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Prospective Students

Frequently asked questions and answers about the financial aid process and the cost of attending Tulane Law School are set out below.  Separate FAQ sections about the admission process and about Tulane Law School generally can be found elsewhere on this web site.

Financial Information
FAQ 

How do I reach the Tulane Law School Financial Aid Office? 

Our office phone number is 504.865.5931, and our e-mail address is finaid@law.tulane.edu.

What kinds of financial aid are available?

There are three general categories of aid: gift, loan, and employment.

  • Gift aid includes tuition waivers, scholarships, and grants, none of which require repayment.
  • Loans from a variety of federal programs and from outside lending agencies must be repaid with interest.
  • Employment is available to students on a part-time basis.

"Financial aid" is the sum of scholarship (from any source), educational loans (both federal and private), federal work-study eligibility and other miscellaneous funding sources (vocational rehabilitation benefits, veteran educational benefits, and Americorps benefits, to name a few).

Financial aid at Tulane is defined as any combination of educational loans, scholarship, and/or Federal Work-Study eligibility.  Financial aid packages may include loans of various kinds, work-study funding, and -- when possible -- scholarships.

What criteria determine my financial aid package?

Scholarships awarded by the law school are most often granted on the basis of academic merit.  Merit-based scholarships are made on the basis of the admission application.  No other form or application is required.

On the other hand, certain federal funds (Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan, Federal Perkins Loan and Federal Work Study) administered by Tulane's Financial Aid Office are awarded on the basis of need.  Financial need is the difference between the cost of attendance (tuition, fees, books, and standard living budget) and what a need analysis determines that you should be able to contribute based on your available resources.

Other federal funds (Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan and Federal Graduate PLUS Loan) are awarded regardless of the need level demonstrated.

All graduate students are considered "independent" for federal aid, and 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.

How do I apply for financial aid?

You apply for each form of financial aid in a different way (see below), but in general, you should apply for admission and fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

How do I apply for a scholarship award from Tulane Law School?

Merit scholarship determinations are made in conjunction with the admission decision, on the basis of the contents of the application file.  No other form is required to apply for merit-based scholarship.  In general, merit-based scholarships are included in the acceptance packet.  A merit-based scholarship constitutes the entire scholarship portion of a financial aid package.  Additional scholarship funds will not be awarded.

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 synonymous.

About 60 percent of the members of each class receive a scholarship of some size.

How do I apply for a scholarship awarded by an entity other than Tulane?

Scholarships or grants (and sometimes low-interest loans) may also be available from some state governments, community agencies, private foundations, corporations, religious organizations, and civic and cultural groups.  Such sources include many minority organizations, as well as state and local bar associations and the American Bar Association.

When programs like these come to our attention, we publicize them to eligible students.  However, because we do not always learn about such programs in a timely manner (if at all), students are encouraged to research such possibilities on their own.  Research might begin in the reference section of any library (request books on graduate scholarships or fellowships) or on the Internet through online search engines.

Searching the Internet may identify scholarship search services such as The SmartStudent Guide to Financial Aid (www.finaid.org).  To make sure a web search service is reputable, call the National Fraud Information Center (800.876.7060).

Some examples of outside sources of scholarship funds include:

  • American Bar Association Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund (matched by Tulane for Tulane Law students, the sum of Tulane dollars limited to the cost of Tulane Law School tuition and fees each year, 312.988.5000, http://www.abanet.org/fje), postmark deadline March 1;.
  • Earl Warren Legal Training Program (99 Hudson Street, Suite 1600, New York, NY 10013; 212.965.2200; http://www.naacpldf.org), deadlines: February 15 to request application and March 15th for submission;
  • Williams Intellectual Property Law Scholarship (for application contact Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund, Attn: AIPLEF Scholarship; 100 Park Avenue, 10th Floor; New York, NY 10017 or jstaunton@tmsf.org, http://www.thurgoodmarshallfund.org/home/scholarship_programs.html), March 22 application deadline;
  • Hispanic Scholarship Fund (877.473.4636, http://www.hsf.net), applications accepted between August and mid-October;
  • Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (213.629.2512, http://www.maldef.org), June 30th deadline.
  • and many state and local bar associations.

