Guide to applying for federal financial assistance

Plymouth University participates in the William D Ford Direct Loan Program and all loans are provided directly by the US Department of Education. The Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) was abolished on 1 July 2010. 

If you wish to support your studies financially at the University with a Direct Loan then you must contact the University. We will not know if you wish to apply for federal loans, or how much you wish to borrow, unless you tell us. There are no short cuts to loan origination: all students must complete the steps listed on this web page.

We want to be sure that you have completed everything you have to do before we start to process your application because if the University begins the origination of loans for you, 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.

This page contains a flowchart which will help you through all the required steps in the right order. Take the time to read carefully through the flowchart before you start. There are some stages where we need a screenshot as evidence and if you forget to obtain a screenshot at that stage then you may have to repeat that step – this is particularly important at the credit check (for PLUS Loans) because if you forget to do so then you may need to request another credit check: each application for a credit check is logged on your credit rating and therefore multiple credit checks may negatively affect your overall credit rating.

To speed the process we will accept evidence in the form of email attachments but we need all the evidence from you at the same time - all required documents must come in the same email; if anything is omitted then we cannot start the loan origination process and this will delay your access to federal financial assistance. We are happy to help if you are experiencing problems but please be aware that we are unable to make the process of originating your loans any faster. If you have completed your FAFSA correctly then all the other parts of the flowchart should take you no more than two hours but if you have missed a step then this will potentially take a few days to either recover the evidence or repeat the necessary step.

Once we have received your complete application pack, with all supporting documentation, then we will provide notification that the University is acting upon the information you have provided. We will verify this information, access your Student Aid Report (SAR), assess your eligibility, confirm your tuition fees with the Tuition Fees Office, and, finally, issue an award letter once your loans have been originated. This letter acts as a 'proof of funds' for any visa application/renewal with the UK Border Agency (UKBA). Only the original, signed, award letter from the University (on University headed paper and authorised by a designated school officer) is acceptable to the UK Border Agency. Our letter has been agreed with the Border Agency and no other format will be accepted so please do not ask for alternate or altered versions.

When you have finished and collected all the evidence required then please send your application pack to Plymouth University's Student Funding Unit by email: studentfunding@plymouth.ac.uk.

For priority treatment the subject field should be in the format: US Loan for Award Year YYYY-YYYY (surname, forename). For example: US Loan for Award Year 2016-17 (Smith, Joe).

Please note: Direct Loan Program

The loan fees charged to Direct Loan borrowers for Direct Subsidized, Direct Unsubsidized and Direct PLUS loans from their statutory rates of 1 per cent and 4 per cent respectively have changed.

For loans where the first disbursement is made on or after October 1, 2016 and before October 1, 2017 –

  • The loan fee for Direct Subsidized Loans and for Direct Unsubsidized Loans is 1.069%. For example, the fee on a $5,500 loan will be $58.79.
  • The loan fee for Direct PLUS Loans (for both parent borrowers and graduate and professional student borrowers) is 4.276%. For example, the fee on a $10,000 PLUS Loan will be $427.60.