US Federal Direct Loan

US Federal Direct Loan

The William D Ford Federal Loan Program offers Direct Loans to eligible students and parents to help pay for the cost of a students’ education after high school.

Awarding Body
US Department of Education
Dependent on awarding body and individual circumstances
Quantity of Awards
One application per student, per academic year


The lender is the US Department of Education however you will deal with a different agency as your loan servicer.

Robert Gordon University is recognised as a Foreign School by the US Department of Education and is eligible to certify loans for eligible students.

The Robert Gordon University School Code is G31028 (this code may also appear as 031028).

Contact details

Margaret McIntosh, Financial Aid Officer

Annual Loan Amounts

The amount in Direct Loan funds that you are eligible to borrow each academic year is limited by your grade level; whether you are a dependent or an independent student; your financial need; and your cost of attendance.

You cannot borrow more than the Cost of Attendance as set by the University. You do not have to borrow the maximum amounts available. You should borrow only the amount you require.

Dependent Undergraduate Student

  Subsidized Unsubsidized Total
1st year undergraduate $3,500 $2,000 $5,500
2nd year undergraduate $4,500 $2,000 $6,500
3rd & beyond undergraduate $5,500 $2,000 $7,500

Independent Undergraduate Student

(and Dependent Students whose parents are denied a PLUS Loan)

  Subsidized Unsubsidized Total
1st year undergraduate $3,500 $6,000 $9,500
2nd year undergraduate $4,500 $6,000 $10,500
3rd year & beyond undergraduate $5,500 $7,000 $12,500

Postgraduate Student

  Subsidized Unsubsidized Total
All years n/a $20,500 $20,500

Direct Loan Aggregate Loan Limits

  Subsidized only Total Aggregate
Dependent undergraduates $23,000 $31,000
Independent undergraduates $23,000 $57,500
Postgraduate students n/a $138,500

"Total Aggregate" refers to both subsidised and unsubsidised loans.

PLUS Loans

PLUS loans can be used to top-up borrowing up to the total Cost of Attendance (COA). The amount available is the difference between the subsidized and unsubsidized loan amounts and the COA minus all other sources of financial aid the student is to receive. 

There are two types of PLUS loan:

  • Parent PLUS loans
    Parents of dependent undergraduate students can borrow a Federal Direct Parent PLUS loan. The loan is the financial responsibility of the parents and not the student.
  • Graduate PLUS loans
    Graduate students can borrow a Federal Direct Loan Graduate PLUS loan

PLUS loans are not an entitlement but are subject to credit checking and may be declined by the US Department of Education.


Eligible Countries of Residence

  • USA

Eligible Courses

Course Level

  • Undergraduate
  • Postgraduate

Mode of Attendance

  • On Campus

Mode of Study

  • Full Time
  • Part Time

Subject Area

  • All Subjects

Other Requirements

Students undertaking the following courses are NOT eligible to receive Federal Direct Loans.

  • Online Learning Courses
  • Courses which are being studied less than half-time
  • Nursing and Midwifery courses
  • Diploma and certificate courses
  • Courses which include study, placement or research in the United States - whether compulsory or voluntary.
  • Courses that are taught or part taught with another institution that is not eligible or not certified to participate in the William D Ford Direct Loans (Direct Loan) programme.
  • Incoming study abroad/exchange students. Students should apply to their home school.

If your course is not eligible for Federal Direct Loans, you can apply for private loans to cover costs. The only US private loan provider known to us is Sallie Mae Student Loans. Please refer to the following websites for specific details about eligibility, how to apply, loan amounts and other terms and conditions.

Please note that inclusion of this information is not an endorsement or recommendation by Robert Gordon University.

How to Apply

Application Process

The application process for foreign schools differs from the process for domestic schools in the US. It is your responsibility to inform us directly that you wish to apply for Federal Direct Loans. Please read carefully the following notes. This will save you time and inconvenience.