Another list of outside scholarship opportunities appears on our web site under Outside Scholarships.

How do I apply for federal educational loans?

To apply for federal aid (federal educational loans or federal work-study), complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and mail it to the federal processor, or complete the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.   When completing the FAFSA, be sure to list Tulane's school code: 002029.

We have hard-copy FAFSA forms in our office and are happy to mail one upon request.  We can be reached by e-mail (finaid@law.tulane.edu) or by telephone (504.865.5931).

The FAFSA is reprinted every year, so be careful to file the correct FAFSA.  The dates of the FAFSA should correspond to the dates of your first year of law school.  For example, a 2011-2012 FAFSA should be filed if you anticipate attending law school as a first-year student during 2011-2012. The 2011-2012 FAFSA will be available as early as January 1, 2011 online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.  Parental information is not required on the FAFSA for law students, even if the parents claim the student as a dependent for tax purposes.

After an applicant has been offered admission and Tulane has received the prospective student's FAFSA data, income tax return, if required, and any other required information, we will calculate eligibility for the federal loan programs.  Federal student aid is awarded on the basis of need, determined according to mandatory federal guidelines and the University's student budgets.

To be eligible for a Stafford Loan, Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Graduate PLUS Loan and Federal Work Study, you must demonstrate financial need.  In addition, you must either be enrolled in a normal degree program -- in good standing and maintaining satisfactory and measurable progress according to the standards set by your division -- or have been accepted for admission to a normal degree program.  By the end of your second academic year, you must maintain an academic standing consistent with your division's requirement for graduation.  Recipients must be United States citizens or permanent residents.  They must not owe a refund on a grant previously received from any institution, or be in default (i.e., failed to make an installment payment when due) on a loan made to attend any institution.

Federal Perkins Loans are granted on a need basis by Tulane to law students who have completed the FAFSA the earliest each year and who show sufficient financial need.  The February 15 deadline pertains only to the processor-receipt date of the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  That date determines whether or not an incoming Tulane Law student is eligible to receive Federal Perkins Loan ($1,500 per recipient) for the upcoming academic year.  This deadline has no effect on eligibility for Federal Stafford Loans.  We announce this deadline because Perkins Loan funding for Tulane Law School students is limited.  Federal Perkins Loans for Tulane Law students are redistributed every year, so a student not receiving it one year may receive it the next, and vice-versa.

The aggregate amount you may borrow during your undergraduate and graduate career in Perkins Loans is $40,000.  The most you can borrow in any one year is $6,000.  However, offers of Federal Perkins Loans to Tulane Law students normally do not exceed $1,500 in order to assist as many eligible students as possible.  Repayment begins nine months after you are no longer at least a half-time student.  At that time, interest of 5 percent per annum is assessed on the unpaid balance.  The normal repayment period is 10 years, and repayment schedules for varying amounts of loans are available from Tulane's Student Loan Office.  Deferment of repayment may be granted in certain circumstances.  Information on deferments is available from the Student Loan Office and is also provided to borrowers at the time they sign promissory notes.  Deferment requests must be made in writing to the Student Loan Office, which determines what documentation will be required.  There are forgiveness or cancellation provisions for combat military service, for service in specific volunteer agencies, for law enforcement officers, or for teachers, nurses, medical technicians, and social work professionals who are providing specific designated services or who are working in specific designated shortage areas.

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 (see http://studentaid.ed.gov/guide) and, in the case of Perkins Loan and Work-Study eligibility, upon the availability of adequate federal funds.

Federal Stafford Loans and Graduate PLUS Loans are offered to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who have completed the FAFSA and who have been offered admission.  If the proceeds of a Federal Stafford Loan are needed in order to cover fall expenses, the FAFSA should be filed by June 30, allowing eight weeks for FAFSA and subsequent loan application processing.

In late May, Stafford and Graduate PLUS application instructions will be sent to candidates who have already been offered admission and who have submitted the FAFSA.  Beginning in the 2010-2011 academic year, these federal loans will be made to Tulane students directly from the Department of Education.

