How to apply | University of Oxford
SJC Library
Studying in the library at St John's College
(Image Credit: Mimi Zou / Graduate Photography Competition)

How to apply

Federal loans application process

To apply for a loan for the current academic year (2016-17), please follow the six step application process outlined below. If you are a new student, please only start the application process once you have had an offer from your department and an offer from a college.

Most students want their loan application to be approved before their college's Financial Declaration deadline. If this applies to you, please ensure that you complete the application process in plenty of time. The loan approval process can take up to four weeks during peak processing periods (June to October) or longer if there are difficulties with your application. It is your responsibility to ensure that you submit a complete loan application in good time to meet any deadlines.

For an overview of how to apply for US loans, please view our video guide.

Links to the websites you will need in order to complete steps 1–4 below are listed in Related websites on this page.

Six step guide to applying for a US federal student loan:

Step 1 – Complete your FAFSA

You need to have completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine your eligibility for federal loans. If you are a continuing loan student, you should have completed a renewal FAFSA.

Ensure you have used the correct school code for your college on your FAFSA (see Related documents on this page for a list of Oxford college school codes). 

If you have not yet been allocated a college place, please do not complete your FAFSA yet.

Step 2 – Complete your PLUS loan request (if applicable)

If you are intending to apply for a PLUS loan (or your parent will be applying for a Parent PLUS loan), you (or your parent) will need to complete a PLUS loan request on StudentLoans.gov.

Use the school code for your college on the PLUS loan request (see Related documents on this page for a list of Oxford college school codes).  

The US Department of Education may also request some applicants complete an online PLUS loan counselling module.

Step 3 – Complete your Master Promissory Note(s) (MPNs)

Undergraduates:  Complete an MPN for the Subsidised and Unsubsidised loans and, if applicable, your parent should complete a separate MPN for the Parent PLUS loan.

Graduates: Complete up to two MPNs: one for the Unsubsidised loan and one for the Grad PLUS loan.

MPNs are completed on StudentLoans.gov. Use the school code for your college (see Related documents on this page for a list of Oxford college school codes).

As we are a foreign school, new MPNs must be completed for each year of study. Please complete an MPN for each type of loan you are taking.

Once approved by the system we will be able to view MPNs, so you do not need to send copies to us.

Step 4 – Complete entrance counselling

You must complete entrance counselling if you are a federal Direct Loan first-time borrower who has not yet completed entrance counselling for a specific loan type (Unsubsidised/Subsidised loans, or PLUS loans). If you have completed entrance counselling in a previous year of study for a specific loan type at any institution, you do not need to complete this step.  

Complete entrance counselling on StudentLoans.gov. Use the school code for your college (see Related documents on this page for a list of Oxford college school codes).

Step 5 – Complete Oxford’s Cost of attendance (COA) worksheet

Graduates: Download and complete the Graduate COA worksheet (see Related documents on this page). 

Undergraduates: Download and complete either the Undergraduate Dependent COA worksheet or Undergraduate Independent COA worksheet (see Related documents on this page). You can confirm whether you are a 'dependent' or 'independent' undergraduate student by consulting the Student Aid Report (SAR) generated by your FAFSA application (see the Loan types page for more information). 

Step 6 – Submit your loan application to Oxford (includes submission deadlines)

Once you have completed steps 1–5, please email the US loans team with your completed COA worksheet (in Excel format only).  We will only be able to start processing your loan once we receive your email and all of the above steps are complete.

Submission deadlines: Your complete application must be received by 16 September 2016 in order for it to be processed for payment on the first disbursement date. Applications made throughout the year must be received a minimum of one calendar month before the next disbursement date in order for us to process your application in time for that disbursement. We cannot guarantee that applications will be approved within these timescales if there are outstanding issues with your loan.

What next?

We will email you to either confirm that your loan application has been approved, or to clarify any queries regarding your application. 

Once approved on US systems, we will send you an award letter which will detail your loan amounts and disbursement information. The wording and format of the letter has been agreed with UK Visas and Immigration as acceptable proof of funding for visa applications.

For information on how and when loan funds are disbursed, see the Receiving your loan page.

Private loans application process

If you are interested in applying for a private US student loan, please see the Private loans page.