The purpose of this page is to give "calendar" context to financial aid activity. The dates shown are recommended timeframes.

January - March (Federal Tax Return)
Complete your federal tax return. Information on your federal tax return will be used on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is a required document only for students wishing to use federal student loan programs.

January - May (FAFSA)
Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). We recommend you first complete your federal tax return, then complete the FAFSA about two-weeks later. This will allow you to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to provide the financial information on our FAFSA.

For more information about the FAFSA see our FAFSA webpage.

January - May (Personal Budgeting)
Planning for law school expenses is an important activity. Since most law student borrow to meet some or all of law school related expenses, keeping your borrowing to a minimum, by keeping your expenses low, will result in significant long-term savings.

For more information about law school expenses see our Tuition and Fees webpage.

April and May (Review your Award Letter)
After CUA receives the results of your FAFSA, we will provide you with an online summary of your financial aid options. You will view this using Cardinal Students, the CUA student-service portal. Based on your review of your personal budget and law school expenses you will then make a preliminary determination of the amount of loans you will need and will "accept" an appropriate amount. On your Cardinal Students home page you will see the option, "Accept My Financial Aid."

For more information about law "accepting your financial" aid see our Applying for Aid webpage and in particular the Accept Financial Aid page.

April and May (Monthly Payment Plan)
Some students, typically those who need to borrow a small amount, or none at all, wish to pay some or all the charges for tuition that are not covered by financial aid (loans and scholarships) on a monthly basis, rather than a lump sum at the beginning of each semester. CUA uses the services of Tuition Management Systems (TMS). At the TMS website ( you will be able to enroll for each semester in a 5-month plan or an 4-month plan.

For more information about monthly payment plans, please visit the webpages for the Office of Enrollment Services at . . .

May and June (Loan-Related Tasks)
In addition to "Accepting" a loan amount, borrowers must all complete appropriate Master Promissory Notes (MPN) and complete an Entrance Counseling (EC) session and complete an "Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement." These tasks are completed at The four steps, accepting a Loan amount, completing an MPN, completing Entrance Counseling, and completing an Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement may be done in any order. If you later change your mind about the amount of loan you want to receive, you will work directly with the Financial Aid Office to make the necessary change in your loan records.

For more information about law MPN's and Entrance Counseling, see our Applying for Aid webpage and in particular the Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling pages.