US Government Federal Student Aid

Financial Aid (FAFSA)  content

Financial Aid (FAFSA) 

Student loans are provided by the US Government to eligible students on eligible programmes of study. We are a participating institution in the Federal Direct Loan Programme (Title IV) for the purpose of administering these loans.

Please note, the FSA does not fund online study at foreign institutions so only on-campus courses are eligible.

The University of the Highlands and Islands Schools code is 042307

US Department of Education Title IV regulations content

US Department of Education Title IV regulations

For full information on your rights and responsibilities in respect of Title IV lending, please refer to the Federal Student Aid Website. Note: this site is not connected with UHI, please ensure you ready the US Department of Education's Privacy Policy.

Loan eligibility content

Loan eligibility

Loan eligibility

To be eligible for Federal Direct Loans, you must:

  • be a US citizen or eligible non-citizen with a valid Social Security number
  • be a student enrolled or accepted for enrolment on an eligible on-campus only programme at an eligible institution and have a high school diploma
  • complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) annually
  • not be convicted of possessing or selling illegal drugs while receiving financial aid
  • if male and age of 18 - 25, must be registered for Selective Service
  • not be in default on an educational loan and must not owe a repayment on an adjusted federal grant*
  • comply with the university's satisfactory academic progress (SAP) policy

*Please note that you will be ineligible for loans if you have defaulted on previous years' federal loan repayments. Defaults are reported on the FAFSA application, and no new loans can be certified until an arrangement to pay arrears has been made with the Loan Servicer. The University of the Highlands and Islands will require documentary evidence that the Loan Servicer now considers your loans are in good standing.

Ineligible programmes

This is not an exhaustive list of ineligible programmes. If you have any concerns regarding the eligibility of your intended course, please contact

  • Distance Learning (fully online courses)
  • Diploma and Certificate Programmes
  • Bachelor of Nursing
  • Bachelor of Dental Surgery
  • Any programme that is taught or part taught with another institution
Application steps content

Application steps

Application steps

1. Submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Please note, FSA do not fund fully online study at foreign institutions - only on-campus courses are eligible.

You are responsible for ensuring that your funding is in place before your course begins. The US Dept. of Education opens FAFSA applications each January for the next academic year and students can complete or renew their FAFSA from then. However, the financial aid process of certifying and confirming loans starts in June when systems are updated.

New Students

Our school code is 042307

  • You will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). Please review this and make any corrections necessary. to confirm that your SAR is complete. We will use the SAR to determine your eligibility for a loan.

Continuing students

We will download your Student Aid Report (SAR) and e-mail you a letter confirming the loan amounts and types available to you.

2. Complete documentation

New Students

Visit the US Government website and complete the following documentation:

  • Entrance Counselling
  • For Direct Subsidised and/or Unsubsidised Loans - a Master Promissory Note
  • For Graduate/Parent Plus Loans - a Master Promissory Note AND a Plus Loan Request application (For Parent Plus Loans the parent must complete the Master Promissory Note and application under their own FSA ID.)

Continuing Students

Complete the same documents as above with the exception of the Entrance Counselling.

What next?

Once you have completed all the relevant documents and accepted your offer of study, we will be able to certify your loans. Contact our International Team to confirm.

We will send you a letter confirming the amounts by email. This letter will be the evidence of funding for your visa application and should be sent to our admissions team for inclusion in your confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS).

Contact our International Team if you have any issues with accessing or have further questions.

Cost of living content

Cost of living

Cost of living

You may borrow up to an amount equal to the Cost of Attendance (COA) less any scholarships that you have been awarded (from any source). The Cost of Attendance consists of two elements:

  • Tuition costs
  • Living costs

The Cost of Attendance (COA) will be provided to you on your Financial Aid Letter. This will be sent once you have completed your FAFSA and advised us by email.

Estimated living costs (with no dependents) 2023/24

Based on exchange rate 1 GBP = 1.40 USD

Expense Cost GBP Cost USD
Room and Board
Based on Accommodation (self-catered) single en-suite bedroom with shared kitchen and living area £5,400 $7,560
Meals (excluding meals out) £2,400 $3,360
Books, Supplies, Transportation, Personal, & Miscellaneous
Books, Supplies, Transportation, Personal, & Miscellaneous Transport (includes local transport and travelling home/visiting friends) £3,900 $5,460
Other (eg books, equipment, mobile phone bill, socialising, laundry, photocopying and printing) £2,350 $3,290
Cost of flights from US to UK approx. x 2 £3,000 $4,200
Cost of flights from London to Inverness approx £500 $700
Visa Costs £500 $700
Misc (Clothes, Insurances Travel and property) £1,400 $1,960
TOTAL Living Cost £19,450 $27,230
Tuition and Fees
Art, humanities, social sciences, business degrees (3 or 4 years) Full-time per year (120 credits) £13,980 $19,572
Science and technology degrees (3 or 4 years) Full-time per year (120 credits) £15,360 $21,504
Masters degree (6 modules + dissertation) £14,400 $20,160

If you have arranged sufficient loan funds, we will deduct this equally from your loan disbursements to pay your fee in full.

