Students or applicants may submit an appeal to have the Financial Aid Office review their aid eligibility or financial aid package if they believe that their individual circumstances warrant further review. These appeals are considered by the Financial Aid Office on an individualized, case-by-case basis. Students and applicants are encouraged to reach out to the Financial Aid Office to discuss their situation.
Cost of attendance appeals can be submitted anytime during an academic year while you are enrolled in coursework. Family contribution and need application dependency status appeals are only considered during the admissions process. It can take the Financial Aid Office up to two weeks to review and process an appeal, but we strive to review and process all appeals as quickly as possible.
If you are a current Law student who declined loan funding on your aid package but need to request some/all of that declined funding, contact our office for assistance prior to submitting an appeal.
Cost of Attendance/Budget Appeals
The Financial Aid Office will review appeals for additional student loan funding should a student's financial aid package not reflect their individual circumstances. The Financial Aid Office will not award additional scholarship funds for any type of approved appeal. If a COA/budget appeal is approved, the student’s cost of attendance will be increased as will the amount of student loan funds the student will be permitted to borrow.
The typical situations for which the Financial Aid Office is able to adjust a student’s cost of attendance are outlined below. All appeals are considered on an individualized, case-by-case basis and the situation usually relates directly to the student’s ability to remain enrolled and complete their degree program, so the below list is not exhaustive. Contact our office if you have expenses not outlined below that you would like to appeal.
A complete appeal includes both the Law Budget Appeal Form and the necessary supplemental documentation outlined on the form and below. The Budget Appeal Form is available on the Financial Aid Forms webpage.
Computer Supplement/Technology Purchase
Law students may request an increase to their cost of attendance for the purchase of a computer or laptop once during their Law School program. The maximum increase available is $1,500 or the documented cost of the purchase, whichever is less. A computer that is purchased prior to June 1 preceding an incoming student's start at the Law School is not eligible for a supplement.
Extenuating circumstances (loss/theft that is documented with a police report, documented damage, computer replacement needed for the bar exam, etc) that are approved by the Financial Aid Committee can allow for an additional supplement if a student has already received their initial computer supplement while at the Law School. Any supplement is limited to $1,500 or the documented cost of the purchase, whichever is less.
Out-of-Pocket Medical Expenses Not Covered by Insurance
Students who have out-of-pocket medical expenses not covered by their current medical/dental/vision insurance can submit documentation of the expenses to the Financial Aid Office to request additional loan funds. This documentation can include:
- documentation of actual costs of the prescribed treatments and/or medications, such as a copy of a bill showing the remaining costs after insurance has been applied or a copy of a pharmacy receipt with the Rx number (for identification purposes only)
- a signed and dated letter from the health care provider on letterhead outlining the student's out-of-pocket expenses and how frequently the costs are incurred
It may not always be possible to offer loan assistance to cover all costs.
Students are not required to disclose a medical diagnosis or prescription name to the Financial Aid Office but any documentation must be able to support the fact that a medical condition exists or has been treated. The Financial Aid Office may request additional documentation from the medical provider to confirm that the treatment is/was necessary for the student to maintain their enrollment at the Law School.
Dependent Care/Childcare Expenses
Students who have underage children or other underage dependents for whom they are responsible may appeal for additional assistance to meet daycare and childcare expenses incurred while attending coursework or activities required by your degree program. The appeal for assistance must include documentation of actual expenses.
Other Living Expenses Included in the Cost of Attendance
Students can submit an appeal for expenses that exceed the standard living expense allowances in the cost of attendance, including for increased rent/mortgage and utility expenses, transportation expenses, and required books and supplies expenses. The appeal for assistance must include documentation of actual expenses and any other supplemental documentation as outlined on the Budget Appeal Form, which is available on the Financial Aid Forms webpage.
Expenses Ineligible for Appeal
The cost of attendance includes a personal expenses allowance to cover discretionary, miscellaneous expenses, including self-care expenses. Personal expenses cannot be appealed. Additional expenses we generally cannot consider for appeal include (but are not limited to): expenses incurred while not enrolled at the Law School, credit card bills or payment plans, car payments, job search costs, moving costs, test prep costs, elective cosmetic medical & dental expenses, and optional expenses unrelated to your course of study.
Family Contribution Appeals
Admitted applicants have the right to appeal their family contribution if there has been a significant involuntary change in circumstances in your (and/or your family's) financial situation since you completed the aid application. Applicants should contact our office if you have specific questions regarding your family contribution.
A family contribution appeal is only considered during the admissions process. Continuing students are not considered for family contribution appeals as the Law School offers scholarship funding as a three-year award that is not adjusted after the student matriculates. We cannot guarantee that an update to your family contribution will result in a change to your scholarship award.
All Law students are considered graduate students and are not eligible for federal need-based financial aid (like the Pell Grant).
Involuntary Loss of Wages
Students or applicants may appeal if their family experienced an involuntary loss of wages due to job loss. Documentation required will vary on a case by case basis, but may include:
- Year-end tax statements (W2s, 1040s)
- Severance contracts, agreements, or letters
- Termination letter or letter verifying reduction in salary
- Letters from former employers confirming the last date of employment
- Last paycheck showing year-to-date earnings
Students who wish to appeal based on a family loss of wages should contact our office to determine the exact documentation required.
One-Time Income Events
Students or applicants whose tax information reported in financial aid application is higher than usual due to a one-time income event may appeal to have that one-time income removed from consideration. Documentation required will vary on a case by case basis, but may include:
- Year-end tax statements (W2s, 1040s, 1099 forms)
- Court documents
- Statements from employers or attorneys
Need Application Dependency Status Appeals
Admitted students who wish to submit financial need information and will be under the age of 28 as of the September 1 prior to the start of their 1L year must provide parental financial information on the UChicago Law Need Application, even if their parents will not be contributing financially towards their law school education.
However, admitted students with exceptional or unusual circumstances that would prevent submission of parental data, or students who received a dependency override during their undergraduate studies, should contact the Financial Aid Office via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional guidance prior to submitting the UChicago Law Need Application.
Unusual circumstances typically can include the student being an orphan, being estranged from or abandoned by their parents, or coming from an abusive home environment. Parent refusal to submit financial information on the UChicago Law Need Application when required does not qualify for this appeal. In this case, the student's file will be considered incomplete and financial need information will not be considered during the scholarship review process.
Documentation will be required and for an initial appeal request, will typically include a signed statement from the student as well as third-party documentation. Third-party documentation can include but is not limited to a court order or police report, or a signed statement (on letterhead, if possible) from an outside party who can attest to the circumstances. These outside parties can include a teacher/professor/college advisor, medical provider, member of the clergy, government agency or court, etc.
Decisions on dependency status appeals are made case-by case by the Financial Aid Office and additional documentation may be requested during the review process.