US Federal Loan Eligibility


US citizens or permanent residents with a valid social security number may apply for Direct Loans. USA Federal Regulations state that you must have a secondary school completion credential (high school diploma) or the recognized equivalent of a secondary school completion credential to be eligible to receive Federal Student Aid.

Cardiff Metropolitan University does not have a Mature Student Admissions provision policy.   

To be eligible to apply applicants must not have defaulted on any previous student loans and male students also have to be registered for Selective Service to be eligible to apply. Exceptions are males who become US citizens after their 26th birthday, males who are exempted with a certificate (it is checked online), and serving servicemen. 

You must meet the criteria set by the US Department of Education to be eligible for US loans. The basic eligibility criteria are listed on the Federal Student Aid website. There are additional criteria for foreign schools, which is outlined briefly below.

Other prerequisites for eligibility include that you must:

  • be studying an eligible, degree-bearing course;
  • be enrolled and continue to be enrolled at least half-time at Cardiff Metropolitan University;
  • maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) during your studies;
  • undertake your study and/or research within the UK, including your writing-up period.

Further information on these eligibility criteria is provided below. These rules and regulations are set by the US Government. The University does not have any discretion to change these regulations. 

The eligibility criteria for US loans are subject to change at the US Department of Education's discretion and are beyond the University's control. You should check the latest eligibility on the Federal Student Aid website.

In order for your loans to be progressed with us, an unconditional offer for a place on an on-campus degree at Cardiff Metropolitan University must be accepted. 


Changes in US law implemented on the 1 July 2006 by the Higher Education Reconciliation Act (HERA) means there are restrictions on the University's ability to offer federal loan funds to students on certain courses. Ineligible courses include those which are less than half-time, are not degree-bearing, include any online element or distance learning, or with a limited exception, programmes offered in whole or in part in the United States by a foreign institution, or have a compulsory work placement. Full details can be found in the Programme Eligibility Policy

The US Federal Administrator will advise applicants on whether courses are ineligible when you apply to Cardiff Metropolitan University and submit the FAFSA. Students on such courses may however be eligible for a private student loan.


You must be enrolled and continue to be enrolled at least half-time at Cardiff Metropolitan University to remain eligible for federal loans. We will only be able to request your loan funds from the US for the scheduled disbursement if you are enrolled a minimum of seven calendar days before each date. Please note that students who suspend, withdraw or drop below half-time enrolment must email the US Federal Loans Team immediately on



It is not normally possible for students in receipt of US loans to undertake any part of their study or research in the US. However, if you will be conducting PhD research that can only be undertaken in the US, please email the US Federal Loans Team on before applying for your loan so that your eligibility can be assessed first.

The U.S Department of Education has published final regulations from the 1st July 2021 that will allow permanently, students at non US Eligible colleges and Universities to take up to 25% of their programme of study (in credits) in the United States or at another international institution that is not itself eligible for the U.S Direct Loan programme as long as there is a written arrangement in place.  Therefore if any part of your programme includes anytime outside of the UK please email the US Federal Loans Team immediately on as this may affect your eligibility for US loans.