Law School Finances-no need based aid

<p>Hi all. Fiirst off, please don't post about how our DS shouldn't go to law school. That decision has been made. He is 23 and will have been working for two years since UG but earns just enough to live on..not much in savings.<br>
I just realized that although he is financially "independent" we have to fill out FAFSA and our income will count against him. Which means, no need based aid.<br>
So...other parents of current grad students in this boat out there? How did you handle it? We financed undergrad for both he and his sister with no debt. They have zero loans. Can't really finance grad school (or at least don't want to).<br>
It looks like subsidized loans will require interest only payments from time of disbursement. So does he work while in school to pay basic living and interest? Do we loan him that money at no interest (he has asked if we would do this and we haven't responded yet).<br>
Interested in what others have done.
PS He should see some merit money but only if he goes to a lower tier school. Not sure that is advisable and he doesn't have the acceptances in yet so that decision will come later.</p>

<p>Son is in first year of med school. If a student wants institutional aid (merit or need) FAFSA has to be filled out with parental info. Cost was very much a factor for son since he is on the hook for the whole amount. Some schools give some, some none. So he applied to many schools knowing finances would have a significant impact on his decisions.</p>

<p>Comes time to decide and he has options ranging from loans of $80,000 per year for 4 years $320,000 to a very small amount in loans maybe $30,000 for all 4 years of med school (maybe because that choice came up with more merit after matriculation and COA is less than advertised).</p>

<p>Son does have close friends at Harvard Law, Columbia, and Yale. They all turned down substantial merit scholies from Univ of Michigan, UVA and a few others that would have significantly reduced their loan amounts. They did recieve some scholarship monies at HLS, C and Yale but not like their other offers. Their loan amounts are staggering but they don't seem fazed by it. Some have parents who have offered to re-imburse, others are having their parents pay some on their behalf and others worked 2-3 years as i-bankers and saved most of what they needed for law school. Columbia has a joint JD/MBA program that takes only 3 years and his friend thinks it is worth every penney.</p>

<p>My son did not take the higher loan amount option (ivy unit loan) even though the med school was higher ranked (in research- not primary care ranking, his med school is tippy top for that). He also knows he is looking at an MBA/MPH which might require more loans, we'll see.</p>

<p>None of son's friends in law school currently "work" but the ones who were in i-banking or their significant others who still do, still make money! Most of his friends both in law school and med school from his undergrad have parents helping out one way or another. He is the only one of his group truly paying for everything on his own. But he did so for both his undergrads so this is not new to him at all.</p>

<p>As far as how much you can help that will be for y'all to look at after his packages come in. Makes undergrad look like a walk in the park. Son really had to anaylze how much he wanted to spend for the next couple of years for rent, food, travel, climate....and then the locale for where to interview for residencies......another set of expenses similar to all the interviews he had to travel to for med school.</p>

<p>Again, all at his own expense.</p>

<p>Kat</p>

<p>I just realized that although he is financially "independent" we have to fill out FAFSA and our income will count against him. Which means, no need based aid.</p>

<p>I could be wrong, but I don't think law schools give much/any need based aid anyway...beyond loans. There are some that give merit, but it's not like undergrad where a low EFC might get you a bunch of grants or something (except maybe at Harvard or Yale????).</p>

<p>Law school and med school tends to be "student paid".</p>

<p>Our son will be applying to med schools this summer. There's a few that might give him merit (if accepted....lol!), but we expect that we'll be paying for most/all costs.</p>

<p>As for loaning your son the money....only do that if you're prepared to have to "forgive" some/most/all of the loan. There's a chance your son won't be earning enough to make the full payments back to you and as a parent, it's hard to demand full payment when you know your child is struggling just to pay rent.</p>

<p>Although there's little need-based aid at law schools (except, as I understand from my d's 2010 application cycle, at Harvard, Yale, and Stanford), there is a good deal of merit aid at many law schools, for students who are well above the median for LSATs and GPAs. Lower-ranked law schools tend to have higher GPAs required for renewal of merit scholarships; applicants should absolutely bear this in mind when choosing a school. As many experienced posters have said, you can't bank on being in the top 5/10/25 percent of your law school class, and your application stats don't necessarily predict how well you'll do.</p>

<p>The interesting thing about merit aid in law school is that it's often a very transparent, by-the-numbers process. If an applicant receives a 1/2 tuition scholarship at a higher-ranked school, it's not at all unusual to contact a lower-ranked school and ask for a more generous scholarship. If the applicant has 1/2 tuition offers from comparably-ranked schools, the applicant can certainly call Northwestern and say, "Duke and UVA just offered me 1/2 tuition; would you consider doing the same?" Negotiation is common, expected, and pretty open.</p>

