William D Ford Federal Direct Loan Program

Macquarie University is accredited by the US Department of Education to administer various loans to eligible students as part of the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program.

Macquarie University’s latest Title IV Cohort Default Rate is 0 for the fiscal year 2020.

To be eligible for US federal direct loans you must meet the criteria set by the US Department of Education. These criteria are subject to change at the discretion of the US Department of Education.

To apply for a federal direct loan you must:

  • be an eligible US citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • not be in default or owing a return repayment on a federal student loan
  • have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • for PLUS loans, the borrower must also pass a credit check as required by the US Department of Education.

Visit Federal Student Aid for further details of the US Department of Education Eligibility criteria.

In addition to the above criteria, you must also:

  • be enrolled in a degree program (graduate diplomas, graduate certificate, study abroad, diplomas and foundations do not qualify for Direct Stafford and PLUS Loans)
  • not be enrolled in the Doctor of Medicine or Global MBA course
  • be enrolled at least half-time on North Ryde campus
  • not be enrolled in any distance or online course in whole or part
  • meet the satisfactory academic progress criteria as outlined in our SAP policy.

The following loans are available to students enrolled and meet the eligibility requirements at Macquarie University.

Federal Direct Subsidised loan

This loan is based on financial need as determined by the US Department of Education. The loan is "subsidised" because no interest or repayment is required as long as you are enrolled in an eligible course at least half-time, or within an authorised period of deferment. Repayments begin after the grace period, which is usually six months after you leave University or drop below half-time enrolment.

The subsidised loan is only available to undergraduate students.

Federal Direct Unsubsidised loan

This loan is not based on financial need. Because it is "unsubsidised", you are responsible for paying the interest from the time of the first disbursement. You have the option to defer your interest and principal payments while you are in university, during any authorized period of deferment, and for the six-month grace period after you leave university or drop below half-time enrolment. If payments are deferred, the interest accrues and is capitalized (added to your principal loan balance). This option adds to the amount you will have to repay on your loan when you leave university. It may also increase the amount of your monthly payment.

The unsubsidised loan is available to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Federal Parent/Graduate PLUS loan

The Parent PLUS loans enable parents and family members with good credit ratings to pay the education expenses of each child who is a dependent undergraduate student enrolled at least half time in an approved college or university.

The Graduate PLUS loans enable graduate students with good credit ratings, studying at least half time in an approved college or University, to pay their education expenses.

Your eligible direct loan amount for each academic year is limited depending on your:

  • grade level;
  • whether you are a dependent or an independent student (check your dependency status);
  • your financial needs;
  • and cost of attendance.

Annual limits

Federal direct loansSubsidised annual limitCombined annual limit
(Subsidised and Unsubsidised)
Dependent undergraduates  
Year one$3,500$5,500
Year two$4,500$6,500
Year three and up$5,500$7,500
Independent undergraduates  
Year one$3,500$9,500
Year two$4,500$10,500
Year three and up$5,500$12,500
Graduate/professional students$0$20,500

Aggregate limits

Federal direct loansSubsidised aggregate limitCombined aggregate limit
(Subsidised and Unsubsidised)
Dependent undergraduates$23,000$31,000
Independent undergraduates$23,000$57,500
Graduate and professional$65,500$138,500

The 2024 cost of attendance is outlined below. If you are only applying for one semester, the amount will be pro-rated.

TuitionVariousDependent on your program of study
Books/equipmentAU$500Per study period
Living expensesAU$32,000Per annum*
Overseas Health CoverVariousCourse duration (based on Worldcare OSHC rates)
Airfare allowanceAU$3,000Per year
SSAFVariousSee Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) page

*This amount is for based on 12 months academic year and will be prorated based on your actual academic year period (9 months for course work undergraduate and postgraduate).

Non-standard expenses may be considered. Students will need to provide evidence of these costs such as receipts, quotes, or letters which must be certified by the appropriate authority.

The above figures are based on an academic year and will be converted into USD on the day of your award calculation. They are reviewed annually and updated as appropriate.

The US funds will be converted to Australian dollars (AUD) on the day it arrives in the Macquarie University bank account. Any variances in the exchange rates will not be considered unless it exceeds 25 per cent.

