If your personal financial resources fall short of your expected costs of attending law school, you may need to borrow student loans. Before you borrow, remember loans need to be repaid, and you should borrow only what you need to assist you with your educational expenses.
The two primary federal loan programs available to law students are the Federal Direct Stafford Loans, and the Federal Direct PLUS Loan for Graduate/Professional Students.
FEDERAL DIRECT SUBSIDIZED and UNSUBSIDIZED STAFFORD LOANS
As a law student you may be eligible to borrow up to $20,500 per academic year (Fall-Spring) through the Stafford Loan program, if you are a U.S. citizen, or eligible non-citizen, and meet all other eligibility requirements for Federal Student Aid. These loans have a fixed interest rate of 6.8% and interest will begin accruing at disbursement on all unsubsidized portions of the loan. This loan is also subject to a 1% federal loan fee deducted at the time of disbursement. There is no credit check required and you will not be required to make payments on this loan while you are in school at least half-time. For additional information on the Federal Direct Stafford Loan please visit the University’s website by clicking here, or the U.S. Department of Education’s website, here.
As part of the Budget Control Act of 2011, beginning with the 2012-2013 academic year, Federal Direct Stafford Loans borrowed by graduate/professional students will no longer be subsidized. While the total amount graduate/professional students may be eligible to borrow remains $20,500 per academic year, the full amount will be unsubsidized and interest will accrue at a rate of 6.8% beginning at disbursement.
FEDERAL DIRECT PLUS LOAN for GRADUATE and PROFESSIONAL STUDENTS
In addition to the Stafford Loan, law students needing to borrow more than $20,500 per academic year (Fall-Spring) may be eligible to borrow additional funds through the Direct PLUS Loan program. The Direct PLUS Loan may allow you to borrow up to your Cost of Attendance minus all other forms of financial aid you will be receiving. This loan is subject to credit approval by the U.S. Dept. of Education. In some cases, you may be required to apply for this loan using an endorser. Interest on this loan is set at a fixed rate of 7.9% and will begin accruing at the time the loan is disbursed. In addition, a 4% federal loan fee will also be deducted at disbursement. Although the Direct PLUS Loan enters repayment immediately after the loan is fully disbursed, you are not required to make payments while you are in school at least half-time. For additional information on the Federal Direct Stafford Loan please visit the University’s website by clicking here, or the U.S. Department of Education’s website, here.
Private or Alternative Loans are non-federal student loans typically borrowed by students who are not eligible for Federal student loans. Private loans are subject to credit approval by your lender of choice. In some cases, you may be required to apply with a credit-worthy cosigner. Although the private loan may allow you to borrow up to your total Cost of Attendance (COA), you should borrow only what you need. In most cases, these loans have variable interest rates and repayment terms may vary between lenders. International students may be required to apply with a credit-worthy United States citizen as a co-signer/borrower. In some cases, the lender may require that you submit additional information along with your application such as, proof of U.S. citizenship or proof of income. It is strongly suggested that students consider borrowing through the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Direct Student Loan Programs before pursuing any private or alternative loan programs. If your total COA has been met by other forms of assistance (scholarships, grants, federal loans, etc.) you will not be eligible for a private/alternative loan. For additional information on Private Loans, please visit the University’s website by clicking here.
BAR STUDY LOANS
Bar Study Loans are credit-based private loans (not a federal loan) which may be borrowed to assist law school graduates with costs related to the Bar Exam. Students may apply for a Bar Study Loan in their last year of law school. The funds from the Bar Study Loan are disbursed directly to you from your lender of choice. Most Bar Study Loans have variable interest rates and the borrower benefits may vary between lenders. Because Bar Study Loans are private loans they cannot be consolidated with your federal loans, and repayment options and incentives may vary from those offered by the US Department of Education. In most cases, lenders will require the school to certify your graduation date before funds can be disbursed. For additional information on Bar Study Loans please visit the University’s website by clicking here.