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Information for eligible US citizens and eligible non-citizens.

Application procedure

Once you have received your offer of place from the University of Otago you will need to complete the steps below:

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

Remember to use our university code when you do your FAFSA. The university (school) code for the University of Otago is G21568.

2. Complete the University of Otago – US Financial Aid application form

University of Otago – US Financial Aid application form (PDF)

3. Complete entrance counselling

All students are required to undergo entrance counselling, this process will assist your understanding of the loan programme and underline your rights and responsibilities You can complete entrance counselling at the Federal Student Aid website, you will need your ED‑pin in order to login (the same you used when submitting your FAFSA). Please be aware that we will not process your loans if you have not completed entrance counselling.

4. Complete the Master Promissory Note(s) (MPN)

To take out a Direct Loan, you must complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) per loan type. The MPN can be completed online. The MPN is a legal document in which you promise to repay your loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the US Department of Education. It also explains the terms and conditions of your loan(s).

5. Submit your application form and supporting documents

Send your University of Otago – US Financial Aid application form and supporting documents by email  to:

Financial Aid Office

Next steps

After we have determined your eligibility by completing an estimated cost of attendance, we will notify you of the loans and amounts for which you are eligible in a letter called an Award Letter and Award Offer. Depending on your status, we may also include information about a Direct Plus Loan award for which you or your parent may be eligible (if you are a graduate student, you may be eligible for a Direct Plus Loan; if you are a dependent undergraduate student, your parent may be eligible for a Direct Plus Loan).

Read your award letter carefully. Make sure you understand US financial aid and know what taking out a federal loan means.

  • You need to accept the loan offer by email. You do not have to accept the full amount you are offered.
  • If you accept, confirm the amounts you want to borrow and sign the award letter. Then scan it and return it to us by email.
  • If you decline the loan, please let us know by email.

Satisfactory academic progress (SAP)

The University of Otago University is required by US Department of Education regulations to ensure that all students receiving Federal Student Aid (subsidized, unsubsidized and/or PLUS loans) are making satisfactory academic progress. If you fail to meet SAP you will become ineligible for US Direct Loans.

About the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy (PDF)

Exit counselling

All students who are about to withdraw (including not enrolling in the next semester), graduate or drop below half-time enrolment have to complete exit counselling.  Exit counselling helps students understand their rights and responsibilities as a student borrower.

More information on exit counselling and how to complete

Student loan repayment information

Consolidating FFEL Program loans into the Direct Loan Program

If you already have FFEL Program loans and will now be receiving Direct Loans, consolidating your FFEL and Direct Loan Program loans together into a Direct Consolidation Loan may make loan repayment easier. If you consolidate, you will have a single monthly payment.

Consolidating your FFEL Program loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan may also allow you to take advantage of certain benefits that are offered only in the Direct Loan Program, such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness and the Income Contingent Repayment Plan.

Direct Consolidation Loans – Federal Student Aid

Return of Title IV funds

US federal law specifies how the University of Otago must determine the amount of Title IV programme assistance (Direct Loans) that students earn if they withdraw from the university. The Financial Aid Administrator is responsible for calculating R2T4 and uses worksheets and software provided by the US Department of Education to calculate the R2T4 funds. All funds must be returned to the lender within 45 days of the date of when the University of Otago determined that a student withdrew.

For more information about your Title IV programme funds, or if you have questions, students can call the Federal Student Aid Information Center.

Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC)

In order to calculate the return of Title IV student aid, the Financial Aid Administrator uses a formula to calculate the percentage of the payment period which the student has completed. The payment period is the semester for which the loan was certified. If a student completes 45 per cent of the payment period or period of enrolment, the student has earned 45 per cent of the funds they were originally scheduled to receive. If a student has completed more than 60 per cent of the payment period or the period of enrolment, the student is eligible to keep all of the funds. If a student has not received all funds when the student withdraws, they may choose to decline the rest of the loan funds so that additional debt is not incurred.

Return of Title IV Funds Policy (PDF)

Loan enquiries

Financial Aid Administrator
International Office
Ground Floor, Clocktower Building
90 Union Place East

We recommend that you contact us to make an appointment so that we can ensure the administrator will be available to see you.

Tel +64 3 479 8582

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