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Financial Aid FAQ

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What period of time does my financial aid cover?

Financial aid covers the academic year only, typically a nine-month period that begins in August and ends in May.

What steps do I take to ensure that I receive financial aid?

You must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application each year before the university is able to consider you for financial aid. Upon receipt of your FAFSA application information, the university will send you a Financial Aid Award notice. Law students begin receiving award notices in early April.

Any aid that you are awarded is listed on your Financial Aid Award notice. You must accept the aid via your USF Connect Account. If you are a first time William D. Ford Direct Loan borrower at USF, you must also submit a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and complete an online Debt Management Counseling Session. You only need to submit a MPN and complete the Debt Management Counseling Session once during your entire attendance at law school. Information on the requirements for the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program can be found here.

How do I actually receive the aid?

Your William D. Ford Direct Loan(s) is disbursed directly to the university one week before classes begin. Funds are disbursed in two equal installments, once each semester. Scholarships and grants are listed as aid provided by the university and show up as credit toward your tuition payment on your USF One Stop student account.

Fall tuition is due the first week of August. How do I pay tuition with my financial aid if the federal funds don't disburse until a week before classes begin?

Once you accept the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan and complete the disbursement requirements associated with this aid, the University will update your financial aid file to indicate that you are receiving "authorized financial aid." Unsubsidized Loans require completion of a Master Promissory Note and an on-line Entrance Counseling exam for new borrowers. The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan will appear as credit on your USF One Stop student account and noted as authorized financial aid until the funds actually disburse to USF.

What should I do if my federal aid (and grant or scholarship if I qualified), is not enough to pay my tuition bill?

If you do not have personal funds to pay the remaining balance, you may want to apply for a private loan or Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan. Private loans and Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans are based on credit worthiness. Students should apply directly with the private lender by phone or online. Approval of a loan is usually given immediately. Private loans are subject to lender approval and consider your credit history.

If I decide to apply for a private or PLUS loan, how much should it be?

The maximum private loan or Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan amount that you can apply for is the total cost of attendance for the academic year (this includes tuition, fees, and cost of living) minus any aid that you have been awarded and have accepted. The normal academic year is a nine-month period from August through May. Your total financial aid (federal loans, grants or scholarships, and private loans) cannot exceed your total cost of attendance.

Academic Year 14-15 Full-Time Part-Time
Tuition and Fees $45,542 $32,465 (20 annual units- $1,621 per unit)
Cost of Living (off campus) $29,760 $29,760
Total Cost of Attendance $75,302 $62,225
Aid Offered and Accepted
William D. Ford Federal Direct Unsubsidized $20,500 $20,500
Total Aid $20,500 $20,500
Maximum private or Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan Eligibility $54,802 $41,725

Should I borrow the maximum private loan or Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan amount?

You should only borrow what you think you may need for the academic year. If you have any personal funds such as savings or if you anticipate any work income, you should factor those funds into your budget. If you initially borrow less than the maximum allowed, you can apply for the remaining amount later in the academic year if you decide that you need additional funds. You must apply for any remaining private or Federal Direct Graduate PLUS funds before the end of the spring semester but no later than April 1. Please be aware that no exception to this deadline will be made.

If I apply for a private loan or Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, how do I receive those funds?

Your additional loan funds are disbursed directly to the university by your lender one week before classes begin. Funds are disbursed in two equal installments, once for the fall and once for the spring semester.

Fall tuition is due the first week of August. How do I use private loan or Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan funds to help pay my tuition bill if the funds are not disbursed until the week before classes begin?

Once you are approved for a private loan and you accept the loan and return a promissory note to your lender, the lender notifies USF of your approved loan. The law school's financial aid administrator receives information from the lender regarding your approved loan. The financial aid administrator then certifies that the loan amount you were approved for is appropriate for your educational expenses. Once the loan is certified, your USF financial aid file is updated to indicate that private loan funds are expected to be received on your behalf and that these funds will be used to help pay your tuition bill. The private loan funds appear as credit on your USF One Stop student account and are noted as estimated aid until the funds actually disburse to USF.

Once you are approved for a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan and you complete all disbursement requirements for the PLUS Loan, the University will update your financial aid file to indicate that you are receiving "authorized financial aid" in the form of a PLUS Loan. The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan funds appear as credit on your USF One Stop student account and are noted as authorized financial aid until the funds actually disburse to USF. New Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan borrowers must submit a PLUS loan Master Promissory Note and complete the PLUS Loan Entrance Counseling exam before funds disburse.

I have applied for a private or Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan to help pay for tuition and to help pay for my living expenses. How do I access these funds for living expenses and when can I expect to receive it?

Loan funds are disbursed directly to the university by your lender one week before classes begin. Funds are used to pay tuition first. Any excess loan funds are then refunded to you. You can choose to have your refund sent to your bank account electronically or have a paper check refund sent to you. Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) or direct deposit, is the quickest way to receive a loan refund. Direct deposit refunds take two to six business days to be received in your bank account after loan funds disburse to the University, while a paper check refund takes five to 10 business days to be received after funds are disbursed.  Information on direct deposit refund processing can be found on-line at: http://www.usfca.edu/refund/

Are there any other means of paying tuition that do not include applying for a loan?

The university does provide a four-month payment plan each semester that allows you to pay your tuition balance in four equal installments, on the first of each month (August through November for the fall semester and January through April for the spring semester). There is a $50 enrollment fee. The four-month payment plan enrollment information can be obtained online here.

What other types of aid are available?

There are additional scholarships available through private organizations and bar associations. A partial list is available here. Federal Work Study is a need based program available only to continuing law students. Federal Work Study funds can only be used during the normal fall and spring academic year. Please contact the law school's Office of Financial Aid regarding the requirements and limitations of using Federal Work Study funds.

When is the last day I can receive a full tuition refund?

The date to receive a full tuition and fee refund is typically three weeks after the start of formal classes.  If withdrawing from school, a forfeiture of all non-refundable admission deposits will be assessed.  The final date to receive a full tuition refund is listed on the academic calendar which can be found here.

Do I have to apply for financial aid every year?

Yes. Law students should submit a FAFSA application (or a FAFSA renewal application) by March 1 to ensure maximum financial aid consideration for all federal programs, including the Federal Work Study program. In addition to completing a FAFSA application, law students must reapply each year for a private or Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan.

Can I access my financial aid information online?

Yes. Law students can access their most up to date financial aid and billing information via USF Connect. Click here for more information.

Is there any financial aid available if I enroll in summer session classes?

Yes. Financial aid in the summer is available to continuing students through private or Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loans. Click here  for more information.