Loan recipients may not be in default -- that is, they cannot have failed to make an installment payment when due -- on any federal educational loans made to attend any institution, nor may they owe a refund on a grant received to attend any institution.

Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans up to $8,500 per year are offered to students with financial need.  "Subsidized" means that the interest is paid by the federal government while the student is enrolled at least half-time.  Students may borrow unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans as well.  "Unsubsidized" means that the student pays the interest on the loan while in school (or agrees to capitalize the interest and add it to the principal upon repayment).  Graduate and professional students may borrow a combination of subsidized and unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan up to the annual limit of $20,500.  The aggregate borrowing limit for all undergraduate and graduate education is $138,500 in subsidized and unsubsidized combined with no more than $65,500 being subsidized.

Stafford loans made for enrollment periods beginning on or after July 1, 2006, will have an interest rate of 6.8%.  A fee of up to 2% will be assessed from the disbursements.  Repayment begins six months after you are no longer enrolled at least half-time.  Certain other repayment deferments are available; details can be obtained from your lender.

The amount of subsidized Federal Stafford Loan eligibility is based on need.  A need analysis is also required for an unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan since federal regulations require that a student's eligibility for a need-based Federal Stafford Loan must be determined before an unsubsidized loan may be certified.  A STUDENT DEMONSTRATING NO NEED MAY STILL QUALIFY FOR A FEDERAL UNSUBSIDIZED STAFFORD LOAN.  The analysis of need comes from the standard federal need determination process.  Students whose applications are selected for verification by U.S. Department of Education criteria will be asked to submit a copy of their federal income tax returns and may be asked to verify additional items on their applications used to determine need.

The Federal Graduate PLUS Loan is an unsubsidized credit-based loan in the amount of up to Cost of Attendance less other financial aid.  The loan is set with a fixed interest rate of  7.9%.  A one-time fee of up to 4% may be assessed from the disbursements.

How do I apply for non-federal educational loans?

Some lenders offer a privately funded non-federal loan program. Either the Federal Graduate PLUS Loan or the privately funded loan programs enable law students to borrow up to the cost of attendance (tuition and fees, plus allowable living expenses) less other financial aid. A private credit-based loan may be sought by students who do not qualify for federal loans (for example, while enrolled less than half-time or if not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident). However, annual and aggregate educational borrowing maximums can limit the size of the private loan.

We send information about non-federal loans (as well as federal loans) in late May to those applicants who have been offered admission and who have established eligibility for Federal Stafford Loans by filling out a FAFSA.  We send a comparison sheet of loan terms and other information for the lenders to help candidates make decisions about which lender to choose if private borrowing is required, but we remind applicants that we will process applications for any lender they choose for a non-federal private loan (applicants are not limited to the lenders on our lists). We process loan applications throughout the summer.  Loan disbursements are available to students as early as the first day of classes if applications have been completed by June 30.  Loan proceeds are never disbursed prior to the first day of class.

Below are lenders offering private loans about which we currently send out more information to individuals who have applied for both admission and financial aid.  Students are not limited to borrowing from lenders named on lists, but may borrow from any lender they choose.  More information about these loans is sent to individuals who have applied for both admission and financial aid.

Discover Student Loans
Wells Fargo
Academic Answer Loan/Suntrust

Some lenders offer a cosigner option to augment the student's credit history (if the student's credit information is not stellar), and some have a cosigner option which lowers the cost of the loan but does not augment the credit history of a student applicant.  The majority of Tulane Law student borrowers of non-federal loans borrow without a cosigner.  In these cases, the students' credit information is acceptable to the lenders.

In cases where a student's credit information is unacceptable to lenders, Tulane Law School is unfortunately unable to fill the funding shortfall.  Students in this situation must have access to their own credit-worthy co-borrowers.

How do I apply for federal work-study?

