Financial Aid and Budgeting

Week of July 8th

Options when it comes to loans: Types, Applying, and Limits

The primary sources for most students are the federally sponsored student loan programs – Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loans. At times, students will also apply for and/or obtain private loans.   

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Any scholarship award from the school (or any third party) you receive will affect/reduce the amount of loans you are eligible to receive.
  • Some students will need both Stafford and Grad PLUS loans.
  • You cannot combine scholarships with loans or multiple types of loans to receive more funding than the annual budget set for the academic year by the school. 
  • Unlike undergraduate loans, for law school loans you are considered independent of your parents. Awards are based on your personal income (or the combined income of you and your spouse).

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans

The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan program is a non-need-based loan program. 

  • To apply: Electronically submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 
  • Maximum amount: $20,500 annually
  • Interest rate: currently fixed at 6.60%; Congress will establish the 2019-2020 interest rate by early July 2019.
    • Interest begins accruing from the date of disbursement and continues to be charged during periods of deferment and forbearance.
    • Recipients are charged interest while in school.
    • Students may avoid paying the interest while in school by capitalizing the interest (i.e., adding the interest to the principal and paying interest on the interest).
  • Repayment: Repayment of principal and capitalized interest generally begins six months after graduation.
  • Origination fees:These fees are deducted from the loan amount.
    • Recipients must repay the face value of the loan, including origination fees.
      • The origination fee for Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans disbursed after October 1, 2018 is currently 1.062%; Congress will establish the 2019-2020 rate in early July 2019.

Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loan

The Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loan allows graduate/professional students to borrow up to their cost of attendance minus all other scholarships and federal aid, including the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan.

  • To Apply: Electronically submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 
  • Maximum Amount: Nebraska Law student budgets are low enough that students will not attain the maximum amount allowed. 
    • Interest Rate: Currently fixed at 7.6%; Congress will establish the 2019-2020 interest rate by early July 2019.
    • Interest begins to accrue on the date of the first loan disbursement and continues to be charged during periods of deferment and forbearance. 
    • Recipients may pay the interest as it accrues (quarterly interest statements are generated either automatically or at the request of the borrower, depending on the Federal Loan Servicer), OR you may allow the interest to be capitalized (added to your loan principal balance) at the end of the deferment or forbearance. 
  • Repayment: The first payment on a Grad PLUS Loan is due within 45 days after the loan is disbursed.
    • There is no grace period for repayment of Grad PLUS Loans. 
  • Deferring Repayment of Grad PLUS Loans:  While you are enrolled in law school, on at least a half-time basis, you are eligible for in-school deferment that allows you to postpone payments until you graduate or drop below half-time status.
    • At the University of Nebraska, deferral of repayment while in school is automatically granted based on enrollment data reported to the U.S. Department of Education.
    • Students who receive an in-school deferment will be notified of the deferment and of their option to cancel the deferment and begin making loan payments.
    • First payment on a Grad PLUS Loan will be due within 45 days after the deferment end date.
  • Origination fees: The origination fee for a Grad PLUS loan is currently 4.248% of the principal amount of each loan disbursement. The origination fee for the 2019-2020 academic year will be set by Congress in early July 2019.

Other Loans

Before you consider an alternative loan, make sure you have determined your eligibility for Federal Direct and Federal Direct PLUS Loans. After looking at the federal loans, you can consider the wide array of options for educational financing to assist you in meeting college costs. Several programs are listed on the University of Nebraska’s financial aid website for your consideration at https://financialaid.unl.edu/Alternative_loan.shtml. Loan terms vary, so you will want to be a conscientious consumer.

Federal Loan Application Procedure

The Process: Step-by-step

  • Step 1. Obtain a student financial aid User ID and password at https://fsaid.ed.gov.
    • The User ID/password replace the need for a written signature.
    • When you apply for the User ID/password, you will need to have a valid email address. You will choose your own information. The User ID/password can be used to file the FAFSA immediately, but you cannot use them to sign a Master Promissory Note or do Entrance Loan Counseling until they have been validated.
  • Step 2. Complete your FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov.
    • All students, whether they will accept their loan award or not, must electronically file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.gov.
    • Why all students?  Many of our scholarship accounts used to fund academic scholarships require a showing of need. To satisfy this requirement, a FAFSA needs to be completed. If you were awarded a scholarship and will not need federal loan money you can turn down any loans awarded to you.
  • Step 3. After completing your FAFSA you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) via email.
    • Review the SAR for accuracy.
      • If changes need to be made contact the University of Nebraska’s Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA) at 402-472-2030 or email financialaid@unl.edu.
        • You do not need to send the corrections to Federal Student Aid Programs.
      • If changes do not need to be made print the document and keep it with your tax return. If you are selected for verification, the OSFA will notify you of documents needed both on your MyRED To Do List and via email communications.
  • Step 4. Monitor your MyRED account for notification of your financial aid awards OR notification that the OSFA needs additional information. An email directing you to the MyRED system is the ONLY way you will be notified of the amount of your award.

