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.


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.
  • 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 may not be processed until closer to the start of the academic year.
  • The Courtauld’s School Code (OPE) is G21200

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).

Once you have begun the process of applying for a US Federal Loan – either by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA, detailed further below) or contacting us by email at – we will provide you with a COA Calculation Spreadsheet.

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

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

  • You must hold an unconditional offer in order for us to process your application.

Application Process


COVID-19 – How will this impact my loan application and disbursement for 2021/22 Academic Year

We will continue to monitor the situation and be in touch with any significant updates.

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 2021/22

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 complete COA Spreadsheet to alongside your other required documents.

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

Satisfactory Academic Progress

All students who receive a US Federal Loan whilst studying at the Courtauld Institute of Art are required to make satisfactory progress on their course of study and to abide by the Institute’s regulations and all associated policies and procedures.

The Institute is required by the US Department of Education to check a student’s progress at intervals and to ensure that they meet both the Quantitative and Qualitative Requirements below:

Quantitative Requirements

Students enrolled on courses at The Courtauld are expected to attend ALL components of the course. Attendance is monitored, and if you miss two or more classes without good reason Student and Academic Services will contact your tutor, and you will be issued with a warning.

Postgraduate Research students are expected to attend and to meet with their supervisors regularly.  Supervisors will contact students who do not attend supervisory meetings or the compulsory Research Forum meetings.

Students may not receive federal aid if they have taken more than 150% of the normal duration of the course to complete their studies.  This applies to both undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Periods of interruption will not count towards this calculation.

Qualitative Requirements

Undergraduate students are expected to maintain satisfactory academic progress throughout their course of study as follows:

BA Year 1:  students must pass four course units at 40% or above in order to progress to year 2.

BA Year 2: students must pass 3.5 course unit s at 40% or above to progress to year 3.

BA Year 3 students must pass 3 course units at 40% or above to be awarded an undergraduate degree.

If a student meets all progression requirements they will be placed on good standing for financial aid.

Students who meet the progression criteria will be placed on good standing for Financial Aid.

Students who are unable to meet the progression criteria are deemed unable to progress and will be suspended for the purpose of Federal Aid until they have met the progression requirements at the next available attempt.  If a student fails to progress at the next available attempt then Financial Aid will be suspended.

Postgraduate Students are expected to maintain satisfactory academic progress throughout their course of study as follows:

Students must pass all assessments prescribed for the course at 50% or above.  Students who do not meet the progression criteria will be offered, at the discretion of the Assessment Board, another attempt at the next available opportunity.

Students who meet the progression criteria will be placed on good standing for Financial Aid.

Financial Aid will be suspended for students who do not meet the progression criteria.

Postgraduate Research Students

Postgraduate research students are expected to maintain satisfactory academic progress as follows:

In Year 1 research students must successfully complete the First Year Monitoring Exercise and the upgrade from an MPhil to a PhD.

In Years 2 and 3 research students must successfully complete the Annual Monitoring Progress report.

Students who do not meet the progression criteria will be offered, at the discretion of the Research Degrees Committee, another attempt at the next available opportunity.

Students who meet the progression criteria will be placed on good standing for Financial Aid.

Students who are unable to meet the progression criteria are deemed unable to progress and will be suspended for the purpose of Federal Aid until they have met the progression requirements at the next available attempt.  If a student fails to progress at the next available attempt then Financial Aid will be suspended.

Financial Aid Warning

Students who fail to make Satisfactory Academic Progress will firstly be issued with a ‘Financial Aid Warning’. This warning will last for 1 payment period (ie until the next disbursement), during which time a student can still receive Financial Aid. Students that fail to regain Satisfactory Academic Progress by the next disbursement will no longer be eligible for Aid, unless they are successful in an appeal (see below)

Appeal Procedure

To appeal the financial aid suspension, a student must, within 14 calendar days of notification, submit to Student and Academic Services, a signed and dated letter of appeal explaining why he or she shouldn’t have Financial Aid suspended. A student may appeal due to an emergency condition (e.g., health, family, catastrophe, etc.) and state what has changed in their situation that will allow them to meet Satisfactory Progress at the next evaluation date. Documentation verifying the situation may be requested.

The appeal will be considered by the Head of Student and  Academic Services and the Finance Department a decision will be made, and the student will be informed in writing of this within two weeks of the student’s appeal.

Please send your appeal to:

Consumer Information

Information for Students Intending to Interrupt their studies or withdraw

Return of Title IV Funds Policy

If a student in receipt of Title IV funds withdraws, or interrupts for more than 180 days or drops below half time attendance the Courtauld Institute will follow the requirements of returning funds laid down by the US Department of Education, this will be applied by alongside the Institute’s Interruption and Withdrawal policy.  The Institute will use RT24 (Return of funds calculator  provided by the US Department of education to determine how much of the loan may be retained and how much must be returned.

Information for students intending to interrupt their studies or withdraw

Return of funds by the school

A student ‘earns’ aid on a daily basis and therefore if a student withdraws any ‘unearned’ aid for that payment period will need to be returned to your lender. Once the amount the Institute and the student needs to return has been calculated a cheque will be sent to the lender and the student notified if they need to return any funds.

Loans are returned in the following order:

  1. Unsubsidised Stafford
  2. Subsidised Stafford
  3. PLUS (Graduate or Parent)

There are some Title IV funds that students may have been scheduled to receive that cannot be earned once a student withdraws because of other eligibility requirements. For example, in certain circumstances, if a first-time, first-year undergraduate student has not completed the first 30 days of the program before withdrawal, the student will not earn any FFEL loan funds that he or she would have received had the student remained enrolled past the 30th day.
A first year undergraduate, receiving Aid for the first time who withdraws within the first 30 days of a programme will be deemed not to have earned any aid.

As this policy uses a different calculation to the Institute withdrawal policy it may mean that the student owes the Institute once the money has been returned to the lender. Students will be notified if this is the case.

Return of funds by student

If the student is notified that there are loan funds that must be returned (by the student) the student should repay in accordance with the terms of the promissory note. That is, scheduled payments are made to the holder of the loan over a period of time. Students who have received a refund of their loan proceeds before withdrawing may be required to return part or all of those funds to the lender.

Approved leave of absence

If a student interrupts it is important that they also speak to the Finance Office  in order for the correct loan status to be determined.

An Approved Interruption can last for 180 days before a student goes into repayment or has to return funds. If the student does not return after 180 days the last date of actual attendance will be used to calculate the ‘earned’ loan amount and the date a student enters repayment.

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.