The following information outlines the interest rates for federal direct loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2023 and before July 1, 2024.

Federal Direct Loan%
Direct subsidised loans and Direct unsubsidised loans (Undergraduate borrowers)5.50
Direct unsubsidised loans (Graduate or Professional borrowers)7.05
Direct PLUS loans (Parents and Graduate or Professional borrowers)


You can also view the interest rates for Direct Loans first disbursed before July 1, 2023.

Most Federal Direct Loans have loan fees (origination fees) that are deducted proportionately from each loan disbursement you receive. This means the money you receive will be less than the amount you actually borrow. You are responsible for repaying the entire amount you borrowed and not just the amount you received.

Below are the current loan fees for Federal Direct Loans:

First disbursed on or after October 1, 2020

  • 1.057 per cent for Direct Subsidised loans and Unsubsidised loans
  • 4.228 per cent for Direct PLUS loans

First disbursed on or after October 1, 2019 and before October 1, 2023

  • 1.059 per cent for Direct Subsidised loans and Unsubsidised loans
  • 4.236 per cent for Direct PLUS loans

New US Federal loan student

Application for new US Federal student loan applicants will open in:

  • Session 1 – 1 November to 23 December (of prior year)
  • Session 2 – 1 May to 30 June

Continuing US Federal loan student

Continuing students are only required to apply at the end of the previous application loan period. For example, if you applied for the full year of 2020 (Session 1 & Session 2), a new application must be completed in Session 1, 2021.

Applications for continuing US Federal student loan applicant will open in:

  • Session 1 – 1 December (of prior year) to 15 January
  • Session 2 – 1 July to 31 July
1. Complete your FAFSA

Macquarie University's federal school code is G10681.

2. Sign your Master Promissory Note
3. Complete Entrance Counselling
4. Complete Macquarie's US Financial Aid Application Form [PDF 531KB]
5. Send your application via email to Macquarie University Financial Aid Office

Attach the following documents and send to financialaid@mq.edu.au:

  • completed Macquarie's US Fin Aid application form
  • copy of Macquarie University Letter of Offer
6. Processing, assessing, and review

The Macquarie Financial Aid Office will process your application once all required documents have been received. Generally, it may take up to 14 days to process the application. Should you have any queries, email financialaid@mq.edu.au.

Once the assessment is complete, the Financial Aid Office will either advise you to provide additional information or provide you with a Financial Aid Award Letter. Please review the information on the Financial Aid Award Letter to ensure they are accurate.

If you are satisfied with the award letter, complete the amount you wish to borrow, sign the acceptance and email the letter to financialaid@mq.edu.au.

7. Disbursement

Prior to disbursement, you will need to complete the Disbursement Reconciliation Form. We will inform you once the funds are receipted to your student’s account.

If there are excess funds in your student’s account after paying your tuition fees, we will process a refund to your nominated bank account accordingly. If you wish the excess funds to remain in your student’s account, inform the Macquarie Financial Aid Office via email – financialaid@mq.edu.au.

Note: Funds are disbursed in mid-March and August. It is strongly recommended that students have funds for the first six to eight weeks of classes in case there is a delay in your financial aid arriving from the US.

All students applying for or receiving US Federal Aid (Subsidised, Unsubsidised and PLUS) at Macquarie University must progress satisfactorily towards completion of a chosen academic program. Macquarie University is required by US Federal law (34CFR 668.16) to define and enforce standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). The guidelines have been established to encourage students to complete successfully academic programs for which aid is received.

Students receiving financial aid will be evaluated at the end of each academic study period. Beyond the Macquarie University requirements for academic progression, students must meet minimum standards for both the below mentioned components as well as adhering to the Australian Immigration / visa legislation.

Academic standing (Qualitative)

Coursework students

Students who commenced prior to 2016 – Grade Point Average (GPA) will be calculated on a 4-point scale, and students must achieve a cumulative GPA of 2.1 or greater at the end of each semester.

Students who commenced on or after 2016 and completed their course prior to 2020 – GPA will be calculated on a 7-point scale, and students must achieve a Cumulative GPA of 4.1 or greater at the end of each semester.

