Current Students

Frequently asked questions about US Federal Student Aid

  1. How to apply
  2. Am I eligible for US Federal Aid?
  3. How much can I receive?
  4. Cost of Attendance
  5. Professional Judgement
  6. When can I receive the money?
  7. UWA's Drug and Alcohol Policy
  8. What textbooks do I need?
  9. Can I copy copyright material if I am a student?
  10. Disclosure obligations to students in receipt of US Financial Aid
  11. Completion and Retention Rates
  12. Repaying the loan
  13. US Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

How to apply

Applying to the U.S. Department of Education's Direct Loan Program, also referred to as William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program for Direct Stafford Loan (or Direct Loan) is detailed below.

You may find that applying for financial aid for study at a non-US school is very different from the process you are used to in the United States.

To help you, we've created a simple step-by-step guide to the process at UWA. If you have any questions, please contact the Financial Aid Administrator.

  1. Your first step is to complete a Free Application for Federal School Aid (FAFSA). For this, you'll need UWA's school code, which is G11094. However it may be better to access https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/index.action in the first instance as this has very good information on US Direct Loans – you can apply for a PIN under ‘Tools and Resources’ and hyperlink from here to complete your FAFSA.
  2. Once processing is complete, check the details of your Student Aid Report (SAR).
  3. Next, complete Direct Loan Entry Counseling (and Direct Loan Plus Counseling if you are applying for a Grad PLUS loan). Confirmation of counseling is required by UWA.
  4. Send a copy of your SAR and MPN (and MPN PLUS if applying for a PLUS loan) to the Financial Aid Administrator.
  5. We will determine your eligibility for aid, calculate the value of the loans for which you can apply, and send you a Direct Stafford Loan Application Form which details the amount you can borrow. You should then review the amounts offered, select the amounts you want to borrow, sign the declarations, and mail it to UWA together with your original completed MPN. We will then send the School Certification and your original MPN to your guarantor, who can then do background checks and, if the loans are approved, arrange for the money to be disbursed.
  6. You must understand your rights and responsibilities as a borrower. The Borrower's Rights and Responsibilities Statement provides more complete information about the terms and conditions of your loan and is part of your MPN. Your rights and responsibilities are also available via StudentLoans.gov. It is important that you read and understand your rights and responsibilities. If you do not have a copy of the Statement, ask the Financial Aid Administrator to provide one.

To remain eligible for Federal Aid, all students must meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements. These are outlined in the SAP Policy.

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Am I eligible for US Financial Aid?

Eligibility and continued eligibility is governed by the following:

  • You must maintain at least half-time enrolment in an eligible degree program. Eligible programs are Bachelor, Masters by Coursework and/or Research, Master of Philosophy and PhD. Ineligible programs are Master of Nursing, Medicine (Doctor of Medicine) and any Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate offered by UWA.
  • Have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) Certificate, pass an Ability-To-Benefit (ATB) test approved by the US Department of Education, meet other standards your State establishes that the Department approves, complete a high school education in a home (US) school setting that is treated as such under US State law, or have satisfactorily completed six credit hours or the equivalent course work toward a degree or certificate
  • You must maintain on campus enrolment at the University of Western Australia. You cannot undertake any non face to face learning including distance, external or online program of study.
  • You must maintian satisfactory academic progress.
  • Be a citizen or eligible non-citizen of the United States.
  • Not be in default on any education loan or owe a refund on an education grant.
  • Not have been convicted of any offence under US State or Federal law involving the sale or possession of a controlled substance.
  • Be in compliance with Selective Service Registration requirements if you are male and between the ages of 18-25.
  • Submit all documentation required by The University of Western Australia to verify your eligibility and determine your financial need.

How much can I receive?

The maximum financial aid a student could theoretically receive is the total of their Cost of Attendance (COA). Your COA is calculated by UWA, and is based on your course fees and eligible living expenses. There are annual and aggregate limits to how much total Stafford funding you can receive. All aid awarded to you under either the Direct Loan program, or a private loan, cannot exceed your COA.

  • Your eligibility for Subsidised Direct Loan funding is restricted to Undergraduate borrowers and is calculated by subtracting your Expected Family Contribution (the amount of money your SAR shows you or your family can be expected to pay) and your Estimated Financial Assistance (the total of all other loans) from your COA.
  • Your eligibility for Unsubsidised Direct Loan funding is calculated by subtracting your EFA from your COA.
  • Your Graduate or Parent Plus eligibility is calculated by subtracting subsidised and unsubsidised funding from your COA.
  • The United States Government specifies the maximum amount a student may borrow through Direct Loans. The amount you receive may be lower than the maximum amount, depending on your eligibility assessment, the calculated cost of attendance and other loans, grants or scholarships you receive. The cost of attendance represents the calculated Cost of Attendance minus any other aid such as the estimated financial assistance or estimated financial contribution.
  • Maximum loans available (PDF file)
  • For more information about how your financial aid will be calculated, go to Information on Direct Loans.


