In this step you will:
- Determine the amount you want to borrow
- Three additional factors to consider before finalizing your loan amount
- Review your loan options and take action to secure your loans
- Understand your aid as it relates to your student account and our deadlines
- Learn about books/supplies and living expense disbursements
- Loan Selection and Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) Eligibility
You’ll want to dedicate a good amount of time to review and act on the information in this particular step of the financial aid process in order to make an informed decision about which loan(s) you’ll use to finance your investment in a J.D. education. Please note that under the Student Loan Code of Conduct, we cannot tell you which loan would be best for you. You may choose to borrow from any student loan program.
Determine the amount you want to borrow
In order to determine the total amount you can borrow, follow the steps below- don’t worry about what loan program you’ll borrow through for now – we’ll get to that.
Log in to the SFS Portal. Click on the Financial Aid drop down and select the FinAid Budget & Eligibility tab.
First review the subtotal amount listed in the first section titled Standard Budget Items. Most student will see a subtotal equal to $106,880. 3Ls will likely see a subtotal equal to $107,280 ($400 higher) because of an additional budget category for expenses related to obtaining the first Professional Credential.
Second, review the next section on the page titled Budget Adjustment Items. The items listed in this section are there based on questions you answered on your HLS financial aid application. Add this subtotal to the first section’s subtotal for a number that will equal your Total Budget (as listed in the third section).
Your Total Budget is the annual limit on financial aid available to you for the academic year (September – May). In other words, your total amount of grants, loans, outside scholarships/prizes, etc. from all sources cannot exceed your Total Budget.
Now that you have determined the total amount you can borrow, use our 2023-24 Spending Plan Worksheet to determine the total amount of money you need to meet your cost for the academic year. You may find it helpful to review our Budgeting for Law School page for tips and examples on how spending more in a certain category and less in another might inform your plan.
Once you’ve made your plan and know the total amount of money you’ll need for the academic year, you now need to review your total funding sources listed in Your Eligibility Details.
Use your budget amount and eligibility information to determine the maximum amount of loans for which you can submit a loan application(s).
Formula for HLS Grant recipients =
Your Total Budget
minus HLS grant
minus HLS loan (you can choose to accept or decline this loan*)
minus any other aid listed in your eligibility section (Domestic students will see an Unsubsidized Direct Loan and can choose to accept or decline this loan*)
Equals maximum loan application amount**
Formula for Domestic Loan Only applicants = Your Total Budget
You will also see a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan of $20,500. You may choose to accept or decline this loan*
Formula for International Loan Only applicants = Your Total Budget
*See Take action on your loan application(s) in next section
** GradPLUS applicants should look at fee information in Three additional factors section below
Three additional factors to consider before finalizing your loan amount
Your Student Budget Maximum
While your student budget establishes the annual limit on the amount of financial aid (grants, loans, outside scholarships, etc. from all sources) available to you, some students choose to live under the budget and borrow less while others use a combination of resources that add up to the maximum amount of their student budget.
Keep in mind that if you are borrowing from a loan program that deducts fees prior to disbursement (such as the Federal Direct GradPLUS loan), you may increase your loan request by the amount of the fees and we will increase your student budget for this expense.
Your LIPP Eligible Borrowing Amount
If you are interested in LIPP, pay attention to your maximum LIPP eligible borrowing amount and try not to borrow more than that amount.
Your maximum LIPP eligible borrowing amount is listed in the Budget & Award section towards the bottom of the page and labeled LIPP: Borrowing Eligibility and Formula. Your LIPP eligible borrowing amount may be a lower figure than the maximum amount that you can borrow under the standard student budget.
You can still borrow over your LIPP eligible amount up to the standard student budget maximum; however, the excess amount will not qualify for LIPP assistance after you graduate. Under LIPP, students are responsible for the entire monthly loan payment amount that exceeds their LIPP eligibility.
Number of Loan Disbursements Per Academic Year
Once you know the amount you’d like to borrow, be sure to apply for one loan, per individual loan program, for the entire academic year’s amount. All loans will disburse directly to your student account in two equal installments; one per semester.
Interest accrues from the date of disbursement on each unsubsidized loan. Almost all loans at the graduate level are unsubsidized with the exception of the HLS loan given only to HLS grant recipients . Since your loans are disbursed in two equal installments, interest only accrues on the fall portion of your loan until the spring semester when we disburse the spring portion of the loan on the first day of spring term.
