This guide provides information on applying for and managing a US private loan as a new or continuing student.
Who can apply?
Most US citizens who are ineligible for US federal loans, or wish to take this option as a source of funding instead of a federal loan. Good credit history is likely to be necessary and a co-signer may be required.
Which loan provider can I use?
The University will work with whichever lender you choose, however, as far as we are aware Sallie Mae is the only US lender willing to lend to students at a foreign school. Therefore the details on the How to apply tab relate to the Sallie Mae application process.
When should I apply for my loan and how long will it take to process?
We begin processing loans for the new academic year in May. It is your responsibility to ensure that a complete loan application is submitted in a timely manner. To receive the first instalment of your loan on the earliest scheduled disbursement date in Michaelmas Term 2020, your complete application must be received by 25th September 2020 in order to be processed in time. If you apply later than this date then you will be scheduled on the next available disbursement date. We are unable to approve a loan application unless you have a confirmed university and (if relevant) college offer.
How much can I borrow?
The amount of private loan you may borrow is determined by the Cost of Attendance (COA) form and what you are approved for by Sallie Mae. Your COA refers to the cost of completing your study at Oxford for one academic year. If you are applying for a combination of US federal and private loans, please complete the federal loan COA on the US federal loans webpage instead.
Please note private student loans do not enable you to borrow additional US loan funds above your cost of attendance even if you borrow a combination of federal and private loans.
The COAs for the 2020-21 academic year are available on the How to apply tab.
Other funding options for US students
We advise that you investigate your eligibility for US federal loans before applying for a US private loan, as they are usually cheaper.
US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) funding
The University is able to process applications for US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) funding (also known as the GI Bill or Post 9/11 Bill) and can complete and submit certificates of enrolment to the VA. Please refer to our US Department of Veterans Affairs funding information.
US private student loan application steps:
Please follow these steps to apply for a private loan for the 2020-21 academic year. A self-certification form for private loans may be of use to students applying for this type of funding.
We will only be able to start processing your loan once we receive your COA and all of the below steps are complete.
Step 1: Make a note of your College Code
Unlike US federal loans, for private loans all courses are under one centralised code and you must select 'University of Oxford' (Code 008394) when completing your application with the loan provider. You must still confirm your actual college (if applicable) on your Oxford’s Cost of Attendance form. If you have not yet received your University and College (if applicable) offer please do not start your loan application.
Step 2: Complete Oxford’s Cost of Attendance (COA) form
Important things to note before completing your COA:
- You cannot save the form and return to it later, so read the form carefully first and make sure you have all of the required information to hand before you start.
- The COA contains a large amount of data, so allow a few seconds for the form to open initially and when submitting.
- The COA covers the current Oxford academic year (October to September) only. You cannot borrow more than the amount in Box A.
- To avoid delays to your loan being processed, upload any supporting evidence you are asked to provide.
To continue please follow the link:
Step 3: Make your application with Sallie Mae (or other chosen lender)
Please make an application with your private loan provider. We would recommend that you complete the COA first to confirm the amount of loan you would be eligible to borrow within the academic year.
Once you have submitted your COA and completed the above steps, we will email you either to confirm that your loan application has been approved, or to clarify any queries regarding your application.
Once certified with your private loan lender, we will send you a letter detailing your loan amount and disbursement information.
Receiving your private loan
Your private loan will be released as one payment and disbursement date details will be provided in your letter from the US loans team. Your college or department will normally deduct a portion for fees and charges and then pay the balance to you for living costs, unless other arrangements have been made. Your loan confirmation letter will inform you whether your college or department will perform these functions.
The disbursement date is the date your funds are released by Sallie Mae, not the date that you will receive any amount for living costs. You should therefore ensure that you have sufficient funds from an alternative source to cover any costs until you receive your first payment. You must be fully enrolled before your funds can be requested from Sallie Mae. If you have not completed your enrolment by the deadline, your loan payment will be postponed to the next scheduled disbursement date. Further information on registration can be found on the Guide to registration webpage.
Although it is standard practice to invoice students for all fees at the beginning of the academic year, your college or department may be able to provide special dispensation if they are aware of your approved private loan and can instead arrange for your fees to be paid in line with your loan payment.
Your funds will be converted to £GBP on receipt and currency conversion costs will apply. Although the COA uses a static exchange rate to calculate costs, the actual amount the University receives may be different as it will depend on the exchange rate on the date the funds are received.
Amend or cancel your loan
Increase your loan
To increase your loan within the limits of your COA, email the US loans team stating the new gross $USD amounts you would like to borrow in the current academic year. We will return an updated version of your COA to you for you to approve. If the increased loan amount on your COA is higher than the amount you have applied to Sallie Mae for, you must also contact Sallie Mae and ask them to increase your loan amount to the new value. Any approved additional funds may have to be processed as a second Sallie Mae loan application, and may be set up as a separate payment.
Decrease your loan
To decrease your loan, email the US loans team stating the new gross $USD amounts you would like to borrow in the current academic year. You must advise the US loans team no later than one week before your disbursement date, otherwise you will be responsible for returning the excess funds to your lender and any costs associated with this.
Cancel your loan
If you wish to cancel your loan application, you must advise the US loans team no later than one week before your disbursement date, otherwise you will be responsible for returning the funds to your lender and any costs associated with this. You must also cancel your loan via the Sallie Mae website.
Changes affecting your loan
You must contact us if any of the below occur or may occur. Contact us immediately and in advance of the change where possible:
- Other funding received: if you are provided with a financial award, such as a scholarship or grant, your COA will be adjusted accordingly. This may change the amounts you are able to borrow.
- Change of course: we will reassess your eligibility and amend your COA, which could change the amounts you are able to borrow.
- Change of mode of study: if you change from full to part-time study, or vice versa, we will amend your COA, which could change the amounts you are able to borrow.
- Change or potential change in enrolment status: you must contact us immediately if you are considering changing enrolment status, so that we can prevent your payment being released if this has not already been done. Please contact us with any questions as we can provide information tailored to your individual circumstances. Any implications on your loan are separate from the University's refund policy, therefore you should also discuss any enrolment change with your college and department.
- Return to study from a suspension: you need to complete a loan application for the year in which you will be returning to study, should you wish to borrow funds for this period. It is advisable to submit your application prior to the term you are due to return, for example in November if you are returning in Hilary term.
How do repayments work and when do they start?
You should check the terms and conditions provided to you by your lender as this varies between loan types. Repayment options tend to be less flexible than with federal loans.
Deferring federal loans
If you have previously borrowed US federal loans and are not taking these in the current academic year, please complete the NSLDS deferment request form if you would like the US loans team to report your enrolment on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). If you are a new student you will be unable to complete this form until you have been provided with your Single Sign On (SSO) account details by Oxford, and you must be showing as fully enrolled on the student system before we can add you to NSLDS.
Federal loan servicers are required by federal law to use NSLDS and enrolment information is sent to them on a weekly basis. NSLDS is also accessed by the US Department of Education to obtain student enrolment information. Your NSLDS record will be updated and checked every two months.
Deferring private loans
If you have previously borrowed a loan through a private lender who does not use NSLDS and would like us to complete a paper form so you can defer these, please email the US loans team with a copy of the required form, ensuring you have first completed any sections to be filled out by the borrower.