What is a loan? A loan is an amount of money that you borrow and promise to repay at a later date, almost always 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 my.SDSU.

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 accept your loan online through your financial aid award on my.SDSU.
  • 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.
  • Graduate 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.

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).

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).