This document contains information undertaken by Cranfield University to assist students in understanding the responsibilities of borrowing US Federal Aid, namely William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans, to fund their education and to reduce the number of students who default on their loan repayments.

Entrance Counselling

All students wanting to access US Federal Loans either as a new student or continuing are required to undertake Entrance Counselling prior to each new academic year. During Entrance Counselling, students are advised:

  • how the Master Promissory Note (MPN) works;
  • terms of their loan, including financial responsibility to them;
  • the importance of repayment;
  • the consequences of defaulting on the loan;
  • and sample monthly repayment amounts.

The student completes an online interview accessed through the Virtual Financial Aid Office (VFAO) to apply for their Direct Loans. Once this has been completed, the student must email a copy of their completed Entrance Counselling to Student Funding, stating their Cranfield University student number as reference. A copy of the Entrance Counselling will be retained in the student’s file, as per the Data Protection information advised within the Consumer Disclosure Information.

Financial Literacy for Borrowers

Cranfield University recommends that students only borrow what they need; it is not a requirement to borrow the maximum available loans. In turn, all students should make themselves aware of the repayment obligations of the loans they intend to borrow prior to confirming which loans they wish to borrow each academic year

For students who are borrowing in subsequent years, Cranfield University strongly recommends that they review their borrowing to date by checking their loan history on the National Student Loans Data System (NSLDS), or when completing the Entrance Counselling again.

These recommendations will be included in Financial Aid communications sent to the student from Student Funding. Students will be required to respond to these communications in writing confirming the borrowing amount and that they are aware of the future financial obligations of the borrowing. Any applications for US Federal Aid will not be taken further without this written confirmation.

Early Identification and Counselling for Students at Risk of Withdrawal

Information on responsibilities place on the student to maintain a satisfactory academic level, and the University’s responsibilities to report this, can be found within our Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).

Cranfield University has a responsibility to identify and report students who have withdrawn from their studies, including those taking a temporary leave of absence, within 45 days of the date the student is determined to have withdrawn. Further information on how the withdrawal date is calculated and how a withdrawal can affect Federal Aid eligibility can be found within the University’s Return to Title IV (R2T4) policy.

Students considering withdrawing or taking a break from their studies are recommended to consult with members of university staff before making the decision to withdraw. Students can discuss their personal circumstances with their supervisor and/or a member of Student Funding. Any changes may affect a student’s Tier 4 visa status, if applicable, and therefore, it is strongly recommended that students seek immigration advice before making their final decision.

Once a withdrawal has been processed, Student Funding will provide the student with information on their Federal Aid, including any refunds if applicable, as per the Return to Title IV Policy. The student will be requested to complete their Exit Counselling (see section 6 below).


Cranfield University’s Consumer Disclosure Information is available for all students to access prior to apply for US Direct Loans. All students in receipt of the Title IV Direct Loans are sent a reminder of this information once confirmation that their loans have been processed.

Academic Progress and enrolment status is held on the University’s central student records system, SITS, and updated upon notification from the student’s academic department. This information is accessible to the student, via e: Vision. Student Funding will access the central student records system to confirm satisfactory academic progress prior to each disbursement.

Up to date contact information for both the student and their next of kin is obtained from the student at enrolment and held on their central student record. This information is revised annually at the beginning of each academic year.

The University has effective procedures in place to ensure accurate and timely communications across the relevant departments. Therefore, academic progress and enrolment status is communicated across campus ensuring the relevant aid is disbursed on time and to the correct students and compliance with Direct Loan regulations. Academic departments are reminded of their responsibility for timely and accurate notification of changes to the student’s enrolment, such as an unapproved withdrawal, and/or satisfactory academic progress each academic year.

Exit Counselling

As an obligation of borrowing US Federal Aid, students are reminded to complete Exit Counselling following graduation or withdrawal from their studies at Cranfield University. Students who fall below half-time enrolment are also required to complete Exit Counselling.

Exit Counselling can be completed via the VFAO. Once this has been completed, the student must email a copy of their completed Entrance Counselling to Student Funding stating their Cranfield University student number as a reference. A copy of the Exit Counselling will be retained in the student’s file, as per the Data Protection information advised within the Consumer Disclosure Information document.

Timely and Accurate Enrolment Reporting

Cranfield University will ensure that accurate information on enrolments, including updates to individual student records, is reported in a timely manner via NSLDS at two-monthly intervals.

Analyse Defaulted Loan Data

Cranfield University receives regular reports on defaulted loan data available from the NSLDS and this information will be analysed to improve default prevention and enhance Best Management Practice and will be used to pinpoint common trends amongst defaulters.

Any students identified to be defaulting on their loans will be directed to their individual loan provider in the first instance to discuss repayment options.

Tool and Activities for Schools

Cranfield University will make use of the recommended tools (listed below) to ensure data accuracy and employ effective loan counselling and default prevention and management techniques to aid students in receipt of Federal Aid and the University itself.

Where do I begin?

FSA Assessments for Default Prevention and Management

Loan Counselling

How much will it cost?

How will I pay for it?

Will I make enough money in my chosen occupation to repay the student loans I receive?

Repaying your Student Loans

Ombudsman Office

Ensuring Student Loan Repayment Best Practices for Schools

SFA Assessments for Schools

Mapping Your Future

Jump-start Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy

Enrolment Reporting and Data Accuracy

NSLDS Enrolment Reporting Guide (formerly SSCR User’s Guide)

NSLDS (Reports and Existing Counselling)

For NSLDS Reports, requesting and formatting questions, see Reports tab.


CPS/WAN Technical Support 1-800-330-5947

NSLDS Customer Support 1-800-999-8219

Cohort Default Rate Guide for information on challenges, adjustments, and appeals

Default Prevention

FSA Assessments

Ensuring Student Loan Repayment Best Practices

NSLDS (Reports and Existing Counselling)

For NSLDS Reports, requesting and formatting questions, see Reports tab.


CPS/WAN Technical Support 1-800-330-5947

NSLDS Customer Support 1-800-999-8219

Direct Loan Servicing/Schools website accessed via COD website

For FFEL Schools, Default Prevention Strategies (or contact your guaranty agency)

General Connections/Publications

Information for Financial and Professionals (IFAP): Library with publications, training, tools, references, laws, etc.

The Office of Federal Student Aid

The Student Guide


ED Pubs: the Department of Education Online Publication Ordering System, which helps identify and order free publications from the Department. Examples of resources available include:

  • Repaying your student loans (available in English and Spanish)
  • Getting ready to pay for college
  • Counsellors and Mentors handbook


For enquiries about this document or US Federal Aid, please contact:
Student Funding
Cranfield University