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US Federal Loans

Brief description

Bath Spa University is eligible to certify loan applications for William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans (Direct Loans) including:

  • Direct subsidized loans (previously Stafford Subsidised Loans)
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans (previously Stafford Unsubsidised Loans)
  • Parent PLUS loans and
  • Graduate PLUS loans.

Code: The Bath Spa University school code is: G35333

Full details are available at: US Federal Student Aid

Loan types

The Federal Direct Loan programme offers the following types of loan:

  • Direct Subsidized Loans (previously Stafford Subsidised Loans): For undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need, as determined by federal regulations. No interest is charged while a student is in school at least half-time, during the grace period, and during deferment periods.
  • Direct Unsubsidised (previously Stafford Unsubsidised Loans): Not based on financial need; interest is charged during all periods, even during the time a student is in school and during grace and deferment periods.
  • Parent PLUS: Parents of dependent undergraduate students can borrow a parent PLUS loan to help pay for educational expenses. Parents can borrow up to the total estimated cost of attendance minus any other financial aid received. Parent PLUS loans are the responsibility of the parent and not the student.
  • Graduate PLUS: Graduates with good credit histories may be able to borrow a PLUS loan to help with their education expenses. A graduate may borrow up to the total estimated cost of attendance minus any other financial aid received.

Please note: Pell Grants and Perkins loans are not available for study outside of the USA.

US Federal Student Aid

The Federal Student Aid website contains a glossary of important terms.

Bath Spa University student finance

Queries relating to your Direct Federal Loans application with Bath Spa University can be sent to:

funding@bathspa.ac.uk or mail to:

Student finance team
Bath Spa University
Stables Building 
Newton Park Campus
Bath, Somerset
BA2 9BN
United Kingdom

Eligibility

Eligible courses

Most full-time, on-campus undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses at Bath Spa University are eligible for Title IV Direct Loans, except for those listed as ineligible (below).

Ineligible courses

The following courses are currently ineligible for Direct Loan funding at Bath Spa University:

  • Non-degree courses/programmes (Certificates, Diplomas)
  • Online courses/programmes
  • Distance learning courses/programmes
  • Courses/programmes that are offered or taken less than half-time
  • Foundation Degree courses offered through one of our partner colleges
  • Teacher Training courses (PGCE - Postgraduate Certificate in Education)
  • The optional Placement Year within the BA Business & Management course
  • As per US federal regulations, as a foreign institution Bath Spa University is unable to allow student borrowers in receipt of Title IV funds to enrol in any course that includes study completed in the United States, including research, work, placements, internship, externship, or special studies. The only exception to this regulation is independent research done by an individual student in the United States for not more than one academic year, if it is conducted during the dissertation phase of a doctoral program and under the guidance of faculty, and the research can only be performed in a facility in the United States.

Please note: As a result of recent legislative changes, with effect from the 2012/13 academic year, postgraduate students are no longer eligible to receive subsidized loans. However, postgraduate students may still qualify for up to $20,500 in unsubsidized loans for each academic year.

Individual loan eligibility

Your eligibility for US Title IV Direct Loans will be assessed based on the information provided on your FAFSA. To be eligible for a Federal Direct Loan, students must:

  • Be a US citizen or eligible non-citizen with a valid Social Security Number.
  • If male aged 18-25, be registered for Selective Service (unless exempt).
  • Be enrolled and continue to be enrolled at least half time on an eligible programme at Bath Spa University. If you suspend, withdraw or drop below half time enrolment you must email funding@bathspa.ac.uk immediately. (Note that while the Direct Loan programme stipulates at least half-time attendance, if you are on a Tier 4 student visa, full-time study is required).
  • Be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), as determined by the student’s enrolment status and progression at the point(s) of evaluation.
  • Not be in default on an educational loan and must not owe a repayment on an adjusted federal grant.

Loan limits

Introduction

For Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans, there are limits on the maximum amount you may borrow for an academic year (Annual Maximum Loan Limits) and also a maximum amount that you may borrow in total for undergraduate and postgraduate study (Aggregate Maximum Loan Limits).

