Many graduates preparing for the Bar use this period of time much as they did prior to graduation: focused on study and relying on student loans to provide resources for living expenses.
Federal student loans are not available after the end of regular enrollment in law school. However, many students do not use the full federal loan eligibility available during the final year of study. Please check with the financial aid office well before the end of your final semester of enrollment to determine if you have unused eligibility for federal student loans. Once a student is no longer enrolled in a term in which he/she is enrolled at least half-time (six credit hours for a regular semester; three credit hours for a summer session), he/she is no longer eligible for federal student loans.
Students who are no longer have eligibility for federal student loans may be eligible for a private "bar study loan." Bar study loans provide as much as $15,000 in additional resources for recently graduated law students.
Several lenders offer bar study loans. See our chart summarizing terms for these loans. Because these are private loans, they will have terms that are subject to change without notice. We strive to keep our information up-to-date, but applicants are advised to confirm terms with potential lenders before signing a promissory note for a bar study loan. Once you have applied for a bar study loan with one of these lenders, please let the Office of Financial Aid know immediately so that we can certify the loan for you. The lender will tell you they will contact us, but we are not set up to receive this information electronically, so it must be communicated to us verbally.
Loans from banks and other organizations (aka "private" loans) are available as an alternative and/or supplement to federal student loans. These loans count as student aid when maximum aid is evaluated.
Key differences between federal and private loans include:
- Interest rates for federal loans are fixed; for private loans rates may be variable
- Federal loans are forgivable; private loans most likely are not
- Federal loans are eligible for Income-Based Repayment (IBR) and Pay as You Earn (PAYE) repayment plans
- Federal loans are dischargeable due to death or permanent disability; private loans most likely are not
Private loans may be found by/through:
- Internet searches
- Checking with your local/personal bank, savings and loan, or credit union
- Referring to the bar study loan chart, noted above, in the Bar Study Loan section
Important: Private loans require school-certification. The amount that may be certified is limited by the school's "Cost of Attendance" and receipt of other financial aid.