Student Life Centre

How You Apply

 

Responsible borrowing

Watch this video to learn about your responsibilities as a borrower and what you should consider when taking out loans for University.

 

Which federal loans are available?

There are three types of federal student loan available for eligible students to help with educational costs.

Direct Subsidized Loans
(Available to Undergraduate Students)

Full details are published on the Federal Student Aid website:

  • Direct Subsidized Loans are available to undergraduate students with financial need.*
  • The amount you can borrow is determined by the University and the amount may not exceed your financial need.*
  • The U.S. Department of Education pays the interest on a Direct Subsidized Loan:
     - while you are studying at university at least half-time
     - for the first six months after you leave university (referred to as a grace period)
     - during a period of deferment (a postponement of loan payments).
  • You can find the interest rates for Direct Subsidized Loans on the Federal Student Aid website.
  • Direct Subsidized Loans have a loan fee which is a percentage of the loan amount and is proportionately deducted from each loan disbursement. The percentage varies depending on when the loan is first disbursed. You can find the loan fees on the Federal Student Aid website.
  • If you are a first-time borrower on or after July 1, 2013, there is a limit on the maximum period of time (measured in academic years) that you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans. If this limit applies to you, you may not receive Direct Subsidized Loans for more than 150 percent of the published length of your program. This is called your “maximum eligibility period.”

*Financial Need: The difference between the cost of attendance (COA) at a university and your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). While COA varies from university to university, your EFC does not change based on the university you attend. 

Source: Federal Student Aid

Direct Unsubsidized Loans
(Available to Undergraduate and Graduate Students)

Full details are published on the Federal Student Aid website:

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students; there is no requirement to demonstrate financial need.
  • The amount you can borrow is determined by the University based on your cost of attendance and other financial aid you receive.
  • You are responsible for paying the interest on a Direct Unsubsidized Loan during all periods.
  • If you choose not to pay interest while you are in university and during grace periods and deferment or forbearance periods, your interest will accrue (accumulate) and be capitalized (that is, your interest will be added to the principal amount of your loan).
  • You can find the interest rates for Direct Unsubsidized Loans on the Federal Student Aid website.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans have a loan fee which is a percentage of the loan amount and is proportionately deducted from each loan disbursement. The percentage varies depending on when the loan is first disbursed. You can find the loan fees on the Federal Student Aid website.

 Source: Federal Student Aid

Direct PLUS Loans
(Available to Graduate Students and Parents of Dependent Undergraduate Students) 

Full details are published on the Federal Student Aid website:

  • Direct PLUS Loans are available to graduate students (grad PLUS loans) and parents of dependent undergraduate students (parent PLUS loans).
  • You must not have an adverse credit history. A credit check will be conducted. If you have an adverse credit history, you may still be able to receive a PLUS loan through one of these two options:
    1. Obtaining an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history and completing PLUS Credit Counseling. An endorser is someone who agrees to repay the Direct PLUS loan if you do not repay it.
    2. Documenting to the satisfaction of the U.S. Department of Education that there are extenuating circumstances relating to your adverse credit history and completing PLUS Credit Counseling.
  • The maximum PLUS loan amount you can receive is the cost of attendance (determined by the University) minus any other financial aid received.
  • You are fully responsible for paying the interest regardless of the loan status.
  • During any period when you’re not required to make payments, interest will accrue on your loan. You may choose to pay the accrued interest or allow the interest to be capitalized (added to your loan principal balance) when you have to start making payments. Your loan servicer will notify you when your first payment is due.
  • You can find the interest rates for Direct PLUS Loans on the Federal Student Aid website.
  • Direct PLUS Loans have a loan fee which is a percentage of the loan amount and is proportionately deducted from each loan disbursement. The percentage varies depending on when the loan is first disbursed. You can find the loan fees on the Federal Student Aid website.

Source: Federal Student Aid

Terms and conditions of federal student loans (Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized and PLUS Loans) are listed on the Master Promissory Note (MPN) signed by the borrower accepting the loan.

 

How much can I borrow?

There are limits on the amount in Direct Subsidized and Direct Unsubsidized Loans that you may be eligible to receive each academic year (annual loan limits).

