Frequently Asked Questions Frequently Asked Questions

I received a US student loan at UEA last year. Do I need to re-apply or will I automatically receive loans for each year of my course?

You must apply for your US loan each year. Please follow the instructions on our ‘How to Apply’ page.

I have completed my Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) but I haven't heard anything from UEA – what should I do?

Did you add the University of East Anglia as one of your chosen institutions on your FAFSA and state our federal school code (G10915)? If you did not add this information, you can make this amendment by going to fafsa.gov:

Click on the "Login" button and provide the information requested to get into your account.

On the My FAFSA page, click “Make FAFSA Corrections.”

Enter your FSA ID (username and password).

Change your information.

Submit your new information.

If you have not heard anything from UEA a week after submitting your FAFSA and you added UEA as a chosen institution, please contact us at usfinaid@uea.ac.uk

When should I apply?

You can complete your FAFSA from 1 January in the year you will start your studies at UEA. We begin processing loans for the new September academic year in March. We assess your FAFSA and email your award letter to you, which is how much we can offer you in federal loans for that year.

When all the required documentation has been completed, we will originate your loan (any time after 1st July) on the US Department of Education System.  Once the loan is approved we will issue you with your official Financial Aid Package (FAP) letter which will tell you how much you will receive in loans and when you will receive them. This letter will be sufficient for proof of your loan amounts for the academic year for the purposes of applying for your visa.

For more information about applying for a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa, please see the Home Office website.

PLEASE NOTE: Any application being received within a month of the course start date cannot be guaranteed to be processed in time for the start of the course or to provide the required documentation for any visa.

What is EFC?

EFC stands for 'expected family contribution' and is shown on your Student Aid Report (SAR) which is generated once you complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The EFC is used to determine 'need' and therefore it limits the amount that you can borrow for a Direct Subsidised loan; it is not required for graduate loan applications as this loan type is not available to graduates.  You may still borrow up to the full cost of attendance, even if you have a high EFC, using the Unsubsidised and PLUS.  Please note that although the EFC stands for 'expected family contribution', essentially it is used to determine financial need, rather than reflecting whether or not your family will be contributing to the cost of your studies.  The EFC cannot be amended by the University if your family are not contributing to your studies.

What is 'Cost of Attendance' (COA)?

Your COA refers to the costs of completing your study at UEA for one academic year.  This, minus any other financial aid you may be receiving (such as scholarships), is used to calculate the level of US loan funds that you are eligible to borrow. These costs must relate only to you and can include: tuition fees; accommodation fees, living costs; transport expenses; return flights to and from the US, and loan origination fees.

What exchange rate is used when calculating my Cost of Attendance?

For the 2017–18 academic year, UEA will use the exchange rate of $1.50 = £1 to calculate the cost of attendance. However, the actual amount that you will receive in GBP(£) will depend upon the exchange rate available to UEA’s bank (or currency exchange service provider) on the date that the loan funds are disbursed.

What is an origination fee?

This is the fee charged by the US Department of Education to cover initial administrative charges related to Federal Loans. Please see Loan Amounts for more information.

What is entrance counselling and exit counselling?

Entrance and exit counselling are short online courses which will help you understand the responsibilities and obligations associated with a federal loan. It is a US Department of Education requirement that you undertake entrance and exit counselling (accessed at StudentLoans.gov) at the start and end of your studies. 

To complete Entrance Counselling you will need:

-Approximately 20-30 minutes to complete

-Your FSA ID

-Name of your school you wish to notify of counselling completion

Entrance counselling must be completed in one single session.

Before your final disbursement is due to be disbursed and, when you are nearing the end of the loan period for the year, you will need to complete the Exit Counselling task for your Federal Loan.  We will contact you via email about this when it is time for you to complete it.

This has to be done yearly and the counselling session will help you understand your rights and responsibilities as a student loan borrower and provides useful tips and information to help you manage your loans. We will not disburse your final loan instalment until you have completed your exit counselling.

How do I increase / decrease / cancel my loan, mid-year?

Increase your loan

If you wish to increase your loan, please contact the Financial Aid team at UEA before the dates stated on your Offer of Funds Letter.. We will assess whether you are eligible for more funds and if the increase is approved we will send you a revised Offer of Funds letter.  The additional funds will be spread across your remaining disbursements for the year.

Please note that if you have an endorser on your PLUS loan, you will only be able to increase the loan up to the endorsed amount. If your endorser is willing to increase the endorsed amount to allow you to borrow a higher PLUS loan, please email the Financial Aid team.

Decrease or cancel your loan

If you wish to decrease or cancel your loan, please contact the Financial Aid team at UEA before the dates stated on your Offer of Funds Letter.

Whilst we strongly advise that you notify us of loan cancellations and reductions within this timescale, there is a short period after receipt of your disbursement during which you can ask the University to send Federal Loan funds back to the US. However, you may need to pay fees and bank charges associated with returning the funds if the payment has already been requested.

If you wish to cancel your Federal Loan and the timeframe for doing so through the University has passed, you can still make a repayment directly to your lender. Your lender's details can be found on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). If you make a repayment within 120 days of loan disbursement, then your lender will treat this as a partial or full cancellation, with the appropriate adjustment of the loan fee and interest.

If you cancel your federal loan after receiving a disbursement you will be required to complete exit counselling via StudentLoans.gov.

How do I defer a loan?

If you are taking a US Federal Loan at the University of East Anglia, we will report your enrolment status on NSLDS so that repayment of any previous US student loans can be deferred.

If you have any loans outstanding you will need to advise your lender that you are ‘in-school'. Please contact the UEA Financial Aid Administrators  if you require us to sign an In-School Deferment Form. We can arrange a suitable time for you to come to the office and complete the form. Please be aware we will need to check over the details and sign the form before we can process it on your behalf.

 

Can I study in the US during my studies?

No – if you have received a Federal Loan you are unable to study, undertake field work or write up your dissertation in the US and would become ineligible for any further Federal Aid funding.

 

Does my loan count towards proof of funding for visa purposes?

Once your federal loan has been processed ‘originated’ you will receive a Financial Aid Package through the post. This details your loan amounts and disbursement dates and it has been agreed with UK Visas and Immigration that this constitutes proof of funding.

 

Useful links

FAFSA

Studentloans.gov

Federal Student Aid

NSLDS Student Access