<p>Is your son interested in public service law? Some law schools have good loan forgiveness programs for grads with lower-paying jobs in that area.</p>

<p>We are helping our d with a moderate monthly amount that covers her rent, utilities, and some expenses. She should graduate no more than $25-30K in debt, which is already pretty scary. She does know people who are well into 6 figures in debt.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Hi all. Fiirst off, please don't post about how our DS shouldn't go to law school. That decision has been made. He is 23 and will have been working for two years since UG but earns just enough to live on..not much in savings.
I just realized that although he is financially "independent" we have to fill out FAFSA and our income will count against him. Which means, no need based aid.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>From my law school friends' application experience....one can only claim financial independence for law school application purposes if they're 27 or over. Otherwise, they're still assumed to be financially dependent on parents. </p>

<p>Moreover, considering the state of the legal market, substantial risks of accepting scholarships from lower ranking schools due to their onerous conditions(Must maintain top 1/3 or 3.2+ GPA in schools where there is an unforgiving -B or even C curve), and the realities that the vast majority of law grads don't get jobs which will facilitate paying back of law school loans...especially after 2008, one should be aware of the risks of pursuing a law school degree if they need to take out loans.</p>

<p>Even the ones who didn't lose their scholarships have found that gaining employment is a greater uphill battle because their law school didn't have a great pedigree. Knew several people who regretted turning down higher ranked law schools like UPenn, BC, BU, etc to attend lower tiered law schools like New York Law as some haven't been able to find full-time work in their profession for a few years after graduation....even a few who were top 5-10%. </p>

<p>Moreover, to get those high paying jobs....school pedigree(Preferably T-30 or so or if outside of legal/business centers like NYC...the best regional law school in the area one plans to live/practice in...and even that's not a guarantee after the 2008 recession) and academic performance is extremely important and the willingness/ability to work ridiculously long hours(70-80+ hours/week is typical in a NYC biglaw firm). </p>

<p>I wish your son the best of luck...but considering the fact even some HLS and CLS are currently unemployed...including some who were top 20% or better...hopes he's aware of the odds. </p>

<p>Even if one gains legal employment, most law jobs won't pay enough to facilitate loan payback and have enough left over to live on. One friend is facing that very situation as he's stuck with around $400k worth of undergrad and law school loans and is working a law job that pays $30k/year in NYC. </p>

<p>There's a good reason why nearly every attorney I've talked with has attempted to dissuade anyone from going to law school unless they are certain they want to be a lawyer and are willing to put up with the profession's onerous demands.</p>

<p>Your son should have no problem taking out loans for the entire cost of law school if his credit is good. Generally, it is not difficult to finance a law school education completely through loans. Whether or not that is advisable is another topic entirely. Here is how the loans will work:</p>

<p>Your son may or may not be eligible for a subsidized William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan. These are available in an amount of up to $8,500 per year if a student meets the need criteria. There is no interest accrued on these loans while your son is in school full time.</p>

<p>Your son will almost definitely be eligible for an unsubsidized William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan. These are available in an amount of up to $12,000 per year if your son also receives the full amount of the subsidized Direct Loan or up to $20,500 per year if your son does not receive a subsidized loan. This unsubsidized loan will accrue interest from the moment the loan amounts are disbursed; however, the interest payments are deferred while your son is enrolled in school full time and capitalized into the principal amount of the loan upon graduation. </p>

<p>Payments on Federal Direct Loans begin 6 months after graduation from law school.</p>

<p>Students with need may also be eligible for Federal Perkins Loans of up to $8,000 per year.</p>

<p>The rest of law school tuition, fees, and living expenses are financed through private loans (thus, the need for good credit). Some of these loans may require a co-signer or may have preferred interest rates or other benefits if a student has a credit-worthy co-signer. </p>

<p>Many law schools strongly discourage working during law school during the first year, and the ABA prohibits any law student from working in excess of 20 hours a week while going to law school full time.</p>

<p>Thanks to all. Very helpful information. He will be going to school in the Boston area. Currently lives there with two roommates so he has fairly low living expenses. He has been working as a paralegal so is very certain of this path and the related perils. I think staying in that area is a good decision. He did his undergrad there and coops during that process in related fields so he has five years of work experience in that area and decent contacts for networking later...He will obviously have to make some tough decisions when the acceptances come in but I wanted to educate myself on the loan process since we did not use loans during our kids UG years. The information is very helpful in helping him to make informed decisions. </p>

