The American University in Bulgaria participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program which offers low-interest loans for US students and parents to help make university education an affordable journey. The lender is the US Department of Education, although the entity you deal with - your loan servicer - can be a private business.
Students attending AUBG are not eligible for any of the grant programs, such as the Federal Pell Grant or the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant.
Our mission is to provide educational access and opportunity for all students. We promote participation in higher education by providing programs of assistance to help bridge the gap between the cost of attending the University and the family's own resources.
You must meet the criteria set by the US Department of Education in order to be eligible for US federal loans. The federal loan eligibility criteria are subject to change at the US Department of Education's discretion and are beyond the University's control. You should check the latest eligibility criteria on the Federal Student Aid website.
The university is authorized to process US Direct loans for students who are:
The following students are not eligible to borrow US Direct loans:
Direct Subsidized Loan
Direct subsidized loans are for undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need. AUBG will review the results of your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and determine the amount you can borrow. You are not charged interest while you're in school at least half-time and during grace periods and deferment periods.
Direct Unsubsidized Loan
You are not required to demonstrate financial need to receive a Direct Unsubsidized Loan. Like subsidized loans, AUBG will determine the amount you are eligible to borrow. Interest accrues (accumulates) on an unsubsidized loan from the time it is first disbursed even during the time a student is in school and during grace and deferment periods. You can pay the interest while you are in school and during grace periods and deferment or forbearance periods, or you can allow it to accrue and be capitalized (that is, added to the principal amount of your loan). If you choose not to pay the interest as it accrues, this will increase the total amount you have to repay because you will be charged interest on a higher principal amount.
Direct PLUS Loan
PLUS loans are for the parents of dependent undergraduate students and for graduate/professional students. PLUS loans help pay for education expenses up to the cost of attendance minus all other financial assistance. Interest is charged during all periods.
Direct PLUS Loan for parents of dependent undergraduate students
Direct Parent PLUS loans are federally guaranteed loans that allow parents to borrow funds to pay for the educational expenses of their dependent undergraduate student. These loans are need based and parents are eligible for this loan if the child is a dependent undergraduate student as defined by the US Department of Education. Parents may borrow up to the total cost of attendance minus any other funding. The program requires the borrower (parents) to pass a simple credit check. Interest begins to accrue when funds are disbursed and repayment begins within 60 days after the loan has been fully disbursed.
Direct Graduate PLUS Loans
The Federal Graduate PLUS Loan is a low interest federally backed student loan, guaranteed by the US Government. Like its undergraduate counterpart, the Graduate PLUS Loan can be used to pay for the total cost of education less any aid you've already been awarded. Also, like the undergraduate version, eligibility for the Graduate PLUS Loan is largely dependent on the borrower's credit rating and history, as opposed to the purely financial need-based subsidized loan.
Below is a list of all maximum amounts and interest rates for each type of loan.
|Third year and beyond||$5,500||$2,000||$7,500|
|Third year and beyond||$5,500||$6,000||$11,500|
Parent PLUS Loan is available for dependent undergraduate students. It can cover the total amount remaining after all other aid/loans have been deducted from COA.
Aggregate Loan Limit
Direct Subsidized Loan: 1.057% for loans first disbursed on or after October 1, 2020, and before October 1, 2023.
Direct Unsubsidized Loan: 1.057% for loans first disbursed on or after October 1, 2020, and before October 1, 2023.
Parent PLUS Loan 4.228% for loans first disbursed on or after October 1, 2020, and before October 1, 2023.
Fixed Interest Rate
Direct Subsidized Loan - undergraduate borrowers 4.99% for loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2022, and prior to July 1, 2023.
Direct Unsubsidized Loan - undergraduate borrowers 6.54% for loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2022, and prior to July 1, 2023.