If your loans are less than the tuition fee, we will estimate how much will be received in sterling and ask you to make up any shortfall.

Dependant costs

The US Dept. of Education does not allow additional lending for a spouse. However, if you have dependent children the regulations will allow for the cost of childcare while you are attending your studies. Please note that this is the only cost allowed for dependents.

Contact us if you have dependents and need to include the cost of registered childcare in your Cost of Attendance.

Accommodation costs

You are responsible for paying your own accommodation costs. For students living in university accommodation - please refer to the university's accommodation page.

Loan types content

Loan types

Loan types

You can review full information on federal loans/interest charges, fees, and repayment rules on the US government website. Please note that foreign schools are not eligible to certify Pell Loans or Grants.

The US Dept. of Education charge an Origination Fee on all loans. In 2021/22 Direct Subsidised and Unsubsidised Loans are subject to a 1.057% and Plus Loans 4.228%. The fee is deducted at source before we receive your disbursement funds.

Direct Subsidised Loans

This is awarded to students based on financial need. The information you supply on your FAFSA is used to calculate your EFC (Expected Family Contribution). Your EFC and the amount of your EFA, (Estimated Financial Assistance i.e. Any scholarships, bursaries or awards you will receive) will be deducted from your Cost of Attendance to determine your Financial Need. Please note that Graduate/Professional students are no longer eligible for the Direct Subsidised Loans.

The US government will pay the interest on a subsidised loan while you are enrolled at least half time or during a grace or deferment period.

Direct Unsubsidised Loans

This is not based on financial need. Whilst studying at least half time, or during deferment or grace periods you have the option of paying the interest or having it capitalised and added to the total value of the loan therefore increasing the amount you need to repay.

Direct Subsidised/Unsubsidised loan limits

The maximum on this type of loan that you are allowed to borrow annually and over your academic career are set by the US government. The amount available depends on your degree level and whether you have been classed as dependant or independent on your FAFSA.

Subsidised and unsubsidised direct loan limits

Year of Study Annual Subsidised Annual Total Combined Loans (Subsidised and unsubsidised) Aggregate Subsidised Aggregate Combined Loans (Subsidised and unsubsidised)
Undergraduate Dependent Students
Year 1 $3500 $5500 $23000 $31000
Year 2 $4500 $6500 $23000 $31000
Year 3+ $5500 $7500 $23000 $31000
Undergraduate Independent Students
Year 1 $3500 $9500 $23000 $57000
Year 2 $4500 $10500 $23000 $57000
Year 3+ $5500 $12500 $23000 $57000
Graduates and Professional Students
All years $0 $20500 $0 $138500

Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan

Parents of dependent undergraduate students can borrow a federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan and can borrow up to the total Cost of Attendance minus all other sources of financial aid their student receives. The loan is the financial responsibility of the parents and not the student.

A parent PLUS loan borrower must meet the same citizenship and residency requirements as the student. The parent must not owe a refund on a federal student financial aid grant or be in default on a federal student loan. Repayment begins within 60 days after your loan is fully disbursed and lasts ten years.

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan is a federal loan that graduate students with good credit histories may borrow to help pay their educational expenses. A graduate student may borrow up to the total Cost of Attendance less all other financial aid received.

Students must have applied for their annual loan maximum eligibility under the Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Loan Program before applying for a Graduate/Professional PLUS loan.

Repayment begins on the date of the last disbursement of the loan and the first payment is due within 60 days after the date the loan is fully disbursed. Graduate PLUS borrowers may receive a deferment while he or she is enrolled on at least a half-time basis at an eligible school.

Loan disbursement content

Loan disbursement

Loan disbursement

Your Financial Aid Award Letter confirms that your loans have been certified. However, please note that at the start of each academic year we cannot request the first disbursement funds of your loans until you have completed all stages of registration on campus.

Please ensure that you have sufficient money of your own to see you through the first 3-4 weeks. This will allow time for you to open a UK bank account, your loan funds to be disbursed and reach your bank account.

