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Federal student aid

The Direct Loan program eligibility and how to apply

University of Wollongong (UOW) is eligible for and to participate in the US Financial Direct Loan program under the William D. Ford Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program. US citizens and eligible non-citizens can apply to study at UOW under the US Financial Aid Loan scheme. As with all federal student aid, your first step in applying for direct loans is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and a UOW US Financial Aid Application.

Information on your FAFSA is transmitted to UOW as long as you list UOW on the application (our school code is: G30914). Please then follow the instructions below to complete your application.

How to apply

1. Submit your financial aid documentation

Student aid report

The first step in the financial aid process is to complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Information on your FAFSA is transmitted to us as long as you list us on the application (our school code is: G30914), we will then use the information to assess your financial need for student aid.

If you provide all required information and required signatures, your FAFSA will be processed and a Student Aid Report (SAR) will be sent to you. Your SAR will summarize the data reported on your FAFSA. You should check your SAR carefully for accuracy and keep a copy for your records.

If your FAFSA is complete, an EFC will be printed in the upper right hand corner of the SAR. Your EFC is based on all of the information reported on your FAFSA. Your school will use the EFC to award your financial aid. Please note your EFC is not the amount of money your family will have to pay for college nor is it the amount of federal student aid you will receive. It is a number used  to calculate the amount of federal student aid you are eligible to receive. In order to complete your FAFSA, you will need records of income earned in the year prior to when you will start school. You may also need records of your parents’ income information if you are a dependent student.

Master Promissory Notes (MPN)

To take out a Direct Loan, you must complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN). You can complete the MPN online at the StudentLoans.gov website. The MPN is a legal document in which you promise to repay your loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees. MPN also explains the terms and conditions of your loan(s) and includes repayment schedule, interest rate, deferment policy and cancellations.

If you are applying for a Direct PLUS loan as a graduate/professional student, you'll need to complete and sign a PLUS MPN that is separate from the one that you use for your Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans. You are required to complete a new MPN  for every loan renewal. Please keep a copy of the MPN for your own records.

Entrance counselling

Before making the first disbursement of a loan to a Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loan borrower, a school must ensure that the student has received entrance counselling. Similarly, a school must ensure that a graduate or professional student who is borrowing a Direct PLUS Loan has received the PLUS entrance counselling. This counselling is compulsory under Federal Regulations and helps you to understand your responsibilities regarding your loan. You may complete the entrance counselling online at the following site: https://studentloans.gov

UOW US Financial Aid Application Form

UOW is eligible for and participates in the Direct Loan program. In order to apply for Financial Aid at UOW you will need to complete the UOW US Financial Aid Application.

This form will require details about your choice of program, citizenship and loan amounts. You will also be required to declare any ‘Estimated Financial Assistance (EFA)’ that you are going to be receiving towards your study at UOW. EFA includes but is not limited to any scholarships, payments (including sponsorships) other loans, grants, work awarded based on enrolment, and monies given to dual citizens from the Australian government or from any sources for your study at the UOW.

Application checklist

Following is the list of documents, which will be required for your loan application to be finalised and approved for disbursement:

  • Completed FAFSA
  • Student Aid Report (SAR)
  • Completed Entrance Counselling
  • Completed Master Promissory Notes (MPN)
  • Copy of your Offer Letter from UOW
  • Completed UOW US Financial Aid Application
  • Declaration of scholarships and/or bursaries

2. Award letter and cost of attendance

UOW determines your Cost of Attendance (COA), which will determine the amount that you will be eligible to apply for. This amount covers tuition fees, books, course related costs, overseas health cover, transportation & living costs.

In your COA, we will take into consideration all aid that you will receive outside of the Direct Loan Program such as other loans, grants, scholarships, work awarded based on enrolment, and monies given to dual citizens from the Australian government. Please ensure you let us know if any of these are applicable to you and have not been included in your COA.

We will notify you of the loan amounts that you are eligible to apply for, this will be done in an award letter. This letter lists all of your proposed financial aid awards commonly referred to as your award package. You should evaluate the aid offer carefully, keep in mind that whatever amount you borrow must be paid back with interest. You have the right to decline the loan or to request a lower loan amount. In the award letter we will tell you how to do this.

