JD Financial Aid
General Policies and Requirements
Do not wait to hear from the admission office before completing the required described below; complete it 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. Estimated 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). The overwhelming portion of aid is in the form of loans.
All applicants for financial aid are expected to borrow first through the Federal Direct Student Loan program. The Law School then seeks to meet remaining costs through some combination of loans through credit-based programs and Federal Work-Study funding. 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 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 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. As long as nothing is errant in a student's credit history, financial needs 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. More reasonable repayment arrangements can be made via Federal Income-Driven Repayment Plans, and loan forgiveness may be possible under certain circumstances. 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.
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 financial aid will automatically be considered for any federal program eligibility once they have filed a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
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 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 Work-Study eligibility, upon the availability of adequate federal funds.
Federal Loan Programs
A Federal Direct Unsubsidized 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 5.84% for loans disbursed between 7/1/2015 and 6/30/2016. Each year, new Federal Unsubsidized Loans will have a new fixed interest rate depending on the prevailing index rate, and an interest rate cap of 8.25%. Interest rates are re-set on 7/1 of each year. Unsubsidized loans first disbursed on or after October 1, 2015, but before October 1, 2016 will be assessed a 1.068% origination fee.
Students may borrow a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan up to the annual limit of $20,500. Under the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan program, interest is capitalized and added to the principal upon repayment. Prepayment may be made at any time without penalty.
The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan is used as the loan of first resort at Tulane Law School. Other aid is awarded only after Unsubsidized Loan borrowing is assumed.
A Federal Direct 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 6.84% for loans disbursed between 7/1/15 and 6/30/16. Each year, new Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans will have a new fixed interest rate depending on the prevailing index rate, and an interest rate cap of 10.50%. Interest rates are re-set on 7/1 of each year. Graduate PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after 10/1/2015 but before 10/1/2016 will be assessed a 4.272% origination fee.
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.
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.