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San Diego State University

Financial Aid and Scholarships


What is a loan? A loan is an amount of money that you borrow and repay at a later date, usually with interest.

Before you borrow

Learn more about loans

Loan basics

By completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, you are automatically considered for federal loans. Instructions on how to accept the loans will be available through AidLink.

Once you decide to borrow, request the full amount you will need for the entire academic year. (Half of the amount you request will be disbursed during the fall semester and half during the spring.)

  • If you decide not to borrow your full amount of loan eligibility, a request to increase an amount is limited to one per semester for each type of loan.
  • Request your loan or request an increase before the loan deadlines. You can request (activate) your loan online through your financial aid award on AidLink.
  • Borrow your limit in Direct Loans before seeking a private loan.

What kinds of loans are available to SDSU students?

4 Federal Direct Loan options

  • Subsidized—No interest or payments while you are enrolled at least half time (undergraduate students only).
  • Unsubsidized—Interest charged while you are enrolled.
  • Grad PLUS—For graduate students after all other loans are awarded.
  • Parent PLUS—A loan parents may borrow to help with your educational expenses.
  • Learn more about Federal Direct Loans

Federal Perkins Loan

A Federal Perkins Loan is a low-interest loan (5%) for eligible undergraduate students who have exceptional financial need. SDSU is the lender on the Perkins Loan. The loan is made from limited SDSU and federal government funds.

By completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, you are automatically considered for a Federal Perkins Loan. Due to limited funds, not all who qualify will receive an award. Instructions on how to accept this loan will be available through AidLink if the loan is part of your award.

Repayment begins 9 months after you are no longer enrolled at least half time. Depending on the amount you owe, payments may be extended up to 10 years. Unlike Federal Direct Loans, Perkins Loan borrowers do not have a choice of repayment options. 

Alternative (private) loans

Alternative loans are more expensive than Federal Direct Loans and should only be used when you have exhausted all other options. Borrow your limit in Direct Loans before seeking a private loan. If you must borrow from a private lender, do your research. Compare interest rates, up front loan costs, and repayment terms.

Is my information shared with anyone when I apply for a loan?

If you, or your parent, enters into a Title IV HEA loan, the loan data will be submitted to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), and will be accessible by guaranty agencies, lenders, and institutions determined to be authorized users of the data system. For more information about how your information is used by the Department of Education, refer to the Department's Privacy Impact Assessments

CSU Student Lending Code of Conduct

As required by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, SDSU abides by a student loan programs code of conduct through the California State University (CSU) (PDF; download Adobe Acrobat Reader, if needed).

About your loan history

If you are unsure about the types and amounts of student loans you borrowed, you may access your federal student loan history anytime through the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).

Photo: Students walking down stairs from Financial Aid office