University College Dublin
Ireland's Global University 

Funding for US citizens and residents (Financial Aid)

University College Dublin is approved by the US Department of Education to certify loans under the ‘William D. Ford Direct Loan’ Program. Under this Program, eligible students can obtain Subsidized & Unsubsidized Direct loans and also Direct PLUS loans.  Federally supported loans will be made by the US Department of Education rather than by a private lender/bank.

Students who are not eligible for federal loans may apply for credit-based private loans to help finance their education at UCD. However we advise all students to apply for federal loans before applying for private loans.

Before beginning the application process, please take note that the financial aid process at non-US institutions is very different to those at American colleges and universities. Allow plenty of time for processing of these loans, as the process can take up to 6 weeks and sometimes longer, from start to finish. If an application is not made well in advance of the start of the academic term, money may not be available when the student arrives at UCD. Please bear in mind that US Federal Government regulations for foreign schools differ to those for US schools and that the process we follow is in compliance with those regulations.

Certificates, Diplomas and distance learning programmes are not eligible for US Federal Loans. Students studying these types of programmes, who require financial assistance, must investigate private loans.

Please watch this video for more information on federal aid.


How much can I borrow?

Eligible students can apply for the following loans:

Direct Loans are fixed-rate student loans from the US Department of Education for undergraduate and graduate students attending at least half-time.

Direct Subsidized Loans are federally guaranteed loans based on financial need as determined by the Department of Education. Interest does not accrue on the loan while you are in school at least half time, or during any future deferment periods. The federal government "subsidizes” the interest during these times. 

Direct Unsubsidized Loans are federally guaranteed loans that are not based on financial need. Interest does accrue from the time the loan is disbursed to the school.

Direct PLUS Loans are available from the US Department of Education and is not based on financial need. The parents of an undergraduate dependant student (as defined by the US Department of Education) OR an independent graduate is eligible for this loan if they meet certain credit guidelines and if the loan is certified by the university.

Private loans can be taken out with a bank/lender subject to the applicant’s credit rating and often requiring a co-signor - these are usually at commercial rates.

You can borrow up to the cost of attendance in a combination of Direct, PLUS and/or private loans. The cost of attendance is set annually by UCD.

For information in relation to annual and aggregate limits for subsidized and unsubsidized loans please visit the office of Federal Student Aid’s website.

Additional funding up to the cost of attendance can be met through PLUS or Private loans. 

International schools do not participate in the U.S. Department of Education’s grant programs, so you will not be able to obtain a Federal Pell Grant to get your degree at an international school.

Disbursement of funds

Funds are sent to UCD in two or three instalments over the academic year depending on your course and will coincide with your fee payment dates, please visit the Fees & Grants website for further information.

In general undergraduate, medicine and veterinary students will receive half of the money in September and another half in January. Masters and PhD students will receive their money in thirds, in September, January and May.

Loan funds may only be applied to your account 10 days before the start of the academic semester. 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 with you to cover your first 1-2 months expenses, especially if your loan application was late.

Once funds are deducted for tuition and other university-related fees, the remainder will be given to you by electronic fees transfer (EFT), which can be used for your living expenses. To facilitate this process these payments will be transferred electronically into your designated Irish bank account. Once you set up an Irish bank account, you must enter your bank details into our Student Information System. Please consult your Irish bank to ensure details entered are exactly as required for an electronic transfer into your Irish bank account

Further information with detailed instructions will be sent to the student. 

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.

Private Loans

In addition to your traditional degree programs Private Loans can assist students borrow for programs that are ineligible for federal aid. These types of programs may include, non-degree courses (such as diploma courses), distance learning courses, courses where a period of study involves time in the United States (such as independent research or an internship) where the student is still enrolled at the foreign institution or studying as part of a joint degree with another foreign university.

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.

You may borrow a combination of private and Direct/Plus loans, however your loan amount may not exceed your cost of attendance.

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. Interest rates also vary significantly between lenders. Please bear this in mind when considering taking out a private loan or comparing lenders.

Terms and/or conditions of Title IV loans (Subsidized, Unsubsidized and Plus loans) may be more favourable than private education loans.

The following loan companies have made loans to UCD students in the past:

Deferring your loan repayments

If you are enrolled in a full-time course at UCD, you may be eligible to defer your previous loans.

The University runs enrolment reports every 60 days. This involves updating NSLDS (National Student Loan Data System). Once your status has been updated this is available to your loan servicer. If you are taking out loans with the University this will be done for you automatically without requiring documentation. 

If you are not borrowing loans for your studies, but have previous loans you wish to defer, the first step is to get a deferment form from your lender, complete it and bring it in to the Financial Aid Administrator to verify your enrolment. Please ensure you have the mailing address, fax or e-mail of your lender. If you are receiving loans at UCD, you may still need to fill out deferment forms for your other loans.

VA benefits

Eligible students should 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.

Contact us

Please remember we are here to assist you, if after reading our instruction documentation you still need additional assistance don’t hesitate to contact us using the following:


Address:  UCD International Office, Gerard Manley Hopkins Centre, UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4

If you want to chat conveniently with someone about this application process, please remember you can reach our New York office directly on:

Phone:  +1 646 690-9024
Skype:  UCDublin_NAmerica