Loan Programs

Federal student loans are available to most students regardless of income and provide a range of repayment options including loan forgiveness benefits, which private educational loans are not required to provide.  The government pays the interest while the student is in school and during grace periods.  Loans are monies you borrow and must be paid back.

All federal loan programs require the student to:

  • Complete a current academic year FAFSA, and meet all FAFSA eligibility requirements
  • Not be in federal loan default, nor owe a federal grant overpayment
  • Be enrolled in at least half-time
  • Not exceed the annual loan and lifetime aggregate limits



Sacramento State participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan program.  Under this program, the U.S. Department of Education is your lender.  You can find more information on Direct Loans at  

Direct Loan Process
Accepting the Direct Loan offer will initiate To Do List items on your My Sac State Student Center to complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Loan Counseling (ELC).   All Sacramento State students must complete the MPN and ELC at least once.  

The Federal Direct Subsidized Loans are long-term with fixed interest rates and awarded to undergraduate and credential students based on financial need.  Interest is paid by the government while the borrower is enrolled at least half-time (in-school deferment).

Time Limitation on Direct Subsidized Loan Eligibility for First-Time Borrowers

Effective on or after July 1, 2013, first-time Direct Stafford Subsidized Loan borrowers will have a time limitation for subsidized loans.  Subsidized loan eligibility will be limited to 150 percent of the published length of your degree program.   After you have reached the maximum subsidized loan eligibility, you will only be eligible to borrow from the Direct Unsubsidized Loans.    If you continue to be enrolled in an undergraduate program after you have received the maximum Direct Subsidized Loans, you will be responsible for the interest that accrues on your subsidized loans.  Click here for more information on calculating Subsidized Loan time limitations.

The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans are long-term with fixed interest rates and awarded to undergraduate, credential, graduate/professional students regardless of financial need.  Interest is the borrower's responsibility. The borrower will be charged interest and can either pay the interest while in school or defer the interest which will be capitalized (added) to the outstanding principal when the student enters repayment. We strongly encourage students to pay the interest while attending school.

The California Dream Loan is a subsidized loan program available to undergraduate students with a valid California Dream Act application and a verified AB 540 affidavit on file or T-Visa holds who filed a FAFSA with the University.

The California Dream Loan is available for students to borrow and must be repaid. The interest rate  corresponds with the interest rate on Federal Direct Subsidized loans, 5.05% interest rate for 2018-2019, and is subject to change annually. The California Dream Loan does not accrue interest while the student is enrolled at least half-time, during periods of approved deferment, and during the 6-month grace period before the student enters repayment. The student is responsible for the interest charged at all other times.

General Eligibility Criteria

  • For undergraduate students only
  • Have a verified AB 540 affidavit on file with the University
  • Enrolled at least half-time
  • Demonstrate financial need
  • Meet Satisfactory Academic Progress
  • Not in default on a student loan
  • T-Visa holders should file a FAFSA and may also be considered for CA Dream Loan eligibility

Awarding and Disbursement
To accept the California Dream Loan, you must log in to your My Sac State Student Center within the two week deadline.

  • Students who fail to complete all required steps by the assigned deadline, may have their loan offered cancelled

Students may:

  • Accept the loan in full or less than the amount offered
  • Decline the loan in full

Funds are limited and may not be available to award or increase at a later time.  Students who accept the California Dream Loan must complete a promissory note and entrance counseling. Receipt of funds in one year does not guarantee availability or receipt of funds in subsequent years.

Federal Nursing Loan is serviced by Sacramento State and are awarded to eligible students on a first come first serve basis to eligible students.  The Nursing loan is offered at a 5% interest rate.  Repayment begins nine months after graduation or dropping below half-time status.  The government pays the interest while the student is in school and during grace periods.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Enrolled at least half-time
  • Demonstrate financial need
  • Must be admitted to the clinical portion of Nursing Program

Awarding and Disbursement:

  • Students must complete additional loan requirements before a loan can disburse. Within a week of accepting the loan, you will have a To Do List item on your My Sac State Student Center providing you instructions and a link to complete the loan requirements.

