3. Types of Financial Aid

Law Admissions Scholarships

Every student admitted to the University of Chicago Law School is automatically considered for institutional scholarship funding based on their application for admission.

Admitted students who would like to have their financial need considered as well must complete the FAFSA (domestic students) or the UChicago Need Application (international students). The FAFSA or UChicago Need Application for admitted students is due typically two weeks after the date of your admission. Submissions received after the deadline will not be considered unless approval from the Admissions & Financial Aid Office has been received.

Please note: students who are age 28 or younger must provide parental financial information on the FAFSA or the UChicago Need Application even if parents will not be contributing financially to their law school education.

The name of your scholarship that was awarded by the Law Admissions Office may be updated to an endowed scholarship after the academic year begins. However, this will not affect the amount of the scholarship in your financial aid package. Endowed scholarship funding is provided to the Law School by friends and alumni with an interest in helping students fund their law school studies. The Financial Aid Office and the Law School's Office of External Affairs will provide details of the fund(s) to the recipients in the Autumn quarter.

The University of Chicago Law School offers three-year awards only. We cannot offer institutional scholarship funding later in your program.

Students can sign up to receive emails regarding Law Financial Aid updates, events, and outside scholarship opportunities by subscribing to the Law Financial Aid Listserv.

Outside Scholarships

The Law Financial Aid Office will periodically send emails to students with information about outside scholarship opportunities of which we are made aware. We encourage you to apply for as many as are appropriate, as each dollar received reduces your debt load. The below databases and search engines can help you start your search process. 

Be judicious when sharing information with a scholarship awarding agency; you should not have to share your personally-identifiable information (social security number, ITIN, etc) during the application process. We also encourage you to pay close attention to the terms and conditions of awarded outside scholarship funding to be sure you can meet any requirements, such as event attendance, professional affiliations, etc. 

The Bursar's Office receives scholarship funding and will alert the Financial Aid Office once the funding has been processed to be added to your financial aid package. More information about sending scholarship funding to the University can be found on the Bursar's website. Scholarship awarding agencies and students who are sent scholarship funding directly by their awarding agency should follow the instructions outlined on the above Bursar website. 

Students should notify the Law Financial Aid Office when they are awarded any outside scholarship so that we can monitor for the alert from the Bursar once the funding has been processed. The financial aid packages of those students who have notified the Law Financial Aid Office of awarded outside scholarship funding will include these awards. An outside scholarship, seen as a fully available financial resource, is used to determine the amount a student is eligible to borrow either from federal or private sources.

Employer Tuition Reimbursement

The Financial Aid Award Notices of those students who notified the Law Financial Aid Office include employer-provided tuition assistance.

The untaxed amount is seen as a resource and the student cannot borrow against it. The taxed amount is seen as income, is not considered a resource, and therefore is not reflected as such on the financial aid notice, and the student may borrow against it.

Students must notify the Law Financial Aid Office when they are awarded any employer tuition reimbursement so that the appropriate adjustments can be made to the financial aid package.

Federal Student Loans

The following loans, Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford and Federal Direct Graduate PLUS (also known as Grad Plus), are offered to Law students who are U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or eligible non-citizens. Funds for these loans, which fall under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, are appropriated by the U.S. Congress, administered by the Department of Education, and disbursed by the institution the student attends.

Both loans require a student to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to establish eligibility and to enroll at least 9 units and neither one requires the borrower to demonstrate financial need. The Department of Education assigns a servicer to the borrower when the funds are disbursed and that servicer sends quarterly interest statements to the borrower and can advise the borrower when interest will be capitalized. Further, neither loan program penalizes the borrower for early repayment.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan

  • A Law student may borrow up to $20,500 annually. The aggregate limit for this loan is $138,500 including graduate and undergraduate debt.
  • A credit check is not necessary to apply for this loan.
  • The loan has a “fixed variable” interest rate, established each year by June 1st, effective on July 1st of that year. (A “fixed variable” rate means that a new interest rate will be set each year, but the rate will be fixed for the life of the loan for any loans first disbursed between July 1st of that year and June 30th of the next year. As a result, this may mean that upon graduation the borrower will have a set of fixed-rate loans, each with a different interest rate.)
  • The student accrues interest while in-school and during the 6-month grace period after separation or if student falls below half-time status.
  • The student can either pay the interest while in-school or allow it to accrue and capitalize on the principal loan amount when the loan goes into repayment (which means that the interest will be added to the principal balance of the loan).
  • Each loan includes an origination fee charged by the Department of Education. The origination fee is a percentage of the amount of the loan and is deducted at the time of each loan disbursement. The borrower is responsible for repaying the total sum borrowed.
  • A borrower must complete an entrance counseling session the first time he or she borrows the funds as a Law student.
  • Repayment begins six months after the student graduates or when the student drops below half-time enrollment. The borrower who chooses the standard repayment plan must repay the loan within 10 years. (There are other repayment options/plans for this type of loan: extended, graduated, and income-driven. Information about repayment options is available at https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/repayment/plans.)   

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

  • A Law student may borrow up to the difference between the cost of attendance and other financial aid (including scholarships, employer-provided tuition reimbursement, the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, and any other resources available to the student).
  • Unlike the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, a credit check is required for the PLUS loan and the borrower cannot have adverse credit history although it is possible for someone with adverse credit history to borrow the funds with a qualified endorser (co-signer). It is important to note that the endorser agrees to repay the loan if the borrower does not. (NOTE: This program does not use any kind of debt-to-income ratio or FICO score.)
  • This loan has a “fixed variable” interest rate, just like the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan.
  • The student accrues interest while in-school and during the deferment periods.
  • The student can either pay the interest while in-school or allow it to accrue and capitalize on the principal loan amount when the loan goes into repayment (which means that the interest will be added to the principal balance of the loan).
  • Each loan includes an origination fee charged by the Department of Education. The origination fee is a percentage of the amount of the loan and is deducted at the time of each loan disbursement. The borrower is responsible for repaying the total sum borrowed.
  • A borrower must complete an entrance counseling session the first time he or she borrows the funds as a Law student.
  • Repayment begins six months after the student graduates or when the student drops below half-time enrollment. The borrower who chooses the standard repayment plan must repay the loan within 10 years. (There are other repayment options/plans for this type of loan: extended, graduated, and income-driven. Information about repayment options is available at https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/repayment/plans.)  

Note that the federal student loan programs can change at any time due to federal legislation or regulations.

Private/Alternative Student Loans

A number of private organizations lend to University of Chicago Law School students. For more information on private loans, see the Graduate Financial Aid's Loans section. 

The Law Financial Aid Office does not endorse or promote any private/alternative lender and will process a loan application from any lender selected as long as the student is eligible for the loan.

For those interested in participating in our Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP), please note that private/alternative loans are not eligible.  

The Law Financial Aid Office suggests that students who plan to borrow private loans carefully compare these to the federal loans as the latter provide fixed rates of interest, multiple repayment options, cancellation provisions, deferments, and forbearances.

The maximum a student may borrow from a private lender is the difference between the cost of attendance, as reflected on the Financial Aid Package, and financial assistance, including scholarship and federal loan funds that the student has accepted.

Veteran's Educational Benefits

Some students are eligible to use their Montgomery GI Bill, Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, including Yellow Ribbon Program benefits, or other veteran educational benefits. Students who are veterans and who believe they may be eligible for these benefits should contact the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) at 1.888.GIBill1 or 1.888.442.4551) to determine eligibility and type of benefit option available. The VA website has useful information for veterans seeking educational benefits.

These funds are not accounted for on your financial aid package until after the first billing cycle of the academic year.

The VA will send the Montgomery GI Bill benefits directly to the student after The University of Chicago has confirmed enrollment.

The VA will send the Post-9/11 GI Bill tuition and mandatory fee benefit amounts directly to the institution and the student will receive the monthly housing allowance and the book stipend directly from the VA after The University of Chicago has certified the student’s enrollment.

Law, through the Yellow Ribbon Program, has committed to making funding available to all law students who are eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits at the maximum level (100%). If you think that you may qualify, please make sure you request a Certificate of Eligibility from your Veterans Administration office showing your end service date and complete the application on the University Registrar’s webpage. 

Students who are on active duty are not eligible to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Note that eligibility for VA educational benefits will not be reduced by the amount of any federal Direct Unsubsidized loan or federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan funds you have been offered or have accepted. Conversely, VA benefits will not reduce eligibility for the federal loan programs although it is recommended that a student consider the amount of VA funding received when determining how much federal student loan funding to accept.

As the VA is the last payer of tuition and mandatory fees, the following funds will reduce a veteran’s eligibility for VA benefits:

  • Waivers or reduction in tuition and fees by the University of Chicago
  • Grants and scholarships awarded by the University of Chicago
  • Scholarship funds awarded by private organizations
  • Tuition reimbursement provided by employers and/or other sources
  • Tuition rebates/reductions provided by the University of Chicago to its employees