US Federal Loans

The Courtauld Institute participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program. Below you will find outlined the types of loans available, how to apply for them and when and how they are disbursed. We will also keep you informed at each step of the process by email.

Through the Direct Loan Program, the U.S. Department of Education (the Department) lends the money directly to students through the student’s school. There are different types of loan available – Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Direct PLUS Loans.

If you are applying for a programme which runs from more than one year in duration you will need to complete this process each year for your programme of study.

2024/25 US Federal Loans

Instructions and updated documentation for 2024/25 academic year Federal Loan applications will be available in late summer. Applicants will be notified early September 2024 onwards.


The Basics

  • Loans are originated in the Summer prior to arrival, loans are only anticipated and not guaranteed at this stage. We will advise students once loans have been disbursed.
  • You may borrow up to the Cost of Attendance as set by The Courtauld.
  • Our Cost of Attendance spreadsheet is set by us, but may be adjusted by the student to reflect your specific needs whilst adhering to the parameters set by the school.
  • Applications for each new academic cycle can only be submitted from July 1st onwards, though will not be processed until closer to the start of the academic year.
  • The Courtauld’s School Code (OPE) is G21200, and it’s OPE ID is 02120000

Entitlement to Subsidised loans is limited to undergraduates only, which along with unsubsidised loans have fixed limits depending on whether you are determined as considered a dependent, independent or a postgraduate. These can be topped up by PLUS loans, which are not an entitlement, is subject to credit checking and may be declined by the Education Department.

Loan Limits

Loan Limits for: All Students Dependent Students    Independent Students
Subsidised Loan Unsubsidised Loan Unsubsidised Loan
Undergraduate year 1 $3,500 $2,000 $6,000
Undergraduate year 2 $4,500 $2,000 $6,000
Undergraduate year 3 $5,500 $2,000 $7,000
Postgraduates $20,500
PLUS Loan   Balance up to Cost of Attendance

How much can I borrow?

The maximum amount that can be borrowed is dependent on a Cost of Attendance (COA) calculation after taking into account any Expected Financial Aid (EFA).

COA will take into account study and living related costs – tuition fees, room and board, travel and miscellaneous other costs.

The CoA spreadsheet is available in the Application Process section below.

Whilst you can choose to borrow below the maximum amount, you must ensure that you meet the requirements for minimum levels of funds for your Tier 4 visa application. Further guidance on these requirements can be found on the UKCISA website.

Personal Eligibility

In order to be eligible for a US Federal Loan you must be:

  • A US citizen or eligible non-citizen (ie. US Permanent Resident Card holder with a valid social security number)
  • A conviction for any offence under any federal or state law involving the possession or sale of illegal drugs will result in the loss of eligibility for Title IV, HEA grant, loan or work-study assistance. Please see the U.S. Department of Education website for more information
  • You are not in default on any previous student loans
  • Male students also have to have registered for selective service between the age of 18 and 25.

Courtauld Eligibility

Programme Eligibility

The following programmes are eligible for funding:

BA History of Art

MA History of Art

MA Curating the Art Museum

MA in Buddhist Art History and Conservation

MA Conservation of Easel Paintings

MA Conservation of Wall Paintings

PhD Programme


The following programmes are not eligible for funding:

Graduate Diploma

Short Courses

Application Process

Application Notes

There are several steps – detailed below – to your loan application. We will not know you have completed all processes for all the loans you intend to borrow unless you inform us, and will not know how much you wish to borrow until you inform us.

Please read through the instructions carefully. There are some stages where we need a screen-shot as evidence, and if you run past that stage then you have to start over again to get back to it – this is particularly important at the credit check (for PLUS Loans) because if you miss it, you have to wait at least 24 hours for the email from the USDE, and if that email only states that you have done a credit check but does not give the result, then you will have to go through the credit check and screen-shot again. Each application for a credit check is logged on your credit rating, it may affect your credit rating in the future.

Please provide all evidence required in the steps below in one email. If anything is missing, we cannot proceed with the origination process.