Graduate students and parents of dependent students are eligible to borrow under the PLUS Loan program up to their Cost of Attendance minus other estimated financial resources.  The Direct PLUS is a long-term program with a fixed interest rate and is subject to a credit check and approval by the lender.  The student must be enrolled at least half-time.

PLUS loans are disbursed after all requirements are met, but no earlier than 10 days prior to the first day of the semester.  Any debts owed to the University; including tuition fees, housing, etc., will be deducted from the PLUS disbursement.  Any PLUS funds remaining will be refunded to the borrower.

These loans may be appropriate for students who do not qualify for the federally guaranteed subsidized, unsubsidized and parent PLUS loans.  Students should always exhaust all of their federal financial aid eligibility options, including loans.  Fees and interest rates can be based on your credit score, therefore, you are encouraged to shop different lenders for the best option available.  Sacramento State does not endorse or recommend private lending programs.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Alternative Loans requiring a School Certification, are specific to students admitted into a degree program*
  • Students must be enrolled in required units or coursework must have commenced before loan funds are disbursed
  • Eligible students must apply for the alternative loan according to their degree program (example: Teaching Credential students are considered 5th undergraduate students)

*We are unable to certify alternative loans for Open University, Certificate Programs, Career Enhancing seminars/workshops, etc.

Alternative Loan Process:

  • The student initiates an alternative loan with the lender of their choosing
  • If credit approved, the lender will electronically send Sacramento State a School Certification request
  • If necessary, an Alternative Loan Counseling To Do List item may be initiated
  • If the alternative loan is awarded, the student will receive a revised Award Notification
  • Once the loan is awarded, the School Certification is electronically sent to the lender
  • If the loan is certified prior to the start of the semester, the school must request for the funds to (electronically) arrive no earlier than a week before the semester begins.  Otherwise, the lender must wait two weeks before sending funds
  • Sacramento State will disburse funds accordingly and if there is a balanced owed, the Bursar's Office will apply the alternative loan funds to the debt and refund the student (if applicable) the balance

Loan Certification Information:

  • Sacramento State begins certifying ALL student loans beginning in July for the next school year
  • Credit based loans with a credit expiration date, should start the loan application process no earlier than May 1 for the upcoming year
  • Alternative loans are certified one academic year at a time (i.e. Fall & Spring semesters, Fall or Spring or Summer session only)

Loan Periods

  • 2018 - 2019 Academic Year: 8/2018 - 5/2019
  • Fall 2018 only loan: 8/2018 - 12/2019
  • Spring 2019 only loan: 1/2019 - 5/2019
  • Summer only loans: Should start with the beginning date of your first summer course and should end with the last date of enrollment for summer
    • A Summer Aid Application must be completed to determine your Summer Cost of Attendance.  Applications are available every April on your Student Center

Annual Direct Loan Limits

Class Level Subsidized Additional Unsubsidized Dependent Additional Unsubsidized Independent
Freshman $3,500 $2,000 $6,000
Sophomore $4,500 $2,000 $6,000
Junior/Senior $5,500 $2,000 $7,000
Teaching Credential $5,500 $0 $7,000
Graduate n/a n/a $20,500

Aggregate Lifetime Direct Loan Limits

Program Dependent Independent Max Subsidized
Undergraduate $31,000 $57,500 $23,000
Graduate * n/a $138,500 n/a

*Includes loans received for undergraduate study

Fixed Interest Rates

2018-2019 Direct Loan Rates
Borrower Loan Type Loan Period Fixed Interest Rates
Undergraduate Students Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized 7/1/2018 - 6/30/2019 5.05%
Graduate and Professional Students Direct Unsubsidized 7/1/2018 - 6/30/2019 6.60%
Parents and Graduate Students Direct PLUS 7/1/2018 - 6/30/2019 7.60%

For more information on Interest Rates and Fees, click here .

