FINANCIAL AID STEP-BY-STEP
Step One: Complete the FAFSA
Make sure that you have a Federal Student Aid personal identification number (PIN). Go to www.pin.gov if you do not already have a PIN. You will need it to electronically sign your FAFSA.
Complete and submit the Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.gov.The IRS data retrieval process allows you to automatically populate your FAFSA with your federal tax information. Ideally, you should file your tax return before you complete the FAFSA. Wait 2 weeks after filing your tax return to complete the FAFSA if you file your tax return electronically. Wait 8 weeks after filing your tax return to complete the FAFSA if you file your tax return by mail.
Be certain to select Baylor (School Code 003545) as a recipient of your FAFSA.
The FAFSA for the upcoming academic year (July 1st through June 30th) is available January 1st, and although Baylor has a recommended deadline of March 1st, we prefer that you submit your FAFSA as soon after January 1st as possible. If you have already filled out a FAFSA for the academic year, you need to make sure you send it to Baylor. If you are entering in the Spring or Summer quarter, you will need to complete both the prior year’s FAFSA and the upcoming year’s FAFSA.
For purposes of the FAFSA, all law students are considered independent, even if their parents still claim them on their taxes. If you have already filed a FAFSA and have listed yourself as a dependent, you need to go back and change your dependency status and submit that change. When the change is processed, your parents’ information will no longer be utilized, although it will still appear on your FAFSA.
Be careful not to choose the federal work-study option. Although you are eligible for work study, we do not condone work during your first three quarters of law school.
If you do not fill out a FAFSA, you are not eligible for loans. If you do not fill out a FAFSA and do not have merit-based scholarships, you will not receive a financial aid package.
Step Two: Complete Any Follow-up
The U.S. Department of Education will send you your Student Aid Report (SAR). Review your SAR and, if necessary, make changes or corrections to your FAFSA.
The Baylor Financial Aid Office will receive your FAFSA results three to five business days after you have submitted all changes. The Baylor Financial Aid Office will then notify you of any additional documentation that is needed. Depending on the time of the year and the term to which you are applying, this process could take a few days or could take a few weeks, so please be patient.
The U.S. Department of Education requests verification for a limited number of law students. You may be asked for additional verification information: if so, please carefully read the Verification section of the Baylor Student Financial Services website (see http://www.baylor.edu/sfs/verification).
Step Three: Pay Your Seat Deposit
Your financial aid will not be packaged until you submit your $500 seat deposit.
Step Four: Review Your Letter
When you pay your seat deposit, you will see the dollar amount of any scholarship that you are awarded and the dollar amount of Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans for which you are eligible. Your award letter will not show the dollar amount of your alternative loan eligibility, because you must apply for and be approved for those loans. However, your total alternative loan eligibility will appear in the text of your award letter.
Step Five: Determine Your Eligibility
You are eligible for financial aid up to the cost of attendance. To determine the cost of attendance, visit http://www.baylor.edu/sfs/index.php?id=87843. Alternatively, this cost of attendance will be in the text of your award letter, so you do not need to calculate it on your own.
This cost of attendance is the maximum amount of financial aid of any type you are allowed to take out, but it is by no means necessary that you take out the full amount. The cost of attendance is broken down by quarters.
Baylor’s academic year begins with Fall and ends with Spring. Summer is a standalone quarter, so if you apply for aid for a Summer quarter, that aid will be packaged separately and will not be included in your original cost of attendance. You should carefully consider the cost of living and how much you will need. If you have received a scholarship, remember that this amount will be deducted from your total loan eligibility.
Confused? Simply put: if you are a Spring or Summer starter, the cost of attendance listed in your letter will be for one quarter. If you are a Fall starter, your cost of attendance listed will be for three quarters.
Step Six: Choose Your Type and Apply for Aid
Awards can be broken down into six categories: scholarships, Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans, Graduate PLUS loans, College Access loans, private alternative loans, and Federal Work Study.
Scholarships: You will receive any merit-based scholarship information in your admission letter.
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans: You may borrow up to $20,500 per academic year (Fall through Summer) in Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans, with a lifetime limit of $138,500 (subsidized and unsubsidized). The interest rate for these loans is 6.8 percent annually, and a 1 percent loan origination fee is deducted at disbursement. As of July 1, 2012, there are no longer any Federal Direct Subsidized loans available to graduate or law students: as soon as your loan is disbursed, interest begins to accrue.
After you drop below half-time status (fewer than 5 quarter hours), these loans have a six-month grace period before repayment begins. A Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan has forbearance and deferment options, may be consolidated, may be paid back under several different repayment plans, and may be eligible for forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
Graduate PLUS Loans: If you do not have adverse credit, you may secure the additional amount of aid for which you are eligible by applying for a Graduate PLUS loan. See http://studentloans.gov for an application.