All other students from 2020 onwards – Weighted Average Mark (WAM) will be calculated based on the average of the actual marks you achieved in all units of your course and is a mark out of 100. Students must achieve a WAM of 65 per cent or above at the end of each semester.

Students can get an estimate of their WAM or GPA through the WAM or GPA Estimator tool.

Higher Degree Research (HDR) students

HDR students must achieve a satisfactory progress as determined by their supervisors. The progress reports must be completed and signed by the supervisors, to be submitted twice annually, to Macquarie University Financial Aid office.

Maximum time-frame (Quantitative)

An undergraduate student or postgraduate student by coursework is entitled to receive aid for 150 per cent of the standard course time frame providing they achieve the required GPA. For example:

  • Undergraduate students enrolled in:
    • 3-year degree (240 credit points) – eligibility for aid up to 4.5 years (360 credit points)
    • 4-year degree (320 credit points) – eligibility for aid up to 6 years (480 credit points)
  • Postgraduate students enrolled in:
    • 1-year degree (80 credit points) – eligibility for aid 1.5 years (120 credit points)
    • 2-year degree (160 credit points) – eligibility for aid up to 3 years (240 credit points)
    • 3-year degree (240 credit points) – eligibility for aid up to 4.5 years (360 credit points)

Students should be aware that whilst federal eligibility may allow them to continue – individual academic progress requirements and student visa restrictions may impact on the students' ability to continue within the program.

To meet the Maximum Time Frame conditions, coursework students must meet a minimum study pace ratio of at least 0.67 as formulated below:

Pace of Progression = Total Cumulative Hours Completed (credit points passed) / Total Cumulative Hours (credit points) Attempted

Remedial, non-credit courses and incompletes

Non-credit courses will not be counted in assessing full-time hours. A student is required to achieve a grade on any deferred or supplementary assessment within six months of completing a class.

Withdrawal of unit(s)

Students are eligible to withdraw from unit(s) - without academic and financial penalty up until the census date for the session/term.

After the census date, students who withdraw from unit(s) will either receive a grade of “F” – if academic and/or financial penalties have been applied or, a grade of “W” – if academic and/or financial penalties have not been applied.

Students who receive a F grade will be counted in the total credit points enrolled for the calculation of the students’ cumulative WAM. Student who receive a W grade will be considered the same as withdrawn prior to census date.

Repetition of unit(s)

Students who repeat unit(s) due to unsatisfactory completion (eg “F” grade) will have the initial and repeated unit grades included in their cumulative WAM for evaluation of qualitative SAP requirement, and the credit points for both units will be counted towards the students’ total credit points attempted as part of the quantitative SAP requirement.


Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) will be assessed for each student at the end of each academic term period, to determine your eligibility for continued awards of aid. You will be notified in writing if your Financial Aid is suspended. An appeal procedure for verifiable extenuating or unforeseen circumstances is available if you believe that you meet those criteria.

Financial aid warning and suspension

The policy for Financial Aid Warning and/or suspension is as follows:

  • Students who fail to achieve the required WAM and/or pace ratios, commensurate with the longevity of their degree program, and their academic level within that degree structure, will be placed on financial aid warning status for the next study period.
  • Students who have been placed on warning status and subsequently meet the WAM will be placed back into satisfactory financial aid standing.
  • Students who have been placed on warning status and do not meet the minimum academic/time-frame requirements applicable to degree and level, will have their financial aid suspended and are ineligible to receive aid until they achieve the required cumulative WAM.


Students who have their eligibility for aid suspended may appeal the suspension if one or more of the following circumstances exist:

  • Death of an immediate family member
  • An extended illness of the student – extended illness as defined as a documented chronic or recurring medical or emotional illness that causes the student to be absent from class at least 21 days or more
  • An extended illness of an immediate family member that places hardship on the student
  • Mitigating circumstances as determined by the Financial Aid Director

To appeal, students must submit:

  • A typed and signed letter directed to the Financial Aid Office – the letter must clearly state how one or more of the circumstances outlined above hindered you from meeting the SAP requirements. It must also include, how your circumstance(s) have changed, and what action(s) have been taken or will be taken to meet satisfactory progression in the future.
  • Official document(s) to support your appeal – this could include a letter from someone with whom you have been working to address your academic issue (eg Doctor, Counsellor, Advisor, etc), or documentation of events that affected your studies (eg hospital records, medical certificate, accident report, illness/death in family, etc).

All appeals must be received within ten days of receipt of the notice of suspension. Students must submit all required documents (letter and supporting documents) to financialaid@mq.edu.au. The MQ Financial Aid Office will review the SAP appeal within ten business days and their decision is final. Only complete appeals will be reviewed, and request for additional or updated information may delay the appeal decision.

Students who successfully appeal will be placed on probation, for one study period, on ONE of the following:

  1. Student should be able to meet the SAP requirements by the end of the subsequent study period. The student is not required to submit an academic plan, and SAP progress will be reviewed at the end of one study period. If the student does not meet the SAP requirements at the end of their probation period, the student will be placed back into suspension until further action is taken that will bring the student into compliance with the SAP requirements.
  2. The student will require more than one study period to meet the SAP requirements. The student is required to develop an academic plan in collaboration with the faculty Academic Advisor and the Financial Aid Office. The student’s progress will be reviewed at the end of each study period to determine if they are meeting the requirements of the academic plan. If the student is meeting the requirements, the student is eligible to receive US Federal Direct Loans as long as they continue to meet those requirements. If the student fails to meet the academic plan (receives a Fail grade), the student will be placed back into suspension until further action is taken that will bring the student into compliance with the SAP requirements.

Students whose appeal have been denied will be placed on suspension until eligibility is re-established. Applying for Private Loans may be an alternative financial aid option for suspended students.

Please note, appeal of Financial Aid suspension is a separate process from an Academic Appeal.

Students who wish to withdraw or have withdrawn from their units and/or program must follow the University’s withdrawal procedure, AND notify the MQ Financial Aid office as soon as possible.

US Federal law species that, if a student withdraws from their program of study, the University must calculate a Return to Title IV (R2T4) to determine the amount of Federal Direct loan earned. The Title IV programs that are covered by this law are: Federal Pell Grants, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants, TEACH Grants, Direct Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOGs), and Federal Perkins Loans.

Withdrawal date

For students who provided official notification of withdrawal, the withdrawal date is the earlier date of:

  • The date the student began the official withdrawal process (International Student – Withdrawal and Release Request form submission date on Ask MQ);
  • The date the student otherwise provided official notification of intent via email or phone;
  • The date the student withdraws from all units in a payment period (session/term)

If the student did not provide an official notification of withdrawal, the withdrawal date is determined by the University as:

  • The mid-point of the payment period; or
  • The last date of attendance at an academically related activity, if documented.
Approved Leave of Absence (Suspension of Studies)

Students who are looking to apply for Leave of Absence (LOA) are required to follow the University’s application process for Suspension of Studies. In addition, in order for students to qualify for an approved LOA for US Federal Direct Loans purposes, the LOA must meet the conditions outlined below:

  • Application for Suspension of Studies must be submitted in advance unless unforeseen circumstances prevent the student from doing so.
  • The Suspension of Studies request must be approved by the University.
  • The reason for the requested Suspension of Studies must be one that leads to a reasonable expectation that the student will return from the LOA within the allowed time frame.
  • The period of leave must not exceed a total of 180 days in any 12 month period including school breaks.
  • Student must be able to resume studies at the same point in the program to complete the required coursework for the study period that the student began prior to the LOA.
  • The University must have informed the student of the possible consequences for failure to return from a LOA in terms of the student’s loan repayment including exhaustion of the student’s grace period.

Where students qualify for an approved LOA, the LOA will be considered a temporary interruption in a student’s program of study instead of being counted as a withdrawal requiring the University to calculate R2T4.

During the LOA, the University will not charge the student any additional institutional charges, the student's financial need will not increase, and therefore, the student will not be eligible for any disbursements of US Federal Direct Loans.

If a student does not return from an approved LOA, or the LOA does not qualify as an approved LOA, the student will be deemed to have withdrawn for the purposes of US Federal Direct Loans and R2T4 will be required. And the date the student began the LOA will be considered as the date of withdrawal.

