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 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 (UCOP) 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 private loan lenders for international students, and visit the Berkeley International Office website.
Not all private loan products can be used to cover a past due balance (from a previous year or term). Please contact lenders to determine if their private loan products can be applied to cover a past due balance.
- Private 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 lenders regarding the enrollment status for their loan products.
- You may borrow up to your total cost of attendance for the academic year (based on your financial aid budget) less any other aid you received. 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 permanent residency or citizenship requirements.
- Private Loan Process
Applying for a Private Loan
- Look for a lender and apply for a private alternative loan directly with the lender.
- We will hold private loan certification until you are enrolled in units for that term. For example, a private loan certification to cover the 2022-2023 academic year period will be on hold until the end of July 2022 (when enrollment data is available), regardless of when our office receives the certification request.
- International students may request early certification of their private loans for visa requirements by opening a case on Cal Student Central.
- If you need a loan to cover terms that span different academic years, please use a separate loan application for each term (or academic year).
Certification of Private Loans
- 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 if additional action is required to determine your eligibility.
- Your lender will send the loan funds to UC Berkeley after the mandatory 10 business day rescission period.
Disbursement of Private Loans
- If you are enrolled in units and do not have any registration holds, your loan will be disbursed to your student account.
- Your loan will pay any outstanding charges on your student account after your tuition and fees are fully paid for the term.
- If loan funds remain after charges have been paid, you will receive a refund notification from Billing and Payment Services.
- Sign up for Direct Deposit if you would like your refund deposited directly to your bank account.
- Please notify the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office by opening a case if you would like your Private Loan reduced or canceled.
- Contact - Financial Aid and Scholarships
- Cal Student Central is the destination for student university business related to financial aid, fees and billing, disbursements, registration, and enrollment.
- Please notify the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office by opening a case if you would like your Private Loan reduced or canceled. The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office is responsible for returning private loan funds to the lender, not the student, and this process can take 2-4 weeks to complete.