Red X iconGreen tick iconYellow tick icon

The University of Otago can assist eligible US students to apply for a private loan to fund their study.

Once you have an offer of place to study at the University of Otago you could look at applying for a private Sallie Mae student loan.

Sallie Mae – Education loans, college planning and online banking

We suggest you contact the Financial Aid Administrator in the first instance so a cost of attendance can be calculated. We would then inform you what is the maximum Sallie Mae loan amount you could apply for.

How to apply for a Sallie Mae student loan

1. Complete the University of Otago Private Loan Application

University of Otago Private Loan Application form (PDF)

Once you have completed your application form, return it to:


2. Cost of attendance

We complete a cost of attendance (COA) calculation. The COA at the University of Otago includes costs for tuition and student fees, living costs, books and supplies, return airfare and visa costs for the academic year.

3. We provide an award letter

We send you an award letter that specifies the total Sallie Mae amount that you can apply for. You are not obliged to borrow the maximum approved amount as stated on the award letter. We encourage you to borrow what you need, without exceeding the maximum approved amount.

4. Apply online

Apply for the appropriate student loan on the Sallie Mae website:

Apply for a student loan – Sallie Mae

When completing your paperwork, the University of Otago's Office of Postsecondary Education Identification number (OPEID) is 02156800.

5. Sallie Mae decision

Sallie Mae will assess your loan and be in touch with any questions they have. Once the loan is approved you will be informed. The University of Otago is also informed of this approval. At this stage we can issue you a letter confirming the details of the Sallie Mae loan that you can use as evidence of financial support when you apply for a student visa.

Loan certification and payments

The Financial Aid Administrator will certify the Sallie Mae loan about 30 days before the semester begins. After the right-to-cancel period has expired, your student loan is ready to be disbursed. The loan is transferred directly to the University of Otago via Western Union. It can take a few days for the University to receive, convert the loan into NZD and allocate the loan to your account. If, after tuition fees are paid, there is a credit balance, the Student Finance team will be in touch.

The maximum loan amount we can certify is your total estimated cost of attendance amount as advised in your award letter.

Cancelling a loan payment

If you need to cancel a scheduled disbursement, you must advise Sallie Mae as well as the Financial Aid Administrator at the University of Otago at least two weeks prior to the scheduled payment date.

The University is unable to return unwanted funds to Sallie Mae. It is your responsibility to arrange a repayment privately.

Exchange rates

You need to be mindful of how the current exchange rate fluctuation may affect funds received.

Sallie Mae loans are disbursed in United States Dollars (USD), however, the University of Otago only accepts payment in New Zealand Dollars (NZD). Any disbursements will be converted from USD to NZD using the effective exchange rate on the day of delivery.

Revisions cannot be made to reflect any changes in the currency exchange rate. Neither the University nor Sallie Mae can lock exchange rates.


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

Back to top