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US Loan Disbursement

You must be registered and enrolled for your degree course at the School for your loans to be disbursed. Credit denial for Direct Plus and Private Loans can delay disbursement so it is important to confirm that you have satisfied all the credit criteria and that the loan is approved. It can take several days for Direct Loan funds to be received by the Finance Office and Private Loan cheques can take some time for the banks to process. You should therefore bring sufficient funds to cover your costs, including rent payments and rent deposits, for the first 4 weeks of the academic year.

Once you have enrolled at SOAS you are likely to need a UK bank account. Please see the SOAS banking webpage about opening a bank account in the UK.

Direct Loans 

These are disbursed in three equal instalments, one each term. The disbursements are transferred to the School electronically and received in GBP.  Tuition fees for the year are paid in three equal instalments on receipt of each disbursement as educational loans are used to pay tuition fees in the first instance. If you have taken loans to cover your living costs as well as tuition fees, the remainder is refunded to you. The first living cost refund will be by GBP cheque which we hope will be available at enrolment. You can choose how the second and third disbursement refunds can be paid to you as follows:

  • directly into your UK GBP bank account if you have given us your bank details
  • as a GBP cheque
  • as a transfer to your US$ account - please be aware that your bank will apply currency exchange charges and the exchange rate will depend on the day of the transfer

The $/GBP exchange rate changes daily so it is not possible to predict the exact amount that the cheques will raise in GBP. Please also note that origination fees are applied to Direct Loans at disbursement.

For students with a US Federal Direct Loan, and if you have a place in either Paul Robeson or Dinwiddy house, we can make the termly payments directly to them on your behalf from your loan disbursements subject to you having applied for sufficient funds. You are responsible for paying the initial booking and reservation fees. You will need to check your Licence Agreement with Sanctuary for the amount you need to pay.

Private Loans

These will be disbursed in one instalment. Tuition fees for the year are paid first as educational loans are used to pay tuition fees in the first instance. Please note that the disbursement date is the date that the lenders issue the cheques in the US – it takes 5-10 days for the cheques to arrive at the School. The cheques are issued in US dollars and are made payable jointly to you and to the School and must be endorsed by both before they can be cashed. 

If you are using your loan to pay your tuition fees, the cheque will be processed to pay the fees instalment and the remainder can be paid to you:

  • directly into your UK GBP bank account if you have given the Student Loans Officer your bank details
  • as a GBP cheque
  • as a transfer to your US$ account - please be aware that your bank will apply currency exchange charges and the exchange rate will depend on the day of the transfer

The $/GBP exchange rate changes daily so it is not possible to predict the exact amount that the cheques will raise in GBP. Please also note that all banks make charges when converting currencies and lenders apply origination and administration fees to the loans.  

Managing Your Loans - In School

You will have completed entrance counselling during the application process. You can repeat this counselling at any time. You can access your direct loan details via your account on StudentLoans.gov or your private loan details via your lender's website.

If you wish to amend your loan value, please contact the Student Loans Officer - funding@soas.ac.uk.

In School Deferment

We return enrolment data twice a year (at the end of October and the end of March) to the US Education Department (via National Student Clearinghouse) if you are registered at the School and are studying at least half-time (this would include, for example, a student taking a Master’s over 2 years part-time but not a student taking a Master’s over 3 years part-time). We can do this even if you are not taking a loan in the current academic year but you have existing loans which need to be deferred.

All lenders for Federal and private educational loans can access this data. Enrolment information is available to lenders within 3 to 5 days of being updated via the National Student Clearinghouse.  We will only complete paper deferment forms in exceptional circumstances and to do so, we require written confirmation from the lender that they are not registered to use the National Student Clearinghouse.   

Managing Your Loans - After School

You must take exit counselling, which advises on such topics as repayments, repayment holidays, and loan consolidation, on graduation or at the end of the loan period. We will send you a reminder to do this.

Direct Loans are administered by the US Education Department. At the end of the loan the ED will employ a loan servicer to manage your loan.

If you are a private loan borrower your lender will be able to advise on the specific terms and processes for managing your loan repayments after graduation.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Students must be enrolled at the School and make satisfactory progress for loan disbursements to be issued. Please see the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy for details.

Distance Learning Students

Distance Learning students studying at international schools are not eligible for Federal funding. You could apply for a standard non-educational loan from your bank to cover your tuition fees.

School Information and Policies

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Important Student Aid Information for US Loans

Important Student Aid Information for US Loans

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