Students wishing to apply for Federal Direct Loans should visit the US Student Loan website to

  • apply for FAFSA.
  • apply for subsidized and unsubsidized loans - complete Master Promissory Note (MPN).
  • apply for PLUS loans - this is done in 2 parts – you complete the MPN then make application.
  • complete Entrance Counselling - if applying for a PLUS loan ensure counselling includes this.

The Robert Gordon University School Code is G31028 (this code may also appear as 031028).

We will not start processing loans until within 3 months of the start date of your course.  You should email at the appropriate time, and once you have done all of the above, informing us that you wish to apply for Federal Direct Loans and giving the following information:

  • name
  • student ID number
  • course name
  • SSN  

This will allow us to access the required documentation to process your loans.

Continuing Students

An application for loans is only applicable for one academic year. You need to apply for loans each academic year by following the same procedures as you did when applying for your first year.

Cost of Attendance

On receipt of the required documentation as specified, you will be sent the appropriate Cost of Attendance (COA) sheet to complete, this will detail:

  • tuition fees
  • living costs
  • the maximum amounts available to you taking into account any financial aid you are to be receiving
  • ask how much you wish to borrow. You cannot borrow more than the COA as set by the University neither do you have to borrow the maximum amounts available. You should borrow only the amount you require.

The completed COA should be emailed to

Exchange Rate

The rate of exchange used to convert the Cost of Attendance amounts from GB pounds to US dollars for the current academic year is 1.45.

Missing student notification

In signing the Cost of Attendance sheet, if you are under 18 years of age and not emancipated, you are permitting the University to contact your parents/next of kin and/or emergency services in the event you are reported missing

What Happens Next

On receipt of all the required documentation, your loan will be processed by the University and you will receive a Financial Aid Notice giving details of the loan amounts you are to receive and when disbursement will be made. This Notice should be used when applying for your visa.

Once your loans have been processed, our Admissions Office will waive the condition of paying a deposit from your offer. If this is the only condition of your offer you will be given an unconditional offer.

Loan Disbursement

We use Western Union as our bank for processing your loan payments. When converting your loan from US dollars to GB pounds the rate of exchange will be the rate used by Western Union on the day your loan disbursement is received from the US Department of Education.

Loans will be paid in equal instalments:

Undergraduate courses 

Course Start Number of instalments Instalment payment
All 2 October and February

Postgraduate courses

Course Start Number of instalments Instalment payment
September 3 October, February and June
January 2 February and June

Students requiring loans for the remainder of their course must apply again.

Disbursements will not be made until you have enrolled and commenced studies.

The disbursement dates used are dates the disbursement process starts. It can take up to 7 working days before you receive payment. You should ensure that you have sufficient funds of your own to see you through until the first disbursement of your loan is paid.

Prior to each disbursement you will be asked to confirm you wish to continue with your loans. The disbursement process will not start until we receive confirmation from you.

Tuition fee instalments will be amended to coincide with loan disbursements and will be deducted from each loan instalment.

If you are staying in University accommodation and wish to pay for this from your loan, this can be arranged by contacting You must still however pay the rent advance payment required to secure your room. This cannot be deducted from your loans.

Any remaining funds will be reimbursed to you by BACS transfer to a UK bank account. You should let us have your bank details as soon as they are available. Students who do not have a UK bank account at the time of the first disbursement will have their funds reimbursed by cheque. Depositing a cheque into a UK bank account can take up to 5 working days to clear, you should therefore make opening a UK bank account a priority otherwise you could face a delay in accessing your loan payments.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Students must progress satisfactorily on their course to ensure they remain eligible for their funding. Not meeting SAP may affect your loan eligibility. Please refer to our Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy.


If you withdraw from your course no further disbursements will be made. We must inform the US Department of Education and calculate the amount of Title IV assistance earned by you. Please refer to our Return to Title IV (R2T4) Policy.

Exit Counselling

The US Department of Education stipulates that all student borrowers who graduate, withdraw or stop attending at least half-time must complete Exit Counselling. This can be done online at Confirmation of having completed this should be emailed to

Tax Forms (1098T Tax Forms)

We do not complete any part of the 1098T tax form. However, we can issue a receipt for tuition fees paid which can be used as evidence of payment. Contact to arrange this.

