Savannah Law School (SLS) is committed to assisting students in financing their legal education through a comprehensive financial aid program. Merit-based scholarships are awarded by SLS to selected students, but the largest forms of financial aid for law students are educational loans. Pursuing a legal education is a significant investment of a student’s time and financial resources. The investment can be considerable, so it is highly recommended that students borrow conservatively at all times and be diligent to budget money wisely.
Our financial aid administrators develop comprehensive aid packages to assist our students with unique needs. We look forward to assisting you throughout your law school career. The Office of Financial Aid is committed to providing outstanding service to our students and families. We invite you to contact us if you have any questions about financial aid opportunities at SLS.
The primary purpose of the SLS Financial Aid Office is to provide students with resources that will enable them to finance their legal education. To achieve this objective we will make every effort to:
- Provide students with information on actual cost of attendance
- Help students seek, obtain and make the best use of the available resources
- Be sensitive to the students’ needs and their special circumstances
Additional Financial Aid questions can be answered in the frequently asked questions listed below or by downloading the law school’s Office of Financial Aid FAQ 2015-2016.
Q. How much financial aid is available to law students?
A: It depends on the Cost of Attendance, which is comprised of the 9-month living expense budget plus tuition and fees for the fall and spring semesters. Summer semester cost of attendance is comprised of a 3-month living expense budget plus tuition and fees.
Q. Does Savannah Law School (SLS) offer scholarships or grants?
A: Yes. It depends on your LSAT score, grade point average (GPA) and the criterion set forth by the Office of Admissions. For admitted students our scholarships do not require an application. However, if you do not meet the established criterion established by the Admissions Office, there are no federal or state grants available to law students at SLS. Though the school only offers a limited number of scholarships, there are other organizations that offer scholarships to law students. For a list of some of these organizations, please contact the Office of Financial Aid.
Q. Do SLS scholarship/grant awards renew on an annual basis?
A: Yes. Returning students will retain their scholarships as long as a 2.75 grade point average or higher is earned at the end of each academic year.
Q. Are non-Federal loan funds considered financial aid?
A: Yes. The term financial aid includes all funds provided to a student for educational purposes – educational loans (federal and private), need-based grants, need or merit-based scholarships, and merit-based fellowships.
Q. Can I request to receive loan funds greater than the cost of attendance?
A: Unfortunately, federal guidelines restrict students’ ability to receive more than the cost of attendance established by the Law School. However, SLS will review students’ requests for an increase to the budget for childcare expenses, vehicle repairs, medical and dental not covered by insurance, and a one-time only computer purchase. Please consult with the Office of Financial Aid before making such a request.
Q. Do I need to make an appointment to discuss my questions with the Financial Aid Office?
A: No. The Financial Aid office takes walk-ins. Students can also schedule appointments. Please feel free to stop by during business hours or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FAFSA and Federal Aid
Q. Should I pay for assistance to fill out my Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?
A: No, you don’t need to. If you apply using FAFSA on the Web at www.FAFSA.ed.gov, you get online instructions for each question, and you can chat live online with a customer service representative. Another source of free help is the online guide, Completing the FAFSA.
Whether you apply online or use the paper FAFSA, you can get free help by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at the telephone number(s) listed below or by contacting the Director of Financial Aid.
Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC):
Various websites do offer help filing the FAFSA for a fee. These sites are not affiliated with, or endorsed by, the U.S. Department of Education. We urge you not to pay these sites for assistance that we and the Department of Education provide for free.
Q. What is the FSA ID?
A: The FSA ID- a username and password- has replaced the Federal Student Aid PIN and must be used to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education Websites.
Q. Why do I need an FSA ID?
A: Your FSA ID confirms your identity when you access your financial aid information and electronically sign Federal Student Aid documents. Your FSA ID will need to be used when accessing the following Federal Aid websites:
- FAFSA on the Web at www.fafsa.ed.gov: Complete or edit your FAFSA.
- The National Student Loan Data System website at www.nslds.gov: View a history of the federal student financial aid you have received.
