United States Financial Aid at RMIT University

William D.Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program in effect from 1 July 2010.

The Direct Loan Program was introduced for foreign schools participating in the United States Federal Student Loan Program on 1 July, 2010 which supersedes the FFEL Stafford Loans.

RMIT University is registered to certify students to receive education loans under the United States William D.Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) program.

Important information for US Financial Aid Applicants

RMIT University will become a 'Deferment Only' institution from January 2016. For new students or students changing to new programs, RMIT will no longer be able to certify US federal aid applied for under the Direct Loan Program, which includes Subsidized, Unsubsidized or PLUS loans.

However, continuing students, remaining in the same program, will be able to access the Direct Loan Program funds until Semester 2, 2017.

RMIT University will continue to assess In-School Deferment Request forms for students who have already received US federal aid. If you have an outstanding US federal aid debt and you are enrolled at RMIT University on at least a half-time basis, you can apply to defer repayment of those loans. Please contact your loan servicer for the deferment form and submit this with your request to the International Compliance team.

Applying for financial aid

Loans and amounts available

The US Government specifies the maximum a student may be eligible to borrow annually under the Direct Loan Program. US citizens (or eligible non-citizens) who are enrolled in a degree program, making satisfactory academic progress, and not in default or owing a return payment on a grant or loan may be eligible to borrow from a US bank or private lender funding towards their attendance at RMIT University. This can be done using the loan options offered under Direct Loans. The US Government guarantees these loans.

The following types of loans are available through the financial aid program:

  • Subsidised Stafford loans

This loan is based on financial need, as determined by the US Department of Education. The government pays your loan interest while you are enrolled at university, during authorised periods of deferment and for six months after you cease to be enrolled. You are not required to make payments whilst you are studying; repayments start six months after you cease to be enrolled.

  • Unsubsidised Stafford loans

You must pay the interest that accrues on the loan from the time it is disbursed. You may pay the loan interest while in university, with principal deferred until after you cease to be enrolled; or you can choose to have repayments on both the interest and the principal deferred until after you cease to be enrolled.

If you defer repayments on the interest and the principal, please be aware that allowing the interest to accumulate will add to the amount you must repay when you leave university; it may increase the amount of your monthly repayments.

The maximum loan amount through Federal Stafford Loans is specified in the table below (in US dollars). You may be awarded a lower amount, depending on your eligibility. Stafford Loans disbursed on and after 1 July 2006 have a fixed interest rate of 6.8%.

  • Federal Parent Loans for undergraduate students (PLUS)

These are federally guaranteed loans that allow parents to borrow funds to pay for the educational expenses of their dependent undergraduate children. Parents may borrow up to the total cost of attendance, minus any other funding. The borrower (parents) must pass a simple credit check. Borrowers are responsible for the interest that accrues; interest begins to accrue when funds are disbursed, and repayment begins within 60 days after the loan has been fully disbursed.

  • Federal Graduate PLUS Loans (for graduate students; Grad PLUS)

These are federally guaranteed loans that allow graduates to borrow funds to pay for education expenses. The student / borrower must pass a simple credit check. Before applying for this loan, the borrower must apply for and the school must determine their eligibility for the maximum annual Stafford loan amount.

Amounts available

The following table is a guide to the funding available to eligible applicants through the US financial aid program. Amount in U.S. dollars.

Max subsidised amount

Max subsidised and unsubsidised amounts combined

Dependent undergraduates

First year*



Second year



Third year and higher



Borrowing limit / maximum total debt


Independent undergraduates

First year



Second year



Third year and higher



Borrowing limit / maximum total debt


Postgraduate / professional Students



Borrowing limit / maximum total debt


*Year of study is defined as being 50% or more of the enrolled courses at a level 1, 2 or 3.


The interest rate on financial aid loans can change for each year of repayment. The US government sets a limit on the interest rates that can be charged. The interest rate is adjusted each year on 1 July.

Eligibility and cost of attendance

To be eligible for US financial aid, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be enrolled in an eligible program*, and be full-time throughout the duration of your program. This means that you must ensure a full-time study load of 48 credit points per semester. Eligible programs are: associate degree, bachelor degree, masters degree and doctoral degree.
  • Agree to maintain satisfactory academic progress. Satisfactory academic progress is evaluated according to RMIT University’s academic progress policy and the RMIT Satisfactory Academic Progress Guidelines for United States Federal Loan eligibility. You will also need to comply with RMIT’s rules and regulations, and with the conditions of your student visa and Australian immigration and visa legislation
  • Be a citizen, national permanent resident 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 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.
  • Lodge a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • For PLUS loans, the borrower must pass a simple credit check.
  • Comply with requests for documentation if selected for verification by the U.S. Department of Education, as indicated on your Student Aid Report.
  • Submit all documentation required by RMIT University to verify your eligibility and determine your financial need.

*Most Graduate Diploma and all nursing programs are not eligible for United States financial aid at RMIT University. These programs are no longer available for American citizens planning to use a United States government student loan for study at RMIT University, due to the United States government changes in regulations which impact significantly on institutions outside the United States.

