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Federal Loans eligibility

Covid-19 Update

Current situation:

As a student in receipt of US Federal loans you may be concerned about the impact of Covid-19 on your continued eligibility for funding, given that normally both online learning and studying in the US are prohibited for students at foreign schools.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act has increased the duration for which the Secretary may permit an otherwise eligible program to be offered by distance education. While previously the CARES Act permitted otherwise eligible programs to be offered via distance education for the duration of the qualifying emergency and the following payment period, the amendments now use a “covered period”. The “covered period” ends on whichever is later of June 30, 2022 or the June 30 following the end of the emergency as declared by the country in which the foreign school is located.

Information provided by the US Government about your US loans and Covid-19 can be found on

If you are a US citizen or permanent resident of the United States, you are eligible to apply for funding under the US Government William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program (Title IV Direct Loans).

Students studying in the UK are not eligible for Perkins Loans or Pell Grants.

You must meet the criteria set by the US Department of Education in order to be eligible for US Federal Loans. The eligibility criteria are subject to change at the US Department of Education's discretion and are beyond the University's control. You should check the latest eligibility criteria on the Federal Student Aid website.

In addition to the criteria specified on the Federal Student Aid website, you must:

  • be accepted for an eligible full-time degree programme
  • remain continuously enrolled and resident in the UK on the specified degree programme for the whole duration of the course
  • be taking the required credit load for the full-time undergraduate or postgraduate programme.

If your enrolment/residency status, including any placement, changes at any time, you must inform the Federal Aid Administrator immediately.

Ineligible courses

Most of our undergraduate and postgraduate courses are eligible for Federal funding however, there are exceptions; please see the list of courses that are not eligible below:

  • CPD courses
  • Midwifery
  • Nursing (all branches)
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Operating Department Practice
  • Paramedic Science
  • Physician Associate Studies
  • Physiotherapy
  • Social Work
  • Any Foundation degree
  • Any Postgraduate Certificate course (PGCert)
  • Any Postgraduate Diploma course (PGDip)
  • Any Distance Learning course - Please see above for Covid-19 exemptions until June 2022
  • Courses which are less than half time.

Please be aware that this is not an exhaustive list and subject to regulation change. The US Federal Loans team will assess whether your course is eligible when you submit your loan application.

If you are not eligible for the US Direct Loan Program, you may still be eligible for a private education loan.

Courses with a work placement

You are eligible for Federal Stafford Loans/Direct Loans funding for the duration of any official work placement.

Important: If your placement is in the US, you will NOT be eligible for funding for the whole course.

Courses with a study exchange

Some courses have the option of studying a semester at an overseas institution as a study exchange. You are only eligible for Federal Stafford Loans/Direct Loans if the institution overseas is registered to administer Federal Stafford Loans/Direct Loans.

Important: New regulations from the US Department of Education now allows students receiving US loans to take up to 25 percent of their programme of study in the United States or at institutions outside the US that are not themselves participating in the US Direct Loan Program without losing eligibility for US Direct Loans. This regulation will come into place for the 2021/22 academic year for students coming to BU.

However, you should ask us for advice if any part of your course has a placement or period away from the University, so we can check to ensure that your eligibility for Title IV Direct Loans will not be affected. You should also keep us informed of any changes you make during your studies at BU.

You can also contact our Global Engagement team for further advice.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

In order to remain eligible for Federal Aid you need to be making Satisfactory Academic Progress by being in attendance, and passing assignments and exams. If you fail to meet SAP, you will become ineligible for US Federal Loans. For further information, please see the BU SAP policy.

Entrance and exit counseling

If you borrow under the US Government William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, you MUST complete Entrance Counseling before we can fully set up your loan request.

You are also required under US law to complete Exit Counseling shortly before graduating or otherwise leaving school.

Both Entrance and Exit Counseling can be completed at

Further information

You can find more information about Federal Loans, including how they are repaid, on our frequently asked questions page.

The US Department of Education has produced some helpful video guides about the types of loans that are available including eligibility, guidance on responsible borrowing and repayments, along with their own Facebook page.

Before you apply for a loan, you should think about whether you can afford to make the repayments. StudentAid has a repayment estimator to help you plan your education loans and repayment options.

You can find out about estimated salaries by occupation in the USA from the US Department of Labour.