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About US Loans

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William D Ford Federal Direct Loans 

Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans (formerly known as Stafford Loans) and Plus Loans are available through the Direct Loan programme operated by the US Education Department.  Direct Loans are educational loans to assist US citizens with the costs of studying.  You should consider the Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Loans first as usually this is the cheapest way of borrowing. If you need additional funding you should then consider a Direct Plus Loan. The maximum total borrowed from Direct and private loans cannot exceed the annual maximum Cost of Attendance. For Direct Loan application details please see How to Apply for a US Federal Loan. Please note that only on-campus degree students are eligible for Federal Direct Loans at SOAS. Students studying by distance-learning, or at certificate or diploma level are not eligible.

The School Federal Direct Loan Code is G06694 listed under ‘School of Oriental and African Studies - University of London'.

If you have any questions about applying for US loans please contact the Student Loans Officer - funding@soas.ac.uk.

Key Changes from July 1st 2013:

The US Federal Government has announced that there are changes to the Direct Loans available from July 1st 2013. These include:

  1. Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans - the loan origination fee will rise from 1% to 1.051%.
  2. Direct PLUS Loans - the loan origination fee will rise from 4% to 4.204%.

These changes are reflected in the origination fees quoted below. To keep up to date with changes to US Federal Loans please see Recent Changes.

Postgraduate Unsubsidized Direct Loans

Unsubsidized: not based on financial need; interest is charged during all periods.  The maximum postgraduate Unsubsidized Loan is $20,500.

Postgraduate Interest Rate on loans currently: 6.8%.  Origination fee: 1.051% 

Undergraduate Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Loans

Dependent undergraduate degree students can borrow: 

Subsidized (the government pays the interest on this part of the loan until you start repayment): $3,500 in your first year, $4,500 in your second year, $5,500 in your third/fourth year. 

Unsubsidized: $2,000 each year. Additional funding can be borrowed by your parents via the Parent Plus. Certain categories of undergraduates can be classified as 'independent' and be eligible for additional Unsubsidized funds but ineligible for the Parent Plus.

Undergraduate Stafford Interest Rates currently: Subsidized 3.4%; Unsubsidized 6.8%. Origination fee: 1.051%.

Direct Plus Loan 

Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct loans have lower interest rates and more flexible repayment options so if you are eligible you should apply for these loans first. You may need to take out additional loans to top up your funding.  You should first consider a Direct Plus Loan: Parent Plus for dependent undergraduates or Grad Plus for postgraduate degree students. Please note that Plus Loans are subject to credit checking and applicants cannot have an adverse credit history. 

Graduate/Parent Plus Interest Rate currently: 7.9%. Origination fee: 4.204%

Private Loans

There may be some private loans available to US students studying abroad. Private loans are subject to credit checking. Some SOAS students in 2012 had Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loans. We are not currently aware of other US loan providers of private loans for international study but we do not have a preferred lender list. You should consider terms and conditions carefully in comparison with Federal Direct Loans. You will need to send details of the lender and loan required on the SOAS Loan Form to funding@soas.ac.uk well in advance of the start of term so that the loan can be certified.

How to Apply
Cost of Attendance
Disbursement and Other Information