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Loan information for US students

Home / Help and Advice / Info for international students / Fees and funding / US loan federal funding

Published: 22 September 2020

Please make sure that you read all of the information provided on the webpage and downloads before you begin the application process.

Loans and eligibility

The University of Sunderland participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Programme and our school code is G35073. As an American national or permanent resident you can apply for a loan if you have accepted an offer of a place at the University of Sunderland. Loans need to be applied for on an annual basis. Direct loan applications for 2020/21 can be submitted after 25 June 2020. Please see the Guidance notes and loan flowchart (.pdf) for a step-by-step guide of the process.

Which courses are eligible for financial aid?

Our eligibility certificate permits the University to provide financial aid for the following courses:

  • Associate degrees
  • Bachelors degrees
  • Masters degrees or Doctors degrees

Students intending to study a course which requires a compulsory year abroad (studying at another institution that is not USA) then please email us-federal.loans@Sunderland.ac.uk with the course details.

The following courses are NOT eligible for financial aid:

  • Certificate and diploma courses
  • Distance learning or remote location courses 
  • Students intending to study nursing or medicine orientated courses.
  • Students studying off campus, eg attending SEGI College in Malaysia
  • Students studying at the Sunderland ONCampus or the English Language Teaching Centre
  • Students returning to the USA to conduct fieldwork/research/writing up their thesis
  • Visiting and exchange students or students on an Erasmus/Study Abroad programme (you apply for funds through your home institution)
  • First professional degrees such as the Legal Practice Course (LPC)

When you apply for FAFSA, you must make sure you notify Direct Loans that you intend to study at this University with the school code G35073.

If you are not eligible for Federal Loans, you may be eligible to apply for a private loan.

How much can you borrow – cost of attendance

You may borrow up to the cost of attendance (COA) and no more. To calculate your loan amount we add your tuition fee and estimated living cost together then deduct any scholarships/fee reductions etc, and any estimated family contributions (EFC) from your Student Air Report (SAR). Based on Tier 4 Student Visa requirements, you will need to show £1,015 per month for living costs for the duration of your course and an additional £680 per month for each dependant, if applicable (only children are authorised as dependants for US Loan purposes – if your spouse will be living with you in the UK, you cannot apply for loans to cover their funds).

On the COA spreadsheet, we have set a limit which is in relation to the costs for studying in Sunderland. If you change these costs so that they are above the maximum amount, it is not guaranteed that these figures will be accepted and you may be asked to provide additional evidence to support this request. The figures can be seen on the COA spreadsheet, and an explanation on the “Basis of Costs“ sheet.

EXAMPLE A: A postgraduate student COA spreadsheet indicates that you are in need of $42,000 after taking into account any scholarships/fee waivers and any EFC. You borrow $20,500 unsubsidised and the remaining amount of $21,500 can be taken on a PLUS Loan making a total loan amount of $42,000.

EXAMPLE B: A first year independent undergraduate student COA spreadsheet indicates that you are in need of $42,400 after taking into account any scholarships/fee waivers and any EFC. You borrow $3,500 subsidised and $6,000 unsubsidised and the remaining amount of $31,900 can be taken as a private loan, if eligible, making a total loan amount of $42,400.

The table below shows the Direct Loan limits for subsidised and unsubsidised loans for dependent and independent students.

Loan limits for

All students

Dependent students*

Independent students**
























*Except students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans
**And dependent undergraduate students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans


How to apply

Most of the work is completed online by you. We will not know you are making a genuine application, nor know how much you wish to borrow, until you send us the information we need.

You must download the Guidance notes and loan flowchart (.pdf) along with the  and follow the instructions provided. You can then submit your application to us-federal.loans@Sunderland.ac.uk with all the required documents attached.


Once your loan application has been processed, we will mail you a Loan Notification Letter showing the amount of loan you will be receiving for the academic year. This letter can be used to apply for your visa application and will be mailed by recorded delivery to your home address.

You must have officially accepted your offer at the University in order for us to process your application in the first instance.

It can take up to seven working days for the letter to reach you, so please make sure you apply as soon as possible.

It is important for you to have your funding in place before coming to Sunderland. If you are intending to apply for Federal Loan funding, please submit your information to us by 17 August 2020.

The following information is to assist you whilst making your application.

You are required to provide your tuition fee on your COA. The links below will direct you to the relevant University pages:

Postgraduate taught tuition fees, eg MA

Postgraduate research tuition fees, eg PhD, MPhil

Undergraduate tuition fees, eg BA

The links below will take you to the appropriate external sites regarding applying for funds:

Apply to FAFSA for Student Aid Report

Entrance Counselling, Apply for a PLUS Loan Request or Sign Master Promissory Notes (MPN)

Selective Service

Further information about Direct Loans

529 Savings Plans

As a Title IV institution, the University of Sunderland is approved to accept funds from 529 Savings Plans. Find further information on where to send bank transfers or make electronic payments in our Help and Advice article.

How the funds will be paid to you

Funds will be paid directly to the University. The Income Office will deduct the tuition and accommodation fees (if applicable) and arrange a cheque for the remaining balance to be paid to you.

The payment dates for 2020/21 are:

  • 16 September 2020
  • 25 January 2021
  • 27 April 2021

These dates are expected payment dates and subject to completing the required registration steps during Intro Week. If there are any delays or changes to these dates, we will notify you by email.

We advise students to have funds available to cover the first couple of weeks in Sunderland as your funds will not be requested until after registration and in case of delays.

If you want to apply for loans/additional loans during the academic year, please contact us-federal.loans@sunderland.ac.uk with your request.

Please ensure that you have considered your budget with the amount of loan that you will be requesting, taking into account your course and living costs. Increasing a PLUS loan at a later stage during the academic year is complex and not always possible due to endorser limits and system restrictions.

If you are in receipt of Federal Loans whilst you are studying at the University, we are required to report your registration status with the National Student Loan Data System for Students (NSLDS) every 60 days.

If you are not in receipt of loans, but require your registration status to be reported for loan deferment purposes, please contact our team to request this us-federal.loans@sunderland.ac.uk

Read Information relating to our US loan support (.docx)

Information about private loans

The only private loan currently available to students at foreign schools is the Smart Option Student Loan from Sallie Mae. You must apply online and then complete the following:

  • Complete the Cost of Attendance (COA) – you can disregard the checklist as this is for Federal Aid applicants only 
  • Email your e-signed promissory note and your COA to us-federal.loans@Sunderland.ac.uk

PLEASE NOTE; if you forget to email your promissory note we will not be able to certify your Smart Loan.

For information, Sallie Mae have recently introduced a number of loans for specific purposes, including:

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