Financial Aid

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Loans Alternative


Santa Barbara City College Financial Aid office does not promote or endorse any specific private lender.  We will process a loan with any lender the student has selected as long as the student is eligible for the loan.  The Santa Barbara City College Financial Aid Office advises that the alternative loan option be used as a last resort after all federal direct loan options have been exhausted, as federal direct Stafford loans generally have better benefits and lower interest rates.
We encourage students to apply for federal direct loans before applying for an alternative loan. 

What does SBCC require of students in order to process an alternative loan?

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • You must apply for the FAFSA. 
  • You must complete your financial aid file.
  • You must apply to have your loan funded during an eligible semester.  
  • You must apply no later than the final semester deadlines for processing loans, approximately 3 to 4 weeks before the end of the fall, spring or summer semester.  Check Deadlines for specific dates.
  • You must be enrolled as at least a half time student, with 6 or more degree applicable units, per semester of the loan period.
  • You do not have to meet the requirements of  SBCC’s  Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy to get and keep an alternative loan.

My federal student loan from FAFSA doesn’t cover my full cost of education and expenses.   Are there any other loans available to me?

  • Yes.  Lenders recognize that occasionally students need to borrow more money than is available through the Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program.
  • Most commonly these loans are referred to as alternative loans, educational loans, or private loans.
  • Alternative loans are designed to meet educational expenses for students who are enrolled, or expect to be enrolled, at an accredited college or university in the U.S.  Each lender customizes the name and requirements for their alternative loans.


Below is a historic list of lenders from whom our students have borrowed over the past four years.  This list is not meant to be an endorsement of any lender and is not a preferred lender list.

We recommend contacting lenders directly regarding any alternative loan products they may offer.

How do I apply for an alternative loan?

  • Prior to processing an alternative loan at SBCC, you must file the FAFSA and complete your financial aid file.  For Fall 2017, complete the 2017-2018 FAFSA electronically at   SBCC’s Federal School Code for FAFSA is 001285.
  • Next, select the lender you want to use and review their requirements and terms.  Please be aware that you may need a co-signer.
  • You can apply on-line or by mail.  Either go to the lender’s website and complete their application on-line, or request the alternative loan paperwork be sent to you.  Complete the paperwork and return it to the lender.
  • Be sure to list Santa Barbara City College as the school you are attending so the lender will know where to send the loan certification request.  SBCC’s Federal School Code for FAFSA is 001285.
  • You have to tell the lender how much you want to borrow.  Please refer to  “How much can I borrow?” below to help you decide on a loan amount.
  • You have to select the loan period.  SBCC Financial Aid Office processes alternative loans for the fall, spring and summer semesters of each academic year.

What happens next?

  • Once the lender approves the loan, a loan certification request is sent to the SBCC Financial Aid Office.  If the student’s file is complete, we will certify the loan for the lender.  If the student’s file is not complete, the certification will be placed on hold until the file is complete.
  • The lender then prepares a loan check made payable to SBCC and the student borrower and mails the check to SBCC.  Loan disbursements are divided into two equal payments over the fall/spring academic year, i.e. one payment for each semester.  If a student requests a loan to be paid in one-term only, the loan is paid in two equal payments.  Loan disbursement dates are determined by the requested loan period and the date the loan is certified.
  • Once our office receives the loan check, we will verify student enrollment, endorse the check and notify the student that the check may be picked up in person or mailed to the most recent address the student has on file in Pipeline.
  • A notification email will be sent to the student's Pipeline email regarding the various stages of the loan certification process. 

Please note!  Alternative loan funds are not disbursed through the school system and do NOT pay any charges on the student account. 

  • Students are responsible for paying any balance they may have on their student account.

How long does it take to process an alternative loan?

  • It depends.  Depending on the time of year the loan certification request is received, processing can take up to 3 to 4 weeks.
  • Please note:  No financial aid, including alternative loan monies, can be disbursed to the school sooner than 10 days prior to the beginning of a semester.

How much can I borrow?

  • Generally, the minimum alternative loan amount you can request is $1,000.
  • The maximum you can borrow is your Cost of Attendance minus any financial aid, which includes all offered aid through FAFSA and any scholarships.  
  • The amount borrowed cannot exceed the student’s budget, or cost of attendance, as determined by the school. To find your Cost of Attendance, please select the appropriate budget from our website at Cost of Attendance.

Can I be denied for an alternative loan?

Yes, as alternative loans are credit-based loans.  If denied, contact your lender for information concerning any resolution options available to you.

What is the enrollment requirement for an alternative loan?

Enrollment requirements vary according to the lender, however Santa Barbara City College requires that students be enrolled in at least 6 degree applicable units. 

What is the interest rate on alternative loans?

The interest rate varies by lender.  Please refer to your lender’s website for information.

Are there any loan fees?

Loan fees vary by lender.  Please refer to your lender’s website for complete information.

When do I begin payment on my alternative loan?

Please refer to your lender’s website for detailed information on repayment.

If you have additional questions, please contact our office by emailing your financial aid advisor or calling the office at 805.730.5157.

721 Cliff Drive Santa Barbara, CA 93109-2394    Main Campus Phone: 805.965.0581    © 2018 Santa Barbara City College