JD Financial Aid
General Policies and Requirements
After January 1, applicants for admission will receive a package of detailed information and instructions regarding financial aid from the Law School Financial Aid Office.
Do not wait to hear from the admission office before completing the required federal need analysis form described below; complete the form as soon as possible after applying for admission. Applying for financial aid will have no effect on your chances for admission, as decisions concerning admission are made independently of whether a candidate has applied for financial aid.
Financial need is determined on the basis of University and federal (where appropriate) guidelines, using information provided by each applicant through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is the required federal need analysis form. The overwhelming portion of need-based aid is in the form of loans. All applicants for need-based financial aid are expected to borrow first through the Federal Stafford Student Loan program. The Law School then seeks to meet remaining financial need through some combination of Federal Perkins Loan, loans through credit-based programs, Federal Work-Study funding, and/or scholarship where possible. Tulane uses the terms "scholarship," "tuition waiver," and "grant" interchangeably, to describe aid that does not require repayment. Please note that Federal Pell Grants are not available to law students.
With respect to eligibility for federal need-based aid, criteria for independent student status at the graduate level differ from the undergraduate level. According to the federal definition, all graduate students are considered "independent." Therefore, parental information is not required as a prerequisite to federal aid. Students who are uncertain whether they will be eligible for need-based financial aid should talk with a representative of the Law School Financial Aid Office.
Students are, of course, expected to devote personal and family resources toward the cost of education . Where such resources do not exist or are inadequate, the Law School attempts to enable the student to attend by recommending that the student receive aid through external loan programs and/or by providing some aid directly. As long as nothing is errant in a student's credit history, financial need can usually be met through some source of funding.
Students and families should recognize that loans will be a significant part of every student's financial aid package. Many students are reluctant to undertake what at first appears to be overwhelming loan burdens. It is important to understand that federal loans can be consolidated, and more reasonable repayment arrangements can be made. However, incurring debt is a serious matter and the consequences should be considered before entering law school.
Students are encouraged to talk with the Law School administration and faculty about the value of a Tulane legal education and likely income after graduation, and with the staff of the Law Financial Aid Office about the variety of repayment options. Students are also urged to gather together as many family resources as possible and to live as frugally as possible during law school in order to minimize the amount they must borrow.
Tulane Law Scholarships
Most scholarships and tuition waivers at Tulane are awarded to JD and LLM candidates on the basis of the information presented in the admission file. These awards are generally described as "merit-based," although most of the recipients also demonstrate financial need. At Tulane, the terms "scholarship," "tuition waiver", and "grant" are used interchangeably.
Click here for a list of named scholarship funds at Tulane Law School.
Please note that our supply of scholarship funds is not inexhaustible. Once these funds have been allocated, we must stop making awards.
Most of Tulane's scholarship awards are made to applicants at the time an offer of admission is extended. Because these scholarship decisions are made on the basis of information contained in the admission file, no additional forms are required. Students who receive scholarship awards at the point of admission should not expect to receive additional scholarship awards designated as need-based.
In most cases, scholarship awards made to entering JD students are renewable in the same amount for the second and third years of law school, so long as eligibility requirements are met. Scholarship assistance is not available for transfer students. Some awards are made to recognize outstanding achievement by upperclass JD students who did not receive scholarship assistance as first-year students. Scholarships do not increase as tuition increases.
Some of the assistance awarded to law students in the form of scholarships or tuition waivers comes from internal funds at the Law School, set aside for that purpose and designated Tulane Law School Scholarships. In addition, other funds have been donated to the School for the purpose of scholarship awards by alumni and other friends of the School. Students awarded scholarships from these named funds will be asked to write thank-you letters to the donors.
Tulane Law Loans
A limited number of Law School loans are made to qualified students in situations in which other loan programs may not be available. Law School Loans are based on need and availability of funds, and are generally made in amounts of $2,000 or less. A description of the terms is available from the Law School Financial Aid Office.
Also available in limited circumstances are small ($175) short-term loans designed to provide for emergencies that arise during the academic year. Repayment is required by the end of the semester in which these loans are made, and only one emergency loan per student can be made in each academic year.
