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 online or 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 US loans please contact the Fees and Funding Team by emailing funding@soas.ac.uk.

Level of StudyMode of StudyEligible for US Federal Direct LoansEligible for US Private educational loans
UndergraduateFoundation year without a language year abroadYesYes
3 years full-timeYesYes
4 years full-time with a language year/study abroadWhole degree ineligibleYes
Postgraduate Masters1-year full-time (including on-campus, part-time variants if your visa allows part-time study)YesYes
2 years full-time with (Intensive Language) study abroadWhole degree ineligibleYes
Postgraduate Research3 years full time plus 1 year full time for writing upYesYes

Cost of Attendance, Loan Periods, and Exchange Rates

Cost of Attendance

The Cost of Attenance (CoA) is the amount it will cost a student to go to SOAS, if you are attending School at least half time.

The CoA is the estimate of tuition and fees, cost of food and housing (living expenses), cost of books, supplies, transportation, loan fees and miscellaneous expenses.

The CoA is set by SOAS school but may be adjusted downwards by the student to reflect their specific needs.
You may borrow up to the CoA set by the School, but not exceed it.

 Cost of Attendance per Week
Tuition FeesTuition fees for the programme of study
RoomGBP 300
BoardGBP 100
Books and Study SuppliesGBP 30
TransportationGBP 40
PersonalGBP 60


 Cost of Attendance, Single Costs
2 Return FlightsGBP 1,600
Visa Application and Associated FeesGBP 1,654

Other essential costs may be included but are subject to approval by the School and must be in line with the relevant guidance and regulations.

Loan Periods

Loan periods covered for academic year 2024/25 are as follows:

Level of StudyLoan Period
Undergraduate23 September 2024 - 13 June 2025
Postgraduate Taught25 September 2024 - 5 September 2025
Postgraduate Research25 September 2024 - 19 September 2025

Students who are only due to enrol for parts of the academic year will be subject to a lower Cost of Attendance.

Exchange Rates

The actual GBP (Sterling) you receive will vary as it is dependent on the exchange rate from USD to GBP at the time of the disbursement. The rate applied will be a retail rate and not the interbank rate.

Interest Rates and Origination Fees

Interest Rates

The US Federal Government calculates and sets the interest rates for Direct Loans on an annual basis starting from July 1st each year. For more information please visit studentaid.gov.

Origination Fees

Federal student loans have an origination fee; therefore, the amount you may receive as a disbursement may be slightly lower than the amount you accept. 

Loan Limits

Different loan limits apply to the different types of loans. Details can be found below.

Loan Limits for:All StudentsDependent StudentsIndependent Students
 Subsidised LoanUnsubsidised LoanUnsubsidised Loan
Undergraduate Year 1USD 3,500USD 2,000USD 6,000
Undergraduate Year 2USD 4,500USD 2,000USD 6,000
Undergraduate Year 3USD 5,500USD 2,000USD 7,000
Graduate/Professional  USD 20,500
Direct PLUS LoanBalance up to the Cost of Attendance
  • You can borrow less than the maximum COA
  • You can request more funds later in the year up to the maximum COA
  • You should only borrow what you need.

Policies and Consumer Information