If you were planning to study an ineligible Graduate Diploma or nursing program and these changes affect you, you are welcome to contact the following representatives:


Cost of attendance and loan limit assessment

Your eligibility for US financial aid will be assessed based on the information that you have provided through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and on your RMIT US Financial Aid Application. The amount you can borrow is calculated based on a number of factors, including:

  • What level and year you are studying.
  • Whether you already have outstanding federal loans.
  • Whether you have any other scholarships
  • Your Estimated Financial Assistance (EFA) and your Estimated Family contribution (EFC)
  • The cost of attendance. Cost of attendance is an estimate of your education expenses for the period of enrolment; it determines the maximum amount you may borrow. It is calculated using

    1) Tuition and fees (dependant on specific program)

    2) Standardised average cost of living expenses per annum for RMIT students which include:

Books and supplies


Food costs




Utilities (phone/gas/electricity/water)


Personal Expenses


Travel (public Transport)




These living expenses costs are updated annually and listed on the RMIT living costs website.

If you are a permanent resident, or if you hold dual US/Australian or US/New Zealand citizenship, your Cost of Attendance is modified according your student status and access to other support, based on your country of origin.

Dependency status

The information you provide on your FAFSA will determine whether you are a dependent or independent student for US loan purposes. The majority of undergraduate students are classified as dependent students. However, you may be an independent student if you supply certified documentation confirming that you:

  • Are 24 or more years old;
  • Are working on a masters or doctorate program at the beginning of the award year for which the FAFSA is completed;
  • Are married (if you are separated but not divorced, you should answer YES) as at the date the FAFSA is completed;
  • Have children who receive more than half their support from you;
  • Have dependants (other than children or spouse) who live with you and receive more than half of their support from you now and through the award year;
  • Are an orphan or ward of the court, or were a ward of the court until age 18; or
  • Are a veteran of the US armed forces.

How to apply

To be considered for financial aid, you must first complete the following steps:

  1. Accept an offer from RMIT University. If you have difficulty in making the deposit, please contact RMIT International and the US Financial Aid Administrator will be able to assist to ensure that your application is not disadvantaged.
  2. Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), available at: www.fafsa.ed.gov or www.studentaid.ed.gov
  3. When you fill out the FAFSA, you need to enter RMIT University’s US Department of Education federal university school code. The RMIT code is: G30950 (if required, the OPE ID number is 03095000).
  4. You will need a PIN to validate the signature before electronically submitting the application. Students and parents (for dependent students) are required to have an individual pin number. You can get your pin from the Federal Student Aid Pin website

You must reapply for US financial aid every year.

After you complete the FAFSA, you will receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) and complete the next steps.

  1. Complete the RMIT US Financial Aid Application.
  2. Complete Pre-loan counseling

    You must complete loan counseling in order to have your loan application certified. Loan counseling is available online through RMIT’s online provider, Mapping Your Future

    When you have completed your loan counseling, RMIT will be notified via email. Please note that your application cannot be processed until this notification is received.

  3. Complete a Masters Promissory Note (MPN). If you require a PLUS loan in addition to a subsidized or unsubsidized loan, you must also complete a PLUS loan MPN. The MPN is a contract you must sign to indicate your intention to repay the loan. Please read this carefully as it is the formal and binding contract between you and the US Department of Education. Funds cannot be disbursed unless you complete this form. You need to complete a new MPN when you submit a RMIT US Financial Aid Application, even if you have already completed one in the US. You will need to complete a new MPN every year.

    The RMIT University student Cohort Default Rate is currently set at 6.8% by the United States Department of Education.

When the above steps have been done, you must submit the following completed documents to RMIT International:

  • Your completed RMIT US Financial Aid Application.
  • Your Student Aid Report (SAR). Your SAR is issued after completing the FAFSA. RMIT University will use the information in this report to decide how much financial aid you are eligible for based on the Cost of Attendance.
  • Your Masters Promissory Note(s).

When you have completed each of the above documents, submit them to:

US Financial Aid Administrator
RMIT International
International desk at Info Corner
Level 1, RMIT Building 22
330 Swanston Street
Melbourne, VIC Australia 3000
Fax: +61 3 9663 6925
Email: USloans@rmit.edu.au

How much am I eligible for?
When RMIT University has received your documentation, we will calculate your Cost of Attendance to determine the amount for which you are eligible. You will be sent an Award Letter via email which shows the eligible loan amounts. You can accept the amount offered, decline the loan or opt for a lower amount. When you have done so, RMIT will finalise the certification.

Once the amount of your certified loan(s) is finalised, it is recommended that you create a budget to plan for the coming year. You can use the budgeting resources listed below to assist your planning.

Please ensure that you have enough funds to cover accommodation, books, supplies and personal expenses during the first two months of study in the event that there is a delay in your financial aid being certified and disbursed.

Remember that minimizing debt now will help you manage your loan more easily once you graduate and that it is always cheaper to save than to borrow. When making spending choices while studying in Australia, you should always spend with the aim of minimizing your debt; live like a student now so that you don’t have to live like a student after you graduate.

Department of Veteran Affairs benefits

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) will pay an eligible student education benefits for undertaking an approved program of education or training. An approved program is one that has been determined by the DVA.

The DVA must determine your eligibility. Contact them at:

Buffalo VA Regional Office

(Foreign Schools)
PO Box 4616
Buffalo NY 14240 – 4616 USA
Tel: 716 857 3196 or 716 857 3197. A special service is offered for foreign school applicants whereby you dial “1” to be placed at the head of the queue.


RMIT University contact

US Financial Aid Administrator
RMIT International
International desk at Info Corner
Level 1, RMIT Building 22
330 Swanston Street
Melbourne, VIC Australia 3000
Tel: (+61 3) 9925 5106
Fax: (+61 3) 9663 6925
Email: USloans@rmit.edu.au

[Next: United States Financial Aid – your responsibility and debt]