The actual loan amount you are eligible to receive is determined by the University’s Cost of Attendance (CoA) and other factors such as the length of your programme, your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), other financial aid you receive, and your remaining eligibility under the annual and aggregate loan limits.

Your dependency status

Independent students

Your dependency status is determined from information provided on the FAFSA. An independent student is a student who is either:

  • at least 24 years old,
  • married,
  • a graduate or professional student,
  • a veteran,
  • a member of the armed forces,
  • an orphan,
  • a ward of the court,
  • or someone with legal dependents other than a spouse,
  • an emancipated minor or
  • someone who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. 

For further information to help you determine your dependency status, visit: http://studentaid.ed.gov/node/64.

Dependent students

Your dependency status is determined from information provided on the FAFSA. A dependent student is a student who does not meet any of the criteria for an independent student, as described above. For further information to help you determine your dependency status, visit: http://studentaid.ed.gov/node/64.

Loan limits for dependent undergraudate students

Dependent students (except students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS loans):

  • Undergraudate year 1: $5,500, with no more than $3,500 subsidized + no more than $2,000 unsubsidized
  • Undergraudate year 2: $6,500, with no more than $4,500 subsidized + no more than $2,000 unsubsidized
  • Undergraduate Year 3 and up: $7,500, with no more than $5,500 subsidized + no more than $2,000 unsubsidized.

Aggregate career maximum loan limit:

The aggregate loan limit is the maximum you can borrow in Direct Subsidised and Unsubsidised Loans throughout your entire education, including loans previously taken for undergraduate study. 

The aggregate loan limit for dependent undergraduate students is $31,000, with no more than $23,000 subsidized.

Loan limits for independent undergraduate students

Independent students (and dependent students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS loans):

  • Undergraudate year 1: $9,500, with no more than $3,500 subsidized + no more than $6,000 unsubsidized
  • Undergraudate year 2: $10,500, with no more than $4,500 subsidized + no more than $6,000 unsubsidized
  • Undergraduate Year 3 and up: $12,500, with no more than $5,500 subsidized + no more than $7,000 unsubsidized.

Aggregate career maximum loan limit:

The aggregate loan limit is the maximum you can borrow in Direct Subsidised and Unsubsidised Loans throughout your entire education, including loans previously taken for undergraduate study. 

The aggregate loan limit for independent undergraduate students is $57,500, with no more than $23,000 subsidized.

Loan limits for postgraduate students

Postgraduate students:

Year 1: $20,500 (unsubsidized only)

Aggregate career maximum loan limit:

The aggregate loan limit is the maximum you can borrow in Direct Subsidised and Unsubsidised Loans throughout your entire education, including loans previously taken for undergraduate study. 

The aggregate loan limit for postgraduate students is $138,500, with no more than $65,000 subsidized.

Please note: As a result of legislative changes, with effect from the 2012/13 academic year, postgraduate students are no longer eligible to receive subsidized loans. However, postgraduate students may still qualify for up to $20,500 in unsubsidized loans for each academic year.

How to apply

Timing

The application process described below applies to new and returning students.

While students can complete FAFSA applications after 1 January, we ask that you wait until after May 15 to email your completed application documents, as we set exchange rates in May and will only be able to calculate your eligibility after this point.

Step 1: Complete your FAFSA application

Complete a free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online.  

The Bath Spa University school code for the FAFSA is: G35333.

We recommend that you complete your FAFSA approximately five months in advance of your course start date (e.g. early May for an Autumn start) in order to allow adequate time to process your loan eligibility and for you to receive your CAS statement for visa purposes.

A full list of the documents required can be found on the FAFSA website.

Once your FAFSA is completed, a Student Aid Report (SAR) will be generated, which is used by the University to determine your loan eligibility.

Note on grade levels

One common error on students' FAFSA applications is incorrect responses to the question “grade level in college in year 2016/17”. Grade level in this instance does not refer to the number of years the student has attended college, but rather the grade level in regard to completing the student's degree:

  • undergraduate students entering Year 1 at Bath Spa University will be either option 0 or 1,
  • students entering Year 2 will be option 2 
  • students entering Year 3 will be option 3
  • postgraduate students entering the first year of their postgraduate master’s or doctoral programs will be option 6, and
  • postgraduate doctoral students continuing with their studies will be option 7.

