Applying for Direct Loans

There are no short cuts to loan origination. The steps you will need to take are quick and easy but the University of Plymouth will not know if you have completed all the processes for all the loans you intend to borrow unless you tell us, and the University will not know how much you wish to borrow until you tell us.

We want to be sure that you have completed everything you have to do before we start to process your application because if the school starts origination of loans and your application is incomplete or information is missing then your loan origination will fail and this will delay your access to federal financial assistance.

Take the time to read our guidance carefully before you start.

Step one: complete FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an organised method of gathering information about you and your family’s financial situation. This information is then analysed according to US federal guidelines together with University guidelines. This ensures that all applications are treated fairly and equitably.

The results of this need analysis indicate the difference between what can be expected from the family and the cost of education. It shows the ability, not the willingness, of the student and/or their family to pay for their education. This is used to determine whether the student has a financial need.

To be considered for financial aid, you must complete a FAFSA online at the FAFSA website. You will need to make sure that your web browser is compatible.

Applying online is the best method because your results are processed quicker and there are checks to ensure your information is submitted correctly. If you wish to apply via paper, you will need to contact FAFSA directly.

After you initially submit a FAFSA, each year thereafter undergraduates who completed a paper FAFSA will receive a renewal FAFSA and graduate students or students who completed the FAFSA on the web will receive a Personal Identification Number (PIN) mailer. For those who have applied for Financial Aid previously, the renewal FAFSA has most of your information preprinted, and typically only your income information needs to be updated (and your parents', if you are a dependent student).

Students are reminded to obtain the necessary PIN (parent(s) and students must each have a PIN) to validate the signature before electronically sending the application to be processed.

One of the final steps in completing the FAFSA is supplying the University's US Department of Education Federal University / School code.

Federal School Code: G23521

OPE-ID: 02352100

After completing the FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). This document lists the information you and your family have provided and tells you what your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is for the year you are applying.

Step two: complete Cost of Attendance (CoA)

You should now download and complete a Cost of Attendance Calculator.

You will need to use Microsoft Excel, OpenOffice, or other suitable software to open this file and enter information. The Cost of Attendance Calculator will provide you with a guide to your loan eligibility and the maximum amounts you may be able to borrow. You should indicate on the spreadsheet the amounts you do wish to borrow (which may be no more than the maximum permitted).

If you are in receipt of scholarship or bursary funding, either from the University or another source, at any point in the academic year, you must inform us so that this can be factored into your Cost of Attendance. Failure to do so will result in a recalculation and reduction of your loan later in the academic year when it is discovered you are in receipt of additional sources of funding.

Step three: Complete a Master Promissory Note(s) (eMPN)

Once you have decided how much you wish to borrow you should visit the website and complete a Master Promissory Note for each loan type you are taking out. This is a legal document that explains the terms and conditions of your loans and through what you promise to repay your loans.

If applying for a PLUS loan (Graduate or Parent) then you, your endorser or your parent(s) must also pass a credit check as part of the loan application.  If you/they have an adverse credit history then you may not be eligible to apply for a PLUS loan.

Master Promissory Notes must be signed for every award year: if you are continuing your studies at the University you must repeat this process annually.

Step four: Direct Loan Entrance Counselling

Federal law requires all new students to complete entrance counselling at the appropriate grade level (undergraduate or postgraduate) for the appropriate loans (Direct Stafford Loan, and/or Direct PLUS Loan) prior to any loan origination.

If you are continuing into a further year of study on the same programme at the University then you do not need to complete entrance counselling again.

Loan counselling will inform you of your rights and obligations. If you do not complete entrance counselling we will not be able to originate your loan(s). You must complete entrance counselling by visiting the website .

Step five: notify the University

Once you have completed the steps above then you may notify the University of your intentions. You must provide us, by email, the following document:

  • Completed 2021-22 Cost of Attendance Calculator

Please email your request to

For priority treatment please enter the subject line of your email in the following format: US Loan for Award Year 2021-22.

What next?

The University will verify the information you have provided. Your tuition fees will be confirmed by the Student Funding Unit.

If any information is incomplete or incorrect then this will almost certainly delay the origination of your loans.

You will be notified of any adjustments to your loan eligibility and the amounts which will be originated by the University.

Once the University is satisfied with your eligibility and loan entitlement your loans will be originated. Information about how, and when, funds arrive is available from our page about receiving funds

Please note that the University is required to supply the details of any loans originated for eligible students, and the details of the enrolment of those students, to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).