Federal Financial Aid
Students applying for need-based financial aid will automatically be considered for any federal program eligibility once they have filed a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form. Federal student aid is awarded on the basis of need, determined according to mandatory federal guidelines and the University's student budgets.
Federal student aid is not available to international students (see "Information for Applicants Neither U.S. Citizens Nor U.S. Permanent Residents" on the right side of this page).
A FAFSA should be filled out as soon as possible after January 1st (which is the earliest date a FAFSA is accepted for an upcoming academic year) unless the applicant is certain that federal educational loans will not be needed to help finance any part of his or her legal education, including living expenses. Fill out the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Processing results are sent to the applicant and up to six schools listed on the FAFSA application. The applicant can include Tulane Law School as one of the six schools by adding federal Title IV school code "002029 Tulane University" to the online FAFSA. If a FAFSA has already been completed and submitted, the applicant should not complete another FAFSA. The applicant may simply fax or mail a copy of the FAFSA processing results to this office, complete a FAFSA correction online at www.fafsa.ed.gov, or contact the Department of Education (1-800-4FEDAID) to add Tulane as a recipient of the results.
Any offer of federal funds made through the Tulane Law School is contingent upon the student's prior satisfactory repayment of federal loans and meeting other federal requirements (more information available here) and, in the case of Perkins Loan and Work-Study eligibility, upon the availability of adequate federal funds.
Federal Loan Programs
A Federal Stafford Loan is a low-interest loan made to a student, disbursed directly from the Department of Education to assist in paying the costs of attending school. The interest rate is 6.8 percent for loans made on or after July 1, 2006.
Students whose processed FAFSA forms indicate that they meet federal need criteria may borrow up to $8,500 per academic year in a Subsidized Federal Stafford Loan. "Subsidized" means that the federal government pays the interest that accrues while the student is enrolled at least half time and for six months afterwards. NOTE: Pursuant to the "Budget Control Act of 2011," Subsidized Stafford Loans which have not been disbursed by June 30, 2012 will not be available to graduate level students. This means that Subsidized Stafford Loans will not be available to graduate level students for academic years 2012-13 and later.
Students may borrow a combination of Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan up to the annual limit of $20,500. Under the Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan program, interest is capitalized and added to the principal upon repayment. Prepayment may be made at any time without penalty.
The Federal Stafford Loan is used as the loan of first resort at Tulane Law School. Other need-based aid is awarded only after Stafford Loan borrowing is assumed.
Federal Perkins Loans are low-interest (0 percent during school and 5 percent during repayment) loans provided from a revolving fund capitalized jointly by the University and the federal government. The loans are made through the Tulane University Financial Aid Office to students who have financial need as determined by federal guidelines. Repayment is not required while the student is enrolled at least half-time and for nine months after graduation.
The Law School is allocated a limited amount of Perkins Loans funds each year by the University. Therefore, Perkins awards rarely exceed $1,500 per year and are generally limited to financial aid applicants who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid before February 15.
A Federal Graduate PLUS Loan is a credit-based loan which may be borrowed up to the cost of attendance (tuition and fees, plus allowable living expenses) less other financial aid. The interest rate is set at 7.9%.
The Federal Work-Study Program provides limited employment for upper-level students who need financial aid and must earn part of their educational expenses. Eligibility is determined according to request, federal guidelines, a complete financial aid file (including the FAFSA form), and availability of funds. Jobs are available both on campus and in eligible off-campus agencies, for example, in the New Orleans District Attorney's Office.
Tulane Law School does not process Federal Work Study eligibility for first-semester first-year students because pursuing employment during that very important semester may interfere with academic success. In rare cases, and with the permission of the Vice Dean, we will process up to $1000 in Work Study funds for second-semester first-year students who request eligibility. Federal Work-Study funding is also available to eligible students for summer work with qualifying employers.
Private Loan Programs
Some lenders offer private credit-based loans which may be sought by students who do not qualify for federal loans (for example, while enrolled less than half-time or not a US citizen or permanent resident) or who for some reason do not wish to pursue federal loans. See http://tulane.edu/financialaid/loans/altprivnonfed.cfm for more information about this type of loan and a list of lenders.