Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA
 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Applying for Aid

How do I apply for Financial Aid?
What is the deadline to apply?
What is the March 2 deadline on the FAFSA for California?
What happens after I submit an application for financial aid?
How do I sign my Master Promissory Note (MPN)?
What steps are involved in E-signing and getting my money?
What if I do not sign the Promissory Note?
What if I have already signed a Master Promissory Note?
Will I be required to do entrance counseling again although I may have done this before?
How are my private loans handled?
What if I am eligible to receive a Perkins Loan?
What if I am eligible to receive Institutional Loans?
What is Verification?

Disbursement of Aid

What will my award letter include?
What if I need to adjust my award?
When will I receive my award?

When are my funds disbursed?
When will I get my refund?
What happens if my funds get delayed?
What if I need more money?

How do I sign up for direct deposit?
Can I get my books prior to the start of classes?
Does this cover a laptop?
What about my living expenses?
Do you have payment plans, and if so, how many different payments can it be split up into?
What types of scholarships are available?
If I was working prior to coming to law school, but will not be working once I begin my studies, can I still get enough aid?
What if I receive Veteran Benefits?
Are loan forgiveness programs available?
Is my credit considered for loans?
I don't know if I need a co-signer?
What if I can't get a co-signer?
Will you need my parental information?


APPLYING FOR AID

How do I apply for Financial Aid?

Follow these steps to apply for financial aid:

  1. Complete the FAFSA online.
  2. Entering and Current Students should refer to the detailed information regarding applying for Financial Aid on MySouthwestern using the links below (log-in required). Entering Students can contact the Admissions Office with any questions regarding accessing the portal.

What is the deadline to apply?

The deadline to complete the financial aid application process is March 15 for Continuing Students and June 1 for Entering Students.

What is the March 2 deadline on the FAFSA for California?

This deadline is for Undergraduate State Aid and does not apply to you.

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What happens after I submit an application for financial aid?

The Financial Aid Office processes your file and determines what types of aid you are eligible to receive based upon the information you provided on the FAFSA and Southwestern Institutional Financial Aid Application. The Financial Aid Office sends you an "Award Letter" which shows all the aid you are eligible for.  If you do not want to make changes to your awards, then you do not need to return the award letter. If, however, you want to alter/change any of your award amounts, simply make the changes on the Award Letter and return it to the Financial Aid Office.

How do I sign my Master Promissory Note (MPN)?

Sometime between late June and the end of July, you should receive instructions from the Financial Aid Office regarding signing your Promissory Notes for any loans you may need. You will be directed to a web site to e-sign (electronically sign) your loans. 

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What steps are involved in E-signing the promissory note for Federal Perkins Loans?

Complete instructions can be found in this document (PDF).

What if I do not sign the Promissory Note?

Funds cannot be disbursed to the school without a signed Promissory Note. Contact the Direct Loan Customer Service Center at (800) 557-7392 or visit http://www.direct.ed.gov/callus.html.

What if I have already signed a Master Promissory Note?

If you are signing for Stafford Loans, you will only need to do this once, since you will be signing a Master Promissory Note. PLEASE NOTE: This year, all students will be required to sign a new master promissory note as we migrate to direct lending. All federal loans will originate from the U.S. Department of Education in lieu of any lenders. 

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Will I be required to do entrance counseling again although I may have done this before?

No, if you already completed entrance counseling while enrolled at Southwestern, then you do not have to complete entrance counseling again. New borrowers are required to complete entrance counseling.

How are my private loans handled?

If you are signing for a Private Non-Federal Loan, you will need to sign for this loan EACH year that you are requesting this type of loan. However, you may not need a Private Non-Federal loan as you have access to receive the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loans.

What if I am eligible to receive a Perkins Loan?

If you are awarded a Perkins Loan, you will receive an email from the Financial Aid Office with instructions on how to e-sign your Promissory Note. You will only need to do this once, since you will be signing a Master Promissory Note.

What if I am eligible to receive Institutional Loans?

If you are awarded an Institutional Loan, you will need to complete a paper Promissory Note available online or in the Financial Aid Office. You must sign a new Promissory Note for this loan every year for each institutional loan that you are awarded.

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What is Verification?

Verification is a process in which students may be requested to certify the accuracy of information on the FAFSA. Those who are required to do so will be sent a form, which must be completed and returned to the Financial Aid Office before they can receive any funds. Students who are selected for verification will be notified about the required documentation and deadlines.


DISBURSEMENT OF AID

What will my award letter include?

The award letter will identify all of the aid for which a student selected to be considered and for which he/she is deemed to be eligible. For example, there is a question on the FAFSA that asks the student to indicate whether or not they are interested in receiving Federal Work Study and Student Loans. If they indicated that they are interested in receiving loans and/or work study, we would then check to see if they are eligible for these and award accordingly.

Assuming eligibility, the award letter will indicate eligibility for student loans (including both Stafford and Grad PLUS Loans), Federal Work Study and scholarships. Students who wish to take advantage of the aid that has been offered must sign and return the award letter to the Financial Aid Office.

