Financial Assistance



The College of Extended Learning (CEL) is a self-support college that receives no state funding for its programs; therefore, financial aid is extremely limited. Below we list some financial options you may wish to explore. CEL is providing this information as a service to our students and is not affiliated with any financial assistance companies.

Employer Reimbursement / Assistance

If you are currently employed, inquire with your employer as many companies provide tuition reimbursement / assistance for professional development courses and programs.

Workforce Investment Act

As a result of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014, CalJOBS provides connections to customer-focused employment training for adults and dislocated workers. Training providers who are eligible to receive Individual Training Accounts through WIOA funds are listed on the Eligible Training Provider List (ETPL) on the CalJOBS website.

Veterans Educational Benefits

CEL is proud to help veterans and their family in achieving their educational and career goals. A variety of programs have been pre-approved for tuition assistance for active and retired military, and qualified dependents. Get VA Educational Benefit details online, including application and reimbursement processes, and contacts who can help you along the way.

Financial Aid

Financial aid for college costs comes in two main forms: traditional financial aid (government-sponsored grants and loans) and private education loans.  Each provider sets their own criteria to determine who qualifies for what type of aid.

Traditional Financial Aid

Note: Traditional financial aid is not available for Winter Session and Open University
Students enrolled in any of the following College of Extended Learning certificate, credential, or degree programs during the fall, spring and summer terms may be eligible for Federal Financial Aid:



  • Pupil Personnel Services Credential - Psychology


  • Accelerated Entry Level Master of Science in Nursing (ELM-A)
  • MBA for Executives
  • Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN A)

If financial aid is granted, it is only available to students who are enrolled in at least six units per term and are admitted to a financial aid-approved Extended Learning certificate or degree program.

Students are advised to talk to their financial aid counselor before and after registration and remain up-to-date on their financial aid award status as well as disbursement.

Financial Aid Advisor:

(415) 338-7000

Alternative Loan Program*

What is an Alternative Loan?
Alternative Loans are offered by banks or lending institutions to assist students in bridging the gap between college costs and traditional funding sources. These loans are private supplemental loans and are not guaranteed by the federal government. Terms and conditions of these loans can vary according to specific lender guidelines.

Additionally, we adhere to the California State University Student Lending - Code of Conduct (PDF) (Higher Education Opportunity Act Disclosures).

Some alternative loans are paid directly to Extended Learning; in that case, Extended Learning will only accept loan payments for select direct education costs (tuition fees, books, and supplies) for one academic year. This does not include living costs (meals, housing, transportation, and personal expenses). The funds will only be released as each term’s fees are due. Any additional funds returned to the student will be subject to a $20 processing fee. The amount of books and supplies are based on the amounts established by the Office of Financial Aid for direct educational costs.

The following is a private lender option which provides loans to students attending extended education programs:

*This is not meant as an endorsement and is not a preferred lending list. You are welcome to seek a private education loan from any lender of your choice that will provide loans for students attending extended education programs. Extended Learning is providing this information as a service to our students and is not affiliated with any financial assistance companies.

Alternative loans are credit based, therefore your creditworthiness will be evaluated by the lender you choose. You must be enrolled in a degree seeking program at San Francisco State University. We do not certify loans for students taking courses through Open University/College of Extended Learning. You can contact College of Extended Learning to see what options are available to you.

Yes. Unless you are graduating the term you will be receiving the loan, you are required to be in at least half-time units.

No. You are not required to complete this free government application on the FAFSA website, but it is a good idea to explore all federal and state financial aid options first, prior to applying for an Alternative Loan.

If you completed a FAFSA and have been awarded, please accept/decline your award so that your alternative loan amount is correctly certified. If you do not accept/decline your federal aid, this may delay the processing of your alternative loan. If you have been selected for verification and do not wish to proceed with the verification process, please email, include your SF State ID number and state in the email that you do not wish to complete the process.

No. Unlike other types of financial aid, the Alternative Loan is not need based. However, you cannot borrow more than the cost of attendance, minus other financial aid received.

Unlike other types of financial aid, the Alternative Loan is not need based. The maximum eligibility is determined by the Cost of Attendance minus any financial aid that the student has been awarded. In some cases, the Alternative Loan can replace all or a portion of the expected resources. If the student will not be receiving financial aid of any kind, the student can borrow the full cost of attendance. Please refer to your Offer of Financial Aid for the amount of Alternative Loan that you are eligible to borrow.

*You may only borrow loans by school year (fall/spring) or term (fall OR spring). Summer is a separate term.*

If you completed a FAFSA you may be eligible for a subsidized loan (no interest) and an unsubsidized loan (low interest). It is beneficial to accept the maximum amount of these loans because they sometimes have a lower interest rate than alternative loans.

In many cases, yes. Many students simply want the peace of mind knowing that they have been preapproved early in the process. Also, students may have credit issues that must be resolved before final approval. Keep in mind your loan must be disbursed within 180 days from the date the loan was approved, so if you apply too early, you may have to reapply.

It would be beneficial to know that amount before applying so that you know the accurate amount and can budget accordingly. However, the school will determine the maximum amount you are allowed for an Alternative Loan. If you requested an amount that is too high, the school will automatically reduce your requested amount to the maximum amount allowed. This amount is calculated by subtracting any grants, aid, scholarships, Federal Direct Student Loans and/or other loans awarded to you from the total cost of attendance.

Yes. Most Alternative lenders offer credit preapproval to all students at no cost.

No. Approval for an Alternative Loan does not commit you to taking out the loan. If approved, you may contact your lender at any time before disbursement to cancel or reduce the loan request.

The Alternative Loan is disbursed directly to the school. If the loan is a full year loan, the student will receive one disbursement during the fall term and one disbursement during the spring term. If the loan is a one-term loan, the student will receive only one disbursement the term chosen.

Once the lender sends over the certification to the school, the school will certify the loan within 48 - 72 hours. After the loan is certified there is a 10 day Right To Cancel period as indicated on your loan documents, once the period has ended, the school will receive the funds (always on Fridays) and will then disburse the loans on Wednesdays. It is beneficial for you to sign up for direct deposit so that you may receive your funds within 2 - 5 days from the date of disbursement.

You must contact us via email so that we can cancel the loan and send the funds back. It can take the lender 3 - 5 weeks for their system to be updated to show that the loan has been cancelled. If you do not notify our office to inform us that you will not be attending, you will be responsible for any interest fees incurred.

  1. Evaluate potential lenders:
    - customer service; stability of lender; if loans are held by lender or sold; borrower benefits; on-line lender services; repayment options; security; debt management options; and additional services.
  2. Compare interest rates, is it a fixed rate or variable?
  3. Look at the loan terms, is there a grace period?
  4. Are there any additional fees that are associated with choosing a lender?