Loan Deferment

Students taking out Federal Direct Loans while studying with us will automatically be added to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). Your status as a student, and any changes to your student status, will be recorded. The information we provide is shared with all of the US Department of Education’s servicing agents who are responsible for administering loan repayments.

If you are not taking out loans while studying with us and require previous loans to be deferred, you should email with your Social Security Number (SSN) and we will add your name to the NSLDS database.

Please note that the end date recorded on NSLDS is the last date of your studies and not the same date as your graduation ceremony.


Robert Gordon University is authorised to participate in the US Federal Student Aid Programs on condition that the post-secondary education it delivers is outside of the United States.

The institution is not permitted to make available Federal Direct Loans to U.S. students who receive any portion of their educational program inside the United States. This regulation therefore prohibits U.S. students in receipt of Federal Direct loans from undertaking course placements within the USA.

Consumer Information

Information is available to students of the university and complies with the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act 1974 (FERPA). Paper copies of this material can be made available on request

Contact Margaret McIntosh, Financial Aid Officer

US Federal Loans – Terms and Conditions

Terms and Conditions of Title IV HEA Loans

An overview of the terms and conditions of Title IV loans can be found in the How to Apply section. Further information can be found on the US Student Loan website.

Criteria for selecting recipients and for determining award amount

The criteria for selecting recipients and for determining award amount can be found in the Annual Loan Amounts section.

Eligibility Requirements and procedures for applying for Aid

Eligibility requirements can be found in the How to apply section.

Rights and Responsibilities of students receiving Title IV HEA Loans

Information on your rights and responsibilities during the term of the loan can be found at US Loans - Direct Loans page.

Loan Terms and Sample Repayment Plans

Annual Loan Amounts and sample repayment terms can be seen at US Loans - Repayment plans


Information regarding how loans are disbursed can be found in the How to Apply section.

National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)

Your data will be shared with the National Student Loans Data System (NSLDS) and will be accessible to guaranty agencies, lenders and schools determined to be authorised users of the data system.

Entrance Counselling for Student Loan Borrowers

You must visit US Student Loans for entrance counselling. You will find information there regarding

  • The effect your loan will have on your eligibility to borrow other forms of aid
  • Information about the Master Promissory Note.
  • Repayment obligations
  • Accrual and capitalisation of interest
  • Definition of half time enrolment and consequences of not maintaining this.
  • Withdrawal
  • Sample monthly payments
  • National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)
  • Contacts

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

You are required under the terms of your loan to make satisfactory progress in your studies. Further information regarding this can be found in the How to Apply section.

Impact of Withdrawal (R2T4) re Title IV - Written Policy

Course withdrawal will have an impact on your Title IV loan and further information can be found in the How to Apply section.

Exit Counselling

When you graduate/leave the university you must visit US Student Loans for exit counselling. You will find information there regarding:

  • Average anticipated monthly repayment amount
  • Repayment plan options
  • Debt management strategies
  • Use of the Master Promissory Note
  • Terms and Conditions
  • Student loan Ombudsman’s office
  • National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)

Student Support

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees are listed on each course page. Once you have selected the course you wish to study go to the Course Fees section. 

Room and Board

Information on the types of accommodation and costs can be found on our Accommodation web pages. There is a mix of off-campus halls and private provider accommodation options.

Security Report - Missing Student Resident Procedure

If you are located within the university off-campus accommodation and you are reported missing we will contact your next of kin (provided by you confidentially at enrolment) within 24 hours. We will also contact Police Scotland.


Information on travel in Aberdeen can be found on our Transport pages.

Registration with a General Practitioner

Information regarding registration with a General Practitioner including preventative health measures is available on our Student Medical Services pages.

Some courses will have specific requirements. You will be notified of these by your School separately.