Step 2: Complete PLUS loan request if applicable

If you are intending to apply for a PLUS Loan, or your parent will be applying for a Parent PLUS loan, you, or the parent, will need to complete a PLUS loan request on www.studentloans.gov. If you are not intending to apply for a PLUS Loan, you can skip this step.

As per the table in step 5 below, we will require evidence that you have passed a credit check for your PLUS loan.

Step 3: Complete Master Promissory Note (MPN)

Students taking out a Federal Direct loan are required to complete and e-sign an MPN annually via www.studentloans.gov.

The MPN is a legal document in which you promise to repay your loan and any accrued interest and fees to the US Department of Education. It also explains the terms and conditions of your loan.

At present, MPN credit checks have an expiry of 90 days before loans are originated, so we ask that students refrain from completing this step until late June for Autumn starters.

  • Undergraduate students: Complete an MPN for the subsidised and unsubsidised loans. If your parent will also be taking out a Parent PLUS loan, they must complete a separate MPN for PLUS loans.
  • Postgraduate students (Masters/PhD): Complete one MPN for the unsubsidised loan and a separate MPN for the Graduate PLUS loan.

Step 4: Complete entrance counselling

Each time you borrow a federal loan at Bath Spa University, you must complete the US Department of Education entrance counselling, to help you understand your responsibilities regarding your loan.

You can complete this counselling online.

You will need to print / retrieve a copy of your completed counselling, to send to us as part of your application package.

  • Direct Loan: You can complete entrance counselling through studentloans.gov. If you forget to print your confirmation, you can retrieve it by going to the Counselling section of the left hand navigation pane, select 'View Completed Counselling' and then 'View HTML' for the appropriate counselling session. You can then save this webpage as a PDF or else print and scan it.
  • Graduate Plus: Please note that if you intend to take out a Graduate PLUS loan in addition to an unsubsidized Direct Loan, you can complete Combined Direct Loan / PLUS Loan entrance counselling. You must either print or save as a PDF the confirmation page that appears after you fill out the student information form, and also note your confirmation number for your records, as evidence you have completed this counselling.
  • Parent Plus: Parents borrowing a Direct Plus loan to pay for their child's education are not required to complete entrance counselling.

Step 5: Email your documents to Bath Spa University

As a 'foreign institution' to the USA, we are not automatically notified when a student has selected our institution on their FAFSA application.

Therefore, once you have completed steps 1-4 you will need to send the following information to funding@bathspa.ac.uk in order for us to access your full Student Aid Report (SAR) and begin the process of determining your loan eligibility.

To reduce the risk of your application being rejected due to incomplete information, we request that you send all materials in one email.

Please include in the body of your email:

  • Full Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Course Name and Level (e.g. Undergraduate Year 1 – BA Creative Writing)
  • Bath Spa Student ID number, if known (6 digits, as noted on your offer letter)
  • Undergraduate Students – whether you intend to have your parent apply for a Parent PLUS loan in addition to federal direct subsidized/unsubsidized loans
  • Postgraduate Students – whether you intend to apply for a Grad PLUS loan in addition to a federal direct unsubsidized loan

Please attach the following to your email:

  • Student Aid Report (SAR - an electronic document generated upon completion of your FAFSA)
  • PDF copy of your Entrance Counselling Completion if this is your first loan with Bath Spa University (screenshot is okay)
  • PDF copy of your Master Promissory Note (MPN) for Direct Loans
  • PDF copy of MPN for PLUS Loans (for Parent or Graduate PLUS loans)
  • Your Credit Check Consent Form (for PLUS loan applications)
  • Your Parent PLUS Authorization Form (for Parent PLUS applicants)

Step 6: Bath Spa University processes

Cost of Attendance (CoA)

Once Bath Spa University has received the above documentation, and as long as you have an unconditional offer to study at Bath Spa University which you have firmly accepted, we will calculate your Cost of Attendance (CoA).

