University College Dublin
Ireland's Global University 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here you will find answers to few most common questions about federal aid.

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General Questions

Q.1 How can I apply for Federal loans?
Please visit our website section : Federal aid Application

Q.2 I have completed and submitted my Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) application, What is my next step?
You should now start your entrance counselling. Please visit our website section: How to apply?

Q.3 How long will it take for my loan to originate?
This process can take several weeks (4-6 weeks). It also could take a student longer due to incorrect information or incorrect submission of documents. It is the student's and parent's (where applicable) responsibility to make sure the application and the relevant documents are accurate.

Q.4 I am a continuing student and I wish to avail financial aid each year. Do I have to apply for it each year?
Yes, you have to apply for loans every year. Please visit our Federal Aid Webpage for more information on required documents as a continuing student. 

Q.6 Am I dependant or independant undergraduate student?
Please find more details about your dependency status on the Federal Aid Dependency Status Website.

You could also have a look at the following video:

Q.7 Where can I find the UCD application for Financial Aid?
Our UCD application for federal aid can be found online. Once you have started the application you can log into your SISweb account at anytime and click on “My Applications” to see this application. You will see “US Financial Aid Application.”

Q.8 Where can I receive the Instruction Document and Cost of Attendance (COA) template?
Please email federalaid@ucd.ie to request a copy of these documents. The COA template is used to determine the amount of loans you are eligible for and how much you wish to take out. The Instruction Document includes step-by-step directions with screenshots of how to apply for federal aid. This document is also going to be made available on SIS for students who have an offer to study at UCD.

Q.9 Where do I find my offer letter?
Your offer letter can be found by logging into SISweb and clicking on your course application. You can download your offer letter as a PDF.

Q.10 My program includes a mandatory study abroad segment; can I use my federal loans when I study abroad?
In order to be eligible for US Financial Aid, you will need to be in attendance at least half time on University grounds and not studying abroad or on exchange at a US institution or another foreign institution that is not eligible for US Federal Student Loans for this coming academic year.

The Department of Education advertises all eligible Foreign Schools on the following website:
https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/prepare-for-college/choosing-schools/types/international

You must contact this office if you wish to study abroad at one of these approved institutions.

Q.11 Am I eligible for Pell Grants whilst at UCD?
No, you cannot use Pell Grants at UCD. No foreign school is eligible to process Pell Grants. This is not a UCD policy. For more information see: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/prepare-for-college/choosing-schools/types/international

 
Q.12 I intend completing an online program at UCD. Am I eligible for Federal Loans?
No, online, or distance-learning programs, are not eligible for Federal Loans. Certificates and Diplomas are also not eligible. Students studying these types of programmes who require financial assistance must investigate private loans.

Q.13 What is the difference between subsidized, unsubsidized, and PLUS loans?
We advise that all students research the different types of loans before deciding what to borrow. The details, including interest rate differences, repayment schedules, and more can be found at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans.

Q.14 Does UCD accept the post-9/11 GI Bill funding?
Yes, UCD accepts post-9/11 GI Bill Funding. If you are interested in using this or VA Benefits please first visit the US Department of Veterans Affairs website and apply for benefits. UCD will need to confirm your attendance before your benefits will be released. This confirmation is sent via VAF 22-1999 form. You may email federalaid@ucd.ie for more details.

Q.15 I received an email from Accommodation asking for payment before my loans are disbursed-- do I need to pay now?
While filling out the US Financial Aid application on our UCD systems, you will have the option to approve the deduction necessary to cover on campus accommodation costs. If you have selected this option, your name has been given to the Accommodation Office as a student who is using loans to pay for housing. You will have no problem moving into your room when you arrive on campus. And once your loan funds arrive into your student account, the transfer will be made automatically on your behalf. 

 Q.16 How will I know if I have borrowed enough to cover my residences costs? 
After completing your personalized Cost of Attendance Document, you can check if you have requested enough funds to cover our on campus residences using the dedicated Accommodation sheet.

Note on Exchange Rate:  The exchange rate is set by our Federal Aid Office and selecting the worst possible rate and incrementing it by the worst possible commission. This is sufficient to enable loans to be calculated and originated. Should the rate change unfavourably once the course has started, then the whole Cost of Attendance can be reviewed again. Otherwise the rate will not be re-assessed until after the end of the registration period. When loan funds arrive from the United States, they receive the exchange rate on the day the bank transfer was facilitated. This means the loan funds can vary during each individual disbursement. This is as per US Regulations.