Opening a UK Bank Account

We would advise you to open a UK bank account as soon as possible when you arrive. The local bank branches can be busy in September, so make an appointment with one of them as early as you can. The bank will need to see ID and usually a certifying letter confirming your student status here.

Loan disbursement for Federal Loans

Loans will be disbursed in September/October and January/February of each academic year.

A Financial aid award for your tuition fees will be applied to your student account (or if the loan is insufficient to cover the full fee an estimate of what we will receive will be applied) in anticipation of us receiving all your loan disbursements. This will allow you to register and therefore enrol in classes.

The funds come in dollars direct to the university's account. We will convert the amount received into sterling using the exchange rate applicable on the date the funds were received.

We will deduct half of your tuition fees and pay any remaining funds into your bank account, for disbursements 1 and 2 in any academic year.

*If your loans are insufficient to meet your tuition fees, you will need to arrange to make up the shortfall by paying this immediately*

Exit counselling content

Exit counselling

Exit counselling

When your studies at the University of the Highlands and Islands ends, you are obliged to complete some exit counselling.

This includes completion at graduation, withdrawal from university, transfer to another school or a drop to a less than half time study basis.

You should complete your counselling session on the National Loan Data System. This session takes approximately 30 - 40 minutes and will provide you with information on your rights and the repayment of your loans.

You will need your FSA ID used for your FAFSA application.

Please inform us when you have completed this and we will update your loan records.

Consumer list content

Consumer list

Consumer list

The University of the Highlands is committed to providing accessible consumer information. There is a significant amount of consumer information through-out our website we have collated a list and arranged it in a way that makes it easier to find.

Academic and Student Policies

Student Support Teams and Policies

Each of our campuses have expert student support staff who can offer support and guidance on a wide range of topics including finances, disability support, learning support and personal issues.

Student Support Page

For information specially to support your studies please refer to:

Inclusive support, additional needs, disability matters:

Support to keep you safe:

Support for your wellbeing and mental health:

Servicedesk and ICT Policies

The University Servicedesk is the central IT Servicedesk available to all university students and staff. We provide 1st line support for queries and faults on service maintained by LIS as well as passing calls to local academic partner teams and 3rd party suppliers.

For more information and contact details please view our servicedesk page.

Other ICT Polices

Textbook Information

Information about any required textbooks for your course will be provided to you.

You may also wish to consult with our Libraries page.

RPL and Articulation

Further information can be found:

Completion/Graduation and Transfer Rates

Information on the University’s completion and transfer-out rates is available from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). The University is unable to supply a breakdown of completion or transfer-out rates by gender, ethnicity, or recipients of need-based subsidised loans, as this may reveal personally identifiable information about an individual student, which would break the Data Protection Act.

For the latest rates, please refer to the links below. In tables where information is available at an institutional level, you will find data for the University of the Highlands and Islands in the Total Scotland section.

Completion/Graduation and Transfer Rates for Students Receiving Athletically Related Student Aid

There are no scholarships linked to athletic sports and therefore the University is unable to disclose data about the recipients’ ethnicities, gender, transfer-out rate, or completion rate.

Fire Safety Policies and Statistics

Please refer to the University’s Health and Safety Department information.

Our climate commitment

The University of the Highlands and Islands acknowledges the Scottish Government’s climate emergency declaration in May 2019, and welcomes the changes set out in the Climate Change (Duties of Public Bodies: Reporting Requirements) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2020.

For further information to our commitment and plan please view our climate commitment page.

**Note however that the US Federal Government provides a Waiver of Certain Consumer Information Requirements for Foreign Institutions of Higher Education.


Please note that you are responsible for ensuring that your funding is in place before your course begins.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some of the most common questions that you might have:

Will you complete my 1098T? content

Will you complete my 1098T?

Will you complete my 1098T?

We are not registered with the IRS, therefore we are not able to complete 1098T forms for students. We are instead able to provide a full tuition fee statement which can be used for tax purposes.

Can I start my loan halfway through the year? content

Can I start my loan halfway through the year?

Can I start my loan halfway through the year?

No, we are not currently able to accept loans for partial years. You will need to wait for the next academic year.

Do you accept private student loans? content

Do you accept private student loans?

Do you accept private student loans?

We do not currently accept private loans for the academic years 2023/24 or 2024/25. However, we will look into this for future intakes.

Can I get a loan for online study? content

Can I get a loan for online study?

Can I get a loan for online study?

No, loans are only eligible for on-campus study at UHI.