Admissions & Aid

Loans & Loan Counseling



Loan Frequently Asked Questions

Alternative Loans

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.

Alternative education loans (also known as private loans) are an option for financing your education. Federal, state and university policy requires that student borrowers maximize federal loans before the alternative/private loan request is processed. Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to determine student loan eligibility. provides a federal and alternative/private loan comparison. Here are some things to consider:

  • Alternative loan eligibility requirements vary from lender to lender.

  • Alternative loan lenders can offer variable interest rates that can increase or decrease over time, depending on market conditions.

  • Students may also be required to meet citizenship requirements or provide a co-signer who meets citizenship requirements.

  • The interest rate on a private loan may depend on the borrower’s and/or co-signer’s credit rating.

  • Other eligibility requirements may apply depending on the lender.

  • Review the interest rate and processing fees prior to borrowing.

Santa Monica College is not involved in the alternative loan credit decision. All credit decision questions should be directed to the loan lender. Financial aid eligibility applies to all certifications of loan amounts.

School Certification Process

Financial aid staff will post an alternative loan place holder on Corsair Connect after a loan has been certified. You may contact the lender to confirm funds have been sent to Santa Monica College.

Loan Counseling

Entrance Counseling

All student loans are processed through the Department of Education's Direct Loan program. Borrowers must complete a Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling for each year you are approved for a loan at Santa Monica College. The goal of Entrance Counseling is to help you understand what it means to take out a federal student loan. For detailed information regarding Entrance Counseling, please visit the Department of Education's Student Loans website.

What is entrance counseling?

During entrance counseling, you will learn about the following:

  • What a Direct Loan  is and how the loan process works
  • Managing your education expenses
  • Other financial resources to consider to help pay for your education
  • Your rights and responsibilities as a borrower

Exit Counseling

Federal regulations require students who have borrowed a Federal Stafford Loan and are graduating, leaving school, or dropping below half-time to complete an exit counseling session. For more detailed information regarding Exit Counseling please visit Student Loans website. For detailed information regarding Exit Counseling, please visit the Department of Education's Student Loans website.