The University of Massachusetts School of Law - Dartmouth offers a number of options to assist students in financing their legal education. Both federal and private educational loans are available for eligible students. The law school also offers scholarships, fellowships, and waivers to those who qualify. Payment Plans are also available.
Following are some facts about these financing choices. Detailed information about each of the programs, including application procedures, is available from the financial aid staff.
UMass Law offers Public Interest Law Fellowships to entering students who are interested in working in a public interest field upon graduation. For more information see Public Interest Law Fellowship.
UMass Law also offers a $5000 discount to incoming students who are Massachusetts residents or attended a Massachusetts public college or university and who meet the qualifying criteria. For more information, see the Commonwealth Fellows program.
UMass Law also offers academic merit scholarships. Scholarships are based on past academic performance and evidence of exceptional promise in a legal career. All accepted applicants are automatically considered and notified at time of acceptance; there is no separate application. Students awarded a scholarship, depending on full or part time status, are renewed automatically per the conditions stated in the award letter.
Need based scholarships are also available. Selected applicants will be contacted to complete the Needs Access form.
Federal Direct Student Loans
The law school participates in the federal Title IV Direct Loan program, offering Unsubsidized and Graduate Plus loans. The Unsubsidized loans have an annual limit of $20,500 and are not credit-based. The Graduate Plus loan requires a credit check and can be used to pay for additional education expenses up to the cost of attendance. Eligibility requirements and details about the Direct Loans may be obtained from the U.S. Department of Education.
Private educational loans
Private student loans from lenders such as MEFA, Citizens Bank, Sallie Mae and Discover are additional funding choices. The law school financial aid staff strongly advises students to borrow through the federal loan program. However, we recognize that under certain exceptional circumstances a private education loan is necessary. Please contact the financial aid staff for information and application details.
Bar Study Loans (Private Lenders)
Federal student loans are not available for expenses incurred by law students after they graduate, such as the expenses associated with studying for the bar. A Bar Study Loan helps finance bar exam costs such as bar review course fees and living expenses while you are studying for the bar. There are a limited number of lenders who offer Bar Study Loans. Among them, Sallie Mae, PNC Bank and Discover Student Loans are current providers. Each lender has its individual eligibility requirements, terms, and conditions.
IMPORTANT: Please contact the financial aid staff to make sure you have exhausted your maximum annual Federal loan eligibility before applying for a Bar Study Loan. There are many reasons why Federal loans can be a better option.
Bar Exam Fee Loan (Federal Direct Loan)
Federal Direct Loan funds are available for the direct cost of one bar examination.
If you have not borrowed the maximum amount of your total Cost of Attendance (COA) budget, you can take advantage of your remaining eligibility to borrow for your bar exam. Because the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan has a lower interest rate than the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, this should be your first choice.
However, if you have already exhausted the annual maximum of $20,500 for the Unsubsidized loan, you can apply for the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan up to the limit of your COA.
Students who have borrowed their maximum COA may request an increase to include the direct cost of one bar examination. Instructions for obtaining a COA increase for bar exam fees are included on the Bar Exam Fee Request Form (Spring 2015) (PDF).
Your request for the additional Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan funds must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To borrow Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loans (first time or additional) you must apply at www.studentloans.gov.