  Annual Loan Limits
  Subsidized Loan Limit Total Loan Limit
(Subsidized Loan and
Unsubsidized Loan)
Dependent Undergraduates
First Year Undergraduate $3,500 $5,500
Second Year Undergraduate $4,500 $6,500
Third Year and Beyond Undergraduate $5,500 $7,500
Independent Undergraduates
(and dependent undergraduates whose parents cannot borrow PLUS Loans)
First Year Undergraduate $3,500 $9,500
Second Year Undergraduate $4,500 $10,500
Third Year and Beyond Undergraduate $5,500 $12,500
Graduates
All Years N/A $20,500
(Unsubsidized Only)
Source: Federal Student Aid


There are also limits on the total amounts that you may borrow for undergraduate and graduate study (aggregate loan limits). The graduate aggregate limit includes all federal loans received for undergraduate study.

  Aggregate Loan Limits
  Subsidized Loan Limit Total Loan Limit
(Subsidized Loan and
Unsubsidized Loan)
Dependent Undergraduates $23,000 $31,000
Independent Undergraduates
(and dependent undergraduates whose parents cannot borrow PLUS Loans)
$23,000 $57,500
Graduates $65,500 $138,500
Source: Federal Student Aid


The University will determine the loan type(s) and the loan amount you are eligible to receive each academic year. Direct PLUS Loans (Grad and Parent) may be used as supplemental funding after Direct Subsidized and Direct Unsubsidized Loan maximums are reached. The total amount you may borrow in federal student loans for any academic year is limited to your calculated cost of attendance for the academic year minus other sources of funding.

 

Cost of attendance

The cost of attendance is an estimate of educational expenses and is based on average rather than actual expenses for different categories of students. Universities are only allowed to certify up to 'reasonable' costs with the cost of attendance being for education, not for luxuries. The University determines the cost of attendance which is the sum of the allowable costs, for the academic year, shown below:

Allowable costs

Allowable Cost

Amount (£)

Tuition fees: Tuition fees can be found on the University's website: https://www.sussex.ac.uk/study/fees-funding/tuition-fees

Fees are subject to review and increase on an annual basis.
Estimated living costs including accommodation:  A breakdown of estimated living costs, including accommodation, can be found on the University's website: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/study/fees-funding/living-costs

Figures to be used in cost of attendance calculations:
  • Undergraduate student living in University-managed accommodation: £11,120 (£317.70 per week x 35 weeks)
  • Undergraduate student renting in the private sector: £11,204 (£320.10 per week x 35 weeks)
  • Graduate student living in University-managed accommodation: £16,203 (£317.70 per week x 51 weeks)
  • Graduate student renting in the private sector: £16,325 (£320.10 per week x 51 weeks)
Student visa fee:

Only included for students in their first year of study:

It costs £348 to apply for a Student visa from outside the UK: https://www.gov.uk/student-visa

Immigration health surcharge:

Only included for students in their first year of study: https://www.gov.uk/healthcare-immigration-application/how-much-pay

  • 3 year Bachelor's degree programs: £1,645
  • 4 year Bachelor's degree programs: £2,115
  • 1 year Master's degree program: £705
  • 4 year Doctoral degree program: £2,115
Estimated Transportation:

Three return flights between the USA and UK: £2,100

(Students able to return to the USA for the Winter and Spring Vacations)

Mid-Range Laptop: Only included for students in their first year of study: £430

Laptop specification:
  • Windows 10 S
  • Intel® Core™ i3-1005G1 Processor
  • RAM: 4 GB / Storage: 256 GB SSD
  • Full HD display
  • Battery life: Up to 10 hours
Average loan fees (per type of loan): Range of average loan fees for undergraduate students depending on length of program and year of study:
  • Direct Subsidized Loan: £27 to £42
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loan: £15 to £54
  • Direct Parent PLUS Loan: £1,224 to £1,381
Average loan fees for graduate students studying on Master's degree programs:
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loan: £157
  • Direct Graduate PLUS Loan: £1,110
Range of average loan fees for graduate students on Doctoral degree programs depending on year of study:
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loan: £157
  • Direct Graduate PLUS Loan: £964 to £1,137
Additional program costs: 

Additional costs depending on your program at Sussex. For example, course / field trip fees and bench fees. https://www.sussex.ac.uk/study/fees-funding/tuition-fees

Exchange rate

Calculating cost of attendance:

From 4th May 2021 the exchange rate of £1 = $1.38 will be used when calculating your cost of attendance for the 2021/22 academic year. This is the period high figure published by XE.com for the period 2nd February 2020 to 1st February 2021.

