Apply for a US Federal Direct Loan
COVID-19 - Impact on loan application and disbursement for 2020/21 Academic Year
The United States Congress' recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) which provides regulatory relief to foreign institutions affected by the global pandemic. This act waived the section of HEA which prohibits online learning for a defined period, as defined in the CARES act. At present, this means the waiver allowing distance education will last through the subsequent loan period (Term 1 at SOAS). Without further Congressional action, students will lose access to Federal loans with immediate effect (Term 2 onwards).
Please note as a Foreign school we are not automatically notified of FAFSA submission. Please see the steps below to apply for a US loan.
You should have accepted an unconditional offer for a place on an on-campus degree at the School and be an eligible US citizen to apply for a US Federal Direct Loan.
2020-21 Loan Application Schedule
From July 1st onwards - new applications, MPN's, Plus credit checks and eligibility assessments
From July 30th onwards - loan originations and letters confirming funding for visa purposes
You can complete steps 2, 3 and 4 in any order. You must complete step 1 before step 4.
Step 1 - FAFSA
Go to the StudentLoans.gov website and register so that you can use the online tools. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to obtain your Student Aid Report (SAR). Please read the 'Comments' section on the SAR to ensure that your data is complete. The SAR provides the data for your eligibility assessment.
Step 2 - Entrance Counselling
Next you should complete direct loan counselling via StudentLoans.gov, even if you have taken loans out previously. If you are considering taking a Plus loan please ensure you have completed the Plus Entrance Counselling.
Step 3 - Master Promissory Notes and Plus Credit Check
E-sign the Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans Master Promissory Note (MPN). This is the contract you sign agreeing to the terms of your loan.
If you are applying for a Direct Plus Loan complete the Plus Request Process and e-sign the Plus MPN.
Step 4 - SOAS Loan Form
Complete the SOAS Loan Form (this can be downloaded at the bottom of this page) to confirm which type of loan you would like to borrow and for how much in US dollars. The Loan Form gives us access to your SAR data to enable us to assess your eligibility. You should decide how much you want to borrow based on your fees and expected living costs. Please see the Cost of Attendance for the maximum total loans allowed this year.
Step 5 - E-mail Your Loan Application
Step 6 - Eligibility Assessment
Once we receive your SOAS Loan Form we will then check and confirm your eligibility for Direct Loans. We will send you an e-mail confirming the amount you could borrow. At this point you can choose to increase or decrease the amount you wish to borrow.
When your application is complete (having completed step 2 and step 3 as well as providing any other requested information), we will be ready to originate your loans.
It is your responsibility to inform the US Loans Officer via firstname.lastname@example.org, if you are notified of/receive a scholarship, external award of bursary after your eligibility has been assessed.
Step 7 - Loan Origination
From July 20th onwards, we will originate completed loan applications on the Education Department's Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) site. You will be able to track your Direct Loans online though your Direct Loan account. Once the loans are approved on COD we will send you a hardcopy notification of student loan for visa purposes. This will be sent by DHL to ensure that you have the original documentation available.
Step 8 - Visa Application
We will issue you with a digital notification of student loan for visa purposes as part of your application for your UK Tier 4 student visa. This letter is issued specifically for visa application purposes and is an acceptable form of evidence of your student loan for your Tier 4 application so that you meet the requirement to prove you have sufficient funds. This is part of an arrangement between UK universities and UK Visas and Immigration. The UK visa authorities may require you to submit the original documentation - they will not accept copies.
You will need to contact the SOAS Admissions Office regarding the CAS number.
SOAS also has a Student Adviser (Immigration and Finance) who can help answer questions on the visa application process. Please check the dedicated SOAS webpage.
Step 9 - Changes before arrival
If your circumstances change before you arrive for the start of your degree then you must ensure you contact email@example.com as soon as possible. In many circumstances it is possible to adjust your US loans to minimise your debt and interest liabilities.