EFC?
EFC stands for 'expected family contribution' and is shown on your Student Aid Report (SAR) which is generated once you complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). We add an undergraduates EFC to their Cost of attendance form. The EFC is used to determine 'need' and therefore it limits the amount that you can borrow as a Direct Subsidised loan; it is not required for graduate loan applications as this loan type is not available to graduates.
You may still borrow up to the full cost of attendance, even if you have a high EFC, using the Unsubsidised and PLUS loans (see our Loan types page for further information). Please note that although the EFC stands for 'expected family contribution', essentially it is used to determine financial need, rather than reflecting whether or not your family will be contributing to the cost of your studies. The EFC cannot be amended by the University if your family are not contributing to your studies.
What is an origination fee?
How do I obtain proof of funding for visa purposes?
Once your federal loans have been processed, UWE Bristol will send you an award letter which will detail your loan amounts and disbursement dates. The wording and format of the letter has been agreed with UK Visas and Immigration as acceptable proof of funding. The original award letter (with signature) must be available when you apply for a student visa, but not everyone will have to submit the letter with their application.
Please visit GOV.UK to confirm whether you are required to submit your award letter with your student visa application. The University website also gives detailed information about the Tier 4 (General) student visa process.
Receiving your loan
When will I receive my loan disbursements?
Why can't I receive my entire federal loan amount at the beginning of my studies?
How can I pay my course fees on arrival if I will receive my federal loan in several payments?
Although it is standard practice to invoice students for all fees at the beginning of the academic year, special dispensation will be made for students who are funding their studies using a US federal loan. Your college will arrange for your fees to be paid in instalments that correlate with your US loan disbursements. Please see our payment of loans page for more details.
Once your loan has been approved, we will contact your Faculty to inform them of your loan amounts and disbursement dates.
I have transferred to a different course. Am I still eligible to receive my loan?
How is my academic performance assessed once I have obtained the funding?
What happens if I fail to make satisfactory academic progress?
If you fail to make satisfactory academic progress (SAP), you will be placed on financial aid probation for six months. If you have been placed on probation and subsequently meet the requirements in the next term, you will be placed back into good financial aid standing.
Students who have been placed on probation and do not meet the requirements applicable to their degree and level will be suspended and ineligible to receive aid until such time as they achieve the required standard.
Students who transfer to a new course will also transfer with any SAP warning or sanction and will still need to meet the specified criteria for their new course before re-establishing eligibility to receive financial aid.
What happens if I withdraw from UWE Bristol or become ineligible for federal student aid, but have already received US Federal loans?
When a US loans student changes enrolment status, we must undertake processes in line with strict US Department of Education regulations; these differ from and are separate to the University's internal change of enrolment and repayment processes, so you must contact firstname.lastname@example.org immediately.