Please note that your cost of attendance cannot be altered to reflect any fluctuations in the exchange rate. This includes fluctuations that occur before you start or during your program of study.

Loan Disbursement:

The exchange rate used by the University to disburse your funds will vary for each disbursement as it is set by Western Union at the point when funds are drawn down from the U.S. Treasury's Federal Reserve System.

Students with a disability

If you have a disability you are advised to contact the Financial Aid Office as an allowance for expenses related to your disability may be included in your cost of attendance. These expenses may include special services, personal assistance, transportation, equipment, and supplies that are reasonably incurred and not provided by other agencies.

Students with dependents

If you have dependents you are advised to contact the Financial Aid Office as an allowance for costs related to dependent care whilst studying may be included in your cost of attendance. The allowance can cover care during periods of class time, study time, fieldwork, internships and commuting. The allowance is based on the number and age of dependents and cannot exceed the reasonable cost in the community for the type of care provided.

Example cost of attendance calculations
  • Student A: Dependent undergraduate student in their first year of study of a three year program. Living in University-managed accommodation.
  • Student B: Dependent undergraduate student in their second year of study of a three year program. Renting in the private sector.
  • Student C: Graduate student studying on a one year Master's degree program. Living in University-managed accommodation.
  • Student D: Graduate student in their third year of study of a Doctoral degree program. Renting in the private sector.
 Student AStudent BStudent CStudent D
Tuition fee (£) £18,500 £19,050 £24,000 £21,350
Estimated living costs including accommodation (£) £11,120 £11,204 £16,203 £16,325
Student visa fees (£) £348 Not applicable £348 Not applicable 
Immigration health surcharge (£) £1,645 Not applicable £705 Not applicable
Estimated transportation (£) £2,100 £2,100 £2,100 £2,100
Mid-range laptop (£) £430 Not applicable £430 Not applicable
Average loan fee: Direct Subsidized Loan (£) £27 £34 Not applicable Not applicable 
Average loan fee: Direct Unsubsidized Loan (£) £15 £15 £157 £157
Average loan fee: Direct PLUS Loan (£) £1,361 £1,254 £1,110 £964
Additional program costs (£) Not applicable Not applicable Not applicable £2,000 (Bench Fees)
TOTAL (£) £35,546 £33,657 £45,053 £42,896
Exchange Rate: £1 = $1.38 $1.38 $1.38 $1.38
TOTAL (COST OF ATTENDANCE) ($) $49,053 $46,447 $62,173 $59,196

Financial assistance
The loan amount that you are eligible to receive is determined by calculating your cost of attendance minus your estimated financial assistance. Estimated financial assistance includes any educational benefits that you will receive because you will be studying at University, such as: scholarships; grants; bursaries; studentships; and stipends.

If you have applied for or will be receiving any financial assistance you must notify the Financial Aid Office as the financial assistance may affect the loan amount you are eligible to receive.

 

How to apply for a Direct Loan(s)

Set out below are the steps you need to take to make an application for a Direct Loan(s) to help cover your educational costs at the University of Sussex for the 2021/22 academic year. 

  • FAFSA applications for 2021/22 can be submitted from 1st October 2020.
  • The Financial Aid Office will be accepting loan application documents for the 2021/22 academic year from 4th May 2021. Please note that applications will be processed in strict order of receipt.

  • Notification of Student Loan Letters (evidence of funding for student visa applications) will be issued from July 2021 to eligible students who have submitted a complete application.


Application Steps
:

(1) Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for 2021/22

Applications start with FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

The University of Sussex will use the information from your FAFSA to assist in determining your eligibility for Direct Loans.

Complete the FAFSA electronically on the StudentAid.gov website:

  • The school code for the University of Sussex is G06699
  • To complete your FAFSA electronically you must have a Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID).
    • To create an FSA ID or manage an existing FSA ID visit the StudentAid.gov website.
    • You must create your own FSA ID. You are not authorized to create an FSA ID on behalf of someone else, including a family member. If you are a dependent student your parents will need one too.
  • If you are unsure whether you will need to provide parental information in your FAFSA, the video below will help you to determine whether you are an independent or dependent student.
    • For assistance in determining which parent’s information to report on the FAFSA, visit the StudentAid.gov website.

