Sometimes it pays to borrow

A college education is an investment in your future, and student loans are a tool to help you finance it. A loan is money you and/or your parent can borrow and pay back with interest. Taking out a loan to help cover college costs is always an option. And there are plenty of options to choose from—everything from federal and state loans to private loans. We’re here to provide the basics and give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

Know your loan options

Student and parent loans are awarded based on the type of aid application you complete (FAFSA or California Dream Act Application) and your educational level (undergraduate or graduate).

Your student loans are automatically awarded based on UCI packaging policies and your financial need. Read each loans' requirements before accepting it.

The State of California requires that you be told the following

Students and parents considering educational loans need to be aware of the differences between federal student loans and private student loans:

  • Federal student loans are required by law to provide a range of flexible repayment options including, but not limited to, income-based and income-contingent repayment plans, as well as loan forgiveness benefits that private lenders are not required to provide.
  • Federal direct loans are available to most students regardless of income. Other qualification criteria do apply. For more information, please visit
  • Private student loan lenders can offer variable interest rates that can increase or decrease over time, depending on market conditions.
  • The interest rate on a private loan may depend on the borrower's and/or co-signer's credit rating.
  • Private student loans have a range of interest rates and fees and students and parents should determine the interest rate of, and any fees associated with, the private student loan included in their financial aid award package before accepting the loan. Students and parents should contact the lender of the private student loan or their UC campus' financial aid office if they have any questions about a private student loan. UCI offers students our own private (institutional) student loans.
Students offered a UC institutional private student loan should know that:
  • Interest rates on UC loans will be fixed, not variable
  • UC loans can have a range of interest rates
  • UC loans are not awarded based on the credit history of the borrower
  • UC loans do not require a co-signer for borrowers 18 years of age or older.

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