Basic Facts of Financing Law School

Basic Facts of Financing for Law School

  1. Complete your FAFSA form early - they come online January 1, 2013 for Fall '13 entering law school students. The FAFSA form is integral to receiving any financial aid assistance, including loans.

 

  1. All federal student loans for law school students are unsubsidized which means interest begins accruing while you are still in school.

 

  1. The two primary federal loan sources are the Stafford loans which are limited to $20,500 / year, and the GradPLUS loans which have no dollar limit other than your loans cannot exceed the school’s “estimated cost of attendance” (which does include living expenses).

 

  1. The GradPLUS loans do require that you pass a credit check, so prior to filling out FAFSA or taking other steps, make sure you check your credit report so you can address any issues that appear on the report.  Go to www.annualcreditreport.com to check it for free.

 

  1. A mid-semester request for additional loan funds (to cover things like unanticipated car repair, medical bills) is permissible, provided you have not already maxed out your loan amount to the estimated cost of attendance level.

 

  1. Repayment on loans commences six (6) months after graduation regardless of your employment situation.  Repayment can be for either a ten (10) or twenty-five (25) year term.

 

  1. An Income Based Repayment plan (IBR) is available for use with federal loans.  This allows you to adjust / reduce your repayment to better reflect your current salary.

 

  1. There is a public interest loan forgiveness plan whereunder if you work full-time in the public interest sector for a total of ten (10) years, you can have the remainder of your loan indebtedness be forgiven at the end of those 10 years.

 

  1. Avoid seeking out private loans if possible, as these often have stricter repayment guidelines and consequences for non-payment.

 

  1. Remember to borrow as little as possible.  Do NOT live like a lawyer while in law school only to have to live like a law school student once you graduate!

Should you have additional questions, feel free to contact Ms. Clutter, Pre-Law Program Director; the UGA Office of Financial Aid; the Financial Aid Office for the respective law school.