Some lenders may give you the option of applying for a fall only or spring only loan. This option does not save you time or money and it will require you to submit a second application for the spring semester or the next time you need funds. Applying multiple times throughout the year will increase your monthly loan payment amount since each loan has a minimum monthly payment amount. Therefore, if you apply for three $1000 loans throughout the year, each one will have a $50 minimum monthly payment for a total of $150, while a loan of $3000 has a monthly minimum payment amount of $50. You should check with your lender regarding their minimum monthly payment policy.
When you receive your loan disclosure letter from your lender, you will see a disbursement date that is after the first day of school. This is because we do not disburse loans until we know that you are enrolled and have met all of our disbursement requirements. Until your loan is actually disbursed, we will list it as an anticipated credit to your student account. The disbursement date has no effect on your ability to receive any excess money on your student account.
Review your loan options and take action to secure your loans
There are many factors to consider when evaluating your loan options. We’ve developed a page titled “How do I choose a loan program?” that will help you learn about the main factors of taking out a loan. You’ll want to take the time to think about these factors and decide how much to weigh each of them in your decision making process. Please note that under the Student Loan Code of Conduct we cannot tell you which loan would be best for you. You may choose to borrow from any student loan program.
Once you feel you have a good sense of what loan terms are most important to you, you’ll want to go to our Student Loans page. Review the information and then click on either the Preferred Lender List for Domestic Students or the Preferred Lender list for International Students.
When you know which loan(s) you’d like to borrow, you’ll need to take action to secure the funds in the following way:
Understand your aid as it relates to your student account and our deadlines
Financial Aid Credits and Your Student Account
All Student Loans are certified by the our office. This means that we receive your approved application from the lender and certify that you are an enrolled student (or scheduled to be enrolled) at HLS for the 2023-24 academic year. We also inform your lender of several other factors such as your eligible loan amount, disbursement dates and anticipated graduation date. We will list the certified loan(s) as on your Budget and Eligibility page of the Financial Aid section in your SFS Portal.
All student loans are disbursed directly to your Student Account in two equal installments – half each semester. Your credits will be listed as “Anticipated Aid” credits until the funds are disbursed in mid-September for the Fall term, and late January for the Spring term. We wait to disburse the funds to your account at these times in order to ensure that all required documents, registration requirements, and other certifications are complete.
Loan Application Deadline and Their Implications
Entering students who apply for their loan(s) by July 14, 2023 will have the loan(s) shown as an anticipated aid credit on their first Student Account notice, which comes out on July 25, 2023.
If you apply between July 15 and August 7, the loan will appear as an anticipated credit on your August 10th account notice.
Applications received after August 7 will be processed daily and can be used towards your outstanding balance in lieu of payment. If all of your financial aid is not in place by August 15, 2023 you could be placed on financial hold which blocks your ability to register, add or drop classes, receive a cash advance, and you may incur a late payment fine of $250.
Returning and Transfer Students:
Your first student account notice will be issued on July 25, 2023 and you will begin the loan application process at that time. Applications received after your student account notice and before August 7 will be processed daily and can be used towards your outstanding balance in lieu of payment. If all of your financial aid is not in place by August 15, 2023 you could be placed on financial hold which blocks your ability to register, add or drop classes, receive a cash advance, and you may incur a late payment fine of $250.
Learn about books/supplies and living expense disbursements
Living Expense Disbursements
If your anticipated financial aid credits exceed the amount of your total student account charges, you will be eligible for a fall cash advance to use towards your living expenses. A cash advance is money that the University advances to you, interest free, based on the fact that you will soon have loans and/or grants that will disburse to your student account.
Eligible students who have all of their financial aid in place and who have signed up for direct deposit by August 22, 2023 will receive a direct deposit on August 25, 2023. Students without direct deposit will receive a paper check during the first week of September via normal U.S. postal services schedules to the address on file in HELIOS – the Registrar’s student record system.
Students who receive a cash advance should budget the funds for living expenses for the entire fall semester and half of January 2024. Spring term cash advances will be disbursed in mid-December 2023. See the Cash Advance and Refunds section of our web site for more details.
Entering Students: Entering 1Ls may receive an early “Books and Supplies” advance of $1,625 (this is the full academic year amount) on August 16 if they qualify. See our Cash Advances and Refunds section for more information.
Loan Selection and Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) Eligibility
If future eligibility for loan repayment assistance is of importance to you, it is imperative to consider the different policies in place regarding loan eligibility when selecting a lender. We recommend that interested students carefully review the policies of both the Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program and the HLS based Low Income Protection Plan (LIPP) when making your lender selections.