 
Once you have completed your FAFSA, the US Department of Education will process the information to produce a Student Aid Report (SAR). When you receive a copy of your SAR please review the information carefully, especially the section called "Comments About Your Information." You may need to make corrections and resubmit your application or you may need to provide further information or documentary evidence, for example, proof of your U.S. citizenship.

Your SAR should be sent electronically to the University three business days after you have completed your FAFSA. 

(2) Accept Offer of a Place at the University of Sussex on an Eligible Program

You must have accepted an offer of a place on an eligible program at the University of Sussex, to study on at least a half-time basis, before your loan can be processed.

We will only confirm your cost of attendance if you have accepted an offer of a place at the University of Sussex on an eligible program.  

(3) Complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling

You need to complete Direct Loan entrance counseling each year before you can receive a Direct Loan. The US Department of Education requires you to complete entrance counselling to ensure that you understand your loan responsibilities and obligations. You will find a sample repayment plan included in your entrance counselling completion summary.

You complete Direct Loan entrance counseling electronically via the StudentAid.gov website. You will need your FSA ID to complete entrance counseling. This is the same FSA ID you used to complete your FAFSA.

You need to complete entrance counselling for each type of loan you borrow:

Parents are not required to complete entrance counseling for a Direct Parent PLUS Loan.

(4) Complete Direct Loan Master Promissory Note(s) 

You must complete a Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) (Loan Agreement) for each type of loan you wish to borrow. The MPN is the legal document through which you promise to repay your Direct Loans and any accrued interest and fees to the US Department of Education. It also explains the terms and conditions of your loans and your rights and responsibilities as a borrower.

At universities outside of the United States loans must be applied for on an annual basis. You will therefore need to complete a new Direct Loan MPN for each academic year that you borrow Direct Loans at the University of Sussex.  

You complete a Direct Loan MPN electronically via the StudentAid.gov website. You will need your FSA ID to complete the MPN. This is the same FSA ID you used to complete your FAFSA. Save your completed MPN as a PDF file.

(5) To Apply for a Direct PLUS Loan

You complete the online application for a Direct PLUS Loan via the StudentAid.gov website:

You must complete a Direct PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) to receive a Direct PLUS Loan. You will have an opportunity to complete the MPN after you complete your Direct PLUS Loan request.

A credit check will be performed during the application process. If you have an adverse credit history, you may still receive a Direct PLUS Loan through one of these two options:

  1. Obtain an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history. (An endorser is someone who does not have an adverse credit history and who agrees to repay the Direct PLUS Loan if you do not repay it).
  2. Documenting to the satisfaction of the US Department of Education that there are extenuating circumstances relating to your adverse credit history.

With option 1 or 2, you must also complete PLUS Credit Counseling via the StudentAid.gov website:

Please note that if you are a graduate student required to complete the PLUS credit counseling, you must complete this counseling in addition to the Direct PLUS Loan entrance counseling.  


Direct Parent PLUS Credit Balance Refund:
It is the University's normal policy to refund directly to the student any credit balance created by the Direct Parent PLUS Loan, after tuition, accommodation and any other charges have been deducted. If you agree to your dependent receiving any credit balance from your loan, you will need to complete and return via secure email a Federal Direct PLUS Loan Borrower Refund Request Form.

(6) Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement
Each year student and parent borrowers must complete Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement by logging into StudentAid.gov. You will need your FSA ID (username and password) to access StudentAid.gov. 
  • If this is your first time accepting a federal student loan, you are acknowledging that you understand your responsibility to repay the loan
  • If you have existing federal student loans, you are acknowledging that you understand how much you owe and how much you can borrow 
(7) Create Secure Email Account

It is a requirement of the U.S. Department of Education that the University uses a secure email service to protect sensitive information. The University uses a secure email service called Egress. The easy-to-use encryption ensures that sensitive information is protected, controlled and exchanged securely.

All Direct Loan applicants (students and parents) will need to use this service to submit all Direct Loan application documents and to contact the Financial Aid Office. The Financial Aid Office will be unable to accept applications from or correspond with applicants who are not using this secure email service due to data protection restrictions.

To create your free email account please click on the “create it for free” link in the Egress Authentication web page.

(8) Send Documents via Secure Email to Financial Aid Office

Student Details Form:
You need to download and complete a Student Details Form.

Under Q2 confirm the total loan amount ($) you wish to borrow for the 2021/22 academic year. 

