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Future JD Students

Determining Eligibility

You are eligible to receive financial aid, if needed, in an amount not to exceed the Cost of Attendance (COA) established by the law school you attend. COA includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, as well as living expenses, transportation, and personal expenses. It is set by the law school and will vary by school. Consumer debt is not included in your COA and should be paid before you attend law school.

The law school’s financial aid office will review your financial aid application materials and calculate your eligibility for the various forms of financial aid from all sources. It is important to carefully review your financial aid award and to understand the terms and conditions of all aid offered to you. All applicants for federal student aid (including loans) must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you plan on enrolling in law school at the beginning of the fall term, you can apply for federal financial aid using the FAFSA beginning October 1 of the prior calendar year.

If your financial circumstances change after you complete and file your financial aid forms, notify the financial aid office so that your financial aid award can be revised if necessary.

Independent/Dependent Status

All graduate and professional school students are considered financially independent of their parents for the purposes of determining federal aid eligibility. This means that for the purpose of applying for federal aid (including federal loans), submission of parental information is not required. Law schools, however, may require parental financial information for institutional grants and scholarships. You should be aware that the law schools have specific policies and procedures regarding independent status for the allocation of institutional funds. These guidelines will vary by school. You should investigate those guidelines for all the schools you are interested in attending.

The law school financial aid office will notify you of your financial aid eligibility once all application materials have been received and processed if you have been admitted to the school. You may be eligible for several different types of aid, which may be available to bring the cost of attending law school within reach. The amount of aid you receive in each category will depend on your own resources, current federal regulations, and the financial aid policies and resources of each law school. But remember, the total amount of financial aid you are eligible to receive (including loans) cannot exceed—but can be equal to—the total Cost of Attendance (COA) calculated by the school. So, funding should be available to attend whatever school you choose regardless of your current financial circumstances.


Graduate PLUS and private loans are approved on the basis of your credit. If you have a poor credit history, you may be denied a loan. If there is a mistake on your credit report—and there are sometimes mistakes—you will want adequate time to correct the error. It is essential to clear up errors or other discrepancies before you apply for a Graduate PLUS or private student loan.

You may want to obtain a copy of your credit report so that you can track and clear up any problems. You can order your free copy from one of the major credit reporting agencies online at www.annualcreditreport.com. You may also mail a request to

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