Student loans

The financial cost of undertaking a degree can be one of the most significant challenges that students face. It is essential that students undertake appropriate financial planning in advance of deciding to apply to any degree programme. 

Irish and EU applicants

Bank of Ireland has confirmed to RCSI the discontinuation of its Graduate Entry Medicine Loan offering. From 1 August 2022 onwards, Bank of Ireland’s Graduate Entry Medicine Loan is closed to new applications.

The terms and conditions for students who currently hold such loans remain unaffected.

If you have any queries regarding BOI's student financing options please contact or call Bank of Ireland’s Student Lending Helpline at 0818 200 401.

Non-EU applicants

Students of RCSI who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents may be eligible for loans funded by the Government of Canada under the Canadian Student Loan Program.

The Canadian Student Loan Program provides loans and grants to eligible full and part-time students with demonstrated financial need with the exception of students who are residents of Quebec, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. These provinces and territories have their own student financial assistance programmes.

Application forms are available through your provincial or territorial student financial assistance office. Once you have completed and signed all the necessary documents, these can be forwarded to your provincial or territorial student financial assistance office.

If you require an official RCSI signature on your loan form, please send it to and we will complete it on your behalf.

Students from the USA who choose to study at foreign institutions are not eligible for grants from the US Federal government (e.g. Pell Grants) but they may apply for US Federal loans to fund their study. The Federal 'Direct Lending' Loan Program is available to US citizens or eligible non-citizens who are enrolled at least half-time, making satisfactory academic progress and are not in default on a previous loan or exceeding federal loan limits.

Direct Loans

These are fixed-rate student loans from the US Department of Education for undergraduate and postgraduate students attending college at least half-time.

Direct Subsidised Loans

Direct Subsidised Loans are federally guaranteed loans based on financial need as determined by the Department of Education. Interest does not accrue on the loan while you are in college at least half-time, for the first six months after you leave college (referred to as the grace period) and during any future deferment periods. The federal government subsidises the interest during these times.

Direct Unsubsidised Loans

Direct Unsubsidised Loans are federally guaranteed loans that are not based on financial need. Interest accrues from the time the loan is disbursed to the college. If you choose not to pay the interest while you are in college and during grace periods and deferment or forbearance periods, your interest will accrue (accumulate) and be capitalised (that is, your interest will be added to the principal amount of your loan).

Direct PLUS Loans

Direct PLUS Loans are available from the US Department of Education and are not based on financial need. The parents of an undergraduate dependent student (as defined by the US Department of Education) are eligible for a Parent PLUS Loan if they meet certain credit guidelines. Independent graduate students are eligible for a Graduate PLUS Loan if they meet certain credit guidelines.

Private loans

Eligible students at RCSI may also apply for private loans. Private loans may be obtained from a bank/lender subject to the applicant’s credit rating and in the case of undergraduate students, may often require a co-signer/guarantor. Private loans are usually offered at commercial rates which may be less favourable than Federal Aid loan rates. Private loans also need to be certified by the educational institution. RCSI currently works with Salle Mae who offers a Smart Option Student Loan. Students may apply at Sallie Mae will then send a notification to the University that there are student loans pending certification.

Please note

US Federal loans are educational loans and Direct, Direct Plus and any Private loans are expressly for the purpose of covering the primary costs of educational study e.g. tuition, student accommodation and board, books/academic requisites, commuter travel etc.

The primary costs of education cannot exceed the student's 'cost of attendance' (COA) e.g. the educational institute's official estimate of the student's tuition and living costs for the academic year of study. Loans are not intended to cover other expenses that are not directly related to academic study. It is advisable that students plan a budget to make sure that they have enough funding to cover their period of study. Students should bear in mind that exchange rates fluctuate so when the US Federal loans are disbursed, the student may receive less than they had initially planned. It is important to keep this in mind when planning on how much to borrow.

Students should also note that it is important to borrow what they need but to remember at all times that they will have to repay it in the long-term.

More information on US student loans can be found in our Federal Aid Student Application Guide below or by emailing

Federal Aid Student Application Guide PDF | 1264.8 KB