<p>So he has five years or so of work</p>

<p>^ ^ </p>

<p>One other thing....law schools have a great tendency to greatly exaggerate employment stats for their graduates. Hopefully, your son already has a good idea of employment stats/respectability of each law school from getting current info from colleagues who haven't been out of law school for more than 5-10 years. </p>

<p>Another thing is that especially in this employment climate...the overall rank of the school/pedigree matters unless he's planning to work in a region that doesn't tend to be flooded with T-30 law school graduates(i.e. NYC, DC, Chicago, LA, San Francisco, and to some extent...Boston (Best positions tend to be heavily populated by BC/BU law grads with some HLS/other T-14/30 grads).</p>

<p>Thanks. He is planning to work in either Boston or NYC upon graduation. He has applied to all law schools in Boston with BU, BC and HLS at the top of his wish list. Had a very respectable score on the LSAT, good UG gpa and great recommendation letters including the Dean of Honors Dept from his UG, the managing partner/owner of his current employer and a retired Asst US Attny General so now it is a waiting game but I didn't realize I needed to get my very complicated tax returns going sooner rather than later until just recently and this thread has helped explain the financial loans, etc.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Your son may or may not be eligible for a subsidized William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan. These are available in an amount of up to $8,500 per year if a student meets the need criteria. There is no interest accrued on these loans while your son is in school full time.</p>

<p>Your son will almost definitely be eligible for an unsubsidized William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan

[/quote]

I don't think subsidized loans are available starting next school year for grad/professional students, only for undergraduates. I'm pretty sure starting July 2012 grad and professional students can only get unsub loans. Wasn't that one of the recent changes made to federal student loan programs under the debt ceiling stuff last year?</p>

<p>swimcatsmom- clear you PM's</p>

<p>I believe you're correct, swimcatsmom - my d recently told me the same thing about no subsidized loans for prof/grad school students in 2012.</p>

<p>"I'm pretty sure starting July 2012 grad and professional students can only get unsub loans. "</p>

<p>that is correct:
"Graduate students (or prospectives) beware: Beginning July 1, 2012, new federal graduate school loans will no longer be subsidized"</p>

<p>If you’re starting or continuing a graduate degree program effective July 1, 2012 or later, borrowing limits won’t change. The total you’re allowed to borrow in the 2012-2013 school year from Federal Stafford Loans is still a maximum of $20,500 per year. The difference is all of your new loans will be unsubsidized. If you qualify for Federal PLUS Loans, you can borrow additional funds. However, these loans are unsubsidized, too.</p>

<p>While limits aren’t changing, always estimate your future payments by utilizing calculator links on the resources page of <a href="http://graduationdebt.org/articles/%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://graduationdebt.org/articles/&lt;/a> before you decide how much of your student loan award you need. $23,000 per year for 6 years totals $138,000 (and over a $1,000 per month on a 10-year repayment plan, regardless of your interest rate).</p>

<p>The</a> End of Subsidized Grad School Loans | MintLife Blog | Personal Finance News & Advice</p>

<p>Thanks! good links and updated information for all types of Grad schools.</p>

<p>Just heard about someone getting a 177 LSAT and getting into the top 5 with full rides!</p>

<p>parent1986, I'm not sure how that's possible because I know that Harvard doesn't give full rides. Everyone's F/A includes loans. I wouldn't be surprised if that was also the case at others at the top of the T14.</p>

<p>I was told the person is going to Stanford with a full ride. Perhaps the acceptance to Harvard varied.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Just heard about someone getting a 177 LSAT and getting into the top 5 with full rides!

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Not possible at Harvard, Yale or Stanford - they are need based only. So, if someone got a full ride at the top 5, they got admitted because of the 177 but they got money because they really needed it. Duke and NYU give some merit aid.</p>

<p>^^^^Based on the person's address, I doubt that it is need based - however, I haven't seen tax returns or a financial statement.</p>

<p>Per the Harvard Law website:
[quote]
HLS does not award merit or full-ride scholarships, but instead focuses on need-based aid.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Per the Stanford website:
[quote]
Aid is awarded on the basis of demonstrated need and is provided through a combination of tuition fellowships, government guaranteed loans, private loans, and university loans appropriate to the circumstances of each student.

[/quote]
It's my understanding that Yale's policy is similar, and that the need-based aid is generous. Merit-based aid is available at the other law schools in the T-14 and at lower-ranked schools as well.</p>

<p>Here's a link to how Stanford looks at the issue of financial independence for law students: <a href="http://www.law.stanford.edu/program/tuition/jd/#financial_aid%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.law.stanford.edu/program/tuition/jd/#financial_aid&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>