There are two types of loans available through the Direct Loan Program.

  • Direct Subsidised Loan (Only applies to Undergraduate students)
  • Direct Unsubsidised Loan
  • Direct Plus Loan

These two loans replace the Stafford Subsidised Loan, Stafford Unsubsidised Loan and GradPlus loan available via the FFELP program.

Please note subject to alterations to Direct Loan from the US Government the Subsidized Loan will not be available for Graduate Students from 1 July 2012. However you could borrow the same amount from the Direct Unsubsidised Loan.

Undergraduate Students can still apply for both Direct Subsidised and Unsubsidised Loan. You’ll have to repay the money with interest. Subsidized loans don’t start accruing (accumulating) interest until you leave school, so accept a subsidized loan before an unsubsidized loan.

Subsidised Loans are where the US Government subsidises interest that accrues on the loan while you are enrolled at least half-time at university. The amount given (subject to maximum rates) depends on the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) on your Student Aid Report (SAR).

Unsubsidised Loans are available to students who do not qualify for subsidised loans or to those that do but require additional funds. With an Unsubsidised loan you are responsible for all the interest that accrues on the loan while you are enrolled at university. The interest on this loan can be paid monthly while you are at university or deferred until after you graduate or stop attending at least half-time.

PLUS Loans (see Graduate or Undergraduate section as appropriate).

Graduate Students

You are a graduate student if you are coming to the RVC after completing a bachelor degree.

You can borrow up to $20,500 annually in Direct Unsubsidised loan.

The total amount of borrowing in Subsidised and Unsubsidised loans, including Direct Loans or FFEL Loans at previous institutions, cannot exceed $138,500 (of which $65,000 can be subsidised. For those who are eligible for subsidised loan).

If the amount you need to borrow exceeds the maximum amount of Subsidised/ Unsubsidised Loan available to you, then there are additional loans available to meet your COA. You could consider the Direct PLUS Loan or a private study loan.”

Direct Plus (for independent graduate students to cover up to the full cost of attendance minus any other aid or funding) - subject to credit rating and can be consolidated after graduation. Graduate PLUS loans begin repayment 30 days after graduation.

Private (subject to credit rating and often requiring a co-signor - these are usually at commercial rates) - Private loans are not subject to multiple disbursements. Private loans can not be consolidated. Interest rates vary by lender. However, the terms of the loan will not be as good as those obtainable through the Direct Loan program.

Undergraduate Students

You are an undergraduate student if you are coming direct from High School.

The table below shows the current borrowing limits for Subsidised and Unsubsidised Loans for undergraduates.


Dependent Undergraduate Student*

Independent Undergraduate Student**

First Year

$5,500 No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

$9,500 No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

Second Year

$6,500 No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

$10,500 No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

Third and Beyond
(each year)

$7,500 No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

$12,500 No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

Maximum Total Debt from Stafford Loans When You Graduate (aggregate loan limits)

$31,000 No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

$57,500 No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

*except students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans
**and dependent students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans

Note: These annual loan limit amounts are the maximum yearly amounts you can borrow in subsidized/ unsubsidized loans. You can have one type of loan or a combination of both.

If the amount you need to borrow exceeds the maximum amount of subsidized /Unsubsidised Loan, then there are additional loans available to meet your COA (Cost of Attendance). You could consider the Direct PLUS Loan or a private study loan.

Direct Plus Parents of dependent students may apply for a Direct PLUS Loan to help pay their child's education expenses as long as certain eligibility requirements are met. Such students cannot apply for PLUS Loans themselves (unlike Graduates).

Assess your Independent/Dependent Status by using the checklist found on the link above.

To be eligible for a Direct PLUS Loan for Parents:

  • The parent borrower must be the student's biological or adoptive parent. In some cases, the student's stepparent may be eligible.
  • The student must be a dependent student who is enrolled at least half-time at a school that participates in the Direct Loan Programm. Generally, a student is considered dependent if he or she is under 24 years of age, has no dependents, and is not married, a veteran, a graduate or professional degree student, or a ward of the court.
  • The parent borrower must not have an adverse credit history (a credit check will be done). If the parent does not pass the credit check, the parent may still receive a loan if someone (such as a relative or friend who is able to pass the credit check) agrees to endorse the loan. The endorser promises to repay the loan if the parent fails to do so. The parent may also still receive a loan if he or she can demonstrate extenuating circumstances.
  • The student and parent must be U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens, must not be in default on any federal education loans or owe an overpayment on a federal education grant, and must meet other general eligibility requirements for the federal student aid programs. For additional information on eligibility requirements, go to the student aid eligibility page.