Step 1: Complete your FAFSA application

All US Federal Loan applicants must first complete an online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), available via the US Department of Education’s FAFSA page

Completion of your FAFSA will generate a Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR is used by schools to determine eligibility for a US Federal loan and calculate loan entitlement.

In order for The Courtauld to access your SAR, you will need to enter The Courtauld’s Federal School Code: G21200.

After applying, you must check the “Comments about Your Information” section on your SAR. Instructions on resolving any issues are provided under the “What you must do now” section on your SAR, and you must ensure that all issues are resolved and you supply any additional documents mentioned in that section (for example, documentation of your citizenship status) when you submit your application.

You must also ensure that there is an amount listed in the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) field, as it will be used to calculate part of your loan entitlement.

Step 2: Complete your Entrance Counselling

It is a Federal Loan regulation that you complete Entrance Counselling as part of your loan application. Entrance Counselling is designed to help you to understand the rights and responsibilities of Federal Student Loan borrowing.

You can complete your counselling electronically at the US Student Loans website, alongside non-compulsory but nonetheless useful Financial Awareness Counselling.

The Courtauld requires you to complete counselling each academic year.

Once you have completed the counselling, you will be issued with a completion certificate. Keep a copy of your certificate for your own record and email a copy/screenshot to us together with your other required documents.

Step 3: Cost of Attendance and selecting a loan amount

 Cost of Attendance Spreadsheet for the 2024/25 Academic Year will be available in late summer

In completing this spreadsheet you will determine and select your loan amount. The Courtauld uses the overall COA calculation to ensure that you are borrowing a reasonable amount/at a reasonable limit.

Up-to-date Tuition Fee information

Please send your completed COA Spreadsheet to alongside your other required documents. Please return the full spreadsheet in its original file format – incorrect file versions and partially returned spreadsheets will not be accepted.

Step 4: Complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN)

The MPN is the legal document through which you promise to repay your Direct Loans and any accrued interest and fees to the Department. It also explains the terms and conditions of your loans.

You must complete and e-sign a new Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) for each loan type you wish to borrow (Stafford/PLUS), as Foreign Schools are not eligible for the multiple loan feature of the MPN. You can complete a Direct Loan MPN electronically via the Direct Loan web site.

You will need to complete a new Direct Loan MPN each academic year that you receive a Direct Subsidized Loan and/or a Direct Unsubsidized Loan at our school.

To complete a Direct Loan MPN electronically, you must have a Federal Student Aid PIN. This is the same PIN used to complete the FAFSA.

Please keep a PDF copy of the MPN for your records and e-mail a copy to us at alongside your other required documents. If you/your parent or guardian wishes to apply for PLUS Loans to help you with your studies, you/they will need to complete a credit check, MPN and Entrance Counselling. This can also be done on the Federal Student Loans website.

Again, you should retain PDF copies of the MPN and Entrance Counselling and also send along the confirmation of credit check approval.

Step 5: Completing your Application

As outlined in the above steps, in order for The Courtauld to process your application, you must send the following via:


  • PDF copies of your MPN and Entrance Counselling Certificate (for Unsubsidized Stafford Loans).
  • Completed COA Spreadsheet
  • (if applicable) PDF copies of your MPNCredit Check and Entrance Counselling Certificate for PLUS Loans.

Without these documents we will not be able to process your loan application, and all must be provided at the same time in order for us to proceed. The process and timing for what the US Federal Government determines as a Foreign School may well differ from what it is outlined for US-based institutions.

Once all documents have been received we will originate (certify) the loans and send a confirmation letter to you. This letter can in turn be used to support your visa application.

Once originated, loan information will be sent to the National Student Loan Data System.

If you have any questions about the sending any of the above, please email

Next Steps and Other Information

Disbursement of Funds

Federal loans can only be disbursed in 3 instalments and must be allocated to any due Tuition or Hall fees first. This will clearly affect your financial plans for the year and the options available to you, and so you should plan your budget around this.