A Graduate PLUS loan is federally guaranteed, and interest accrues while you are in school. The interest rate is fixed at 7.9 percent, and a 4 percent loan origination fee is deducted from the disbursement.
After you drop below half-time status, you must immediately begin paying back these loans. A Graduate PLUS loan has forbearance and deferment options, may be consolidated, may be paid back under several different repayment plans, and may be eligible for forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
College Access Loans (CAL Loans): If you or your parent is a Texas resident, you may also choose to secure the additional amount of aid for which you are eligible by applying for College Access loans, funded by the State of Texas. See http://www.hhloans.com/index.cfm?ObjectID=21A41908-C7D3-A868-66FB91774CF078CB to apply. For residency requirements, see http://info.sos.state.tx.us/pls/pub/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=T&app=9&p_dir=N&p_rloc=152797&p_tloc=&p_ploc=1&pg=4&p_tac=&ti=19&pt=1&ch=21&rl=21.
If you apply with a cosigner, you or a cosigner must have favorable credit to secure the loan. For a definition of favorable credit, visit http://www.hhloans.com/index.cfm?ObjectID=21A41908-C7D3-A868-66FB91774CF078CB. If you and your cosigner have favorable credit, there is a 3 percent origination fee. If only you or your cosigner, but not both, has favorable credit, there is a 5 percent origination fee. The interest rate is fixed at 5.25 percent. You may not take out these loans if you have not already used your Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan eligibility.
You have a six-month grace period after you drop below half-time status (fewer than 5 quarter hours) before you must start paying back your loans. These loans may not be consolidated and may not be forgiven under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, but they do have several repayment options.
Private Alternative Loans: Some private lenders offer loans. However, we strongly advise you to check on repayment plans and interest rates, and please note that these loans have credit requirements and are not eligible for consolidation, income-based repayment, or forgiveness.
Federal Work Study: Baylor Law School strongly suggests that you do not work during your first three quarters of law school. Furthermore, the American Bar Association states that you may not work more than twenty hours a week during while you are a full-time law student. Therefore, we request that you do not select the work-study option when you file your FAFSA. If you accidentally select work study, you may email Jenny Branson, Associate Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, and she will make sure that is removed from your financial aid packaging.
Step Seven: Sign Master Promissory Notes
You must complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) for the first Federal Direct (subsidized or unsubsidized) loan that you take out. The link to the MPN can be found at http://studentloans.gov. This MPN will be good for 10 years.
You must complete an additional MPN for the first Graduate PLUS loan that you take out. If you have filled out an MPN for a Graduate PLUS loan at another school, you do not need to fill out another MPN. You can also find a link to that MPN at http://studentloans.gov. If you have an endorser for a Graduate PLUS loan, you and your endorser must each sign an MPN for each loan that you take out. It is important to note that the endorser sets the amount of the loan.
You and your endorser must each also complete an additional MPN for each CAL loan for which you are approved. You can find a link to that MPN at http://www.hhloans.com/index.cfm?objectid=21A41908-C7D3-A868-66FB91774CF078CB, although you do not need to sign the MPN until after your loan application is approved.
If you take out a private alternative loan, you and your endorser must each complete an MPN for each loan. More information about private alternative loans is available at www.baylor.edu/sfs/alternative.
Step Eight: Complete Entrance Counseling
You must complete online entrance counseling for your first Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan (at Baylor or elsewhere) and for your first Graduate PLUS loan at Baylor. You may complete that entrance counseling at http://studentloans.gov. You may complete combined entrance counseling for the Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans and Graduate PLUS loans. Your entrance counseling at other schools does not count. For any additional information about types of loans, visit the Baylor Student Financial Services Office website at http://www.baylor.edu/sfs/index.php?id=69422.
Step Nine: Settle Your Account
See the following timeline to settle your account:
A. 6-8 weeks prior to start date: You will receive instructions regarding how to log into your student account. If you have accepted your Federal Direct Loans, they will appear on your student account.
B. 2 weeks prior to start date: Your bill will appear on your student account.
C. 2 weeks prior to start date: Your student loans will appear on your account (they will be “memo’d”).
D. 2 weeks prior to start date: If you have a CAL or private alternative loan, you will need to certify the loan (you will receive a form from the school).
E. 1 week prior to start date: The balance of your bill will be due. If you have applied for, have been approved for, and have accepted loans, those loans will be considered applied to your account, even though the loans have not disbursed.
F. 5 days prior to start date: Loans will begin disbursing. You will receive any excess aid in the form of a reimbursement. You will receive a refund check in the mail unless you have set up direct deposit. We recommend that you set up direct deposit, which you can do at the Baylor Cashier’s Office or at http://www.baylor.edu/sfs/index.php?id=69740.
Step Ten: Start Classes at Baylor Law School!
After you begin classes at Baylor Law School, make sure to defer any previous loans you might have. Jerri Cunningham, Baylor Law School’s Registrar, can sign those forms for you.