Eligibility

Student eligibility

Students must meet the eligibility criteria set by the U.S. Department of Education to qualify for federal student aid. The eligibility criteria can be found on the Federal Student Aid website. The FAFSA application will determine your eligibility. 

In addition students must meet the following School specific criteria:

U.S. Federal Loans are generally available to eligible students who have received an unconditional offer to study at Queen’s; will be studying at least half-time and are not in default on a previous loan or exceeding federal loan limits.

To maintain eligibility throughout the year, students must be making satisfactory academic progress; cannot take more than 150% of the normal time to complete a programme (approved leave of absence will not be considered in the calculation) and cannot study in the U.S. 

If you withdraw or drop below half-time enrolment you must email the U.S federal loan administrator immediately.

Study Abroad

Periods of study abroad cannot exceed 25% of the normal length of a programme. The study abroad School must also be approved by the U.S. Department of Education and cannot be located in the U.S. A list of approved schools can be found here.  

 

Ineligible and eligible courses

Eligible Courses:

  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Masters or PhD programmes

 Ineligible Courses: 

  • Non-degree programmes e.g. leading to a diploma or certificate
  • Medicine
  • Nursing and Midwifery
  • Programmes taught within colleges associated or affiliated with QUB
  • A programme offered in whole or in part by distance learning

 

Students who have chosen to study an ineligible course may wish to consider a U.S. private loan.  

Loan types

There are three types of Direct Loans available at Queen's:

  • Direct Subsidised Loans-available to undergraduates only
  • Direct Unsubsidised Loans-available to undergraduate and graduate students
  • Direct PLUS Loans-available to graduate students or the parents of dependent undergraduates

Further information can be found on the Federal Student Aid website.

How much can I borrow?

Annual and aggregate limits for subsidised and unsubsidised loans

  Dependent Students  Independent Students (and dependent students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans)
First Year Undergraduate $5,500 in total—No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidised loans. $9,500 in total—No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidised loans.
Second-Year  Undergraduate $6,500 in total—No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidised loans. $10,500 in total—No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidised loans.
Third-Year Undergraduate  $7,500 in total—No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidised loans. $12,500 in total—No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidised loans.
Graduate or Professional Students  N/A $20,500 unsubsidised loans only
Subsidised and Unsubsidised Aggregate Loan Limit Dependent Undergraduate Students $31,000 in total—No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidised loans. Independent Undergraduate Students $57,500 in total —No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidised loans.
Graduate or Professional Students $138,500 in total —No more than $65,500 of this amount may be in subsidised loans. This includes loans received for undergraduate study.

Direct PLUS Loan for graduate students  

PLUS Loans are normally available to make up the difference between the unsubsidised loan amount and the full cost of attendance of your programme, minus any scholarships. 

If you wish to apply for a PLUS Loan, you need to complete the PLUS Request Process on the U.S. Department of Education website. Interest rates and repayment terms can also be found there.  The request process involves a credit check and depending on the results of your credit check you may need an endorser. 

Direct PLUS Loan for parents of undergraduate dependant students 

Parents of dependent undergraduate students can take out a Parent PLUS loan to make up the difference between the subsidised and unsubsidised loan and the full cost of attendance of your programme, minus any scholarships.

If your parent wishes to apply for a PLUS Loan, they need to complete the PLUS request process on the U.S. Department of Education website.  Interest rates and repayment terms can also be found there.  The request process normally involves a credit check. Repayments start at the beginning of the loan period.

 

Satisfactory academic progress (SAP)

The University is required to establish a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy in accordance with U.S. Department of Education regulations. Student eligibility for U.S. Federal Loans is dependent on meeting SAP standards. Student progress is reviewed at the end of each payment period to ensure students are making adequate progress towards completing their degree programmes. The University does not have the right to waive the SAP requirement for any student and it is separate from the academic requirements to remain on the course.


A student is making satisfactory academic progress when they are meeting both quantitative and qualitative standards. In addition, students must be enrolled at least part-time and studying outside the USA.

Full details can be found in the SAP policy here

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How to Apply