Student Aid Report (SAR)

Q.1 I do not have UCD listed in my Student Aid Report (SAR). How can I change this?
Please ensure that you add UCD to one of the schools you are planning to attend. UCD School code: G10188.

Q.2 How can I access my SAR?
Once you go to www.fafsa.ed.gov, and fill out your FAFSA, you will be emailed a copy of your Student Aid Report, or SAR. Typically, you will be able to access your SAR within two weeks of filing your FAFSA. You will need this SAR to determine which loans you are eligible for and fill out your Cost of Attendance template.

You can also access a PDF of your SAR by logging into your FAFSA account with your Federal Student Aid Pin, then selecting either the PDF version of the SAR from the “My FAFSA” page.

Entrance counselling and Master Promissory Note (MPN)

Q.1  Where do I complete Entrance Counselling?
Entrance Counselling can be completed online at www.studentloans.gov. You will receive email confirmation that it is complete. This will be required as part of your UCD financial aid application on our system.

Q.2 How do I get a PDF of my Master Promissory Note (MPN)?
Please go to www.studentloans.gov to complete your MPN. We will need an MPN for each type of loan you are borrowing (i.e. Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans and/or PLUS loans).

Once you have completed and signed the MPN, please download a PDF copy. This is required for your federal loan application at UCD.

 Q.3 I was denied for a PLUS loan; what can I do?
 
- Appeal your credit decision with the U.S. Department of Education if you believe that there was an error on your credit report.
 
- Reapply with an endorser (co-signer) at www.studentloans.gov
 
-(If you are an Undergraduate) You may provide documents demonstrating you have failed to receive a Plus Loan, allowing the Financial Aid Office to change your status from a dependent student to an independent student for loan purposes. If you are a dependent student whose parents are ineligible for a Direct PLUS Loan, you may be able to receive additional Direct Unsubsidized Loan funds. However, you will be unable to borrow a plus loan. See the following: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/subsidized-unsubsidized#how-much
 
-Investigate Private Loans.  Applications are made directly to the lender in the USA for private loans. If you are applying for private loans, please contact us to let us know you will be applying for a loan. Some loan companies will not lend money to students studying outside the US. Some companies require co-signers for students attending programmes outside the US. Terms and/or conditions of Title IV loans (Subsidized, Unsubsidized and Plus loans) may be more favourable than private education loans. Sallie Mae is one loan company that has provided loans to UCD students in the past.

Cost of attendance (COA)

To some students the Cost of Attendance seems very generous; we take into account all possible additional costs a student may need to incur. It is NOT what we see the typical student spending, nor do we recommend that students/families take out the maximum allowance for FAFSA or other loan programs. Through careful budgeting one can reduce the amount of money needed during the academic year - and is always encouraged.

Q.1 What is Cost of Attendance?

A student’s cost of attendance (COA) is the maximum amount they are eligible borrow. Every student who wishes to receive federal loans at UCD is provided with a personalized cost of attendance.  As part of your application for Financial Aid we request students check the step by step process. You can also request for an Instruction Document by sending an email to federalaid@ucd.ie. This documents guides you in detail about each steps of the process.

Q.2 What is the maximum amount I could borrow?
Once you enter all the required details in our Cost of Attendance (COA), you would be able to see the maximum loan you are eligible to borrow.

Note:
You could always request to borrow an amount lower than your maximum loan amount.

Q.3 What exchange rate is used for calculating the cost of attendance amount?
The exchange rate is mentioned at the top right corner of the COA. If you do not have a COA, email federalaid@ucd.ie requesting one.

Q.4 How is the exchange rate calculated?
The exchange rate is set by our Federal Aid Office and selecting the worst possible rate and incrementing it by the worst possible commission. This is sufficient to enable loans to be calculated and originated. Should the rate change unfavourably once the course has started, then the whole Cost of Attendance can be reviewed again. Otherwise the rate will not be re-assessed until after the end of the registration period. When loan funds arrive from the United States, they receive the exchange rate on the day the bank transfer was facilitated. This means the loan funds can vary during each individual disbursement.