Federal Work Study (FWS) is a federally sponsored part-time employment program.  Positions are usually on campus in one of the university's many departments, but may also be in the nearby community.  Most students work about 10 to 15 hours a week.  Students are paid by check biweekly and are paid for the number of hours worked.  Your work schedule can vary from free periods during the day to night or weekend work.  While job placement is likely, FWS certification does not guarantee a job or total earnings.

Tulane Law School does not process Federal Work Study eligibility to first-semester first-year law students because working during that very important semester may interfere with academic success.  In rare cases, with permission from the Vice Dean, we will process Work Study for second-semester first-year law students who request eligibility.

Federal Work Study eligibility for second and third-year law students is determined upon student request and is usually $2,000 for the year (but can be more or less, depending on the hours the student plans to work).

Many second and third-year law students work in jobs not requiring Federal Work Study eligibility (such as private law firm clerking jobs).

What is the Cost of Attendance?

Please follow this link for information about the cost of attendance.

Can I borrow more than the Cost of Attendance through a private educational loan?

The short answer is "no."  The standard budget of $61,850 detailed through the link above includes approximately $2,152 per month (over 9 months) for rent, food, utilities, miscellaneous expenses (such as optional study aids and an on-campus parking permit), medical insurance and other health expenses (such as aspirin) and all travel.  This budget contemplates a frugal student lifestyle.  Any expenses beyond those in the cost of attendance budget must be paid with funds outside of your financial aid package.  The sum of financial aid is limited to the total Cost of Attendance.

Your financial aid package (whether scholarships or loans) is not intended to cover such items as those listed below. You must have another source of funds to cover these items, which are not considered a part of the cost of attendance.

  • Moving costs
  • Furniture
  • Deposits for housing and utilities
  • Car loan payments
  • Payments on pre-existing debt (for example, credit cards)
  • Living expenses associated with days before or after an academic enrollment period

If actual living expenses exceed the amount budgeted by the office of financial aid for living expenses, the excess cannot be covered with additional educational borrowing or other types of financial aid. At Tulane Law School, during the 2009-2010 academic year, the maximum allotment for housing (rent and utilities) is about $905 per month (over nine months). A higher housing expense might be covered by economizing in other categories of living expenses (spending less than the $1,080 total monthly allotment for food, transportation, health expenses and miscellaneous), but could not be covered through additional educational loans

If I don't file for financial aid by February 15th, do I lose all financial aid?

The February 15th deadline pertains only to one type of financial aid at Tulane Law School - the Federal Perkins Loan.  Even if a student does not receive a Federal Perkins Loan, total financial aid is not diminished, as all students have financial aid eligibility totaling the Cost of Attendance, whether or not a Federal Perkins Loan is included in the financial aid.  The deadline pertains to the processor-receipt date of the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  That date determines whether or not an incoming Tulane Law student may be eligible to receive Federal Perkins Loan ($1,500 per recipient demonstrating sufficient financial need) for the upcoming academic year.  This deadline has no effect on eligibility for Federal Stafford Loans.  We announce this deadline because Perkins Loan funding for Tulane Law School students is limited.  Federal Perkins Loans for Tulane Law students are redistributed every year, so a student not receiving Federal Perkins Loan one year may receive Perkins Loan the next, and vice-versa.

If a Federal Stafford Loan is needed in order to cover fall expenses, the FAFSA should be filed by June 30, allowing eight weeks for FAFSA and subsequent loan application processing.

I'm earning a decent salary now, but will quit work to attend law school. Does that mean that I won't be eligible for federal loans?

A person without financial need can be eligible for up to $20,500 in Federal Stafford Loan, the same annual maximum for any law student.  The question is whether or not $8,500 out of the $20,500 can be subsidized by the federal government.  Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans up to $8,500 per year are offered to students with financial need.  Graduate and professional students may borrow a combination of subsidized and unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan up to the annual limit of $20,500.  "Subsidized" means that the interest is paid by the federal government while the student is enrolled at least half-time.  Students may borrow unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans as well.  "Unsubsidized" means that interest is capitalized and added to the principle upon repayment.  If you are offered less than $8,500 in Subsidized Stafford Loan eligibility, contact the financial aid office to request a “reconsideration” based on expected year income as opposed to prior year income.  According to information you provide, a financial aid counselor may increase your financial need, using professional judgment.