If you have applied for or will be receiving any financial assistance you must include this in your Student Details Form as the financial assistance may affect the loan amount you are eligible to receive. Financial assistance includes: scholarships; grants; bursaries; studentships; and stipends.

Voluntary Consent for Electronic Transactions Form:
Download and complete a Voluntary Consent for Electronic Transactions Form. Students and parent borrowers of a Direct Parent PLUS Loan should complete the form.

 

Secure Email:
Prepare a secure email (via Egress) to usfinancialaid@sussex.ac.uk. In the subject field type 'Federal Direct Loan' and your name as surname then forename, like this: Federal Direct Loan WILSON EMMA. 

Attach to the secure email these documents as PDF files:

(1)    Your completed Student Details Form (PDF)

(2)    Your completed Voluntary Consent for Electronic Transactions Form (PDF) and your parent's completed form (if they are applying for a Direct Parent PLUS Loan)

(3)    Scanned copy of your High School Diploma or Undergraduate Degree Certificate and Transcript (PDF)

(4)    Copy of award letter (evidence) for any financial assistance. For example: grant; bursary; scholarship; studentship; or stipend (PDF)

Documents for Direct Subsidized / Unsubsidized Loan:

(5)    Copy of your electronically signed and dated Master Promissory Note (MPN) (Loan Agreement) for Direct Subsidized / Unsubsidized Loan (PDF)

(6)    Completion confirmation for Direct Subsidized / Unsubsidized Loan Entrance Counseling (PDF)

(7)    Confirmation of completion of Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement (PDF)

Documents for Direct PLUS (Grad / Parent) Loan
(if applying for this type of loan):


(8)    Copy of your / your parent's signed and dated Master Promissory Note (MPN) (Loan Agreement) for Direct PLUS Loan (PDF)

(9)    Accepted Credit Check confirmation (PDF)

(10)   Completion confirmation for Direct PLUS (Grad) Loan Entrance Counseling (PDF)

(11) Confirmation of completion of Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement (PDF)

(12)   Copy of electronically signed and dated Endorsers Addendum (if applicable) (PDF)

We need you to send all of the required documents together as PDF attachments to one secure email. If any documents are missing from your secure email we cannot process your application. 

(9) Complete Declaration Forms:
Study Abroad / Placements / Distance Learning

Undergraduate Students

(1) You need to complete and return via secure email a Voluntary (Optional) Study Abroad Declaration Form

(2) Placements* cannot be undertaken in the United States if the number of credits for the placement exceeds 25% of the total credits for the program. The Financial Aid Office will send you a declaration form to complete and return if this applies to your program. 

* A placement includes a professional placement, research placement or industrial placement.

Graduate Students - Master's Degree:

(1) Placements* cannot be undertaken in the United States if the number of credits for the placement exceeds 25% of the total credits for the program. The Financial Aid Office will send you a declaration form to complete and return if this applies to your program. 

* A placement includes: assessed placement; dissertation with placement; integrated placement; research placement; internship; externship; industrial placement or work based placement.  

Graduate Students - Doctoral Degree:
(1) You need to complete and return via secure email a Distance Learning Declaration Form

(10) Notification of Student Loan Letter
(Evidence of Funding for Student Visa Application)

Once you have submitted a complete loan application and your loan has been processed and approved, the Financial Aid Office will send you a Notification of Student Loan Letter using the address on your Master Promissory Note (MPN).

Notification of Student Loan Letters will be issued from July 2021 (after the US Department of Education have updated the loan fees in the US loans system).

If you need to apply for a visa and are dependent on federal aid for proof of funding it is advisable not to apply for your Student visa until you have received the Notification of Student Loan Letter confirming your loan and disbursement amounts and dates. Please consult the GOV.UK (Student visa) website for further guidance on documentation you will be required to submit with your Student visa application.


The International Student Support Team at the university also provide support services for international students including immigration and visa advice.

(11) Complete Direct Loan Acceptance Form
The Financial Aid Office will send you a Federal Direct Loan Acceptance Form after you receive your Notification of Student Loan Letter. (Students and parent borrowers of a Direct Parent PLUS Loan will receive a form).

You need to complete and return the form, by secure email, to formally accept the loan type(s) and amount(s) listed in the Notification of Student Loan Letter. 

 

Useful Direct Loan Websites

The websites below are useful sources of information on applying for federal student aid, loan details, terms and conditions, repaying student loans and for answers to frequently asked questions:    

University Contacts