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What if I need to adjust my award?

If a student wishes to make an adjustment to their aid package, either to cancel a particular type of aid or reduce the amount of aid, they can complete a form to request those changes. However, initially, a student should indicate any changes on the signed award notification.

When will I receive my award?

Typically, students will receive an award letter about two weeks after they have submitted all documents to the Financial Aid Office. If upon review, additional documentation is required due to federal regulations, the award letter notification may be delayed until satisfaction of the requirements. You will be contacted if additional documentation is required.

When are my funds disbursed?

Funds are disbursed the Friday prior to classes beginning. We must internally post the funds to your account once we determine you are eligible (registered, completed entrance counseling and enrolled in the minimum number of units). Your tuition must be paid in full. The remaining balance will be disbursed  to you in the form of a check, or direct deposit if you have elected that option.

When will I get my refund?

Refunds are disbursed the first Friday before classes commence each semester.

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What happens if my funds get delayed

Should there be a delay in your financial aid refund, an interest free loan advance of up to $2,000 per term is available beginning with the first day of classes for that term. You must be registered and have submitted all your Financial Aid documents to be considered.

What if I need more money?

If a student feels that they will need more aid than what was initially offered to them, for specific purposes, documentation will be required in order to increase the cost of attendance.

How do I sign up for direct deposit?

You may sign up for Automated Refund Direct Deposit through WebAdvisor (go to Financial Information > Bank Information).

Can I get my books prior to the start of classes?

We suggest that you utilize a credit card to purchase your books. "Book Vouchers" may be provided to students who are receiving sufficient financial aid to cover the cost of books. This allows students to charge your books to your Student Account while you are awaiting financial aid for the term. Book Vouchers are available approximately 1 week prior to classes beginning. You must be registered and have completed all your financial aid documents to be considered for this option.

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Does this cover a laptop?

Yes, we have included laptops in the cost of attendance for first-year students.

What about my living expenses?

In creating the cost of attendance (budget) for all students, the Financial Aid Office considered what a typical student would spend on living expenses, including rent, food and utility expenses over the course of an academic year. These estimates are applied across-the-board to all students who apply for financial aid.

Do you have payment plans, and if so, how many different payments can it be split up into?

The school offers a payment plan option whereby students make 5 monthly payments per semester. The first payment in each semester would be due the month prior to the start of the new term. There is a fee of $50/semester to take advantage of the payment plan option. For more information, contact the Financial Aid Office.

What types of scholarships are available?

The school offers a number of institutional scholarships, including the Wildman/Schumacher Scholarship Program for Entering Students, and the Dean's Merit Award for Continuing Students. Information is also available online regarding other scholarship programs  and essay contents that a student may apply for to defray costs. This information is updated regularly to reflect opportunities as details become available. Questions should be directed to the Admissions Office regarding the Wildman/Schumacher Scholarship, and to the Financial Aid Office for all other scholarship opportunities.

If I was working prior to coming to law school, but will not be working once I begin my studies, can I still get enough aid?

Yes, we have the ability to reevaluate the student's financial aid eligibility based upon income changes. This is called a special condition or professional judgment. Contact the Financial Aid Office for more information.

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What if I receive Veteran Benefits?

Students receiving Veteran Benefits can utilize those funds to help cover expenses at Southwestern. In most cases, students will need to speak to Financial Aid staff and complete additional forms in order to begin receiving their benefits.

Are loan forgiveness programs available?

Recently enacted legislation called Public Loan Forgiveness will allow students to take advantage of federal loan forgiveness programs in the future, in exchange for their employment in the public sector after graduation.

Is my credit considered for loans?

Credit checks are not involved when a student applies for Stafford Loans (both Subsidized and Unsubsidized). However, credit checks are required when a student applies for a Grad PLUS Loan. Approval for Grad PLUS Loans is not based on the student's credit score. Rather, it's a much simpler review to determine whether or not a student has certain negative credit items appearing on the credit history. The absence of these particular items means a student would be approved for the loan. In the event that a student is denied as a result of their credit check, they would be given an opportunity to secure an endorser (a.k.a. co-signer) in order to obtain loan approval. In some instances, institutional loan funds are available.

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I don't know if I need a co-signer?

Students only need to obtain a co-signer if they are denied a Grad PLUS Loan. If so, the lender will contact the student and inform them of the right to secure an endorser (co-signer) in order to obtain loan approval. Once a co-signer is approved, the student will need to complete another promissory note that links to the co-signer's note. Students will not need a co-signer in order to obtain a Stafford Loan.

What if I can't get a co-signer?

Institutional loans may be available in the event you cannot obtain a co-signer. Please note, however, that institutional loans are not federal loans and are not eligible for federal consolidation.

Will you need my parental information?

All students enrolled in a graduate program are considered to be independent for purposes of completing the FAFSA application, so no parental information will be required.

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