3. Types of Financial Aid

Law Admissions Scholarships

Every student admitted to the University of Chicago Law School is automatically considered for scholarships.

Admitted students who would like their financial need to be considered must complete the FAFSA and the UChicago Need Application (candidate and parent sections). The FAFSA and 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 both the FAFSA and the UChicago Need Application even if parents will not be contributing financially to their law school education.

The name of the Law Admissions Scholarship award may be updated to an endowed scholarship after the enrollment period begins. However, this will not affect the amount of the scholarship on the Financial Aid Award Notice. Endowed scholarship funding is provided to Law by friends and alumni with an interest in helping students fund their law school studies. The Financial Aid Office will provide details of the fund(s) to the recipients in either the winter or the spring quarter.

The University of Chicago Law School offers three-year awards only. This means that we cannot offer you scholarship later in your program. However, we will send you emails, throughout your time with us, with links to outside scholarship opportunities. We would encourage you to apply for as many as are appropriate as each dollar received reduces your debt load. To start your search process, we have put together a list of some available outside scholarships for law students.

Additionally, 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 Financial Aid Award Notices of those students who notified the Law Financial Aid Office include these awards funded by outside agencies.

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.

Students must notify the financial aid office when they are awarded any outside scholarship so that the appropriate adjustments can be made to the financial aid notice.

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 financial aid office when they are awarded any employer tuition reimbursement so that the appropriate adjustments can be made to the financial aid notice.

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.

Important Disclosure: Information regarding these loan programs is current as of the posting of this handbook. Note that the programs can change at any time due to federal legislation or regulations.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford 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 Stafford Loan, and any other resources available to the student).
  • Unlike the Federal Direct Stafford Loan, a credit check is required for this 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 Stafford 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.)  

Veterans’ Benefits (not reflected on the award letter)

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: http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/.)

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 for 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 Federal Unsubsidized Direct Stafford or Graduate PLUS funds. 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 the sum of federal loans to borrow.

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