US (William D. Ford) Direct Loan Program

Murdoch University is registered with the US Department of Education under the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program.

We administer three types of loans available to US Citizens or eligible non-citizens who are enrolled at least half-time in a bachelor, masters or PhD program at Murdoch University:

Pell Grants and Perkins loans are not available to students studying at schools outside of the US. 

Murdoch employs our own Satisfactory Academic Progress for US Financial Aid Recipients. Download the PDF to find out more. 

  • How much can I borrow?

    The following chart shows the annual and aggregate limits for subsidised and unsubsidised loans.

    Year Dependent Students (except students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans) Independent Students (and dependent undergraduate students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans)
    First-Year Undergraduate Annual Loan Limit $5,500—No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidised loans. $9,500—No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidised loans.
    Second-Year Undergraduate Annual Loan Limit $6,500—No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidised loans. $10,500—No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidised loans.
    Third-Year and Beyond Undergraduate Annual Loan Limit $7,500—No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidised loans. $12,500—No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidised loans.
    Graduate or Professional Students Annual Loan Limit Not Applicable (all graduate and professional students are considered independent) $20,500 (unsubsidised only)
    Subsidised and Unsubsidised Aggregate Loan Limit $31,000—No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidised loans. $57,500 for undergraduates—No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidised loans.

    $138,500 for graduate or professional students—No more than $65,500 of this amount may be in subsidised loans. The graduate aggregate limit includes all federal loans received for undergraduate study.
    Direct PLUS loan PLUS borrowers are able to borrow the entire cost of attendance (as calculated by Murdoch University) minus any other financial aid or scholarship.
  • What are the interest rates for Federal Student Loans?

    The interest rate varies depending on the loan type and (for most types of federal student loans) the first disbursement date of the loan. The table below provides interest rates for Direct Subsidised Loans, Direct Unsubsidised Loans and Direct PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after 1 July 2020 and before 1 July 2021.

    Interest rates for Direct Loans first disbursed on or after 1 July 2021:

    Loan Type Borrower Type Loans first disbursed on or between
    01 July 2020 – 01 July 2021
    Direct Subsidised Loans and Direct Unsubsidised Loans Undergraduate 2.75%
    Direct Unsubsidised Loan Graduate or Professional 4.30%
    Direct PLUS Loans              Parents and Graduates or Professional Students              7.08%

    All interest rates shown in the chart above are fixed rates for the life of the loan.

    Note: The interest rates for federal student loans are determined by federal law. If there are future changes to federal law that affect federal student loan interest rates, we will update this page to reflect those changes.

    Comprehensive information about interest on your loan is available on the Federal Student Aid website.

  • Are there any other fees for Federal Student Loans?

    Most federal student loans have loan fees that are a percentage of the total loan amount. The loan fee is deducted proportionately from each loan disbursement you receive while enrolled in school. This means the money you receive will be less than the amount you actually borrow. You’re responsible for repaying the entire amount you borrowed and not just the amount you received.

    The chart below shows the loan fees for Direct Subsidised Loans, Direct Unsubsidised Loans, and Direct PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after Oct. 1, 2018.

    Loan Type First Disbursement Date Loan Fee
    Direct Subsidised Loans and Direct Unsubsidised Loans On or after Oct/1/19 and before Oct/1/20 1.062%
    On or after Oct/1/20 and before Oct/1/21 1.059%
    Direct PLUS Loans On or after Oct/1/19 and before Oct/1/20 4.248%
    On or after Oct/1/20 and before Oct/1/21 4.236%

    Loans first disbursed prior to 1 October 2018 have different loan fees. Please refer to the PSA website for this information. 
  • Budgeting

    Once the amount of your certified loan(s) is finalised, it is recommended that you create a budget to plan for the coming year.

    Please ensure that you have enough funds to cover accommodation, books, supplied 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 minimising debt now will help you manage your loan more easily once you graduate and that its always cheaper to save than to borrow. When making spending choices whilst 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.

  • Eligibility for financial assistance

    To be eligible for the Direct Loan Program you must meet the following criteria:

    • an eligible US citizen or eligible non-citizen
    • not in default of owing a return repayment on a federal student loan
    • be enrolled in a full degree program (Nursing, graduate diplomas and graduate certificate programs do not qualify for Direct Stafford and PLUS Loans). 
    To remain eligible while you are enrolled, you need to: 

    • be enrolled at least half time in a degree program
    • agree to and maintain satisfactory academic progress while complying with the conditions of your student visa DoHA
    • be on track to complete your degree within 150 percent of the allocated course timeframe (maximum timeframe)
    • not enrol in courses offered by online, telecommunication or distance delivery in whole or part. 
    For further information regarding basic eligibility criteria please refer to the Federal Student Aid website. 
  • How to apply
    To apply for financial aid, please complete all of the following steps to initiate your application:

    1. Apply to study at Murdoch University.
    2. Create or update your FSA ID
    3. Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Murdoch University's federal school code is G25796.