For more information about how your financial aid will be calculated, go to Information on Direct Loans.

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Cost of Attendance

The Cost of Attendance (COA) is an estimate of your educational expenses based on your study period (award year). COA is calculated by The University of Western Australia.
The COA will appear on your UWA WD Ford Direct Loan Application Form. This will detail the following:

  • Your COA
  • Your Expected Financial Contribution (EFC) (if applicable)
  • Your Expected Financial Assistance (EFA) (if applicable)
  • Your Direct Loan amounts available to you.
  • Your Disbursement dates

The UWA WD Ford Direct Loan Application Form takes the form of both advising you or your award amounts and your certification of the loan amounts you request and certification that you have requested these amounts, are not in default and have disclosed any other loans or grants in the Award Year.
Allowable costs calculated in your annual CoA are detailed below. These figures are annual.

Component Explanation Amount
Tuition fees This depends on your Program of study. Please refer to you Offer and Acceptance Letter or UWA website https://www.unitcosts.uwa.edu.au/ TBA
Living allowance Includes accommodation, personal expenses, transportation, book & supplies First Year of Study: $27,774 AUD.
Second and subsequent Years of Study:
$26,022
OSHC Overseas Health Cover (OSHC) is a visa requirement. The cost of your OSHC depends upon the length of your course and will be calculated on you Offer and Acceptance Letter TBA
Commercing One Off Payment A one off payment is made on your commencement in recognition of relocation and air fare costs. $4,000 AUD

*The cited living allowance and tuition fees is based on a standard full time study over two semesters in a calendar year. Tuition fees and living allowance may be pro-rated if you study for a shorter length of time.
All aid awarded to you under either the Direct Loan program, or a private loan, cannot exceed your CoA.

If you believe that your Cost of Attendance calculation does not accurately reflect your actual Cost of Attendance, please submit an appeal with all supporting documentation to the UWA Financial Aid Administrator. A successful appeal must align with the Federal Student Aid Policy and fit within a category described within the Federal Student Aid Handbook.

Exchange Rate
All amounts above are in Australian dollars (AUD) and are converted to US dollars (USD). The USD CoA appears on your UQ Financial Aid Award Letter.
A conversion between Australian and US dollars occurs on two separate occasions during your application process:

  1. Your CoA is calculated in AUD and then converted to USD to calculate your eligible US Loan amount. The exchange rate used is that gained from the prevailing exchange rate at that time. The converted USD amount will appear on your UWA WD Ford Direct Loan Application Form.
  2. The US Federal Government transfers the loan amounts to the University and the funds are converted again from USD to AUD at the prevailing rate on that day. This exchange rate is stipulated by the bank and UWA has no influence over this. UWA pays all conversion fees.

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Professional Judgement

Professional judgment is the discretionary action available to UWA Financial Aid Administrator to address unusual circumstances that affect a student’s ability to pay educational expenses.

Professional judgement is made strictly on a case by case basis and must relate to unusual circumstances. UWA’s Financial Aid Administrator will generally only review the exceptional circumstances having regards to the following.

  1. Cost of Attendance (unusual costs associated with your attendance)
  2. Dependency status.
  3. Loan origination and eligibility (e.g. dependent student’s parents will not provide information for determining student eligibility)

Students who wish to be considered for professional judgement must apply in writing to UWA’s Financial Aid Administrator and provide reasons and documentation supporting their case.

The decision of the Financial Aid Administrator is final and non-appealable.

The Financial Aid Administrator will provide written reasons for decisions surrounding professional judgement to the student and will document these findings on the students file together with any supporting documentation.

When can I receive the money?

Your financial aid will be disbursed by wire transfer to a designated UWA account.  This payment will then be transferred to your student account.  When we have taken the fees you are liable for we will issue you a the remaining funds via EFT. 

Disbursements are scheduled for payment on or around the commencement of teaching in the semester of disbursement or a date otherwise nominated on your UWA WD Ford Direct Loan Application Form. For standard enrolment over Semester 1 and Semester 2 you disbursements will be in two equal amounts at or around the beginning of semester. For different enrolment patterns you disbursement will be as advised on your UWA WD Ford Direct Loan Application Form You must supply your banking details at commencement of your loan period.  No payment will be made without unit enrolment in your course of study.

If you withdraw from your course, you may need to return all or part of your financial aid. For more information see Course Withdrawal.

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Required text books

For a personalised book list you can go to:

  • studentConnect
  • Log in and under <Enrolment>
  • Go to <Course & Unit>
  • Under the <Units> link you will see a list of your enrolled units with a link to the book list next to them

You will be responsible for organising your books and any materials you need. You don't have to buy everything on the list before classes start. Generally, it is a good idea to wait until your first lecture to see what the lecturers require you to have.

