Types of Financial Aid
There are various types of assistance available to law students. It is common that students pursuing a degree in law will utilize a combination of scholarships, loans and other special programs.
As the name suggests, loans are financial aid funds which must be repaid. Applicants interested in seeking loans should initiate the financial aid process by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, FAFSA.
Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program
Effective July 1, 2012, Direct Stafford Loans for graduate and professional degree students are unsubsidized which means, interest accrues while you are in school.
The Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan is a non-need based loan and may be offered up to a maximum of $20,500 per academic year. Effective July 1, 2017, the interest rate is a fixed 6.0 percent.
Students must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), meet federal eligibility requirements, and enroll at least half time in a degree-seeking program.
The maximum aggregate for Stafford loans is $138,500, of which no more than $65,000 may be subsidized.
All first-time students at St. Mary’s accepting the Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan are required to complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling Session on-line at www.studentloans.gov.
Repayment of this loan does not begin until six months after graduation or until you cease to be enrolled in school at least half-time.
Federal Direct Graduate Plus Loan
Graduate and professional degree students can borrow a Federal Direct Plus Loan to help cover education expenses. Effective July 1, 2017, the interest rate is a fixed 7.0 percent.
A student can borrow up to the cost of attendance less any financial assistance received. The student must submit a FAFSA form to determine eligibility for this Federally regulated program. Additional eligibility is based on credit-worthiness.
The Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling for this program is completed through the Department of Education s Direct Loan website, at www.studentloans.gov.
A major difference in this loan is that repayment of the loan begins 60 days after the loan has been fully disbursed to the institution. However, you may defer repayment while you are enrolled at least half-time. This loan can be a part of other Federal Direct Loans (Stafford) that have income based repayments (IBR). If a borrower works in public service for a period of 10 years, at the end of 10 years the remaining balance of the Federal loans are forgiven.
Additional Alternative and Private Educational Loan Programs
Alternative and private loans usually require credit approval. Sources can be federal, state, or private.
Student enrollment in a program of study abroad approved for credit by St. Mary’s University may be considered enrollment at St. Mary’s University for the purpose of applying for assistance under Title IV.
National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)
The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED’s) central database for student aid. NSLDS receives data from schools, guaranty agencies, the Direct Loan program, and other Department of ED programs. NSLDS Student Access provides a centralized, integrated view of Title IV loans and grants so that recipients of Title IV Aid can access and inquire about their Title IV loans and/or grant data. All loan information will be submitted to NSLDS and accessible by authorized agencies, lenders, and institutions.
Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation
A direct funding loan program through the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation is available for graduate and law students who meet Texas residency requirements. Loans up to $2,000 per semester are granted to eligible students. Students must apply for funding the semester prior to the one that they will use the funds. Information about this loan and other scholarship aid is furnished by the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation.
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund
This organization provides scholarships for students of Hispanic-American background. For information, please contact Hispanic Scholarship Fund, 1411 W. 190th St., Suite 325, Gardena, CA 90248, 1-877-HSF-INFO.
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
Latino law students with demonstrated financial need may apply for scholarship funds. For information, please contact MALDEF, 634 S. Spring Street, 11th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90014, 213-629-2512.
The Earl Warren Legal Training Program
This program provides scholarship and internship opportunities to qualified African-American applicants. For information, please contact The Earl Warren Legal Training Program, 40 Rector Street, 5th floor, New York, NY 10006, 212-965-2200.
By special arrangement, law students may take Advanced Military Science (ROTC) and earn a commission in the U.S. Army while in law school. Successful graduates may compete for active duty in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Address inquires to the Department of Military Science, St. Mary’s University, One Camino Santa Maria, San Antonio, TX 78228, 210-436-3415.