Once you are satisfied with your award package you will need to return to us a signed copy of your COA along with the signed declaration letter confirming that all the details you have provided are correct.

3. Loan origination and disbursement

Upon receipt of your signed Award Letter accepting, the US Financial Aid Officer will organise your loan. Under US Federal Policy, University of Wollongong can’t provide you with the funds until start of session. The balance after paying your tuition fees is refunded to you for living expenses via your nominated bank account. In general, you receive two equal disbursements coinciding with the beginning of each semester.

We recommend that you ensure you have sufficient funds to support yourself during the first four to six weeks in Wollongong, along with the initial costs of setting up accommodation.

Please note that disbursement dates that are noted on your Award Letter are the dates the funds are released. Disbursement dates will coincide with the start of session dates. Following the payment of your tuition fees, the remaining funds will be refunded to you.

Eligibility for direct loans

To be eligible for the US Department of Education's Direct Loan Program loans, you need to be:

  • an eligible US citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • not in default or owing a return repayment on a federal student loan
  • enrolled in a full degree program (graduate diplomas and graduate certificate programs do not qualify for Direct Stafford and PLUS Loans). All nursing and medical school degrees, all graduate certificates and graduate diplomas are not eligible

While you are enrolled, to remain eligible, you need to:

  • be enrolled at least half time in a degree program
  • make satisfactory academic progress
  • be on track to complete your degree within 150 percent of the allocated course timeframe (maximum timeframe)
  • not enrol in courses offered by online, telecommunication or distance delivery in whole or part.

Student responsibilities

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

All students receiving US Federal Aid (Subsidised, Unsubsidised and PLUS) at the University of Wollongong must maintain satisfactory academic progress in order to maintain their US Financial Aid status.

University of Wollongong is required by US Federal Law (34CFR 668.16) to define and enforce standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for students receiving US Federal Funding.

The guidelines have been established to encourage students to successfully complete academic programs for which US Federal Financial Aid is received and to be competitive in the US work place when they graduate.

Students receiving financial aid will be evaluated at the end of each semester. Please refer to the Course Progress Policy Appendix 2 – Satisfactory Academic Progress For Students Receiving US Financial Aid

For a research student, the progress is assessed through the academic progress milestones and they must be able to demonstrate that they will be able to complete their program within 150% of the normal program duration.

Students must demonstrate that they will be able to complete their PhD within six years of commencement, or complete a Master by Research degree within three years of commencement

Return of Financial Aid

If you withdraw from your program, drop out, are discontinued, or go on unapproved leave of absence in the first 60% of an award payment period, both you and the University will have to repay a portion of the US Federal Aid.

The amount that must be repaid is worked out pro rata based on your withdrawal date.

If you wish to withdraw completely from your program, you should first discuss your decision with US Financial Officer so that you understand the University's refund policy and the implications for your visa of withdrawing.

If you decide to proceed with your withdrawal, the date you informed the University in writing will be your withdrawal date for the purpose of calculating loan refunds.

If you do not provide official notification of your withdrawal, the University must make a decision on the withdrawal date to calculate the return of funds.

If notice was not provided because of circumstances beyond your control, the withdrawal date will be the date on which that circumstance occurred. For other reasons, the withdrawal date will be the midpoint of the payment period.
Please note: The University's Refund Policy is independent of the regulations covering the return of Title IV funds.

On withdrawal, your eligibility for refunds or liability for tuition and other payments to the University of Wollongong is determined by the Refund Policy Appendix 1 –Return of Title IV Funds for Students Receiving US Financial Aid.

Re-Applying for aid

Your Cost of Attendance and award packages are worked out annually, this means that you are required to apply for Financial Aid every year. If you are due to continue in your program and have been receiving aid we will contact you via email to remind you to re-apply and advise you of the process. You will also be required to complete a new MPN every year as they do not roll across award years at foreign institutions.

Contact us

Email: financial-aid@uow.edu.au
Phone: +61 2 4252 8959
Mail: US Financial Aid Officer
University of Wollongong
Student Services Division Building 36
Northfields Avenue
Wollongong NSW 2522