My parents will be helping me pay for law school.  Will that reduce my eligibility for scholarship or other financial aid?

A parent's help is not considered “financial aid” and would not reduce eligibility for total financial aid.  Total financial aid is limited to the Cost of Attendance, whether or not one receives parental assistance.  However, parental assistance is counted in federal need analysis and could conceivably (but not necessarily) convert all or a portion of what might have been subsidized federal loan eligibility into unsubsidized federal loan eligibility.

Any cash support you receive from a friend or relative (including your parents, since law students are considered independent students) must be reported on the FAFSA as untaxed income.  Cash support includes payments made on your behalf.  For instance, if your aunt pays your rent or utility bill, you must report those payments on the FAFSA.  Information from the FAFSA is used to calculate Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which in turn is used to calculate eligibility for subsidized federal loans.  Untaxed income does not, however, increase EFC dollar for dollar, and even students with high EFC's are eligible for unsubsidized federal loans, as long as they meet federal eligibility requirements (such as Selective Service registration for men and a record without an outstanding defaulted federal loan).

Because the vast majority of our scholarship dollars are merit-based, the likelihood of parental support affecting scholarship from Tulane Law School is low.

When are tuition payments due?

Tuition and fees are billed by Tulane University by semester.  Students beginning enrollment at Tulane Law School have generally received the fall semester statement (or bill) at the beginning of September.  The Tulane Accounts Receivable Office e-mails the statements to the student's Tulane e-mail address.  Payment is due in full within 30 days of receipt of the statement or e-mails.  Here is an excerpt from the disclosure statement Accounts Receivable forwards: "Your Bill - Bills are rendered on a monthly basis. We issue only one bill per student per month.  Payment is due on or before the due date printed on the top right-hand corner of the bill.  The due date is usually 30 days after the closing date.  If we receive your full payment on or before the due date no finance charge will be imposed.  A finance charge will be assessed if any balance remains unpaid as of the due date."

I was selected for verification. Did I do something wrong?

The Department of Education randomly selects a portion of all Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applicants for verification.  You did nothing wrong.  You will need to turn in a signed worksheet (including a statement of household size and untaxed income), and a copy of the your signed federal income tax return.  We will mail the worksheets in May to applicants offered admission.

FAFSA processing results are sent electronically to the school and in hard copy (called a Student Aid Report, or SAR) to the applicant.  The SAR indicates selection for verification if the applicant has been selected for verification.

Do you have a loan forgiveness program?

We have a Loan Repayment Assistance Program, or LRAP, which assists eligible graduates who engage in specified public interest employment and whose incomes fall below a specified level.  Tulane Law School's Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) assists qualifying Tulane JD graduates in repaying educational loans they borrowed while enrolled as law students.  A qualifying graduate must work as a full-time attorney in an eligible position earning a salary at or under a certain income level (and in addition, if married, the sum of the graduate and spouse income must be under another income level).  For the 2010 calendar year, the income cap for graduates practicing in Louisiana is $47,448; the cap for the combined income of the graduate and his or her spouse is equal to the amount twice the graduate's individual cap.

Tulane Law School, through a grant from the Kendall-Vick Foundation, offers a forgivable loan of up to $3,000 per year to Tulane JD graduates employed in Louisiana as attorneys by a district attorney's office or other governmental agency.  Judicial clerks are not eligible to participate in this program.

LRAP Eligibility Information 

Kendall Vick LRAP Information - Currently, Tulane Law School reimburses eligible graduates for loan payments exceeding a "graduate contribution" (figured as 12% of net income, or currently about $350 monthly) for up to 5 years. This figure may be higher if the graduate is employed in another locality pay area and is subject to subsequent updates and corrections found on the United States Office of Personnel Management website http://www.opm.gov/oca/index.htm: the cap coincides with the current federal salary scale, GS 9 Step 1 level, using the locality payment for the area in which employment is held.



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