Direct Parent PLUS Loan - parents 7.54% for loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2022, and prior to July 1, 2023.
|Direct unsubsidized||Direct PLUS loans|
|Maximum amount per year||$20,500||Total amount remaining after all other aid/loans have been deducted from COA|
|Aggregate Loan Limit||$138,500 (not more than $65,500 of this may be previous Direct Subsidized Loans)||No limt|
|Origination Fee||1.057% for loans first disbursed on or after October 1, 2020 and before October 1, 2021.||4.228% for loans first disbursed on or after October 1, 2020 and before October 1, 2021.|
|Interest Rate||4.30% for loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2020 and prior to July 1, 2021.||5.30% for loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2020 and prior to July 1, 2021.|
U.S. Loans Procedures
The application process for foreign schools differs from the process for domestic schools in the US. It is your responsibility to send us the documents we need to make your loan assessment.
First-time applicants wishing to apply for Federal Direct Loans should visit the Federal Student Aid website:
Apply for your FAFSA - On the FAFSA website, you will find details on how to obtain an FSA ID, consisting of a user-created username and password. The FSA ID replaces the PIN number which previously allowed students to complete the FAFSA procedure online. If you have applied previously you will be able to complete the Renewal FAFSA. You will need certain documents in order to complete your FAFSA. You can find a list of the documents you will need on the FAFSA website.
For Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans - complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) - All students taking out a federal Direct loan outside the US are required to complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) annually before the loan funds can be disbursed. E- sign your Federal Direct loan MPN on the studentloans.gov Web site, using your Federal Student Aid ID, by selecting "My Account". After you log in, choose Complete MPN and then select Subsidized/Unsubsidized. Follow the four-step process listed on the studentloans.gov Web site to sign your MPN.
For PLUS loans - make the application and complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN)* - As PLUS loans are subject to a credit check, MPNs for PLUS loans must be signed using a US postal address.
Complete Entrance Counselling - The U.S. Department of Education requires first-time borrowers of the federal Direct loan to complete a loan entrance counseling session before the loan funds can be disbursed. You can complete this online on the studentloans.gov web site. This counseling session provides you with information that will help you understand your rights and responsibilities as a loan borrower, as well as other tools to assist you with managing your loans.
The American University in Bulgaria School Code is G34423.
All of the following documentation has to be sent to [email protected] in one email. Type USLoans and include your name last/first:
A PDF copy of your completed Master Promissory Note (MPN) for subsidized and unsubsidized loans.
A PDF copy of your completed Master Promissory Note (MPN) for PLUS loans including confirmation of positive credit check.
Confirmation of Entrance Counselling having been completed - screenshot or email.
We can access your FAFSA Student Aid Report (SAR) electronically so there is no need for you to send this document to us. It is used to assess your eligibility so it is important that you review it to ensure you have made any corrections that are necessary.
It is common for students to borrow their full entitlement through the Subsidized/Unsubsidized loans and then top up their borrowing with the PLUS loan, so remember to complete both MPN's.
There are 3 stages to the PLUS application process. You must:
Complete a Master Promissory Note.
Request a Direct PLUS loan.
Get confirmation of credit check Continuing students should follow the same processes above but are not required to complete the Entrance Counselling component. Please make sure that you have completed everything you have to do before we start to do our part because if the school starts origination and anything is not completed by you, then all our stages for each loan will fail, which will cost you time waiting to be told before you have to start over again. Our university will not know if you have completed all the processes for all the loans you intend to borrow unless you tell us – which you do by sending us the correct documents as pdf files, and we do not know how much you wish to borrow until you tell us – by reading and signing the award letter that you will be sent.
A loan certificate for visa will be issued and sent by post only after we deem the attached files complete and review their authenticity.
Disbursement of federal loan funds will be made in two equal instalments at the beginning of each term. The dates will be announced in the ‘Notification of Student Loan’ letter sent to you once your federal loan(s) have been processed and completed by our office.
Within three working days of receiving the disbursement, AUBG will deduct a proportion for fees and accommodation, unless you are not using the loans to pay your fees. The balance will then be paid directly to you by the university within 14 days, so that you can use these funds to cover your living expenses. You must be enrolled before receiving your loan funds. You should ensure that you have sufficient funds from an alternative source to cover any costs until you receive your first disbursement.
Any changes to your loan must be requested at least two weeks before the next scheduled disbursement.
Increase your loan If you wish to increase your loan, please contact the AUBG Student Loan Team and send an explanation of the changes you would like to be made – e.g. additional costs that you would like to be included in your COA or an update of the amount of an existing COA component. If the increase is approved, the additional funds will be spread across your remaining disbursements for the year.
