Financial aid is a separate process from admission. Applicants who intend to utilize federal financial aid to help pay the cost of attending the School of Law must fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students are encouraged to apply online at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. Paper worksheets may be obtained from the University of Oregon Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships; however, the federal government is no longer sending large supplies of paper applications to schools.
Complete and submit the FAFSA to the federal processor for analysis by the first week of February to ensure receipt by the University of Oregon's Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships by the March 1 priority deadline of the year for which aid is sought. Because some funds are limited, applicants are encouraged to submit the FAFSA even if they have not yet been admitted to the School of Law or have not yet filed their federal tax return.
Students should follow the information provided on the cover letter that accompanies their Financial Aid Award Letter. Students who must complete paperwork to receive their financial aid disbursement or who have questions about work-study, scholarships, or loans reflected on their Financial Aid Award Letter should contact the University of Oregon Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships.
Students who withdraw from school may be required to repay a portion of their financial aid. According to a formula prescribed by state and federal regulations, any refundable amount used to pay tuition and fees or university housing is returned to the appropriate financial aid sources.
Described below are several financial aid programs. This section is only an overview. For specific information about eligibility, interest rates, processing fees, and repayment terms for each of these loans, consult the websites provided or contact the University of Oregon Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships.
Federal Financial Aid Programs
Applicants who need financial aid must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for aid from federal programs.
Currently, the William D. Ford Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program (Direct Loans) includes both subsidized and unsubsidized loans. Under this program the U.S. Department of Education lends funds directly to eligible students through the higher education institutions they attend. No private lender, guaranty agency, or credit check is involved. The Department of Education recently eliminated subsidized loans for graduate and professional students, effective June 30, 2012. Consequently, beginning July 1, 2012, graduate and professional students will be eligible for unsubsidized loans only.
The interest rate on either type of Stafford Loan is fixed at 6.8 percent. Repayment begins six months after a student graduates or ceases to be enrolled at least half time. Payment amounts and the length of the repayment period depend on the size of the debt and the repayment option chosen.
A 2.5 percent loan origination fee is deducted from each disbursement of a Stafford Loan. These charges do not reduce the principal amount a student is required to repay. A 2 percent "rebate" on the origination fee is offered for all students who continuously make on-time payments.
First-time federal Direct Loan borrowers are required to sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and complete Entrance Counseling to obtain their Stafford Loans.
Federal Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan
The Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loan is available to all students whether they have calculated “need” or not. Interest on the unsubsidized loan accrues while the student is attending school. The interest can be paid monthly or quarterly or it can be allowed to accrue and will be added to the principal when repayment begins. We recommend that students make interest payments to the extent they are able to so that the principal amount due does not increase while students are enrolled.
A Federal Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan can replace the expected family contribution (EFC). Note that graduate students are considered independent of their parents for financial purposes. Therefore law students' parents' income is not considered when financial aid awards are made.
An unsubsidized loan cannot exceed the difference between the cost of education and other financial aid and has a maximum annual limit of $20,500, and a lifetime limit of $138,500. The lifetime limit in unsubsidized loans will be lower for students with pre-existing subsidized loans.
PLUS Loan for Graduate and Professional Students (Graduate PLUS)
The Graduate PLUS Loan is available to a qualified student with or without financial "need" but the student must have financial aid eligibility. Like the Federal Direct Stafford Loans for students, the U.S. Department of Education is the direct lender of the Graduate PLUS. Generally, repayment must begin within 60 days after the Graduate PLUS is fully disbursed. However, an in-school deferment may be obtained from the U.S. Department of Education by students who meet their requirements. There is no grace period for this loan and interest accrues while the student is enrolled. Additional information is available at http://financialaid.uoregon.edu.
Federal Work-Study Program
This is a federally funded financial aid program that enables law students to earn money toward college expenses by working on campus, in the government, or in selected nonprofit agencies serving the community. Students receive a monthly paycheck based on an hourly wage that they can use for educational expenses. The maximum work-study offer for the current academic year is $1,800.
During the academic year, students may work a maximum of 20 hours per week while enrolled full time. Under certain circumstances, second- and third-year students may pre-earn work study monies in the summer preceding the academic year for which the award is intended if the work is law-related, furthers their legal career, and they are not enrolled in summer session. For further information, please contact the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.
The UO Career Services Office maintains an online database for work-study and part-time jobs on campus and in the community. You can apply directly to employers for positions in the database. It is updated daily. To access the database, see http://uocareer.uoregon.edu.
Alternative Educational Loans
These privately funded programs are not based on need so no federal formula is applied to determine eligibility. However, the amount borrowed cannot exceed the cost of education less other financial aid and outside resources. Borrowers must have an acceptable credit history and may be required to have a co-signer. Information about alternative loans is available on the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships website at http://financialaid.uoregon.edu/alternative_loans.
Bar Examination Loans
Students preparing for the Bar Exam may add the cost of the exam, MPRE, and fingerprinting to their financial aid budget. This increases eligibility for federal loans (most often the GradPLUS Loan).
Private loans are also available to graduating students to cover bar exam expenses that are not covered by federal loans, i.e., bar review courses and living expenses while studying for the bar exam. These loans are guaranteed and nonsubsidized and require credit approval by the lender. Funds are sent directly to the student. Information is available in the Law School Student Affairs Office or on MyLaw.
Financial Aid Short-Term Emergency Loans
Limited assistance is available through emergency loans to help students meet short-term education-related expenses. The maximum amount of assistance is $300 for a period of 90 days. Borrowers must be currently enrolled. Students may have no more than one loan per semester and must have no record of delinquent accounts with the university. An $8 service charge is assessed. Inquiries concerning university emergency short-term loans should be directed to Student Billing, first floor of Oregon Hall. Enrolled students may be eligible for a short-term loan greater than $300 under extreme circumstances but must first obtain approval from a financial aid counselor in the UO Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.
Law School Short-Term Emergency Loans
In addition to the emergency loan monies available through the University, the School of Law offers assistance to help students meet short-term educational needs.
Up to $2,000 is available through the Coyle and the Carpenter Busselle loan funds in the Law School Student Affairs Office. Inquiries should be made to the Student Affairs Office at the Law School. The loans are repayable in 90 days; they assess an $8 loan fee but charge no interest for the period of the loan. A delinquent balance is subject to the terms and conditions of the University of Oregon revolving charge agreement. Only one of these short-term loans is allowed at a time.
Students must register for at least 9 semester hours for veterans' benefits eligibility as a full-time student.
The University of Oregon Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships posts notices regarding outside scholarships on the bulletin board located outside its office, as well as on its home page. The School of Law also offers several merit- and need-based scholarships to students.
Spending Wisely in Law School
Students are strongly encouraged to borrow and spend wisely. Visit Financial Aid's Live Like a Duck webpage for helpful money management tips.