Books can be purchased new at the Co-Op bookshop or second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop, which are both located on campus. You can also buy books online through studentConnect under the course and unit link after you have enrolled in your units. The Guild Texchange also offers an opportunity to buy, sell, or trade old textbooks.

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Can I copy copyright material if I am a student?

Under provisions of the Copyright Act, you can reproduce copyright material without permission provided it is:

  • for research or study
  • for criticism and review
  • and, providing the use of the material is 'fair'.

For books, journal articles and notated music the Copyright Act considers it 'fair' to copy a reasonable portion which is defined as:

  • an article in a periodical publication (e.g. a journal or newspaper article)
  • more than one article from a single edition of a periodical publication if it is for the same course of study or research
  • 10% or one chapter if the work is a published edition of 10 pages or more; or 10% of the words if the work is in electronic form.

Penalties for breach of copyright are found in Division 3 of the Copyright Act

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Disclosure obligations to students in receipt of US Financial Aid

As a recipient of US Financial Aid certain information must be provided to you. This includes, but not limited to the following:

  • Satisfactory Academic Progress
  • Drug and Alcohol Policy
  • Student rights under FERPA
  • Text Book information; and
  • Copyright information.

This information is contained or linked to this page. Upon completing your UWA Loan application form you are advised to visit this page so as to ensure you are acquainted with your rights and responsibilities.

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UWA's Drug and Alcohol Policy

The University of Western Australia Drug and Alcohol Policy can be found at:
http://www.security.uwa.edu.au/alcohol

Further information is found at http://www.dao.health.wa.gov.au/. Penalties for drug offences are explained at:
http://www.police.wa.gov.au/Yoursafety/Alcoholanddrugs/Illicitdrugsandthelaw/tabid/1468/Default.aspx

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Completion and Retention Rates

Completion and retention rates for our student body and provided here:
http://www.stats.uwa.edu.au/StatsOffice/unistats

Information on graduate outcomes are provided here:
http://www.careers.uwa.edu.au/staff/survey

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Repaying the loan

Before graduating, you'll need to complete the appropriate loan exit counselling (Direct exit counselling or Direct and Grad Plus exit counselling).

After you graduate, there is a six-month period of grace before you must begin repayment. For PLUS loans there is no grace period, and repayment must generally begin within 60 days of the date the loan was fully disbursed.

The amount you will have to repay will depend on the repayment option you have chosen, how much you borrowed, and the interest that has accumulated on your debt.

Your loan must be repaid, even if you do not complete your studies or cannot find a job.

The consequences of defaulting on your loan are serious. On the other hand, paying off your loan responsibly will help establish a good credit rating, as your student loan account balance and status is reported to national credit bureaus on a regular basis. You may pay off some or all of your loan early with no penalty.

If you are having difficulty making payments, you can apply for deferments or forbearance. If you do so, you must continue paying your loan until you receive notification that your request has been approved.

You may also be eligible for a deferment if you are serving in the Peace Corps, under the Domestic Volunteer Service Act, or as a volunteer for a tax-exempt organisation of demonstrated effectiveness in the field of community service. Check the Deferment Forms on the Department of Education's Federal Aid web site for more information.

You should read and keep copies of all loan documents and letters. Remember, though that repayment notices are only reminders, and you must make payments even if you don't receive reminders.

You must keep the loan holder informed of a change in your name, address, telephone number, Social Security Number, or enrolment status.

The Official Cohort Default Rate for Fiscal Year 2015 is 5.0

More information is available at Federal Student Aid - Repaying Your Loans.

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US Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)


The US Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records.  These rights include:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access.

    A student should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect.  The University official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.  If the records are not maintained by the University official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.

  2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.

    A student who wishes to ask the University to amend a record should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed.

    If the University decides not to amend the record as requested, the University will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s right to a hearing re¬garding the request for amendment.  Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.

  3. The right to provide written consent before the University discloses personally identifiable information from the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. 

    The University discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to University officials with legitimate educational interests.  A University official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law en¬forcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using University employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Senate; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance com¬mittee, or assisting another University official in performing his or her tasks.
    A University official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educa¬tion record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the University.

    As part of the University’s obligations under the ESOS Act and the National Code 2007 to ensure student compliance with the conditions of student visas and their obligations under Australian immigration laws generally, the University also discloses education records, in certain circumstances, to the Australian Government and designated authorities. The authority to collect and disclose this information is contained in the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000, the Education Services for Overseas Students Regulations 2001 and the National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2007. In other instances information collected during a student’s enrolment may be disclosed without their consent where authorised or required by law. 

  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.  The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:

    Family Policy Compliance Office

    U.S. Department of Education
    400 Maryland Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  20202-5901