Financial Aid Application Steps

Law students who wish to apply for federal student loans should read through the following application steps. Keep in mind that you may be required to complete certain forms in order to be considered for the various types of assistance. Missing forms will result in an incomplete application, which will delay your aid package.

We encourage students who wish to apply for federal student loans to complete the FAFSA by the May 31st prior to the start of the applicable academic year. Submitting your FAFSA by this date will ensure that you will receive your aid package, have time to complete any required loan documentation, and have funds disbursed by the start of the Autumn quarter. Aid application materials submitted after this date will continue to be processed in the order they were received, but the delivery of your aid package may be delayed.

Domestic, international, and non-degree students applying for a private/alternative student loan only do not complete a FAFSA but will need to apply for a loan directly with your chosen lender. We encourage you to complete your private student loan application by the August 1st prior to the start of the academic year. Visit the Private Student Loan Steps page for more information and application instructions.

Step 1: Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

If you want to apply for federal student loan funding to help cover your educational expenses, complete the FAFSA at studentaid.gov. All graduate students are considered independent when determining federal student loan eligibility so parental financial data will not be required on the FAFSA. If you are married, your spouse will need to contribute their information to your FAFSA.

The 2024-2025 FAFSA is undergoing a major redesign that will streamline the application process, including a reduction in the number of questions you'll be asked. To accomplish this, the Department of Education will pull federal tax information directly and securely from the IRS into your FAFSA. You can find tips on completing the new 2024-2025 FAFSA at studentaid.gov.

First, create your StudentAid.gov account (FSA ID)

To complete the FAFSA, you will need to have an active account at studentaid.gov (also known as an FSA ID). Not only will this account allow you to complete the FAFSA, but you'll also use this account to finalize various loan documents during your time at UChicago Law and review your federal student aid history and dashboard. If you do not have an active StudentAid.gov account, you should create an account as soon as possible.

If you are married and your spouse does not yet have an active account, they will also need to create an account. A new feature starting with the 2024-2025 FAFSA is that spouses will be considered "contributors" to your FAFSA and will separately contribute their information to your FAFSA using their own StudentAid.gov account.

Once your account is confirmed, submit your FAFSA

Log into studentaid.gov with your StudentAid.gov account to submit the FAFSA for the applicable academic year. When completing your FAFSA, add the University of Chicago's federal school code (001774) so that we will receive your FAFSA results.

If you are married, it is strongly recommended that you (the student) start the FAFSA and complete your section first. You (the student) will enter your spouse's information in your section of the FAFSA and then once you submit your section, your spouse will receive an email invitation from the Department of Education to log into your FAFSA with their own StudentAid.gov account to complete their section. Your FAFSA will not be considered complete and submitted until both you and your spouse submit these separate portions. 

You (and your spouse, if applicable) will need to provide consent and approval in the FAFSA to allow the Department of Education to obtain your federal tax information automatically from the IRS. If you (or your spouse, if applicable) do not give this consent, the Department of Education will be unable to process your FAFSA submission and you will not be eligible for federal student loan funding. You can find more information about the federal tax information disclosure consent at studentaid.gov.

Review your FAFSA Submission Summary

After the FAFSA is submitted and processed, you will receive a FAFSA Submission Summary from the Department of Education that will outline the information from your FAFSA and include your "Student Aid Index", or SAI (the new "Expected Family Contribution", or EFC). You can review the status of your FAFSA by logging into studentaid.gov and you can confirm that we have received your FAFSA by reviewing your To-Do Items list in your my.UChicago portal. 

  • IMPORTANT NOTE (UPDATED JANUARY 30, 2024): Normally, you will receive your FAFSA Submission Summary within a few days of submitting your FAFSA. However, due to the redesign of the FAFSA, the Department of Education will not begin processing submitted 2024-2025 FAFSAs until early March 2024 at the earliest. Once your FAFSA has been processed, you will receive your FAFSA Submission Summary from the Department of Education. You can review the status of your FAFSA by logging into studentaid.gov.. 

Once you receive your FAFSA Submission Summary, review it for any incorrect information; if there is a mistake in the information you reported on your FAFSA, make a correction to your FAFSA online at studentaid.gov (FAFSA corrections for 2024-2025 can be submitted beginning in early March 2024 at the earliest).

Monitor Your UChicago Email for Outstanding Issues

If there are additional steps you need to take once the Financial Aid Office has received and reviewed your FAFSA, we will send an email to your UChicago email account. We will also add them to your To-Do Items list in your my.UChicago portal. Review and resolve these items as quickly as possible so that your financial aid package can be finalized.

Step 2: Review and Finalize Your Financial Aid Package

After the Financial Aid Office reviews and processes your aid application, we will send a notification email to your UChicago email account when your aid package is ready to review in your my.UChicago portal. Your aid package notification email will outline your financial assistance for the relevant academic year, as well as your cost of attendance and next steps. You can find more information about your financial aid package and the steps to respond to the aid package on our website.

Accept or Decline Unsubsidized Loan Offer

You will need to accept, decline, and/or reduce your Unsubsidized loan offer in your my.UChicago portal. 

Complete the Graduate PLUS Loan Application

Students who wish to apply for the Graduate PLUS Loan are required to complete the Graduate PLUS Loan Application at studentaid.gov. A credit-check (valid for 180 days) is required for the Graduate PLUS Loan and is immediately run by the Department of Education when you submit the PLUS Loan Application. The Financial Aid Office will receive notification of your PLUS Application a few days later and will if approved, we will accept the loan on your aid package on your behalf.

Step 3: Complete Master Promissory Notes and Entrance Counseling

There are additional steps to complete in order to finish the Federal Direct loan application process if you are borrowing federal student loans as a graduate/professional student for the first time. 

First Time Borrower

If you are a first-time Federal Direct loan borrower, you must complete Master Promissory Notes (MPNs) and Entrance Counseling in order to receive a Federal Direct Unsubsidized or Graduate PLUS Loan. Entrance Counseling only needs to be completed once and an MPN is valid for ten years.

Continuing Borrower

If you previously borrowed Federal Direct student loan funding as a graduate/professional student, whether at the University of Chicago or at another institution, you usually not need to complete a new MPN or Entrance Counseling. If you do, you will receive an email notification from the Financial Aid Office once your loan has been accepted and processed.

Step 4: Apply for Alternative/Private Student Loans, if needed

If you would like to borrow a private/alternative student loan from an outside lender, you should thoroughly review all of the information on our website about these types of loans to see if it is the best option for your situation. Private student loans can be borrowed in combination with federal student loans, up to the student's remaining cost of attendance.

Contact the Financial Aid Office if you have any questions about the private/alternative student loan process.

Step 5: Report Other Outside Financial Assistance

Report aid from other sources (AmeriCorps, tuition assistance, outside scholarships, etc.) that are not listed on your financial aid package to our office via your my.UChicago portal. You may report this assistance by navigating to "My Financial Aid" and clicking "Report Aid from Other Sources". 

Based on the amount and type of aid you are receiving, we may need to make adjustments to your loan amounts. Those adjustments will typically be made within a week of when you reported the aid and you will receive an email notification if/when the adjustments have been made. You are not required to report gift aid from another UChicago department or division, as it is reported internally.