Q.5 How do I save my COA template as a PDF?
You must upload the COA template as a PDF file, as our system cannot read .xlsm files. Please go under “File,” “Export,” and then “Save as PDF.” You will need to save the tab called “Cost of Attendance” and the “2" or "3 Semester Award Letter” tab.

You may also send your COA template to federalaid@ucd.ie if you are unable to save as a PDF.

Q.6 Where can I find my program’s tuition fees?
Tuition fees should be listed on your offer letter. You can also find current program fees online at http://www.ucd.ie/students/fees/noneucourse_fees.html.

Q.7 How is the loan fee calculated?
Most federal student loans have loan fees that are a percentage of the total loan amount. The loan fee is deducted proportionately from each loan disbursement you receive. This means the money you receive will be less than the amount you actually borrow. You're responsible for repaying the entire amount you borrowed and not just the amount you received.

For information in relation to loan fee percentages, please see the following webpage: https://studentaid.ed.gov/types/loans/interest-rates

Loan Origination and Disbursement

Q.1 How can I check the status of my loan application?
Please log into your SISweb account and check for the following statuses:

Application Submitted, Awaiting Review- This means your application has been successfully submitted, but that it has not yet been reviewed by UCD staff.

Application Reviewed – Loan Origination Pending- This status means a UCD staff member has reviewed your application, and it has been confirmed as correct.

Loan Originated- Your loans have been originated, and are ready for disbursement on the designated date. See your COA for expected disbursement dates.

Note: Loan Origination does not happen until the summer months.

Q.2 When will I hear confirmation that my loans are originated?
Loan origination does not happen until late summer. You will receive an email when this process has begun, which will explain the next steps to get the loan money successfully into your bank account.

You should refer back to the Instruction Document for information about disbursements and reasonable wait times for loan money. You will not have immediate access to your loan funds when you arrive in Ireland - you will need to prepare for this by bringing sufficient money, especially if your loan application was late. While we try our best to make the loan process as smooth as possible, sometimes delays and problems occur that are out of our control.

Q.3 When does loan disbursement happen?
Loan disbursement usually happens about a week before fee payments are due. The expected date for each disbursement is listed on the on the Award Letter (see either the 2 or 3 semester award letter part depending on how many semesters you are registered to).

Q.4 Would it be possible to receive the entire loan amount in a single disbursement at the start of the year?
No this is not possible. We must abide by the rules set up by the US Department of Education, this requires equal disbursements each semester you are enrolled to.

Q.5 What is the amount I would receive in each disbursement?
The amounts for each disbursement is mentioned on the Award Letter Tab of your COA. For this to be accurate, you would need to fill the COA accurately.

Q.6 Would the loan amount be credited into my bank account?
After the loan has been originated and we receive the amount, we deduct the for any deductibles mentioned on the COA. The remaining amount as requested on the COA would be transferred into your bank account. 

Note: We advise students create an Irish bank account once they arrive in Ireland to accommodate this electronic funds transfer.

Q.7 I received an email from Accommodation asking for payment before my loans are disbursed-- do I need to pay now?
While filling out the US Financial Aid application on our UCD systems, you will have the option to approve the deduction necessary to cover on campus accommodation costs. If you have selected this option, your name has been given to the Accommodation Office as a student who is using loans to pay for housing. You will have no problem moving into your room when you arrive on campus. And once your loan funds arrive into your student account, the transfer will be made.

Loan Deferment and Repayment

Q.1 How can I defer my loans?
If you have a previous Federal Loan which you took out before starting your course at UCD, and you are borrowing whilst at UCD, this loan will be deferred automatically on the National Student Loan Database (NSLDS). 

If you do not intend borrowing at UCD, but have previous loans, please email your loan deferment documentation to federalaid@ucd.ie and we can help you deferring these loans. Your loan servicer should be able to provide you with this loan deferment documentation. 

Q.2 How do I repay these loans?
While taking Federal Loans, it is important to understand that you are obliged to repay these loans back to the US government. For more information please look into the Federal Aid Repayment Website.

You can also look into the videos given below-

It is mandatory requirement by the US Department of Education for students to complete their Entrance Counselling before starting their course and Exit Counselling at the end of your course. These counselling sessions will guide you on repayment.

If you have any changes in your personal details such as Name, Phone Number, Address, Enrolment Status, please update your loan service provider. Your loan service provider should also be updated with any problems you face to repay your loans.