Notification and Acceptance of Loan Awards

Students will be notified of their loan awards, or if additional information is needed for verification, via email and through the University of Nebraska’s MyRED system as soon as mid-January.

  • Make sure you have a current email address in your MyRED account to avoid delay of your notification email.
  • Print a copy of your notification for your records.

Accept (or decline) your loan award through MyRED.

  • Be sure to follow the explanation of acceptance (or rejection) closely. You will be instructed on how to complete:
    • Entrance Counseling; and,
    • Your Master Promissory Note (MPN).
  • If you are selected for verification, there will be instructions on what documents you need to provide to OSFA and how to provide them to OSFA.
  • You do not have to accept the entire amount of your loan award. Please be aware that loans are offered in order of their desirability (i.e., Unsubsidized Stafford loans are offered before Grad PLUS loans, which have a higher interest rate and less desirable repayment terms).
    • To accept less than you are awarded:
      • Click on the drop down box for the loan you are accepting and select “Accept Lower Amount”
      • Enter the amount of loan desired up to the amount you were offered. Remember that the accepted amount will be split equally between fall and spring semesters.
      • Click “Submit”

Scholarship and Loan Distributions: When and How You Get Your Money

Scholarship and loan disbursements are made twice during the academic year.

  • Approximately half of your award(s) will be disbursed in the fall semester and approximately half in the spring semester.
  • Disbursements are typically made one week prior to the start of the semester, provided you have accepted any awards and registered for classes in a timely manner.

The proceeds of your loan and/or scholarship will be applied to your University of Nebraska student account.

  • Tuition, fees and any other charges posted to your account (books, parking permits, sports tickets) will be deducted from the proceeds of your loan and scholarship.
  • Any excess funds left in your student account after charges have been deducted will be refunded to you.  You can choose to have your refund issued through direct deposit or a check.
    • Check: The State of Nebraska will mail a paper check to you (5 – 10 business day processing time)
    • Direct Deposit: Sign up for Direct Deposit of Refunds on MyRED (Student Account Tab àEnroll in Direct Deposit). Refunds are sent directly to personal bank or savings accounts (3-5 business day processing time).
  • NOTE: Before spending all your refund, you will want to verify that any and all charges you made to your student account (books, parking permits, tickets) were charged to your account and paid prior to your refund. At times, charges are not posted until after refunds are issued which will leave the student with a balance. 

Student Budget & Budget Worksheet

The Student Budget is the total amount of financial aid – scholarships, loans, and work-study – you receive cannot exceed the estimate of student expenses for the academic year. 

  • Student budgets for the first year of law school are based upon the student taking 33 credit hours of coursework.

Budgets for 2019-20 academic year are below. The tuition rate for 2019-20 is set by the Board of Regents each year in June.

Student Budget 2019-20

Many students find it helpful to calculate a monthly budget for planning purposes. Below, is a link to a document that is designed to help you calculate your monthly budget:

Budget Worksheet (Microsoft Word)

Access Lex & Access Lex Webinar

The University of Nebraska College of Law partners with the AccessLex Institute to provide 1Ls with a personal finance program created exclusively for law students. This program (called MAX) is available to you at no cost, and you will have the opportunity to try it out this summer, prior to Orientation. The MAX program includes interactive online lessons, webinars, in-person workshops, and one-on-one counseling.

Our next MAX event will be a webinar scheduled for Monday, July 11th at 12:00 pm Central time called Financial Planning for Law School Students. Here is a brief description of the webinar and a registration link:

Develop strategies to manage your finances and build toward a secure financial future. In this interactive session, you’ll learn how to apply core concepts that will set the foundation for all the financial decisions you’ll make in law school – and in your personal and professional life. Register below.

https://accesslexevents.webex.com/accesslexevents/onstage/g.php?MTID=ed13553599bb9502c12b29d17f508a223

You can learn more about the programs and resources available to you via MAX here: https://www.accesslex.org/about-max-by-accesslex.

You can also set up a MAX account or login to access short online lessons or general resources here: https://www.accesslex.org/maxonline

If you have any questions about our financial planning resources or AccessLex, please don’t hesitate to contact Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Administration, Marc Pearce, with any questions regarding Access Lex: mpearce3@unl.edu or 402-472-2161.

Where to go with Questions?

The Office of Admissions at Nebraska Law (402.472.8333) can answer several frequently asked questions including:

  • Has the OSFA received my financial data?
  • What is my amount of need?
  • Have I been notified of my award? 
  • How much in Direct loans am I eligible for?
  • Has my refund been issued?
  • And other miscellaneous questions regarding the financial aid process.

If we are unable to answer your questions, we will direct you to the University of Nebraska Husker Hub at huskerhub@unl.edu or 402-472-2030.