Take a look at our step-by-step guide to completing FAFSA:

STEP 1: Completing FAFSA

Each student must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). FAFSA applications can be completed online the US Department of Education's website

Applying online will speed up the processing of your application. To apply online you will need a PIN from the Department of Education. A PIN allows you to electronically sign your application. Your parents will also need to request a PIN as they will be required to sign for any information which they enter electronically. Click here to request a PIN

You must also remember to enter the Trinity Laban school code: G010520

After applying, you can check the status of your application online, and even make amendments. If you have applied for a Stafford Loan before, you should complete the Renewal FAFSA, including updates on family income and assets.

How does Trinity receive this information?

Institutions outside the US will not receive this information electronically. Therefore, in order for them to process your financial aid, you need to obtain and submit the 8-page paper SAR which is available after you complete FAFSA. The normal SAR receipt you are mailed by the Department of Education is not enough. There are two ways to get the 8-page paper SAR

1. When you submit your FAFSA online do not list your email address and the 8-page SAR will be mailed to you
2. If you have submitted your FAFSA already, you may call +1-800-4FEDAID and request the 8-page SAR

The SAR indicates your expected family contribution (EFC), which is used to determine the amount of subsidised loan you should be given. Please check all the information on your SAR to be make sure that it is correct. If you need to make any alterations, please follow the instructions on the back of the SAR as soon as possible.

STEP 2: Stafford Loan Entrance Couselling

It is a legal requirement that any US student who has not previously received a Federal Stafford Loan should first complete the Stafford Loan Counselling Interview online at Mapping Your Future. The entrance counselling advises you on the different types of loans available, repayment methods and schedules and also makes you aware of any legal requirements of participating in the programme.

STEP 3: Find a Lender

While you are waiting for the 8 page SAR to come, use the time to look at lenders, and to decide whether you want a private loan or a PLUS loan or a combination. Trinity cannot recommend a lender but we have successfully worked with IEFC and SallieMae in the past. You are free to choose, but you must consider the following in making your choice:

  • Stafford Loan charges, including PLUS loans and interest rates are set by Congress, so all lenders charge the same
  • Private loans are commercial and each lender has different rates and terms of repayment, and different requirements of the borrower and/or consignor, you should make sure you have thoroughly reviewed all your options before making any decision


Sallie Mae is the largest lending company with a specialist team for students at foreign schools:

  • Stafford Loans
  • Graduate PLUS Loans
  • Parent PLUS loans Details of their private loans can be found on the ..SallieMae web-site Browse their site at SallieMae International for further information on all types of loans and details of online application.

International Education Finance Corporation

IEFC is wholly dedicated to students at foreign schools. They can provide

  • Stafford Loans
  • Graduate PLUS Loans
  • Parent PLUS loans Their private loans are lent through TERI. - Browse the IEFC website for more information. You are also free to choose any other lender but you may find the process slower and you will not be able to complete the application online.

Step 4: Sending your Loan Application to TCM

If you apply online, the application process happens automatically from the moment you complete your online application. If, however, you apply on paper, you will need to send your application to Student Services for processing.

Step 5: Receiving your Loan

Once your application is completed, communications continue between lenders, guarantors and Trinity. You will not see any of this, but we will contact you once the cheques have arrived for disbursement.


Federal Regulations set the maximum number of days we can hold your cheques and dictate that you cannot have your cheques before Registration (30 days after registration if a first time borrower) or outside the 'loan period' - the loan period is from the first day of registration to the last day of the following Summer term. Laws passed in 2006 added that you can only have one third of your loan each term. We set disbursement dates to make the best balance of Federal Regulations to have cheques are ready for collection after registration and minimise the days we hold them. When your cheques have arrived, we will send you an email at your Trinity email address and you will be able to come and collect them.

Collecting cheques

When you have been told your cheques are ready, you can collect them from Finance. Your cheques will be in $US and normally co-payable to you and Trinity. We will then ask you to come and endorse the cheque in order that they can be banked as soon as possible. The cheques can take about 5 weeks to 'clear'. You will need to ensure that you have funds to live on until your loans clear the bank.

Use of loans

Your loan is specifically for education. If Fees are not paid first then you will have defaulted on the terms of your loan(s). As soon as your loan is exchanged into £sterling, you must pay your fees. We appreciate that loan delays may pose a problem paying fees on time, this does not affect your registration, and you can discuss this problem with Finance if you are affected.

Plan a budget

Your money has to last all year. Plan your budget to cover termly income, monthly bills and weekly expenses. Do not budget to spend everything, allow for unexpected expenditure.


Banks in the UK are subject to Government regulations; you cannot simply walk into a bank and open an account. There are requirements that must be fulfilled. You cannot start to open an account until you are in London. UK students are attractive customers and most UK Banks offer competitive deals. Students should compare them for the best deals on gifts, benefits, facilities, overdrafts and rates of interest. Non UK students are generally offered limited facilities because they do not have a permanent UK address and are considered a 'high risk' for debt when they return to their home countries. Non UK students should consider whether they actually need a UK bank account, a cash card and credit card from their home bank might be enough; but be sure to inform your home bank and card issuer that you are in the UK and likely to make large transactions (Fees and Rent). If you need a UK account, look to compare what facilities the banks have to offer.

Opening a UK Bank Account

You cannot start to do anything about opening an account until you have arrived in London and have all the required documents. Because banks have to make a variety of checks on your identity, address, credit record, and then print/produce card and/or cheque book, it may take 3 weeks or more to open an account after you have presented all the required documents.

Essential Documents Required to Open an Account

There is nothing you can do until you are actually in London. All banks will require all or most of these, but check with you chosen bank.

  • Proof of Identity - Passport
  • Proof of London Address - they may require more than one, such as the lease on a flat or room in Halls which shows both your name and the address, tax letter from local government with your name and the address, or a utility bill such as gas or electric which has your name and the address.
  • Proof of home address - offer of admission letter, something official which shows your name and home address such as a bank statement or credit card statement.
  • Proof of student status - the letter offering your place at Trinity
  • Possibly a letter of introduction

List of Local Banks

Abbey National 129 Lewisham High St, SE13 6AQ 00 44 (0)845 765 4321
Barclays Bank 93 Lewisham High Street, SE13 6BB 00 44 (0)845 755 5555
Halifax 93 Deptford High Street, SE8 4AZ 00 44 (0)845 607 0810
HSBC Bank 275 Greenwich High Road, SE10 8NF 00 44 (0)845 740 4404
Lloyds TSB Bank Ltd 6 Crescent Arcade, SE10 9EJ 00 44 (0)845 730 9232
National Westminster Bank 2 Greenwich Church Street, SE10 9BQ 00 44 (0)845 605 1605
Nationwide 179 High Street, SE13 6AJ 00 44 (0) 20 7599 0600
Woolwich 80 - 82 High Street, SE8 4RT 00 44 (0)845 071 8379

STEP 6: Stafford Loan Exit Counselling

The US Department of Education requires that all student loan borrowers complete an exit counselling session whenever you drop below half-time enrolment status, withdraw, or graduate. To complete your online Exit Counselling session visit Mapping Your Future

Subscribe to our Mailing List

Stay up-to-date with performances and activities happening at Trinity Laban.

Subscribe now