Private loans (also known as alternative loans) can help fill the gap between the cost of education and the amount of other financial aid offered. However, it is best to always maximize all other resources first, including federal loans, which may have lower interest rates and better loan terms.
Federal student loans are available to most students regardless of income and provide a range of repayment options including income-based repayment plans and loan forgiveness benefits, which other education loans are not required to provide.
Private lenders vary in their interest rates, terms, and eligibility requirements. The University of California, Office of the President, has compiled a list of private loan lenders, although you may choose any lender.
International students, please refer to The University of California, Office of the President, list of private loan lenders for international students and visit the Berkeley International Office website for more information.
Not all private loan products can be used to cover a past due balance (from a previous year or term), please contact lenders to find out if their private loan products can be applied to cover a past due balance.
- Loan Eligibility
- Private loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students admitted to and enrolled in a degree-granting program at UC Berkeley. Some lenders require full-time enrollment, please check with your lender regarding enrollment status for their loan products.
- You may borrow up to your full cost of attendance for the academic year (based on your financial aid budget) less any other aid you received for that year. Your loan might be split between the Fall and Spring terms.
- You may be required to meet citizenship requirements or provide a co-signer who meets citizenship requirements.
- The Loan Process: How Do I Apply; When and Where Does It Pay?WHAT YOU HAVE TO COMPLETE
- Look for a lender and apply for a private alternative loan directly with the lender.
- We will hold private loan certification for the term until you are enrolled in units for that term. For example, a private loan certification to cover the 2021-2022 academic year period will be on hold until end of July 2021 (when enrollment data is available), regardless of when our office receives the certification request.
- If you need a loan to cover terms that span over academic years, you must apply for private loans using a separate loan application for each term. For example, if you need a loan to cover from January 2021 to December 2021, you must apply using two loan applications, one for Spring and Summer 2021, and another for Fall 2021.
- If your lender approves the loan application, they will send it to UC Berkeley for certification.
- UC Berkeley will determine eligibility and then certify your loan. You will be contacted/notified if additional action is required to determine your eligibility.
- Your lender will send the loan funds to UC Berkeley after the mandatory 7 business day rescission period ends.
- Your loan will disburse to your student account as long as you are enrolled in units and do not have any registration holds.
- Your loan will pay any outstanding charges that you have on your student account after your tuition and fees are fully paid off for the term.
- If loan funds remain after charges have been paid, you will receive a refund and an email notification (refund email) letting you know your refund is ready.
- The Loan Process: How to Cancel Your Private LoanBefore Disbursement:
- Contact your lender directly to request a reduction or cancellation of your private loan.
- Notify the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office of the change online by opening a case.
- Contact Cal Student Central to request a reduction or cancellation of your private loan.