Information for USA Students

Federal Stafford & PLUS Loans to Study Outside of the United States

St. Francis Xavier is recognized as a participant by the US Department of Education for the Stafford Loan Programs. Please visit  for more information. If you have dual American/Canadian status you may be able to access either program. Be sure to read loan regulations carefully. 

Notice To All U.S. Student Borrowers: Participation in the Direct Loan Program Begins July 1, 2010 

St. Francis Xavier University will participate in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program beginning July 1, 2010. Students from the United States (U.S.) who attended our school previously received loans through the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program. However, all U.S. students will now borrow through the Direct Loan Program. The Direct Loan Program offers the same types of loans as the FFEL Program, and Direct Loans generally have the same terms and conditions as FFEL Program loans. However, instead of a bank lending the money, the U.S. Department of Education lends the money directly to students through the student’s school. There are also some differences in the names of the loans. The FFEL Program’s Federal Stafford Loans (subsidized and unsubsidized) are called Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans in the Direct Loan Program. 

How to apply for a Direct loan (only when all 4 steps are completed will loan money be issued)
  • Complete the FAFSA electronically via the FAFSA on the Web site at Be sure add StFX (federal school code is G06681). 
  • Complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) at When studying at a foreign school, a new Master Promissory Note is required each academic year. 
  • Complete a Request letter indicating how much you would like to borrow up to the maximum of the academic level you are at (eg. Sophomore - $4,500 + $2,000). Please email @email to request this letter be forwarded to you. 
  • Entrance Counselling is required. This can be done at 
Parent Plus Loan

Parents of dependent students may apply for a Parent Plus loan to help their son/daughter through post secondary education. This is the parent’s loan but made available to the student for college costs. A credit check is done on the parent applying for the loan. Parents may borrow up to the amount of what it costs the student to attend a year at St. Francis Xavier University minus any grants, scholarships, Direct loans.

Note: If your credit check results in an adverse credit history determination, you will receive information from the US Department of Education about the endorser and extenuating circumstance options. If you are a parent and neither of these is a viable option, your dependent student will be eligible to receive additional Direct Unsubsidized Loan funds in the amount of $4,000 for freshmen and sophomores and $5,000 for juniors and seniors. However, students cannot go beyond the aggregate amount as shown in the chart below. 

To apply for the Parent Plus loan go to:, sign in with your PIN and then follow the directions for a plus loan request and complete the Master Promissory Note for a Parent Plus loan. 

Loan Limits

The federal government sets limits on the amount of money a student can borrow. The annual limit applies to the most a student can borrow in one academic year, while the aggregate limit applies to the maximum a student can borrow in a lifetime.

Grade in School Annual Loan Units Aggregate Loan Units
  Base Amount Additional Unsubsidized Subsidized Limit Overall Limit
Undergraduate Dependent     $23,000 $31,000
First Year $3,500 $2,000    
Second Year $4,500 $2,000    
Third Year and Beyond $5,500 $2,000    
Undergraduate Independent     $23,000 $57,500
First Year $3,500 $6,000    
Second Year $4,500 $6,000    
Third Year and Beyond $5,500 $7,000    

*Undergraduate Dependent students whose parents are unable to borrow a PLUS loan will be eligible for the Undergraduate Independent loan limits. 

NOTE: As of the 2012-2013 academic year, students registered in any nursing program will not be eligible for aid through the Direct Loan program as per the US Department of Education's requirements for foreign Nursing schools. Certificate and Diploma programs in any area of study are also not eligible for funding through the Direct Loan program.

Additional Information

In order to keep in the Direct Loan Program, students need to be full time or at least half time status. They must also meet and maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) as explained below. 

Students studying at a foreign school cannot at any time complete online or distance courses through their home institution or on letter of permission at another institution and maintain eligibility in the Direct Loan program. If a student chooses to complete an online or distance course while studying at StFX, they will be ineligible to receive any further funding for the duration of their degree studies through this loan program; eligibility cannot be regained. 

The MPN is the legal document through which you promise to repay your Direct Loans and any accrued interest and fees to the Department. It also explains the terms and conditions of your loans. You will need to complete a new Direct Loan MPN each academic year that you receive a Direct Subsidized Loan and/or a Direct Unsubsidized Loan at our school. 

Entrance & Exit Counseling

The federal government requires that students participate in loan counseling prior to obtaining a loan and prior to leaving, withdrawing or graduating from the school at which they received a Direct Loan. To complete the Counseling go to    

For additional information about Direct Loans,

Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements - US Financial Aid Recipients

Students accessing US William D. Ford Direct Loan (Direct Loan) funds are evaluated for satisfactory academic progress (SAP) at the end of each academic term. Students must maintain a minimum of half-time registration in each academic term (7.5 credit hours) if they are receiving US Financial Aid. Students accessing direct loans are not permitted to enroll in any online courses at St. Francis Xavier University or any other post-secondary institution during any term of study. A student who takes an online course will cause his or her entire program to become ineligible for Direct Loan funds.   

The SAP evaluation takes into account both a qualitative (Cumulative GPA) and a quantitative (credits completed and the pace at which they are completed) review of the student’s studies and failure to meet either component may result in the student losing eligibility.

Academic Standing

Undergraduate Students must maintain a Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 60%. If the Cumulative GPA drops below 60%, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Warning. While on US Financial Aid Warning, the student must obtain a Term GPA of 60% or higher in their next immediate term to continue to be eligible for US financial aid.