We will send you a draft CoA spreadsheet for your review and approval.

The CoA spreadsheet will show you the amounts you are eligible to receive in subsidized, unsubsidized and PLUS/private loans, and there is also a column for you to indicate the amounts you actually wish to borrow (as you may not wish to borrow the full amounts for which you have been approved).

Loan Certificate

Once the CoA amounts are agreed, we will provide you with a Loan Certificate.

If necessary, this document can be used as evidence of the amount of Direct Loan available to you when applying for your visa to study in the UK.

Please note that this will not replace your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) statement, which is still required for your visa application.

The University will begin to initiate your CAS approximately three months before your course start date.

View our Tier 4 (General) Student Visa page for more information.

Step 7: Disbursements

Bath Spa University does not issue Direct Loan funds directly to students. Rather, the University will receive the Direct Loan funds into their bank.

The amount required for tuition fees for each student is automatically deducted where necessary and, if applicable, any positive balances will then be paid to the student by way of a transfer to the student's UK bank account.

For the 2015/16 academic year, loans were disbursed in three equal instalments in October, February and June for postgraduate students, and in October, January and April for undergraduate students.

Step 8: Exit counselling

Before beginning to repay your loan borrowers are required to complete online exit counselling.

You are also required to complete exit counselling if you drop below half time or withdraw from the university.

Exit counselling provides information about how to manage your student loan after completing your course including repayment methods, deferment and the consequences of defaulting.

Complete exit counselling on the NSLDS website.

Policies

Satisfactory academic progress (SAP)

Bath Spa University is required by US federal law to define and enforce standards of satisfactory academic progress (SAP) on students who wish to access US federal funds (subsidised, unsubsidised or PLUS Direct Loans).

The University's SAP policy has been established to encourage students to progress and successfully complete the academic programme for which aid is received. Guidelines apply to all federal loan recipients, including undergraduates, taught postgraduates, and research postgraduates.

Students should familiarise themselves with the University's SAP policy, including evaluation points, qualitative and quantitative evaluation criteria, the impacts of changes in enrolment status, and the consequences of failing to meet SAP.

Return of Title IV funds

If you withdraw from your programme, suspend your studies, drop below half time, or otherwise become ineligible to receive US Federal Loans you must email funding@bathspa.ac.uk immediately.

Under US law, the university is required to report any changes to your enrolment and, if necessary, may need to arrange for any “unearned” loan funds to be returned to the US Department of Education.

Default Management

Students set to receive Federal Loans may request a copy of the University’s Default Management Plan (DMP) which provides an overview of the initiatives in place to help students understand their loan responsibilities.

If you require a copy of the DMP, please email funding@bathspa.ac.uk.

Repayment options and obligations

The Direct Federal Loan programme offers loan repayment plans designed to meet the needs of borrowers and allows you to choose your repayment plan. These loans can be repaid within a period of 10 to 25 years depending on which repayment plan you choose. Repayments of your Direct Loans normally start six months after completion of your course, withdrawing or dropping below half-time attendance.

Before repayment starts you will be provided with Repayment Options and a Repayment Schedule from your loan servicer(s) for each type of loan you have borrowed. If you do not receive these schedules towards the end of your grace period contact your servicer because repayment begins whether or you are aware or not.

The repayment process will go smoothly if you plan ahead. Start by knowing all your options.

Additional information about repayment can be found at the following websites:

For repayment information, you can also you can contact the Federal Student Aid Center on 001-800-4-FED-AID (001-800-433-3243).

Gainful employment disclosures

All non-degree educational programmes are referred to as Gainful Employment (GE) programmes. New US Department of Education regulations require institutions to inform current and prospective students of their prospects for 'gainful employment' when receiving federal financial aid for non-degree programs such as certificates and diplomas.

It is important to note that at Bath Spa University, Title IV Federal Loans are awarded to degree-seeking students only. However, University regulations stipulate that if a degree-seeking student terminates their programme early, they may receive an 'exit award' in the form of a certificate or diploma if they have fulfilled the appropriate credit requirements.

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