Private Loans

Students studying on degree programmes, some MSc programmes (as set out here) and study abroad programmes should be eligible for a private loan.

You are advised to compare the terms, charges, and interest rates before taking out a private loan.

Before applying for a US private student loan we also advise that you investigate US Federal Loans, if you are eligible for them. They are often cheaper and most American students are eligible for them. Parents may also want to consider using federal parent loan funds before co-signing a private loan for a student. Students who are unable to take out US federal loans or who do not meet the criteria for a US federal loan can borrow from private lenders in the US.

NB: Students cannot borrow in excess of their cost of attendance. The school’s legal responsibility won’t allow us to certify any loan that exceeds the cost of attendance.

RVC encourages students and families using private loans to apply for one full academic year at a time rather than on a per-term basis. This prevents multiple credits hits on borrower credit report and ensures that a student has a way to cover their costs for a full academic year.

We recommend that students apply for a private loan with a co-signer. A co-signer assumes responsibility for a loan should the borrower fail to repay. Having a co-signer on the loan often results in a lower interest rate and reduced fees.

Unless otherwise requested, Private loans will be disbursed as per Federal loans. Paying the loans in disbursements rather than one payment at the start of the year will reduce the amount of interest the loans accrue.

The Financial Aid Office will certify your private loan application once you have registered, as long as your borrowing does not exceed your cost of attendance.


There are a number of private study loans available for US students to meet the tuition and living cost of attending College.

Some of these are:

This is not a comprehensive list of all the educational loans available to you. You are not required to select one of these lenders. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement or recommendation by Goldsmiths, University of London. If a parent or student has worked with a lender not listed below, and has received excellent benefits and quality service, please recommend this lender to us by emailing Financial Aid Office.

Some Lenders offer Private loans to residents of specific States:

Check with your specific lender regarding their process for certification and disbursement and whether they offer loans to students studying outside of the US.

Student requirements for private educational loans

Self-Certification Form

Student borrowers are now required to complete a self-certification form (supplied by your lender). To help you complete this our cost of attendance can be found here.

Active Acceptance of Loan

Student borrowers are now required to “actively accept” the terms of their loan approval before their school will be notified that school certification is required. The lender’s terms for how to “accept” the loan terms can be found on the private loan approval disclosure form that they will provide to the borrower.  

Right to Cancel

Borrowers and/or co-signers have the right to cancel or rescind a loan offer within 3 business days after receipt of Final Disclosure. During this time, the lender cannot disburse loan funds. This cancellation period cannot be waived in order for funds to disburse more quickly. This may cause a delay in the disbursement of loan funds to your student account. Be sure to apply several weeks before funding is needed.  

Anticipated loans on your bill

Keep in mind when calculating how much to borrow that the gross amount of the loan may be reduced by fees charged by the lender. For loan types other than Parent PLUS or Grad PLUS, if your loan is in "anticipated" status (not yet disbursed) on your bill, the amount indicated is the gross amount. Therefore, the amount you owe may actually be higher than what is reflected on your bill.


The Financial Aid Office suggests that you fully research the loan and lender that best suits your needs. It is a good idea to compare the benefits and costs of several supplemental loans before you apply, as the loan terms can vary. Also remember that it is always in the best interest of students and parents to explore federal student and parent loan options before applying for private loan products.

The following are some questions that you may want to ask your lender or consider when choosing a lender/loan option:

  • Do you charge any fees for disbursement, repayment, deferments?
  • Are the fees deducted from the loan disbursements or added to the total loan amount?
  • Are in school payments required?
  • What is the interest rate?
  • Is the interest rate variable or fixed?
  • When is interest capitalized?
  • Do you offer flexible repayment options?
  • Can I request a deferment or forbearance after I leave school and enter repayment?
  • Do you offer interest rate reductions for auto-debit payments?
  • How much experience do your customer service representatives have?
  • Can I talk to a person, not an automated system?
  • How long is the wait time typically?
  • Can I email an account representative if needed?
  • Is there an online application process and instant approval?
  • Do you have online account access?
  • How long have you been lending loans?
  • Do you have a history of selling loans?
  • What are my options for loan consolidation?

For further information and advice please email Financial Aid Office

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