US Loans: Frequently Asked Questions

On this page you will find answers to the most common questions related to US loans at the University of Bristol.

For full details, please see our US Loans - Further Information pages.

If you have any questions, please contact


How do I apply for US Loans?

See the How to Apply page for Federal Loans and the Private Loans page for Private Loan information.

I have completed my FAFSA application, what happens next?

We begin processing loan applications for the new academic year in May. The Money Advice and Funding Team will email you a Cost of Attendance to inform you of the amount and types of loan(s) you can borrow.

How quick is the loan process?

The loan process can take several weeks during peak processing periods (May to October) or if there are difficulties with your application. We would recommend applying at least 4 weeks before a deadline. It is your responsibility to ensure that you complete all the loan requirements in a timely manner.

When is the deadline for applying for Federal Loans?

Applications for federal loans need to be received a minimum of one calendar month before the next disbursement date in order to receive funds on that date.

Please see the Disbursements / Receiving Your Loan webpage for more information. 

I am a continuing student, do I have to apply every academic year or will I automatically receive US Loans for every year of study?

You need to apply for loans for every year of study.  Please see the How to Apply page for Federal Loans and the Private Loans page for Private Loan information.

What is a Cost of Attendance (CoA)?

A Cost of Attendance (CoA) will be emailed to you from May onwards to inform you how much you can borrow and the type of loan(s) you can borrow. Your CoA refers to the educational costs of completing your study at the University of Bristol for one academic year. These costs relate only to you the student and broadly include tuition fees, accommodation, living expenses, transport, miscellaneous expenses and loan origination fees (if requested). The CoA cannot include costs for partners or children (other than childcare/nursery costs). This CoA figure minus any other financial aid you may receive (such as scholarships) is used to calculate the funds you are eligible to borrow.

What exchange rate is used when calculating a Cost of Attendance (CoA)?

Under US Federal regulations, institutions are required to set an exchange rate for the purpose of calculating a CoA.  This set rate remains the same for the entire academic year and is used to calculate CoA’s for ALL students. The set exchange rate will change every academic year. Your actual disbursements will use the actual exchange rate at the time however. 

How much can I borrow?

A student can borrow loans up to the maximum CoA figure. You cannot exceed this figure but you can borrow less than the maximum CoA figure.

What is an Origination Fee?

Origination Fees are the fees charged by the US Department of Education to cover initial administrative charges related to Federal Loans.  Please see the Fees and Interest Rates page for further information.

How do I increase, decrease or cancel my loan throughout the year?

Please see our Amending, Increasing or Cancelling a Loan page.

How do I obtain proof of funding for visa purposes?

Please see Step 8 in the How to Apply page.

How do I know if I am a Dependant or Independent Undergraduate Student?

Please see the US Department of Education webpages.

Receiving your loan

When will I receive my Loan?

Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught students will receive their loans in 3 termly disbursements.  Postgraduate Research students will receive their loan in 2 disbursements, one at the start of term and one at the midway point of the academic year.  Please see Disbursements / Receiving your Loan page for more information. 

For Private Loan disbursements, please see the Private Loans page.

Can I receive my loans in one disbursement at the start of the year?

Unfortunately, this is not possible due to US Federal regulations.

How do I know how much money I will receive per disbursement?

The paperwork you will receive for visa purposes will provide you with an amount you will receive for each disbursement. The University will then deduct tuition fees, and accommodation fees (if you will pay them to the University) and you will receive any remaining funds after these deductions.

How will I receive my loan?

We ask for your bank details during the application phase before originating the loans. If you provide us with bank details for a US bank account, you are advised to check with your US bank about what charges will be made. If you are providing UK bank account details, you are advised to check that your bank accepts USD payments.

How do I open a UK bank account?

If you would like to open a UK bank account to receive your loan, provide us with US bank details in case the UK bank account is not set up in time for the first disbursement. We will make a note on your file that you want to open a UK bank account to receive the loan. Check with your UK bank beforehand that they accept USD payments.

How long will it take to receive my disbursements into my bank account?

Disbursements can take up to 14 days to reach your bank account from the day the funds are disbursed.

Remaining Eligible for US Loans During Your Studies

Will anything affect my US Loan eligibility whilst I am studying?

Yes.  Any changes to your student status and your academic progress can affect your continued US Loan eligibility.  To remain eligible for US Loans you must be studying at least half time (50% of your full-time equivalent course).  If you are considering suspending your studies or withdrawing from your studies, you are strongly advised to discuss this with the Money Advice and Funding Team in addition to your faculty, as this can have an impact on the amount of federal loans you are entitled to borrow. 

Will my academic progress impact my loan eligibility?

Yes, before each disbursement your Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) will be checked with your Supervisor / Course Leader.  Providing you meet SAP standards at that evaluation point, you will continue to receive your next disbursement.  If you do not meet SAP standards, you will be placed on SAP Warning but will still receive your next disbursement of US Loans whilst on SAP Warning.  If you are not back in good SAP standing at the next SAP evaluation point, you will enter Student Loan Denied status and will then become ineligible for US Federal Loans. For more information, please see our SAP page.

What happens if I suspend or withdraw from my studies?

Please see our Suspending, Withdrawing, Transferring Course or Changing the Status of your Studies webpage.

Repayment of Loans

How can I defer repayment of my loans?

If you are NOT taking out US Federal Loans whilst studying at the University of Bristol, but wish to defer previous US Federal Loans taken prior to starting at Bristol, please email us at

If you are taking US Federal Loans whilst you study at Bristol, your loans should automatically be deferred once we report you as studying full time or at least half time at Bristol, on the NSLDS database.  Under US Federal Regulations we are obliged to report every 60 days on the status of our students.  Most loan servicers can access this information on the NSLDS system.  However if your loan servicer contacts you and requires you to complete a form to confirm you are studying at the University of Bristol, please email us at  Please see Loan Requirements During your Studies page for further information.

How and when do I repay my loans?

Please see the Repayment page.

Parent PLUS loans

If a parent takes out the Parent PLUS Loan for their children, does the debt transfer to the student (child)?

No, the debt is the parent’s debt. Find out more on the Federal Student Aid website.

My parents are not eligible for the Parent PLUS Loan, what can I do?

You will be able to take out a slightly higher amount of subsidised and unsubsidised loans if your parents are ineligible for the Parent PLUS Loan.

However, you will need to source additional funding as these funds alone are unlikely to fund the full cost of the educational year. You may be eligible to apply for a private loan – the University of Bristol currently works with Sallie Mae as a private lender – which you will need to research yourself.

Private Loans

Does the University of Bristol administer Private US Loans?

Yes, we are happy to work with any private lenders but we currently only work with Sallie Mae and Earnest. Please see our Private Loans pages for further information.

1098T Tax Forms

I require a 1098T tax form to be completed, who do I ask?

The University of Bristol is unable to complete a 1098T tax form for you.  Students are advised to print off fees paid from their Financial Statement in their mybristol portal.  If you require an EIN to accompany this, please email

Veteran Aid

Does the University of Bristol administer Veteran Affairs benefit?

Unfortunately, the University of Bristol is unable to process any further VA-funded applications due to new foreign institution regulatory changes. This means the University will no longer process VA funding for students, starting in the 2023/24 academic year onwards.

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