Before each disbursement the Courtauld is required to confirm you are still eligible to receive funds. This includes ensuring you are:

  • making Satisfactory Academic Progress (see below)
  • are studying ‘at least half time’ (ie. not studying part-time)
  • you are not conducting any study or research in the US.

The loans will be first disbursed to The Courtauld, who will arrange to convert loans to pound sterling. Once we confirm the amount in pounds received, the money is allocated to tuition and accommodation fees as described in US Dept. of Education regulation before excess is provided to you. You will be notified of how the loan has been allocated.

Excess funds are provided to you in pound sterling either by cheque or bank transfer to a UK bank account.

PLUS loan funds are allocated to Institutional charges before subsidised and unsubsidised.

Exit Counselling and Repayment of Loans

It is your responsibility to repay your loan. As with Entrance Counselling, you will be required to complete Exit Counselling before you receive your final loan disbursement. This can be completed electronically on the Federal Student Loans website

Consumer Information

The US Federal Government requires that the school provides the following information to students eligible for US Federal Loans:

Contact Information for Assistance in Obtaining Institutional Financial Aid Information

Prospective and enrolled students can contact the Finance department team at +44 (0)20 3751 0526 for assistance in obtaining the institutional or financial aid information required to be disclosed under HEA Section 485(a)(1), Section 485(f), Section 485(h), and Section 485(j).

Student Financial Aid Information

Students can find information about all the need-based and non-need-based federal, state, local, private and institutional student financial assistance programmes available to students who enrol at the school on our Fees and Funding pages.

Our US Loans page outlines information regarding:

  • terms and conditions of the Title IV HEA (Higher Education Act) loans
  • criteria for selecting recipients and determining the award amount
  • eligibility requirements and procedures for applying for aid
  • methods and frequency of disbursements of aid
  • rights and responsibilities of students receiving Title IV HEA student financial aid, including the criteria for continued student eligibility and standards for satisfactory academic progress
  • terms of loans received as part of the financial aid package, a sample loan repayment schedule and the necessity for repaying loans (Federal Student Aid repayment information available here.)
  • procedures and forms by which students apply for assistance
  • a statement that enrolment in a program of study abroad approved for credit by the home school may be considered enrolment in the home school for the purposes of applying for federal student financial aid
  • the exit counselling information the University collects and provides to servicers.

Facilities and Services Available to Students with Disabilities

Information about facilities and services available to students with disabilities, including students with learning differences, can be found here

National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)

Schools that enter into an agreement with a potential student, student, or parent of a student regarding a Title IV, HEA loan are required to inform the student or parent that the loan will be submitted to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), and will be accessible by guaranty agencies, lenders, and schools determined to be authorized users of the data system.


Related policies and guidance

Privacy of Student Records – Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR, and associated UK data protection legislation) sets our the legislative framework for managing personal data. This includes student records. Information about The Courtauld’s Data Protection policies can be found above.

When handling your Federal Student Aid request, The Courtauld must request specific information from you in order to comply with regulations governing US Federal Student Aid. Any sensitive data will be held in compliance with GDPR and Federal Student Aid regulations

  • The Courtauld does not currently complete 1098T tax forms for its students

Information for Students Intending to Interrupt their studies or withdraw

PELL Grants / Perkins Loans

Please note that students studying outside of the USA are not eligible for PELL Grants or Perkins loans.

FFEL Program

You may have previously borrowed via a private lender through the FFEL Program. This program is no longer available. The Direct Loan Program offers the same loans but instead of a bank lending the money, the U.S. Department of Education (the Department) lends the money directly to students through the student’s school.  The FFEL Program’s Federal Stafford Loans (subsidized and unsubsidized) are called Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans and the FFEL Program’s Federal PLUS Loan is called a Direct PLUS Loan in the Direct Loan Program.

If you have any questions about the Institutional side of the application, please email

Other Useful Contacts:

US Dept of Education: (202) 377 3168 or (213) 345 2104

Full information about the loan process can be found on the Federal Student Aid website.

Visit FAFSA Website.

Apply for direct loans.