The Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application can be a long process. A full list of the documents required can be found on the FAFSA website.
Remember, you will also need proof of funding for your visa application, and this cannot be sent to you until your loans have been fully certified and originated.
1. Complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
Go to the Studentaid.gov website and register for your FSA ID (Username and Password), so that you can use the online tools. Please note that your FSA ID will have remained the same if you are a returning student.
Complete a FAFSA online to determine your eligibility for federal loans which will produce your Student Aid Report (SAR). Please retain the SAR for your records. This will generate your Institutional Student Information Records (ISIR) which Cardiff Metropolitan will receive electronically. If you are a continuing loan student, complete a renewal FAFSA (you will only be required to indicate any information that has changed since last year.)
You will need the Cardiff Metropolitan University School Code, which is G33773.
Please read the 'Comments' section on your SAR to ensure that your data is complete. We will use the information from your FAFSA to assist in determining your eligibility for a Direct Subsidized Loan and/or a Direct Unsubsidized Loan.
2. Contact the Cardiff Metropolitan US Federal Loans Team
Once you have completed Step 1 you will need to have been accepted in a degree-granting programme (i.e. BA, BSc, MA, MSc, MPhil, PhD) and received your offer from Cardiff Metropolitan University. Please contact the US Federal Loans Team by email on USLoans@cardiffmet.ac.uk to let us know that you plan to use loans to study at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Please include a copy of your offer letter that you have received from our International Admissions office.
You should also include in your email your Student ID number in the offer letter from the University starting 201XXXXX, along with details of any scholarships or other financial aid that you may have been awarded from elsewhere, or applied for.
3. Eligibility Assessment & Cost of Attendance
We will use the information submitted in your FAFSA and your offer letter, to assist in determining your eligibility for Direct Subsidised and/or Direct Unsubsidised loans.
A standardised Cost of Attendance calculation for the maximum total loans allowed this year will be emailed to you, along with details of your eligibility for the different loan types and the amounts you can borrow. This notification will also include the instructions you need to follow in order for your loan(s) to be processed in a timely manner. Please read this thoroughly.
The standardised costs are set out against your student status. Dependent Undergraduate, Independent Undergraduate or Graduate. See our loan types for definitions of 'dependent' and 'independent' undergraduate students.
Depending on your status, you may also be eligible for a Direct PLUS Loan award. If you are a graduate/professional student, you may be eligible for a Direct PLUS Loan; if you are a dependant undergraduate student, your parent may be eligible for a Direct Parent PLUS loan.
Your eligibility will also depend upon your intended programme of study, Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) stated on your SAR and other funding available to you such as awarded scholarships.
4. Loans and Amounts
Confirm which loans you would like to borrow and for how much. You should decide how much you want to borrow based on your fees and expected living costs. (Refer to your Cost of Attendance for the maximum total loans allowed this year).
Please note, you do not have to borrow the full amount available to you. Your eligibility calculations are the maximum you are able to borrow.
5. Entrance and Exit Counselling
You will need to complete Entrance Counselling for each type of Loan you borrow, Direct Sub/Unsub and PLUS. (Parents are not required to complete Entrance Counselling for a Parent PLUS loan.)
If you are a federal direct loan first-time borrower who has not yet completed entrance counselling in a previous year of study at any institution for the same type of loan that you plan to borrow this year, you should complete direct loan counselling on the Studentaid.gov website.
If you are considering taking a PLUS loan, ensure you have completed the PLUS Entrance Counselling.
Federal Student Aid also offer Financial Awareness Counselling. Whilst this is not compulsory you may find it of use when planning your borrowing and spending. You are encouraged as either a first time borrower or a continuing borrower to access the USDE's online interactive course 'Financial Awareness Counselling Tool (FACT)' (this additional counselling is not the same as the required entrance counselling above for first-time borrowers). FACT will provide you with additional basic financial literacy and information about your federal student loan debt (and total student loan debt if you enter any private student loans). 'FACT' will estimate what your loan debt and repayment amounts are likely to be when you leave school. It also provides financial planning tips to help you make informed borrowing decisions and to understand the terms and conditions of a Direct Loan, loan repayment responsibilities and options, and the consequences of default. Please click her to access FACT
Students coming to an end of their studies are required to complete Exit Counselling for each type of Federal US Loan borrowed. This is a condition of your loan terms. You are also required to complete Exit Counselling if you drop to less than half-time or withdraw from your studies.
The US Federal Loans Team will email you to remind you to complete Exit Counselling and ask you to email the Team on USLoans@cardiffmet.ac.uk once you have completed Exit Counselling.
You can complete Exit Counselling on the Studentaid.gov website.
6. Master Promissory Notes and PLUS Credit Check
You must complete a new Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) for each loan type you wish to borrow. Although you may have previously signed an MPN to receive previous FFEL or Direct Loan Program loans, these MPNs cannot be used with ourselves for new loans as we are a foreign school and must have a new Direct Loan MPN for each year of study.
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. This is your contract you sign agreeing to the terms and conditions of your loan.
You can complete your MPN(s) electronically and E-sign the Direct Subsidized and/or the Unsubsidized Loans (MPN) at Studenaid.gov (You will need to use the same FSA ID as you used to complete your FAFSA).
If you are applying for a Direct PLUS Loan, or your parent will be applying for a Parent PLUS loan, you, or the parent, will need to complete a separate MPN for this loan type and also complete a PLUS loan process request on Studentaid.gov. After you complete your MPN(s), you will be able to print and retain these for your records. Please advise the US Federal Loan Team on USLoans@cardiffmet.ac.uk. when completed but there is no need to provide copies. The US Department of Education may also request some applicants complete an online PLUS loan counselling module at this stage.
7. Loan Certification and Origination
Once you have completed the required processes as outlined in the email that accompanied your Cost of Attendance calculation and loan eligibility, we will certify and originate the loans. If we have any queries or issues when processing your loans we will email you. Otherwise we will originate completed loan applications on the Education Department's Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) site and send you your confirmation via email for reference and the original documentation by post to support your visa application. We start this process from June. Your confirmation letter will detail your loan amounts and disbursement information.
Please note that once your loans are originated they will be sent to the National Student Loan Data System. Your enrolment status will then be reported to them every 8 weeks approximately from enrolment to the completion of your studies with Cardiff Metropolitan University.
8. CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies)
Once your loans are originated, our Admissions and Compliance teams will be advised so that they can issue your CAS. Please allow up to 5 days for this to be received to your email address on record with us. You will not be required to pay the usual advance fee payment deposit for international students if you are being funded for the full cost of your tuition fees or higher. If you are not being funded for the full cost of your tuition fees, you will need to pay the advance fee payment deposit as noted in your offer letter in order for your CAS to be issued.
9. Visa Application
The US Loans Team will issue the documentation for visa purposes as part of your application for your UK Tier 4 student visa. This letter is issued specifically for visa application purposes and is an acceptable form of evidence of your student loan for your Tier 4 application so that you meet the requirement to prove you have sufficient funds.
Cardiff Metropolitan University also has Student Advisors within our International Student Advisory Team, who can help answer questions on the visa application process. Please click through to the VISAS AND IMMIGRATION pages for more information.
10. Changes before travel
If your circumstances change before you arrive for the start of your programme, then you must ensure you contact the US Loans Team on USLoans@cardiffmet.ac.uk as soon as possible. In most circumstances, it is possible to adjust your US loans to minimise your debt and interest liabilities.