Services and Facilities for Students with Disabilities

Information regarding the support the university provides for students with disabilities can be found on our Inclusion Centre: Disability & Dyslexia pages.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention

The institution’s student Drugs policy can be found on our Policies pages:

Drug-related offenses will be subject to a non academic misconduct investigation under Academic regulation A3, Section 2: Student Misconduct Procedure on the Academic Regulations page. 

Other Costs/Information

Other information that you may find helpful during your preparation for arrival in the UK:



It is a requirement of Robert Gordon University that students review their enrolment records and confirm continuation on an annual basis. You will therefore be asked to re-enrol every year that you are a student.  You will also reconfirm your acceptance of the universities policies and procedures including but not exclusively Data Protection and Data sharing policies. This requirement also fulfils the requirements of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act 34 C.F.R. Part 99

Withdrawal from the University

After you have commenced study should circumstances arise that mean you need to terminate your studies.  

If you are considering withdrawing or suspending from your course at Robert Gordon University, please contact your course leader for information and advisement. 

All queries regarding tuition fees and funding should be directed to the Student Finance Team

All full time international students should also seek advisement from the International Student Advice, Visa and Immigration Service

For further information, please review the current academic regulations:

Course withdrawal will have an impact on your Title IV loan, further information is available in the How to Apply section.

Course Information

Books and Supplies

Any required course texts or other equipment will be provided by the School. Your school will have identified recommended reading and will provide you with this information at the start of your course. There are also booklists for each module within the Module Database.

Course Information and Accrediting bodies

Specific information on your course and any accrediting bodies can be found on each course page and detailed on the Course Information page.

Areas of Study 

You will also be issued with a course handbook on course commencement that will provide you with more detail.

Credit Transfer

If you find that you have prior experience that you feel should give you exemption from parts of the course academic regulation A2: Admission outlines in section 5. ‘Accreditation of Prior Learning’ the rules regarding credit transfer at the institution.

Further information regarding the Scottish credit framework can be found at.

Peer-to-Peer File Sharing and Copyrighted Materials

Unauthorised distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorised file sharing, may be subject to civil and criminal liabilities.

The University has in place the following Policies that you should familiarise yourself with:-

  1. Copyright Policy, available via the Library website - Library Policies
  2. Information Technology Security Policy: Standards and guidelines for all users of University computing and network facilities - IT services policies 
  3. CampusMoodle VLE Site Policy and Data Protection Statement - VLE Site Policy and Data Protection 

The policies note the various legislation relating to copyright, the Campus Moodle VLE Site Policy and the IT Security Policy. Infringement will be considered misconduct and users may be subject to the appropriate University disciplinary procedure.

Responsibility for ensuring compliance with copyright and other laws is placed on the user; however, the University provides guidance to staff and students in various forms to ensure they are aware of the responsibilities. These include:

  • Training for University staff, including workshops delivered by Library Services, Delta and the University Solicitor;
  • Training for students as part of their information literacy development;
  • Guidance, including standards and guidelines, booklets, web pages for staff and students;
  • Notices about copyright and the ‘fair dealing’ which may be undertaken within copyright law, across the University;
  • An email based enquiry service.
  • The University provides legal alternatives for acquiring copyright material through a range of means, including: the purchase of the Basic Photocopying and Scanning Copyright Licensing Agency Licence; provision of an inter-library loan service; the purchase of licensed material.
  • The University also makes available TURNITIN software for detection of plagiarism.

More information is available from 


Retention/Completion and Transfer Out Rates

National data is available from Higher Education Statistics Agencies, regarding the University sector in the UK.

Statistical data of interest to prospective students are also available on the Unistats website.

Further course statistics are also available on request from the Student Statistics unit for courses where the cohort size is sufficient to yield statistically reliable information and not reveal personally identifiable information about an individual student.

Placement/Employment Rates

Information on employment types and rates is available via the Unistats website.

Fire Safety Statistics

Robert Gordon University is committed to managing the risks from fire in its premises and complying with the requirements of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005. On an annual basis the University compiles statistics on fire related incidents, including the number of fire alarm activations, the number of fires and the attendance of the fire and rescue services.

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