Grades earned during the spring or summer terms, whether completed at StFX or on letters of permission elsewhere, will also be included in the student’s Cumulative GPA calculation for the term in which they were completed. Only those transfer credits that count towards the student’s program of study at StFX will be included when evaluating SAP.

Maximum Time frame

For maximum timeframe, it must be no longer than 150% of the published length of time as measured in credit hours. For example, if a program is 60 credits to receive a bachelor’s degree, the maximum timeframe a student can earn will be 90 credits. If the student goes over 90 credits, they are ineligible for Title IV funding. A normal two-year degree will need to be finished within a three-year time period, a normal four-year degree will need to be finished within a six-year time period. 

To remain eligible to receive Direct Loan funding, students in a two-year Bachelor of Education program or any of the eligible four-year bachelor programs must successfully complete a minimum of 67% of credit hours attempted during the academic year (Sep-Aug). Credits completed during the spring or summer terms, credits completed elsewhere on letters of permission and credits associated with repeated courses will all count towards satisfying this quantitative requirement for SAP. Attendance periods at other post-secondary institutions, periods during which students do not receive Title IV aid and periods during which students withdraw from courses, repeat courses or suspend their academic studies will all count as time used towards the maximum allowable time frame. 

Financial Aid Warning 

A student who does not meet the SAP requirements will be placed on Financial Aid Warning for the period of the next academic term and will continue to be eligible to receive funding for that period only. At the end of the term, the student will be re-evaluated for SAP and must meet the qualitative and quantitative requirements to return to regular funding eligibility status in the next term of study. If the student does not meet the requirements after spending a term on Financial Aid Warning, the student is no longer eligible to receive Title IV funding. Students will receive an e-mail at their StFX email address only notifying them of this. It is possible for students to receive more than one warning period during their academic career. However, students cannot be placed on a Financial Aid Warning period in two consecutive terms. 

Financial Aid Probation, Appeal and Regaining Direct Loan Eligibility: 

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

  • Death of an immediate family member. 
  • Extended illness of the student – illness that causes the student to be absent from class at least 15 days or more -- medical documentation required. 
  • Extended illness of a family member that places hardship on the student -- medical documentation required. 
  • Mitigating circumstances as determined by the Financial Aid Officer. 

All appeals must be received in writing within fourteen days of receipt of the email notification. The appeal must explain not only why the student did not meet SAP but also what has changed to allow the student to meet SAP going forward. The decision of the SAP Appeal Committee to grant or deny the appeal is final and will be communicated promptly to the student, in writing through email, and will be retained in the student’s Financial Aid file.

If a student’s appeal is approved, they can be placed on Financial Aid Probation. Conditions may apply to the probation status, such as raising the GPA by the end of the next semester or meeting with the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs to explore supports that may be available to help the student.  At the end of the next semester, SAP will be re-evaluated according to the SAP policy and any conditions stipulated in the appeal decision. If the evaluation is favourable, the student’s eligibility for Title IV funding will be reinstated. If the student does not meet SAP at this time, then they will no longer be eligible.  A student can regain their eligibility if they meet SAP at a later point in time. 

A second option that may be used for the student if an appeal is successful is to place them on Financial Aid Probation with an Academic Plan. An Academic plan comes into effect when a student will need more than one term to come into compliance with SAP. The student may only regain eligibility for Title IV aid after he or she has come back into compliance with the university’s SAP policy. 

If a student’s appeal is not successful, they remain ineligible for funding until such time as they have come back into compliance with the SAP requirements. If this occurs, it is the student’s responsibility to contact the Financial Aid Office and request that their eligibility be reviewed. Please note that students who have exceeded the 150% time limit in their program cannot be reinstated. 

William D. Ford Direct Loan Refund Policy 

The refund policy for St. Francis Xavier University may be found at Financial Services. The following is an appendage for students who are accessing US William D. Ford Direct Loan (Direct Loan) funds. If a student receiving Direct Loans withdraws from the institution during a payment period or period of enrollment in which the recipient began attendance, the university must determine the amount of title IV funds that the student earned as of the student's withdrawal date.  StFX utilizes the US Department of Education’s Return of Title IV Funds Policy for this calculation (§668.22 Treatment of title IV funds when a student withdraws). If it is determined that Direct Loan funds must be returned to the Department of Education, the distribution of these Funds will occur in the following order: 

  1. Federal Direct Unsubsidized 
  2. Federal Direct Subsidized 
  3. Federal Direct Plus Loans 

If StFX is required to pay Direct Loan funds on your behalf to the US Department of Education as a result of your early withdrawal you will be required to repay those funds to St. Francis Xavier University. In addition, you may also be required to repay Direct Loan funds directly to the US Department of Education.

We recommend you contact the Financial Aid Office as soon as possible if you are considering early withdraw to discuss the options and potential implications. To view the full Return of Title IV Funds policy as issued by the US Department of Education, click here.

Students’ Union Health and Dental Plans

All International Students are required to participate in the Students’ Union Health and Dental Plans. The coverage includes benefits specifically designed for student needs. Information concerning both the Health and Dental plans and associated benefits can be found here


Financial Aid Office

204/206 Nicholson Tower
2329 Notre Dame Avenue
Antigonish NS B2G 2W5