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Funding for students from the USA

RCM students
Citizens of the United States of America may be eligible for funding through US Stafford Federal Loans or Marshall Scholarships.

Marshall Scholarships

The Royal College of Music is certified to participate in the Marshall Scholarships Scheme. These are available to applicants from the United States wishing to study at United Kingdom institutions. Often they include full tuition fees plus maintenance.

Find out more

US Stafford Federal Loans

The Royal College of Music is a certified partner in the United States Stafford Loans (FFEL/Direct Loans) programme as run by the US Department of Education. This is a fully repayable means of funding.

The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act was signed by President Obama on 30 March 2010 and changed the way students studying at foreign schools could be funded. Private lenders are no longer allowed to originate federal student loans and all federal student loans will now be issued through Direct Lending with the US Government.

The Royal College of Music is an eligible federal loan institution and our Federal School Code is G12335.

Federal Direct Loan Program

The Direct Loan Program offers the following types of loans. More information is also available at the Federal Student Aid website.

Direct Subsidised Stafford

This loan is for students with demonstrated financial need, as determined through the outcome of a student's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). No interest is charged while a student is in school at least half-time, during the grace period, and during deferment periods. As of 1 July 2012 subsidised loans are only available for undergraduate students.

Direct Unsubsidised Stafford

This loan is not based on financial need, interest is charged during all periods even during the time a student is in school and during grace and deferment periods.

Direct PLUS

Unsubsidised loans for the parents of dependent 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.

How much can I borrow?

You can borrow federal funds up to a standard Cost of Attendance (COA) as the combined maximum of your loans. The COA is comprised of tuition fees and living costs only, minus any Expected Financial Aid (EFA) which includes any bursaries, scholarships, grants and awards.

Individual loan types are subject to specific limits which may also depend on your course and year of study. The tables below show the annual limits of Stafford Loans for undergraduate and postgraduate students respectively.

Stafford Loan annual limits

How to apply

To apply for any type of Federal Student Aid you must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) using the FAFSA website. You must ensure that the Royal College of Music is listed in your application. Doing this will generate a Student Aid Report (SAR) which the RCM will use to assess your eligibility for student aid.

If there are any comments on the SAR you will need to address these and correct the FAFSA accordingly. In some cases you will need to send us documents demonstrating that the highlighted problem has been resolved.

Students are advised to apply for Stafford Loans first, as these are the most beneficial loans available. You will be required to complete the application process annually for each successive academic year.

Apply for Federal Student Aid

When you have completed your FAFSA, please inform the RCM by completing our notification form. We need the information in the form in order to locate your FAFSA.

Notify the RCM

Application process

Please alert us once you have completed your FAFSA so that we can confirm your name has appeared on our system. We will require all of the following information:

  • Your full name (exactly as you applied to FAFSA).
  • Your date of birth.
  • Your US Social Security Number.
  • Your Royal College of Music UCAS Conservatoires ID number.

Master promissory notes

You will have to complete a new Master Promissory Note (MPN) for each type of loan you wish to borrow. The US Education Department's rules for foreign schools are different from those in the US and you will have to sign an MPN for each year of your course at the RCM and for each type of loan (Direct or PLUS) you take out.

When will the funds be disbursed?

The RCM will request that the Stafford and Plus Loans are disbursed in three instalments in accordance with legal requirements. 

The first disbursement will be available on 23 September 2019, once you have completed all of the formal registration procedures, including the in-person registration on 16 September 2019. The Spring term disbursement will be on 16 January 2020 and the Summer term disbursement on 30 April 2020.

When you enrol you will be set up with a payment plan automatically by the Finance Office to pay your tuition fees in three equal instalments, one each term, in line with the disbursment dates.


The information provided here is intended only as a guide to help you in your own research into funding your studies. The RCM cannot guarantee that some information will not be outdated or superseded before or during the 2019–20 academic year.

Important information

Further guidance

If you would like to discuss making an application or need further advice regarding US loans please first contact the Federal Student Aid.

To chase pending applications please contact our Finance Assistant.

Shazzie Busby

Finance Assistant

+44 (0)20 7591 4844