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San Diego State University

Financial Aid and Scholarships

How to Apply

In most cases you submit your application for an alternative loan directly to the lender you have chosen. Once the lender initially processes the application, SDSU is requested to provide information about your cost of attendance and other aid you are receiving to the lender. This process is called "certification".  

SDSU will certify an alternative loan only if you have done the following:

  • Completed a current FAFSA
  • Completed alternative loan counseling on AidLink
  • Been admitted to a degree, credential, or eligible certificate program at SDSU
    • Not all certificate programs, or students attending, are eligible for financial aid programs, including private loans. Students admitted and attending only through the College of Extended Studies are not eligible.
  • Are enrolled at least half time (a minimum of 6 units for an undergraduate or teaching credential student; a minimum of 5 units for a graduate student)
  • Are making satisfactory academic progress

Alternative loan counseling

Each year you request an alternative loan, you must complete Alternative Loan Counseling on AidLink before we will certify your loan. When the lender you select sends your loan to us to certify, you will be able to select a link from your AidLink "Incomplete and Outstanding Documents" and complete the 15-minute online counseling session.

Truth in Lending Act 

New provisions in the Truth in Lending Act, implemented February 14, 2010, have resulted in a number of changes in the process for applying for and receiving private education loans. Lenders who provide these loans must comply with the following requirements:

  • Lenders must provide three separate loan disclosures to borrowers - one at the point of application, one when the loan is approved, and one before the loan is disbursed.
  • A waiting period of three business days is required between the time the borrower receives the final loan disclosure and the time that the loan is disbursed.
  • Students must also sign a self-certification form and submit it to the lender before the loan can be disbursed.

Your lender should provide you with all of the information you need to know about these requirements. 

Private Education Loan Self-Certification

The Truth in Lending Act requires that you submit a Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification to your lender to ensure that you know about the availability of free or lower cost Title IV federal, state, or institutional financial aid before borrowing an alternative loan.

Your lender should provide you with a copy of the required Private Education Loan Self-Certification Form. If you do not receive one from your lender, you can download a blank form. If you download the form and complete it yourself, we recommend that you contact your lender for your application ID or other identifier that will help the lender match the form with your application.

To complete your Private Education Loan Self-Certification Form, you will need to know your cost of attendance and estimated financial assistance. If you were awarded financial aid, this information can be found on AidLink under "Your Award Summary - View your award."

You can also refer to the cost of attendance tables on the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships web site. 

Sponsor loans

A few lenders offer “sponsor loans” in which a parent or other third party is the primary borrower rather than the student.  SDSU does not participate in third party loans and will not complete certification requests for these loans.  Student Account Services will not release alternative loan funds to you if you are not the borrower, nor will they release funds to any parent or third party borrower.  

Report the alternative loan

An alternative loan, certified or not certified by SDSU, is a resource that you must report to this office. We coordinate your alternative loan with other aid you may be receiving.

Your aid award, including your alternative loan, cannot be more than the cost of attendance.

If you receive an alternative loan after receiving other financial aid for the semester, you may be required to repay some or all of the aid you receive. The total of all financial aid and other resources cannot exceed your cost of attendance.

When to apply

Complete the FAFSA each year after January 1. The information you supply on the FAFSA will tell us if you qualify for any state or federal aid, including federal Direct Loans.

Do NOT apply for the fall semester alternative loan until after July 1. We do not begin alternative loan processing for the academic year until August.