IMPORTANT Loan Information

  • Federal student loans have loan fees that are a percentage of the total loan amount.  The loan fee is deducted from each loan disbursement.  You're responsible for repayment of the entire amount you borrowed and not just the amount you received.
Loan Type First Disbursement Date Loan Fee
Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans On or after 10/1/2018 and before 10/1/2019 1.062%
Direct PLUS Loans On or after 10/1/2018 and before 10/1/2019 4.248%

There is a lot to consider when it comes to repaying federal student loans.  Understanding the details of repayment can go a long way in your financial planning.  Find out when your repayment begins, how to make a payment, repayment plan options and what to do if you have trouble making payments and much more.   You can access your federal student loan information using the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). 

Exit Loan Counseling 
A mandatory online information session which takes place when you graduate or attend school less than half-time.  The session explains your loan rights and responsibilities and when repayment begins. If you graduated or stopped attending at least half-time at Sacramento State, we will place a To Do List item in your My Sac State Student Center to complete this requirement.  You must complete this federal requirement even if you are returning to the university or attending college elsewhere.  For information on repayment and grace periods click here.

Loan Deferment
During a deferment you do not need to make payments.  The government may pay the interest on your Federal Perkins Loan and/or Direct Stafford Subsidized Loans. It does not pay the interest on your Unsubsidized Loan or any PLUS Loans.  In most cases, students receive an in-school deferment when enrolled in college during a period of at least half-time. For more information on deferments, click here.

Loan Forbearance
If you can not make your scheduled loan payments, but do not qualify for a deferment, your loan servicer may grant you a forbearance. With a forbearance you may be able to stop making payments or reduce your monthly payments for up to 12 months.  Interest will continue to accrue on your Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans and all PLUS Loans.  For more information on forbearances, click here.

Loan Consolidation
Although consolidating your loans will simplify your loan repayment by combining your loans into one bill, you may lose the borrower benefits from your original loans. A loan consolidation can lower your monthly payments by giving you up to 30 days to repay your loans or provide you access to alternative repayment plans you would not have had before. Contact your loan servicer for assistance.  For more information on loan consolidation click here.

Repayment Estimator
You can use the Repayment Estimator to get an early look at which plans you may be eligible for and see estimates for how much you would pay monthly and overall.                        

Repayment Plans
Although, you may select or be assigned a repayment plan when you first began repaying your student loans, you can change repayment plans at any time.  Contact your loan servicer to discuss repayment options or change your repayment plan. There are different repayment plans to choose from.

For additional information on repaying your student loans visit Federal Student Aid.

If you do not make a payment on time or you miss a payment, your loan is delinquent.  You need to bring your account current to take your loans out of delinquency.  If not, loan servicers report all delinquencies of at least 90 days to the three major credit bureaus.

To default means you failed to make monthly payments for 270 days.  Some consequences of defaulting include, loosing eligibility for additional student aid, negative credit, federal and state tax refunds withheld, loan debt increase due to additional fees (court, collection, late fees, etc.), wage garnishment, etc.

Take the necessary steps to avoid defaulting on your student loans by:

  • Understanding your loan agreement - see your Master Promissory Note
  • Managing your borrowing - Don't borrow more than you need or expect to be able to repay. Calculate your expected loan payments before you borrow
  • Tracking your loans online - Use the National Student Loan Data System for information on all your federal student loans
  • Keeping good records - Organize all your loan documents
  • Notifying your loan servicer - Always contact with your loan servicer if you experience a change in income, have difficulty making payments, or re-enroll in school at least half-time

For more information on avoiding default click here.

Loan Forgiveness

Loan forgiveness is the cancellation of all or some portion of your remaining federal student loan balance. If your loan is forgiven, you are no longer responsible for repaying that remaining portion of the loan. Student borrowers are encouraged to research all loan forgiveness and loan assumption programs prior to going into repayment. 

Resources may be federal, state, or private.  Some non-profit employer programs and service organizations such as the Peace Corps or Teach for America, may also assist with loan repayment.  The following list provides examples of some of the larger loan forgiveness programs.

Loan Cancellation and Discharge

Loan Cancellation is the release of a borrower from the obligation to repay all or a designated portion of principal and interest on a student loan.  Types of cancellation include:

Loan Discharge is the release of a borrower from the obligation to repay the loan borrowed.  Types of in Discharge include:

For more information on federal student loan forgiveness, cancellation or discharge, click here.