Attending law school is an investment in your future, but it costs money. Fortunately, the process of applying for financial aid for your law school education is likely easier than you may have experienced if you took out loans for your undergraduate education, for a few reasons. First, unlike for undergraduate loans, law students are automatically deemed independent for purposes of federal loans. Second, the packages do not have a need-based expected family contribution. The typical package is standard and includes $20,500 in unsubsidized Stafford loans plus GradPlus up to the full cost of attendance.
To help pay for it, you may wish to apply for financial aid. The first thing you must do is complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). By completing the FAFSA, you are applying for gift aid (scholarships and grants) and self-help programs (Federal Work-Study and loans). Filing a FAFSA is something that you must do every year in order to receive your financial aid.
The FAFSA and Renewal FAFSA are available to be completed online at www.fafsa.gov. The online version is the fastest way to apply for financial aid. You will need a FSA ID to complete and access your FAFSA. You will use your FSA ID to sign your FAFSA electronically. Students or their parents are encouraged to apply for a FSA ID. Your FSA ID can be used each year to sign your FAFSA and access your U.S. Department of Education records online. The web address to request your FSA ID is https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm
If you need a paper FAFSA mailed to you, you may request one by calling 800.433.3243.
Where do I go for help?
Financial Aid can often seem confusing and frustrating as you work through your FAFSA, verification, loan applications, and all aspects of paying for law school. We have a wonderful counselors at Campus411, All-in-1 Campus Services available to assist you with any of your questions about your financial aid options. You can call them at 216-687-5411 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Four Steps to Apply for Financial Aid
Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each academic year in order to be considered for grants, loans, and work-study funds.
There is an easier and faster way for students/families to provide tax information when completing the FAFSA. You will be prompted to enter your FSA ID and link to the IRS web site. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Data Retrieval Tool will display your tax information and allow you to transfer the numbers directly into your FAFSA. The link to this tool is part of your FAFSA on the web application at www.fafsa.ed.gov
Step 1: Obtain an FSA ID
If you do not already have an FSA ID, request one immediately online at https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm. The FSA ID will allow you to sign your FAFSA electronically.
Click on the following link to view the documentation on creating your new FSA ID.
Step 2: File your tax returns as early as possible
You need to include taxable and non-taxable income on the FAFSA. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is available to help applicants complete their FAFSA accurately.
- It may take several weeks for the IRS Retrieval process to be available to you once your federal tax returns are filed.
- Allow at least three weeks for the IRS Data Retrieval tool to become available once you file your tax return electronically.
- Allow eight weeks if you file paper tax returns for the IRS Data retrieval tool to be available.
Step 3: File a FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov
Complete the FAFSA each year as soon after January 1st as possible. Cleveland State University College of Law does not have a priority date, but it is recommended to file your FAFSA early using the IRS Data Retrieval process to provide accurate tax information and avoid processing delays. It is recommended that Federal tax return(s) be filed before you complete your FAFSA.
Step 4: Following up on the process
If your financial aid file is selected for verification, you must submit tax and income information using one of the following two methods unless you file or are required to file a foreign or Puerto Rican tax return.
OPTION 1 - IRS Data Retrieval from FAFSA
Approximately three weeks after you file your federal tax return(s) electronically and six to eight weeks after mailing a paper tax return to the IRS, you may be able to update your FAFSA and copy the tax and income information from the IRS to the FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT). This is the preferred method for you to supply tax and income information to our office and will speed the processing of your financial aid. Learn more here.
OPTION 2 - IRS Tax Return Transcript
If you are not eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, or choose not to use it, you must instead request a Federal income tax return transcript from the IRS and submit it to our office. Go here to request.
Do not delay. You must be admitted to CSU College of Law before you can be considered for financial aid. You will also need to make sure that all necessary financial aid documentation has been received. You can look in CampusNet in the FA Office tab under documents to check the status. You also should learn more about the types of financial aid.
If you are currently attending CSU and receiving financial aid, you must file a Renewal FAFSA to be considered for financial aid for the next academic year. You can file your Renewal FAFSA online at www.fafsa.gov after January 1.
Law students who are in need of financial aid must complete the FAFSA. For financial aid purposes, half time enrollment is six (6) credit hours.
Eligibility for Direct Stafford Loans:
If you are enrolled in at least six credits CSU College of Law, you may borrow Direct Stafford Loans.
Eligibility for PLUS loans (Parents of Dependent Student):
You must complete a PLUS request form and submit the form for credit evaluation.
Eligibility for Law Summer Student Financial Aid:
If you are a law student and wish to be awarded summer aid, you must enroll in a minimum 6 credits at CSU this summer. You will be awarded any remaining Direct Stafford loan eligibility remaining from that academic year. Additionally, you will be offered a Graduate PLUS loan. If you wish to be considered for this credit-worthy loan, you will need to complete and submit the Graduate PLUS form.
Eligibility for summer aid for Study Abroad:
If you wish to enroll in an approved study abroad program, you must have the Study Abroad Consortium agreement completed and all appropriate approvals submitted in order to have your aid disbursed. Aid eligibility is determined based on same awarding standards as regular CSU College of Law enrolled students.
Transient Students – CSU College of Law students who attend another institution
CSU College of Law does not provide financial aid to you if you are enrolled as a “visiting student” at another institution. Please contact Associate Dean Carolyn Broering-Jacobs about rules regarding transient permission to take classes outside of CSU.
Visiting Students—Students from other institutions attending CSU College of Law
Non-CSU students need to contact their home school. If you are not enrolled at CSU as degree-seeking student, you must obtain financial aid assistance from the school that is granting your degree (home school). You should check with your home school financial aid office to see what aid might be available while studying at CSU.
Generally, you will need to complete a consortium agreement, which is obtained from your home school. These agreements require a signature from CSU's Financial Aid Office. All schools disburse financial aid on different dates and will make aid checks available directly to the school or to the student. Therefore, if funding will arrive after the tuition due date, you may wish to use one of the available payment options.
Financial Aid Guide