California Dream Loan Program

The DREAM loan is a university- and state-funded loan for eligible undocumented AB 540 undergraduate students. This loan can help cover the cost of UC Santa Cruz. Eligible students will receive the DREAM loan in their financial aid offer. Students who are offered the loan do not have to accept the loan; other avenues of paying for school should be explored before taking on loans. 

Understanding the obligations of accepting a loan can be confusing. Student Business Services is offering a Zoom room from November until March to help students understand the requirements of the loan and repayment options. 

Zoom room open Mondays and Wednesdays, 2-3 pm PT

Zoom Meeting ID: 927 6596 7079

Zoom Passcode: 086172

DREAM Loan Eligibility and Acceptance

If you meet eligibility requirements, Financial Aid will include the DREAM loan in your financial aid offer. You must accept the offer in your student portal no later than 10 business days before the end of your term of enrollment for the academic year. Financial Aid cannot process the DREAM loan award after this date, so you must accept before then to receive the loan as part of your financial aid package. Once you have accepted the loan offer in your MyUCSC portal, you will receive an email from with the login information to complete your loan paperwork. You will have to log into the Heartland ECSI portal, read and complete the Truth and Lending Act paperwork, complete entrance counseling, and sign the promissory note in the online portal. Once you have read and signed these documents, your loan award can be processed. 



DREAM Loan Terms

  • Eligible students can borrow up to $4,000 per academic year, with a total borrowing limit of $20,000 at UC Santa Cruz.
  • The promissory note and entrance counseling must be completed annually by the student through ECSI.
  • Eligible students must reapply for the loan each year by submitting the CADAA.
  • Interest rates for the loan match the federal Subsidized Direct Loan each year. For the 2020-2021 school year, the interest rate is 2.75%.
  • The loan is a subsidized loan, so no interest will accrue until the loan is in the repayment period. The loan will not accrue interest while the student is in school or during the grace period. 
  • Once a student separates from school, the loan enters the grace period. Separation includes graduation, dropping below half-time enrollment, leave of absence (including medical), and withdrawing from school.  
    • Note: If you return to school, including after a leave of absence, your loans will qualify for deferment, see deferment information below. 



DREAM Loan Repayment 

  • There is a 6 month grace period for the DREAM loan. Repayment will start after the six month period. 
  • Standard repayment is over a 10 year period with a minimum of $50 payments. Income-based repayment and other repayment options may be available to you. 
  • You are obligated to repay the loan even if you don’t complete your program of study, you are unable to find a job after separation from school, you didn’t receive notifications from your loan servicers, or you are not satisfied with your education or the loan in particular. 
  • There is no prepayment penalty if you would like to pay on your loan early or pay more than the minimum monthly payment. 
  • Loans are repaid to the loan servicer, ECSI, not UC Santa Cruz.


DREAM Loan Default, Deferment, Forbearance, and Cancellation

  • Payment on the loan is considered late when full payment of the amount due is not received by the scheduled due date.
  • A  late fee will be charged for late payments. 
  • Late payments may result in the lender (University of California) withholding additional services.
  • A loan is considered to have defaulted when scheduled repayment has not been made in 180 days.
    • At this time, the entire loan balance becomes immediately due.
    • The lender may withhold additional services as a result of the default.
    • The debt is assigned to a collection agency. 
  • Eligible borrowers may qualify for a deferment of payment.
    • A deferment is a postponement of monthly payments during the repayment period.
    • Interest does not accrue during a deferment.
    • You may qualify for a deferment if you are going back to school, you are unemployed (3-year maximum), you are facing economic hardship, or you are serving in the military. 
    • Borrowers who may qualify for a deferment must apply using the form below. 
  • Borrowers who do not qualify for a deferment but are having issues making their monthly payments may request a forbearance.
    • A forbearance is a postponement of monthly payments during the repayment period.
    • Interest does accrue during forbearance.
    • You can request forbearance if you are facing economic hardship and do not qualify for a deferment or if you are facing a prolonged illness.
  • Borrowers may also be able to adjust their repayment plans. Income-based repayment and other repayment options may be available on a case by case basis. 
  • Some borrowers may qualify for loan cancellation,
    • Loan cancellation due to disability or death: 
      • The balance of the loan, including interest, will be canceled with proper documentation of disability or death.
    • Loan cancellation due to bankruptcy
      • The balance of the loan, including interest, may be discharged, or canceled, due to bankruptcy.



Loan Forms

Please mail completed forms to:


Heartland ECSI

P.O. Box 1278 

Wexfor, PA 15090


Note: Late fees and previous forbearance interest must be paid prior to the

processing of any new entitlement.

Dream Loan Deferment Form

Dream Loan Forbearance Form

Dream Loan Rehabilitation Form

Dream Loan Cancellation Form

Dream Loan Income-Based Repayment Plan Request Form




The loan services staff can be reached at 831-459-2278 or via email at The available Zoom room is also a great way to reach Student Business Services for questions on the DREAM loan.