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UCLA Student Loan Services and Collections
UCLA Student Loan Services and Collections - Contact Us

Student Loan Process 101

"I need a student loan!" "How does this loan process work?" For a basic understanding of how to obtain a long-term student loan at UCLA, read the following:

You must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid ( FAFSA ) to determine your eligibility for federal financial aid. Federal financial aid includes Direct Loans, Direct Grad PLUS Loans, campus-based Perkins Loans, Cal and Pell Grants, and work-study awards. You can complete your FAFSA electronically on the U.S. Department of Education's website ( ) and should do so before March 2nd to take full advantage of receiving coming academic year funding for which you may qualify. [FAFSA submissions by UCLA Extension (UNEX) students should be completed by the dates indicated in the UCLA Extension Federal Financial Aid Guide & Application Packet ( )

Under set guidelines, the Financial Aid Office determines the amount and type of aid you are eligible to receive based on your FAFSA information and supporting documentation. After your financial aid package is awarded, a web-based Financial Aid Notification ( FAN ) is made available to you on the Financial Aid Office website. (UNEX students receive paper Financial Aid Notifications by mail.) Your FAN lists every loan and grant you are eligible to receive for the academic year. Through your FAN, you can accept (fully or partially) or decline the funding offered.

If you accept a Federal Direct Loan, there is no need to select a lender as the federal government is your lender; with campus/university-based loans such as a Perkins Loan or a Regents Loan, the school is your lender. Upon completion, you will submit your FAN online to the Financial Aid Office. The Financial Aid Office then transmits the information to the lender(s).

Your lender will provide you with a promissory note for each loan you have accepted on your FAN. For Federal Direct Loans, you will go to where you can electronically sign your Federal Direct Loan Master Promissory Note ( MPN ). For a campus-based loan, as in the Perkins, University/Regents, Dream, and health profession type loan programs, you can electronically sign such promissory notes once you receive an instructive email informing you that your documents are ready to e-sign. You will accomplished this through the E-Sign Portal found on the Student Loan Services & Collection website. When borrowing, it is important to read your loan documents as well as all loan-related mail and email.

It is important to read a promissory note BEFORE signing it, because the promissory note explains in detail the terms and conditions of repayment. Upon signing, you will submit it to the lender. Be sure to retain a copy for your records; keep all of your important student loan documents in one file.

Your lender transmits your federal and/or campus/university loan funds to UCLA's Financial Aid Management ( FAM ) system through an electronic funds transfer ( EFT ) process after receiving your signed promissory note. You must be enrolled at least half-time, have completed the appropriate online Debt Management - Entrance Counseling course, and have no University holds in order to receive financial aid funds. (Please note that most UCLA Extension ( UNEX ) programs require that fees be paid in full before loan funds are disbursed.**) When these requirements are fulfilled, the funds are transferred from the FAM system to your BruinBill Account on or after the occurrence of the official disbursement date for the quarter/semester.

[** UNEX students receiving paper loan checks will need to bring state-issued ID and current enrollment receipt(s) proving enrollment at a level of at least half-time with fees marked 'paid in full' before picking up a paper loan check. UNEX students enrolled in programs which allow fees to be paid in installments will receive loan checks endorsed to the Main Cashier as payment toward any outstanding fees. If the loan check is for more than the total debt, a credit balance will result. This credit balance will be refunded to the student by mail.]

(Visit the Loan Disbursement page for academic year and Summer Sessions disbursement dates.)

BruinBill is like a 'tab' for University bills, the place where most debts a student acquires can be found. For example, registration, education, health insurance and Ackerman Student Union fees can be found on the BruinBill. When financial aid is applied to your BruinBill, all outstanding bills are paid automatically, starting with the oldest billed item first. (You cannot pick and choose which item or items you want to pay, similar to a credit card bill.) Since most financial aid recipients borrow more money than their total BruinBill debt, a credit balance will result. This credit balance, listed as a refund on BruinBill, is transferred to your personal checking account through a second EFT process called BruinDirect. (See your BruinBill via MyUCLA at for instructions on applying online for BruinDirect.) The refund amount transfers safely and securely to your personal checking account approximately 3 to 5 business days after posting to your BruinBill, making the funds accessible to you by ATM or any other banking method of your choice.

Bruin Basics

  • Student Loan Process 101
    How the long-term student loan process works at UCLA
  • Bruin Budget Plan
    Handling today's finances with the future in mind
  • Short-Term Loan Program
    Financial safety net for the UCLA campus student