US Federal Loan Scheme


Cardiff Metropolitan University is a participating institution in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. The US Department of Education loans money directly to students via their schools. We offer assistance to students (U.S. citizens only) seeking loans to study at either undergraduate or postgraduate level at the University.

When you apply to study, we keep you informed at each step of the process by email. These web pages outline the loan types available, when and how to apply for them and how they will be disbursed.

The information in this section is relevant to prospective students as well as current undergraduate and postgraduate students. 

What loans can I apply for?

Cardiff Metropolitan University is an eligible Foreign School to administer Title IV Direct loans to eligible US students studying undergraduate / postgraduate programmes at Llandaff and Cyncoed Campus. The Title IV Direct Loans available to US students are:

  • Direct Subsidised Loans (undergraduate students only)
  • Direct Unsubsidised Loans 
  • Direct PLUS loans -
      • Graduate PLUS (Postgraduate students only)
      • Parent PLUS Loans (Dependant Undergraduate students only)

If you are a graduate, you can apply for a PLUS loan in your own right. If you are an undergraduate student you cannot apply for the PLUS, but your parents can apply on your behalf. PLUS loans are credit based.

Information and advice on how to apply is available on our Eligibility and Loan Application Process pages. Please read these information pages before starting the loan application process. You may find that the UK process is very different to previous applications made at US institutions.

The sum of your Federal and any Private loans cannot exceed the Cost of Attendance, so you should think carefully should you decide to take out both loans. Also check your loan limits depending on whether you are an undergraduate or graduate student.

Third Party Debt Relief Companies

Federal student aid services offered by the Department of Education and its student loan services are free. Such services include:

  • Consolidating federal student loans;
  • Changing repayment plans;
  • Resolving defaults;
  • Filing requests for borrower defence loan cancellation; and
  • Other benefits and services that students are entitled to receive at no charge

Please be aware of so-called debt relief companies. These debt relief companies may utilise sophisticated strategies to target unsuspecting borrowers and inappropriately use the Department of Education’s logo or other identifying information to give the impression that they are working with or for the US Government. These companies may also state or imply that the company is working with a post-secondary institution to provide benefit to student loan borrowers, so please be extra vigilant, as students do not need to pay for loan benefits for Federal student loans.

There are four warning signs of third party debt relief companies that student loan borrowers should avoid, including:

  • Pressure to pay high upfront fees;
  • Promises of immediate loan forgiveness or debt cancellation;
  • Demands that you sign a ‘third party authorisation’ or
  • Requests for a student’s Federal Student Aid PIN or FSA ID

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Cardiff Metropolitan University is required by US federal law to define and enforce standards of satisfactory academic progress (SAP) on students who wish to receive US federal Title IV funding (subsidised, unsubsidised or PLUS Direct Loans). US Federal regulations require that you must be enrolled and making satisfactory academic progress (SAP) in order to be eligible to receive Title IV loans.

All students in respect of Title IV Funding at Cardiff Metropolitan University will be reviewed prior to each Title IV loan disbursement and at the end of each payment period, to ensure SAP is being maintained. SAP is assessed as follows:

  • Qualitative Criteria: Academic Standards (Grades)

Enrolment Status: All student must be enrolled at least 50%

Academic Progress: Students must achieve minimum standards as required by the Academic School and supervisor/tutor, and must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 GPA equivalent to 40-50% minimum marks at Cardiff Metropolitan University, and academic standing consistent with graduation requirements.

Postgraduate Research Students must meet all university progress deadlines, plus any written deadlines agreed by the supervisor. The supervisor must agree that progress with research is satisfactory for SAP to be achieved.


Should a student's average drop below the 40-50% mark, and progress against university requirements not met, the student will be given a Financial Aid warning until the next disbursement by which time their grades will be expected to have improved and met the required level. If the student achieves the requirements, they will be placed in good standing for financial aid.  If not, the student will be suspended for the purpose of financial aid.

  • Quantitative Criteria: Maximum Course Completion Timeframes (Pace)


Students must progress through their course at a pace which ensures that they will graduate within the maximum timeframe. The maximum timeframe for completion is 150% of the standard, published timeframe for a course. You must also be studying at least half-time in order to be eligible for federal loans. This is explained further below:

Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught student's Pace:

A programme of study must be complete in no more than 150% of the standard, published timeframe for the specified programme. For example:


  • 3 year Undergraduate degree must be completed in no more than 4.5 years
  • 1 year Taught Masters degree must be completed in no more than 1.5 years


A student should maintain a minimum cumulative completion rate of two thirds of the credits attempted to ensure the programme of study will be completed within the maximum time frame allowed.

Credits or courses transferred from another institution will count towards the student's final degree and will be considered in the evaluation of the completion rate standards, but this does not affect the calculation of the grade point average.

Postgraduate Research Students:

A programme of study must be complete in no more than 150% of the standard, published timeframe for the specified programme. This includes time for writing a thesis and viva extension. This time scale includes any previous period of study at other universities for the same programme. For example:


  • 3 year PhD programme must be completed in no more than 4.5 years

Full details of the SAP process and the procedures to be followed if a student fails to meet SAP requirements are outlined in our SAP ​Policy. 

Loan Type

Different loan types and amounts are available depending on the course you applying to.  Further information can be found on the Loan Type page which you can find from the main menu.

Loan Application Process

This is a long process. Your completed FAFSA must be received by 01 September in order for us to be able to process it for payment on the first disbursement date. Any applications made throughout the academic year must be received at least one calendar month before the next disbursement date. Please note however that we cannot guarantee that applications will be processed within these timescales especially if there are outstanding issues with your loan application, so the sooner we receive your FAFSA the smoother the processing will be.

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.

You can find a step-by-step guide to the application process here.

Receiving Your Loan

If you would like to find out more about how and when you will receive your Title IV federal loan disbursements please click here.

Consumer Information Disclosure

The US government requires institutions which offer federal student loans to disclose the following consumer information. ​Our ​​​Consumer Information Disclosure can be found h​ere.

Download our Leave of Absence Policy here (only applicable to PhD students).

Cardiff Metropolitan University does not currently process 1098T Forms for its US students.

For any queries on this please contact

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for a loan?

Please see our Loan Application Process pages for our application steps.

When should I apply for my loan and how long will it take to process?

You can apply for your loan from October 1st each year for the following academic year e.g. 1st October 2023 for the academic year 2024/25.

However, applications will need to be received a minimum of one calendar month before the next disbursement date to receive funds on that disbursement date. This applies to the first disbursement date as well as to any applications made throughout the year. The disbursement dates are normally Scheduled for October, January and May. The exact dates will be confirmed in your Funding Notification Letter.

It is your responsibility to ensure that a complete loan application is submitted in a timely manner, as the timescale for processing will increase if individual queries need investigation first. We cannot guarantee that applications will be approved within the four week timescale if there are outstanding matters relating to the loan(s).

I have completed my FAFSA but I have not heard anything – what should I do?

There are several steps to completing a loan application after completing your FAFSA. As a foreign school, we are not notified when you complete your FAFSA and so therefore have to check periodically on the US systems. Remember, you must complete all of the steps on our Loan Application Process pages in order to notify us that you are applying for a loan.

How do I contact the US loans Administrator at Cardiff Metropolitan University?

If you have not found the information you are looking for, please email the US Federal Team: or call (+44 29 20 416 168). ​(Monday to Friday, between 9am and 4pm, UK time).


Useful contacts

US Department of Education: (202) 377 3168 or (213) 345 2104

Full information about the loan process can be found on the Federal Student Aid website.

Click here for the FAFSA Website.