    Once this is complete, FAFSA will generate an electronic Student Aid Report (SAR), which contains the applicants financial aid history and any Expected Family Contribution (EFC) amount. The Financial Aid Administrator will then use this information to determine a Cost of Attendance (COA) and how much the applicant / student is eligible to receive.

    4. Complete the Direct Loan Entrance Counselling
    5. Sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN). If you are a graduate student and wish to borrow Graduate PLUS Loan, you must also a Graduate PLUS MPN.
    6. Download and complete the Application for Financial Aid form 
    7. Email the completed form to

    Once the above items have been completed Murdoch University can then determine the loan type you are eligible for. We will then calculate your Cost of Attendance (CoA) and Financial Need Assessment (FNA) and issue a Financial Aid Award Letter. Award letters cannot be issued too far in advance therefore if you have applied early you may not receive your award letter until closer to the commencement.

    For more information regarding Cost of Attendance, please see the below tab. 

    8. Once you have reviewed and are satisfied with your award letter, you need to email a signed copy to 
    9. Complete a request for refund form so that we can transfer the funds for living expenses to your Australian bank account.
    10. Accept an Offer of Admission from Murdoch by paying the deposit as outlined on your offer letter - unfortunately you are not able to accept your offer with Federal Student Aid. Please accept at least 4 weeks before the start of semester so you will have ample time to apply for your student visa and travel to Australia. 

  • What happens next?

    Once you return the signed award letter confirming the amount you would like to borrow your US Federal Aid will be released directly to your student record. This is called a disbursement and will be made in two separate portions usually around the commencement of classes in the two main study periods, February and July.  Students who commence mid-year will receive their disbursements in July and again the following February.

    Where you have borrowed enough to cover tuition and living expenses, tuition fees will be deducted first, and any remaining credit balance refunded to your nominated bank account. You can generally expect to receive a refund around the 2nd week of classes.

  • Cost of attendance

    The Cost of Attendance (CoA) is an estimate of your educational expenses for the study period in an Award Year which runs from July to June).

    The Financial Aid administrator at Murdoch University determines your CoA which will determine the amount that you will be eligible to apply for. This amount covers tuition fees, books, course related costs, overseas health cover, transportation and living costs. 

    In the CoA, we will take into consideration all aid that you will receive outside of the Direct Loan Program such as other loans, grants, scholarships, work awarded based on enrolment and monies given to dual citizens from the Australian government. Please ensure you let us know if any of these are applicable to you and have not been included in your CoA. 

    The cost of attendance is outlined below in Australia dollars for two semesters. If you're applying for financial aid for one semester only, these figures will be prorated accordingly. The figures are periodically reviewed and subject to changes on an annual basis. 

    Cost Description

    As stated on your Letter of Offer.

    Please refer to Fees and finances for more information. 

    Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF)

    This is dependent on your enrolment.

    Please refer to Fees and finances for more information.  

    Books and supplies




    Overseas Student Health Cover

    As stated on your letter of offer and in accordance with your student visa conditions.

    Living expenses


    Origination fee

    As published on the United States Federal Aid website. Origination fees are revised every October.


    Average cost of a computer $1,500 (receipt required) one off payment when requested.

  • Leaving the program / completing your studies

    When you complete your program, withdraw, take a leave-of-absence or drop below half-time enrolment, Murdoch University will notify your lender and your grace period will begin. The grace period will give you six months before you must start making monthly principal and interest payments on your loans. If you re-enter university at least halftime during your grace period, the grace period is usually renewed for another six months so you have the full grace period available when you leave university again.

    You must also undertake Exit Counselling online: Exit Counseling.

    Students who apply for a Murdoch University Leave of Absence from their studies may be eligible to also take a Federal Aid Leave of Absence in certain circumstances.  Enquiries should be made to the Murdoch University Financial Aid Administrator before you go on LoA. If you are not eligible or do not apply for a Federal Aid LoA, you will be reported as ‘withdrawn’ to the US Department of Education, even if your enrolment status at Murdoch University is LoA.

  • Important policies and consumer disclosures
    Federal regulation requires participating schools to disclose specific information to perspective and enrolled students. For more information, please refer to the summary of consumer information (PDF). 

    General information:


    Student support, safety and wellbeing:

    Scholarships and financial support:

    Fees and costs: