US Federal Direct Loans: Maintaining Eligibility

Program Eligibility:

All bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs offered by SFU are eligible for the U.S. Direct Loan Program provided they do not have any ineligible components such as mandatory courses only offered through distance education or online (see note below). Refer to the “Ineligible Programs” section of Chapter 1 in the “Foreign School Handbook.”


Undergraduate Students must enroll in a minimum of 8 eligible units to meet the half-time enrollment requirement.

Graduate Students in a Research or Specialty per-TERM Program are charged a per-term fee, regardless of the number of courses being completed.  Registration in at least one eligible course per term is considered full-time enrollment.  

Graduate Students in a Specialty per-UNIT Program are charged a fee based on the number of units in which they enroll.  Specialty per-UNIT students must register in a minimum of 5 eligible units to meet the half-time enrollment requirement.

Per-TERM and per-UNIT Graduate programs are noted in the Graduate Student Financial Resources section.

Distance Education and Online Courses:

Distance education and online courses are NOT ELIGIBLE for participation in the U.S. Federal Direct Loan Program. 

If you have distance education and/or online course(s) on your SFU record, you are not eligible for any U.S. Federal Direct Loan funding (now or in the future) towards the same program or credential at SFU, per the U.S. Department of Education.

If you (or a department on your behalf) add distance education and/or online course(s) after your current loan has been disbursed, you are required to pay back the disbursement (as per the terms and conditions of your Master Promissory Note) and can receive no further funding through the U.S. Federal Direct Loan Program. 

NOTE:  The COVID-19 temporary exemption to the distance education and online course restriction was effective for the period from March 1, 2020 to June 30, 2023 ONLY.

More information is available at US Federal Direct Loans: Distance Education and Online Courses.

Course Repeats:

Repeat courses are NOT ELIGIBLE for U.S. Direct Loan funding.  Students who are repeating a course to obtain a higher grade will not receive funding for the same course (except if the previous grade is “F”, “N”, “WD” or “WE”).   If the previous grade is a “D” or higher, the course may be considered based on a successful appeal.  Graduate thesis courses are NOT considered repeat courses.

Co-operative Education:

Co-operative Education courses are not eligible for U.S. Direct Loan funding.

Co-operative Education courses are eligible for Deferment.

Satisfactory Academic Progress:

Students in receipt of US Direct Loan funds while attending Simon Fraser University (SFU) must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) to be eligible to continue to receive US Federal Direct Loan Program funds. SAP will be monitored on a term by term basis. At the conclusion of every term, the academic record of each student who has received US Federal Direct Loan Program funds for the concluded term will be reviewed to determine if the student has met the qualitative and quantitative components as outlined in the SAP policy. The SAP policy applies to students currently in receipt of US Federal Direct Loan funds and does not include those students with deferment status only.

Review the Undergraduate SAP Policy here

UGRD Satisfactory Academic Progress

Review the Graduate SAP Policy here:

GRAD Satisfactory Academic Progress

Withdrawal (Return of Title IV Funds):  

Refer to SFU Return of Title IV Policy

You are required to provide official notification to the University of your intent to cease attendance or your intent to withdraw from all classes prior to completing 60% of the payment period.

You irrevocably authorize Student Services, Simon Fraser University, to withdraw money from your SFU student account if the U.S. Department of Education requires that Simon Fraser University return Title IV Funds (U.S. Federal Direct Loan Funds), which may occur if you withdraw from studies at Simon Fraser University.

Furthermore, if the return of Title IV Funds results in an outstanding balance on your SFU student account, you are responsible for paying the outstanding balance immediately.  Failure to pay any outstanding balance may result in the loss of privileges and services, as outlined in the University Calendar regarding unpaid fees. 

Refer to SFU Leave of Absence Policy

Programs Located in the United States:

Courses that are - in whole or in part - located in the United States may be eligible for participation in the U.S. Federal Direct Loan Program.  This includes: coursework, research, work, or special studies. Please contact Financial Aid & Awards for more information.

Exchange and/or Study Abroad:

Exchange/study abroad terms may be eligible for U.S. Federal Direct Loan funding.  Among other criteria, the host school must be Title IV Eligible (check the Federal School Code list).

Students considering an exchange/study abroad term must confirm eligibility with SFU Financial Aid and Awards prior to registration.  Further details and documentation will be required.  

Federal Student Aid Policies:

It is your responsibility to be aware of and stay up to date with the U.S. Department of Education rules, regulations and policies that are associated with the U.S. Federal Direct Loan Program.

Changes to your Personal Information:

It is your responsibility to inform SFU Financial Aid and Awards in writing and/or the U.S. Department of Education of any changes to your original applications that may impact your eligibility as a borrower or the amounts you are eligible to borrow.  This would include, but is not limited to:  (i) the amount of Financial Aid you received or expect to receive; and (ii) changes to your registration/course load. 

You are also required to keep up-to-date, consistent contact information with the U.S. Department of Education, SFU and your Servicers/Lenders. 

TIP:  Your address in the NSLDS system would be your permanent (usually a) U.S. address.  In the student information system, your home/permanent address is where you would enter your permanent, U.S. address (this should match the address you have in NSLDS).  Your mailing address in the student information system should indicate where you currently live.