Direct Loans for Americans (postgraduate)

The University of York has approval from the US Department of Education for the origination and disbursal of William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans (Direct Loans).

School Code: G06700/00670000

Applications open: 3 June 2024

If you need to apply for a 2023/24 loan, please email as these applications are now closed.

This information is for postgraduate students. If you're applying to an undergraduate course please see our information for undergraduate students.

Applying for a Direct Loan/Federal Student Aid

    1. To be considered for federal student aid (FSA), you must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
    2. Private loans are a helpful alternative if you're unable to borrow Direct Loans. You'll need good credit and a co-signer in order to apply. More information on Private Loans can be found on the Private Loans webpage
    3. We recommend you apply for your loan before you apply for a visa, as you may need to provide your loan confirmation as evidence of funding.
    4. Once you have read the details below, go to our How to apply page.

    Am I eligible?

    To be eligible for a Direct Loan to study with us, you must:

    • be a US citizen
    • be physically present at the University of York for your studies
    • be continuously enrolled at least half-time at the University of York
    • make satisfactory academic progress during your course: Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

    Are all courses eligible for Direct Loans?

    The following types of courses are not eligible for Direct Loans:

    • courses which are less than half-time
    • courses which are not degree-bearing
    • courses at the Hull York Medical School (HYMS)
    • courses in Nursing or Midwifery
    • online courses
    • distance-learning courses

    If your course is not eligible for a Direct Loans, you may be able to take out a private loan. We don't recommend any one lender over another and can't advise on the suitability of any loan product. Make sure you carefully research the terms and conditions (including repayment obligations, interest rates, deferral options, etc) and consider the implications on your specific circumstances before going ahead with any loan.

    Direct/Title IV loans

    The Federal Student Aid website has detailed information on borrowing under the Direct Loans programme.

    Students enrolling on postgraduate courses can be considered for:

    1. An Unsubsidised Loan up to a maximum of $20,500 per academic year, subject to previous borrowing levels and limits. These are not based on financial need and their interest rate is reviewed annually.
    2. A Graduate PLUS Loan from Direct Loans, to cover costs of attendance above $20,500. This is subject to a credit check.

    Private loans

    If Direct Loans are not available, or don't fully cover your costs of attendance, you may be able to apply for a private loan.

    Regardless of the type of loan(s) you choose, you can borrow up to your calculated cost of attendance. 

    These figures are provided as an indication of the maximum amount available. Your cost of attendance will vary based on a number of factors:

    • the tuition fees for your course
    • which year of your course you will be studying
    • your choice of accommodation
    • the total length of your course
    • previous loans
    • whether you are in receipt of any other financial aid, e.g. sponsorship, scholarships or bursaries.

    Postgraduate fixed cost of attendance

    Course duration Year of study Cost of attendance
    1 year 1st £22,617 + tuition
    2 years (taught) 1st £23,087 + tuition
    2 years+ (research) 1st £24,027 + tuition
    2 years+ 2nd+ £20,137 + tuition

    These amounts do not include origination fees of 1.057 per cent on Unsubsidised Loans and 4.228 per cent on PLUS Loans for 2024/25. These are deducted by the US Department of Education before loans are paid out. 

    What other considerations are taken into account when calculating the cost of attendance?

    Part-time study

    The costs of attendance quoted above are for students studying full time. If you intend to study part time, please contact Student Financial Support for further information.

    Borrowing more than the fixed cost of attendance

    In limited circumstances, you may be able to borrow more than the fixed cost of attendance. For example, you could have childcare costs for dependent children, or you may need to travel to undertake research.

    To apply for additional funds, please make a written request to Student Financial Support. You should explain your circumstances and include evidence of additional costs if available. Where possible, you should make this request at the same time as you apply for your loan for the academic year.

    Your cost of attendance is calculated to cover your costs, including:

    • accommodation and college fees
    • insurance for your possessions
    • food, toiletries and laundry
    • course-related costs such as field trips, textbooks, printing
    • social and sporting activities
    • mobile phone and TV licence
    • travel to and from the UK and travel while at university
    • visa costs and NHS surcharge (first year only)
    • a computer and printer (first year only)
    • tuition fees
    • loan origination fees (for Federal Loans only)

    How we calculate your living costs

    The figures below are based on a postgraduate student living in either University on-campus accommodation or in private, off-campus accommodation. For 2024/25, the accommodation costs used in the Cost of Attendance for living in on-campus and off-campus accommodation have been calculated to have approximately the same average cost, this may change in future years.  For students living with parents, their cost of attendance will vary.

    Expenditure Weekly cost Annual cost (51 weeks)
    Food £44 £2,244
    Toiletries £18.50 £944
    Course related costs1   £816
    Insurance2   £408
    Laundry3 £11 £561
    Social and sporting activities4 £34 £1,734
    Mobile phone £10 £510
    Mid-range ensuite campus accommodation5 £196 £9,996
    Travel to study (within York)6 £15 £765
    TV license7   £159
    2x return flights to UK   £2,000
    Visa costs including flight to interview and NHS surcharge (first year only)8   £1,880
    PC and printer (first year only)9   £600
    Total cost of attendance (not including tuition fees or loan origination fees)10   £22,617
    Total Cost of Attendance in $
    (Exchange Rate $1.40 = £1.00 )11


    1. Course related costs can vary and include such items as text books, photocopying, equipment and field trips. Your academic department may be able to provide a more accurate estimate relating to your specific course. If you have a placement as part of your course, costs may differ substantially, particularly due to travel costs.
    2. It may be helpful for you to check whether you are covered by your parent's household insurance before taking out insurance of your own. If you live in University accommodation, you will be covered by our contents insurance policy (
    3. This covers two washes a week on campus.
    4. Social costs are indicative only. The actual amount spent on social activities can vary widely in accordance with your lifestyle choices. See sample social costs.
    5. For the purposes of the cost of attendance, we have included an approximate cost for a mid-range ensuite room in University on campus accommodation. The actual cost of your accommodation will depend on your choice, the availability of rooms and whether you choose to live on campus or in private accommodation. These differences can be reflected in the amount you choose to borrow.
      • We have many different room types and facilities available - see more about accommodation on-campus. Please email if you need advice on living on-campus or in the private sector. You can also have a look at help with private sector accommodation and specific advice for international students.
      • In private accommodation it is often necessary to pay rent up to six months in advance. This is particularly so for international students and students with families. If you choose to live in private accommodation you may also need to provide a deposit of at least one month's rent on signing the tenancy agreement. You may also need to arrange a UK Rent Guarantor (doing so may reduce the requirement for payment of rent up front).
    6. Student Bus Passes are available on the First York website. If you're living away from York, the costs for travel will be higher. Cost of travel between campuses is free, but this does not include travel for students studying at King's Manor.
    7. You will need a TV licence if you watch television (whether through a television or on a computer or laptop) in your accommodation (even if living on campus). Find out more about getting a TV licence.
    8. Visa costs are only included in cost of attendance calculations for the first year of your course. £800 is provided for visa costs and the cost of any flights required to attend interviews. NHS surcharges vary depending on the length of your course.
    9. The PC and printer amount is only included in cost of attendance calculations for the first year of your course.
    10. Your cost of attendance includes the actual tuition fees for your programme of study for the relevant year. The cost of non-standard fees may be more or less than indicated here. Loan origination fees are calculated based on your actual total cost of attendance including tuition fees, and takes into account your borrowing level and annual loan limits. 
    11. We determine a fixed exchange rate once a year and apply it to all cost of attendance calculations. We don't revise our calculations throughout the academic year to account for small fluctuations in the commercial exchange rate.

    You will need to make a separate application for each academic year that you need a loan. Applications for each academic year usually open in May.

    If you wish to apply for a loan for the current academic year please email

    You can also manage your loans and make any changes to existing ones.

    When are applications open?

    3 June 2024

    How much can I borrow?

    That depends on many factors, such as whether you are studying undergraduate or postgraduate, how long your course is and whether you are receiving financial aid from elsewhere (e.g. a scholarship). You can see an example of how we calculate your loan above.

    When should I complete my application/documentation?

    Applications for FAFSAs are open so you can complete that now.

    For Private Loans, the University of York online application form opens on 3 June 2024.

    Remember to keep us informed of any changes to your plans.

    Have you received my FAFSA?

    Check to make sure you have added the University of York to your FAFSA application. If you have, it will take at least 3 working days before we are notified. We will begin  processing for the new academic year on 3 June 2024 so you may not hear from us before that date.

    When will you approve my loan?

    Once we have received all the information and documentation we need. We will start originating loans 3 months prior to the start of your course, which will be around the middle of June.

    Do I need to borrow the full cost of attendance?

    No - you can borrow any amount up to and including the maximum amount available to you. If you borrow less than the amount you owe the University in fees/tuition then you will be personally responsible for paying any balance owing.

    What happens if I/my parents don't pass a credit check?

    If you can find someone who is willing to act as your endorser (similar to a co-signer) that can pass a credit check then you can apply for a plus loan with an endorser. If you do have an endorser, please let us know.

    When will I get my first payment?

    After the start of your course. Your loan won’t be released before you’ve arrived for the start of the academic year. The first personal disbursement is usually up to 3 weeks after the start of the course so you must make sure you have sufficient funds to keep going for a few weeks before you arrive.

    Do I need a UK bank account?

    A UK bank account is preferable as it reduces the number of times your money will be subject to exchange rates.

    How do I pay my fees/university accommodation? Should I set up a Direct Debit?

    No, do not set up a direct debit if you are receiving US Federal Aid. After term starts, students receive an invoice for tuition/accommodation fees, this is for information only. If you receive US Financial Aid, you will put on an alternative payment schedule in line with the US Loan disbursement dates (so you will pay your fees in September and February if you are an postgraduate research student, and in September, February and June if you are a postgraduate taught student).

    What happens if I don't borrow enough to fully cover my tuition/accommodation fees?

    If you don’t borrow enough to cover the whole of your tuition/University accommodation fees, you are responsible for paying the balance.

    You can pay the balance at any time. Exchange rates for each disbursement change throughout the year so only after the final disbursement has been paid will we know exactly how much the balance will be. 

    Some students choose to pay an amount up front, using a best guess on exchange rates. If you inadvertently overpay (which will only be clear after the final disbursement in February/June) then any overpayment will be paid back to you once the exact amount is known.

    Can I receive a Pell Grant?

    Unfortunately, Pell Grants are not available while studying at a ‘foreign school’ like the University of York. They are only available to American Students studying in America. 

    I have been offered a scholarship/funding, will this impact my loans?

    Any scholarship or funding from another provider will impact the amount of loan available to borrow dollar for dollar. You will be asked about this when we contact you about other funding, and you will need to provide us with evidence of the amount and source. 

    Note: This relates to funding from scholarships, bursaries or other loan providers. It does not relate to funding you are receiving from your family, your own personal earnings, or funding from Americorps or Veterans Affairs.

    What about Canadian Loans?

    We are not involved in the processing of Canadian loans and can only provide a brief overview. Canadian loans are means-tested, so you’re required to demonstrate financial need to qualify. Applications are made through the provincial/territorial Student Assistance Office or website and the provincial/territorial Student Aid Service then advises on what steps to follow.

    What is the VA/GI Bill process and can I use it?

    Veterans/dependents who are entitled to VA benefits can use these at the University of York on a VA approved course, in-person only and not for courses including a study abroad/placement year). 

    VA benefits do not impact a student's ability to apply for or receive US Federal Aid and do not reduce the amount of US Federal Aid a student can borrow. 

    Students must contact the US Department of VA directly to see if they are eligible; then contact and submit their certificate of eligibility. 

    For approved courses, can certify enrolment for semester 1, once the student’s attendance has been confirmed. 

    If a course needs to be approved by VA, please note, this can take up to 6 months. The Student Records Team will need to request approval for courses not already approved by VA. More information is available on the University Veterans Affairs website.

    Can I adjust my loan mid year?

    Yes - you can decrease your loans if you want to, you can cancel a disbursement altogether if it’s not needed, and if you haven’t borrowed the maximum amount available to you you can increase your loan up to the maximum amount as well. You will need to email us to request this, more information is available on the Changing your loans webpage.

    Can I study or work outside the UK?

    Any periods of study or work placements outside the UK can adversely affect your loan eligibility for the time you are away, even if you have academic approval. You must contact us if this applies to you. Please send your email to

    Can I complete any of my studies in the USA?

    Periods of study in the USA during your course will adversely affect your loan eligibility for your entire course, even if you have academic approval. You must email us if you intend to return to the USA for any period of study. Please send your email to

    Can I use US Federal Aid for Online or distance learning courses?

    No, unfortunately students cannot use US Federal Aid for courses held online or via distance learning. Private Loans may be available.

    Can I defer payment of my existing loans?

    If you apply for a Direct Loan to fund your studies then repayments on existing loans will be deferred automatically while you are at the University of York. This is done after the start of the academic year in early November.

    If you're studying at York but not applying for a new loan you can still defer your payments - email us at and ask us to report your enrolment. We report your enrolment on the American National Student Loan Data System so you should direct your lender to that system after early November (if you are taking out loans this year) or once we have confirmed that we have reported your attendance (if you are not receiving loans this year) for confirmation of your enrolment so you can defer your loan repayments.