Private loans | University of Oxford
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Private loans

If you are ineligible for US federal loans, you may be able to use a US private student loan to support your studies.

We advise that you investigate US federal loans before applying for a US private student loan, as they are often cheaper and most US students are eligible for them. Private student loans do not enable you to borrow more than federal loans.

The University will work with whichever lender you choose, however Sallie Mae is the only US lender we are aware of that is willing to lend to students at a foreign school, therefore the details on this page relate to the Sallie Mae application process.

Who can apply?

Most US citizens enrolled on courses the lender considers eligible. Good credit history is likely to be necessary and a co-signer may be required.

How much can I borrow?

The total amount remaining after all other funding has been deducted from your Cost of Attendance (COA) form. The amount you can borrow must be approved by both Sallie Mae and the University.

What are the interest rates and fees?

Variable depending on your lender and credit rating. Typically higher than federal loan rates.

How to repayments work and when do they start?

Variable. You should check the terms and conditions provided to you by your lender. Repayment options tend to be less flexible than with federal loans. 

How to apply for a private loan

self-certification form for private loans may be of use to students applying for this type of funding.

There are two main steps you must complete in order to apply for a private loan. Once you have completed these, we will email you with confirmation of your loan amount and payment dates, or to request further information.

Your complete application must be received by 27 September 2019 in order for it to be processed for the first scheduled payment date (18 October). Any applications made after this date are likely to be paid on a later date.

Step 1 - Complete Oxford’s Cost of Attendance (COA) form

Complete the Private COA form:

Important things to note before completing your COA:

  • You cannot save the form and return to it later, so read through the form 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.

If you are applying for a combination of federal and private US loans, please complete the federal loan COA on the US federal loans webpage instead.

Step 2 - Make your application with Sallie Mae (or other chosen lender)

Do not apply to your lender prior to the COA for that academic year becoming available. If you make your application early and your financial information subsequently changes, this may have an effect on the processing of your loan. 

You must use the correct school name on your application. This is your Oxford college unless your course is listed below, in which case you must select 'University of Oxford' (Code 008394). Using the incorrect code will delay your loan being processed.

  • Advanced Diploma in British and European Studies
  • Certificate in Higher Education
  • Diploma in Global Business
  • Diploma in Strategy and Innovation
  • Executive MBA
  • MSc Evidence-Based Health Care
  • MSc Sustainable Urban Development
  • MSt International Human Rights Law
  • PG Diploma in Financial Strategy
  • PG Diploma in Organisational Leadership
  • Software Engineering
  • Software and Systems Security
  • Summer schools

Receiving your private loan

Your private loan will be released as one payment and details will be provided in your award letter from the US loans team.

Your college/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 award letter will confirm whether it is your college or department who will perform these functions.

The payment 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.

Although it is standard practice to invoice students for all fees at the beginning of the academic year, your college/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.

Exchange rate

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, 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 amount 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. 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 payment 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 payment 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 your COA will be adjusted accordingly. This may the change the amounts you are able to borrow.
  • Change of college: your loan will be transferred to new records on Oxford and Sallie Mae systems, if payment has not already been released. We will be unable to release funds unless your record is against the correct college.
  • 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.

Deferring your 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 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 us with a copy of the required form, ensuring you have first completed any sections to be filled out by the borrower.

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