Eligibility for Federal Loans

Eligibility banner

Most students are eligible to receive Federal Aid from the U.S Department of Education to pay for their educational costs. However, the amount you receive may vary depending on your circumstances. All students applying for or in receipt of a Federal Loan (Subsidized, Unsubsidized and PLUS) must make satisfactory academic progress towards the completion of a chosen programme in order to remain eligible to receive their loans.

General eligibility

To be eligible for a Federal Loan, you must:

  • be a US citizen or permanent resident with a valid social security number
  • hold a high-school diploma or equivalent
  • not have any previous convictions for drug-related offences
  • not be in default on any prior student loan or owe a refund on any grant
  • be registered for Selective Services if you are male (or be exempt from registering)
  • be accepted onto at least a half-time (part-time) program of study at the University of Birmingham and hold a valid student ID number.

Program eligibility

The University of Birmingham's Program Participation Agreement (PPA) extends approval only to the University's degree-level programs i.e. for students enrolled to study Bachelors, Masters or Doctorate level study*
*there are exceptions to this rule

The University of Birmingham cannot originate Federal Direct Loans for the following degree-level programs:

  • Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB)
  • Bachelor of Nursing (BNurs)
  • Veterinary Science
  • Distance Learning (off-campus) programs
  • Pre-sessional programs
  • Any programs with study or research in the US during part of their program
  • Any programs delivered with a 'Joint Institution' - where the 'Joint Institution' is not eligible to disperse Federal Aid
  • Any programs delivered at the University of Birmingham Dubai campus

The University of Birmingham cannot originate Federal Direct Loans for the following levels of program:

  • University Certificate
  • University Diploma
  • Certificate of Higher Education
  • Diploma of Higher Education
  • Foundation Degree in Arts
  • Foundation Degree in Science
  • Advanced Certificate
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Graduate Diploma
  • Postgraduate Certificate
  • Postgraduate Diplomna
  • Certificate in Education (Further Education)
  • Foundation Certificate

Dependency status

Your dependency status will be determined by the questions you answer within the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and will affect the amount of Federal Loan you are entitled to.

Dependant Student

For the purposes of administering Federal Aid, you will be classified as dependant if you:

  • are under 23 years of age at the time of completing the FAFSA
  • are not currently, or have ever been married
  • are registered for a Bachelors level program
  • have no children who receive more than half of their support from you
  • have no other dependants who live with you and receive more than half of their support from you
  • are not currently homeless, emancipated or in a legal guardianship (as determined by court)
  • have never been in care or a ward or dependant of the court
  • are not the child of deceased parent(s) since the age of 13
  • are not currently serving as, or a veteran of, the U.S. armed forces

Independent Student

For the purposes of administering Federal Aid, you will be classified as an independent if you fit into one of the following categories:

  • older than 23 years at the time of completing the FAFSA
  • currently or have been married at the time of completing a FAFSA
  • a parent
  • a veteran
  • a ward of the court

All graduate/professional students are considered independent for the purposes of administering Federal Aid.

Remaining eligible for Federal Aid

How do I ensure I retain eligibility for my loans?

Satisfactory progression to retain Federal Aid is entirely separate from the academic requirements of the programme. 

In order to retain eligibility, you:

  • Should not exceed 150% the published time frame for the course and should remain enrolled on at least part-time (half-time) status.
  • Should pass any taught modules with a minimum of 40%; a progress decision will be sought from the supervisor of any Research students.
  • Should meet any relevant contact points each term as required - if any contact point is missed, you may lose entitlement to financial aid or be required to provide evidence of extenuating circumstances.

How does the University check my academic progress?

Prior to an anticipated loan disbursement, the University will review your central record which is maintained by your School/Department.  If any discrepancies occur, you will be contacted by Funding, Graduation & Awards in the first instance.