Federal Aid FAQs
Q. How can I apply for Federal loans?
Please download the following: US Federal Aid Instruction Brochure PDF
Q. 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 Step 1, Page 5-6 of the Federal Aid Instruction Brochure.
Q. 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. 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. Am I dependant or independant undergraduate student?
Please find more details about your dependency status on the Federal Aid Dependency Status Website.
Please also view this video.
Q. 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.” This link will only be visible between April and September every year.
Q. Where can I receive the Instruction Document and Cost of Attendance (COA) Calculator?
Please email email@example.com 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 Brochure 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. 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. 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:
You must contact this office if you wish to study abroad at one of these approved institutions.
Q. Am I eligible for Pell Grants while 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. 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. 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. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Q. 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.
Please make sure that each of your loan disbursements is large enough to cover your accommodation fees for each semester. If not, you will need to arrange to cover the shortfall independently.
Students are also advised to inform the UCD Residence Finance office that they are on U.S. Federal Aid and when each of your disbursements are due. It is important to complete a residence payment plan that aligns with your Federal Aid disbursements.
Q. How will I know if I have borrowed enough to cover my residences costs?
After completing your personalized Cost of Attendance (COA) Calculator, 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 U.S. Regulations.
Q. 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. 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.
Q. 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. 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. 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.
- Re-apply 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.
To some students the maximum loan amount indicated by our Cost of Attendance calculator 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. 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 request the Cost Of Attendance (COA) Calculator by sending an email to email@example.com. The Federal Aid Instruction Brochure 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 should 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 firstname.lastname@example.org to request 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 Semester Award Letter" or "3 Semester Award Letter” tab.
You may also send your COA template to email@example.com 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
Q. 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 10 days before the start of the semester.
Q. When will I hear confirmation that my loans are originated?
Loan origination does not happen until 10 days before the start of semester. 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. 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. 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 U.S. Department of Education, which require equal disbursements each semester you are enrolled to.
Q. 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.
Each disbursement is equal to 50% (for two-semester programmes) or 33% (for three-semester programmes) of net amount you have requested.
Net Amount Defined:
All U.S. Federal Student Aid Loans are subject to an origination fee. This is indicated on your COA calculator. The amount disbursed to you once the origination fees have been deducted is the Net Amount. The amount requested (prior to any origination fees) and the amount which you will need to pay back prior to any accrued interest is the Gross Amount.
Q. How will the loan amount be credited into my bank account?
After the loan has been originated, the UCD Fees office draws down your disbursement and automatically converts it to euros using the USD-EUR exchange rate for the day. The following are then deducted:
- 50% (for two-semester programmes) or 33% (for three-semester programmes) of the Tuition fee (as quoted on your Offer Letter);
- The UCD Accommodation Fee for the semester (only if you have requested that your loans be used to pay for UCD on-campus accommodation).
The remaining euro amount is then transferred into your bank account. This process may take up to a week.
Note: Students are required to open Irish bank account once they arrive in Ireland to accommodate any payments from UCD.
Q. I received an email from Accommodation asking for payment before my loans are disbursed-- do I need to pay now?
If you would like your U.S. Federal Aid loans to be used to pay for your UCD on-campus accommodation, you need to take the following steps:
- Indicate in your UCD application for Federal Aid loans on SISWeb that your loans should be used for pay for on-campus accommodation;
- Ensure that your semester disbursements are large enough to cover both your tuition costs for the semester and your accommodation;
- Ensure that your UCD Residence payment plan includes the dates of each of your Federal Aid disbursements (refer to the 2 Semester or 3 Semester Award Letter on your COA calculator). Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any queries about setting up your on-campus payment plan.
If you do not complete the above steps, you may be liable for paying for your UCD on-campus accommodation independently.
Q. I am going into my second/third/fourth year at UCD and would like to take out loans for my new year. What should I do?
Before requesting new loans, please take the time to check your current loans so that you are aware of your current debt status and can make informed choices for the new year: https://nslds.ed.gov/nslds/nslds_SA/
As a continuing student, you will need to complete a new FAFSA for 2019-2020 (this is necessary at the start of every year that you intend to take loans). Once this is complete and you have received your Student Aid Report, you should complete the following:
- Cost of Attendance calculator (2019-2020 version attached)
- Award Letter (in COA 2019-2020)
- MPNs (https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/launchMpn.action)
You should upload your SAR, Cost of Attendance and MPNs through the U.S. Financial Aid link on SISweb under ‘My Applications’ by 31 July.
Q. I don’t expect that my expenses will change for my next year at UCD. Should I still complete a new COA?
UCD Global updates the COA calculator every year with a new exchange rate and recommended expenses. Because of this, it is necessary that students complete a new COA for each year they intend to take out loans, using the COA template for that year.
Please email email@example.com to get the latest COA template.
Please note: UCD always recommends that students do not borrow the maximum allowance for any given year. Federal Aid borrowers should always request a lower amount to avoid getting into unnecessary debt for their studies.
Q. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help you deferring these loans. Your loan servicer should be able to provide you with this loan deferment documentation.
Q. 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 U.S. 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.