Please note that if you have an endorser on your PLUS loan, you will only be able to increase the loan up to the endorsed amount. If your endorser is willing to increase the endorsed amount to allow you to borrow a higher PLUS loan, please email the AUBG Student Loan Team.
Decrease or cancel your loan If you wish to decrease your loan, please contact the Student Loan Team and send an explanation of the changes you would like to be applied. The reduction will be spread across your remaining disbursements. Please note that you cannot decrease your loan below the amounts already disbursed in the current academic year. You must email us at least two weeks before the next disbursement date to ensure the decrease can be applied to that disbursement.
If you wish to cancel your loan, we will email you prior to each disbursement with details of the deadline for cancelling/returning loan funds through the University. In order to cancel your loan you must notify us by the specified deadline. You should also contact your college to inform them of your intention to cancel your loan. You may need to pay fees and bank charges associated with returning the funds if the payment has already been requested.
If you wish to cancel your federal loan and the time frame for doing so through the University has passed, you should make a repayment directly to your lender. Your lender's details can be found on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). If you make a repayment within 120 days of loan disbursement, your lender will treat this as a partial or full cancellation, with the appropriate adjustment of the loan fee and interest.
If you cancel your federal loan after receiving a disbursement you will be required to complete exit counseling via StudentLoans.gov.
Please note you cannot decrease your loan below the amounts already disbursed of that loan type in the current academic year.
If you get suspended or withdraw from the university
If you withdraw from the university, get suspended, drop below half-time enrolment, or otherwise become ineligible for US Federal Loans, you must contact the Student Loan Team immediately. Under US federal law, the University is required to report any changes to your enrolment within tight timescales and, if necessary, to complete a Return to Title IV (R2T4) calculation and arrange for any "unearned" loan funds to be returned to the US Department of Education.
The information on this page relates to US federal student loans only. Full information is available in the Return to Title IV Policy, but the key facts are summarized below.
The US loans team will calculate the amount of Title IV program assistance that has been earned, using a formula provided by the US Department of Education.
Once you have completed more than 60% of the payment period, all the assistance that you were scheduled to receive for that period is considered to have been earned. As an example, if you have completed 30% of the payment period, you have earned 30% of the assistance you were originally scheduled to receive within that loan period. If you have completed 60% of the payment period, you have earned 100% of the assistance you were scheduled to receive.
If you received more assistance than was earned, the excess funds must be returned to the US Department of Education by you and/or the University. If you received (or the University received on your behalf) less assistance than the amount earned, you may be able to receive those additional funds as a post-withdrawal disbursement.
The requirements for Title IV program funds when you withdraw are separate from the University's refund policy. Therefore, you may still owe funds to the University to cover unpaid institutional charges. The University may attempt to collect any Title IV program funds from you that the University is required to return.
Under specific conditions, a leave of absence (LOA, or suspension of studies) for less than 180 days in a 12-month period may qualify as an "approved" leave of absence. If you are granted an "approved" LOA, you are not considered to have withdrawn, and no Return calculation is required. During the LOA, the University will not charge you any additional institutional charges, your financial need will not increase, and therefore, you will not be eligible for any disbursements of federal student aid. If you are granted an approved LOA you will maintain in-school status for Title IV loan repayment purposes. If you do not even attend initial lectures or seminars you are ineligible to receive any Title IV funds and all loan proceeds will be returned to the US Department of Education. You will be liable for any fees or outstanding balances owed to the University.
You will arrange repayment of federal loans directly through your loan servicer. You can check who your loan servicer is on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). You should always keep in contact with your loan servicer to make sure that you are up-to-date with loan repayment information.
It is your responsibility to:
notify your loan servicer of anything that affects your ability to repay your loan;
notify your loan servicer of any changes in your status, including graduation, and any changes to your name, address, or telephone number;
notify your loan servicer if you fail to enroll for the period covered by your loan;
Your student loan must be repaid. You will risk going into default if you do not make your loan payments as required by your loan servicer. Federal Student Aid offers full guidance on understanding default. You may also find the Your Federal Student Loans guide and the Federal Student Aid website useful.