Note: The withdrawal date outlined here is for R2T4 calculation purpose ONLY.

Calculating earned Financial Aid

The amount of Direct loans ‘earned’ is determined on a pro-rata basis from the first day of class up to the end of 60 per cent of the payment period. Therefore, even if a student withdraws pre-census, the University must perform an R2T4 calculation using the number of calendar days attended prior to the date of withdrawal divided by the number of calendar days in the payment period (excluding scheduled breaks of five days or more).

For example, if you completed 30 per cent of your session/term, you earn 30 per cent of the loan you were originally scheduled to receive. Once you have completed more than 60 per cent, you earn 100 per cent of the loan you were scheduled to receive for the session/term.

After calculating the percentage of loans earned, the amount earned is calculated by multiplying the percentage earned by the total amount of loans disbursed or that could have been disbursed for the period.

Post-withdrawal disbursements

If the Direct loan amount earned is more than the amount that was disbursed to the student (or parent if a Direct PLUS loan), the student may be able to receive the additional funds through post-withdrawal disbursement.

Within 30 days of determining the student withdrew, the student/parent will receive a written notification of the available loan funds for disbursement. The student/parent will have 14 days from the notification to either, accept all or part of the loan amount or, to decline and avoid additional debt incurred. If the student/parent accepts all or part of the loan, the funds will be disbursed as per normal disbursement process, but within 180 days of determining the student withdrew.

Note: The University may automatically use all or part of the student’s post-withdrawal disbursement for tuition, fees, or room and board charges.

Return of unearned Financial Aid

If the student was disbursed more than the Direct loan amount earned in the payment period, the University and the student (if applicable) must return the excess funds (unearned) back to the US Department of Education.

Responsibility of the University

The portion of the unearned funds to be returned by the University will be the lesser of the student’s institutional charges (ie tuition, fees, and other educationally related costs) multiplied by the unearned percentage of funds, or the entire amount of excess funds.

The funds will be returned in the following order by the University:

  1. Unsubsidised Federal Direct loan
  2. Subsidised Federal Direct loan
  3. Federal Direct PLUS loan
Responsibility of the Student

The portion of funds that the student (or parent for a Direct PLUS Loan) must return is calculated by subtracting the amount returned by the University from the total amount of unearned funds.

For any Direct loan funds that the student must return, the student (or parent for a Direct PLUS Loan) should repay in accordance with the terms of the promissory note.

Students will be notified of the outcome of the Return to Title IV calculations via email. This notice will include information on the amount of unearned funds returned by the University, and funds that is to be returned by the student, if any.

Note: Any Direct loan funds that the University was required to return will be charged back to the student. Additionally, the requirements for US R2T4 funds when you withdraw are separate from the MQ refund policy therefore you may still owe funds to the University to cover unpaid institutional charges.

Key timeframes

Macquarie University must return unearned loan charges for which it is responsible as soon as possible, but no later than 45 days from the date of school’s determination that student withdrew.

The University must determine withdrawal date for a student that does not provide notification no later than 30 days after the end of the earlier of the payment period or period of enrolment.

Written notification on eligible post-withdrawal disbursement must be sent to student within 30 days of determining withdrawal status.

If you have received a subsidised, unsubsidised or PLUS loan, you must complete exit counselling each time you:

  • drop below half-time enrolment
  • graduate
  • leave school

Please note that your degree is not considered complete until you have undertaken exit counselling.

The following links contain information and disclosures required by the U.S. government under the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 1965 for prospective and currently enrolled students at Macquarie University.

Financial assistance information

The following information can be found on this page:

  • Entrance Counseling
  • Exit Counseling
  • Cost of Attendance
  • Satisfactory Academic Progress
  • Withdrawal and Return to Title IV

Institutional information

Textbook – Information about required and recommended textbooks and/or materials will be provided through iLearn under each enrolled unit guidelines.

Copyright – Information on Macquarie University’s policies and sanctions related to copyright infringement can be found in the following websites:

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) – Privacy of student records at Macquarie University are governed by the NSW Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (PPIPA) and the NSW Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (HRIPA). This includes the collection, storage, access and accuracy, use, and disclosure of personal and health information.

Further information on the obligations of the University can be found in the following websites: