The University of Chicago Law School Financial Aid Office processes all student loans and financial aid for UChicago Law students. You may be eligible for federal student loans, private (alternative) student loans, or a combination of both.
Federal Student Loans
To apply for federal student loans through the Department of Education, students must submit the FAFSA. The UChicago Law priority deadline for submitting the FAFSA for federal student loan purposes is the May 31st prior to the start of the applicable academic year. The Law School uses the University of Chicago FAFSA code: 001774.
Federal student loans for Law students, including the Unsubsidized Loan and the Graduate PLUS Loan, are not offered based on a demonstration of financial need. The loans begin accruing interest at the time funds are paid to your student account. The interest rate for newly borrowed Federal Direct student loans can change from academic year to academic year but are locked in once a loan is borrowed, until the loan is paid off. Federal student loans also carry federally-mandated loan fees, which are taken off the top of the loan prior to it being paid out to your student account. The following StudentAid.gov webpages provide more information:
IMPORTANT NOTE (UPDATED FEBRUARY 1, 2024): The 2024-2025 FAFSA has undergone a major redesign and while this will streamline the federal student loan application process, it has also resulted in a significant delay in students and schools receiving the processed FAFSA data back from the Department of Education. Submitted 2024-2025 FAFSAs will not be processed by the Department of Education 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..
Direct Unsubsidized Loan
All eligible Law students can borrow up to $20,500 in Direct Unsubsidized Loan funds each academic year. There is no credit check required for a Direct Unsubsidized Loan. Most students will supplement the Direct Unsubsidized Loan with Direct Graduate PLUS Loan funding.
Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
Direct Graduate PLUS loans can be used to cover the difference between the cost of attendance and other forms of financial aid that you have received, including Law School scholarship funding and other student loans.
Unlike the Direct Unsubsidized Loan, a credit check is required for the Graduate PLUS Loan. The Graduate PLUS Loan credit check does not use any kind of debt-to-income ratio or FICO/credit score, but the borrower cannot have adverse credit history. However, it is possible for someone with adverse credit history to borrow a Graduate PLUS Loan with a qualified endorser (co-signer) or through an appeal that is approved by the Department of Education. It is important to note that an endorser agrees to repay the loan if the borrower does not.
Private Student Loans
Private student loans (also known as alternative student loans) are non-Federal, market-based loans and should be used as a last resort. All eligibility decisions and the terms and conditions are determined by the lender through whom you choose to apply. Approval for a private student loan is contingent upon your credit rating and a loan request may be denied by a lender if there’s an adverse credit rating. If this happens, it’s recommended that you to contact the lender to appeal the decision or reapply with a cosigner. For those interested in participating in our LRAP, please note that private student loans are NOT eligible for LRAP.