- StudentLoans.gov at www.studentloans.gov: You can electronically sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and complete student loan Entrance and Exit Counseling for your Direct Loans.
Q. How do I create an FSA ID?
- When logging in to one of the websites listed above, click the link to create an FSA ID.
- Create a username and password, and enter your e-mail address.
- Enter your name, date of birth, Social Security Number, contact information, and challenge questions and answers.
- If you have a Federal Student Aid PIN, you will be able to enter it and link it to your FSA ID. You can still create an FSA ID if you have forgotten or do not have a PIN.
- Review your information, and read and accept the terms and conditions.
- Confirm your e-mail address using the secure code, which will be sent to the e-mail address you entered when you created your FSA ID. Once you verify your e-mail address, you can use it instead of your username to log in to the websites.
- You can use your FSA ID to sign a FAFSA right away. Once the Social Security Administration verifies your information in one to three days, or if you have linked your PIN to your FSA ID, you will be able to use your FSA ID to access the websites listed above. For help, visit www.studentaid.gov/fsaid.
** Important: Only the owner of the FSA ID should create and use the account. Never share your FSA ID.
Q. How can I check the status of my FAFSA application?
A: You can check the status of your FAFSA immediately after submitting it online. You can check the status of a paper FAFSA after it has been processed (roughly 7-10 days from the date mailed).
Q. What is the Data Release Number (DRN)?
A: A DRN is required to make certain changes associated with the FAFSA you filed. You can make corrections to your mailing address and/or to the schools you listed to receive your FAFSA data. Just call the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Information Center (1-800-4-FED-AID [1-800-433-3243]). The DRN also allows you to release your FAFSA data to schools you did not list on your original FAFSA. The DRN is printed in the lower left-hand corner of your Student Aid Report (SAR).
Q. Can I add a school code to my FAFSA application?
A: Yes. You may either make the correction online with your FSA ID, over the phone (1-800-4-FED-AID) if you have your DRN number (see above), or you can fax the request (1-877-264-9664). The Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School/Savannah Law School code is G31733.
Q. Have you received my FAFSA?
A: SLS will download FAFSA applications after the June 1st deadline. Confirming that Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is listed as one of your institutions on your Student Aid Report (SAR) once your application is processed by the federal processor assures you that SLS has your FAFSA application.
Q. Do you require that I submit parental information on the FAFSA?
A: No. Graduate students are automatically considered independent for purposes of federal financial aid. Therefore, you do not need to complete the parent information section of the FAFSA.
Q. My taxes will not be completed prior to your deadline. Is it OK to use estimates when completing the FAFSA?
A: If you have filed taxes by the deadline, it is fine to check “will file” in the tax information section of the FAFSA. You will need to update your FAFSA once you do actually file your tax return. If you are offered and accept admission to SLS, then we will notify you if we need any additional forms or documents. Please note that a hold will be placed on your financial aid disbursement until your tax returns are filed and your FAFSA has been updated.
Q. I am an international student. Do I need to submit a FAFSA?
A: A student must be a U.S. Citizen or eligible non-citizen in order to receive federal financial aid. Students who do not fall into either category are not eligible for federal financial aid and thus do not need to complete the FAFSA. For information on federal eligibility, you may refer to the chapter on “Citizenship” in the Federal Student Aid Handbook which is available to online or in the Office of Financial Aid.
Q. How can I check the payment status of all my student loans?
A: You should contact the servicer of your loan. If you don’t know who your servicer is, you can use the website (www.nslds.gov) to find out about your federal student loans. The site displays information on loan and/or federal grant amounts, outstanding balances, loan statuses – and disbursements. To use the NSLDS Student Access website, you will need to provide your FSA ID.
Q. How do I defer repayment of the loans I received prior to attending SLS?
A: The Office of Financial Aid reports student enrollment data to the National Student Clearinghouse on a monthly basis. The Clearinghouse will provide the data to the National Student Loan Database System. Lenders and servicers who use the Clearinghouse will put your loans in deferment status. If your servicer requires a paper deferment form, please submit the form to the Office of Financial Aid.
Q. I have questions about my financial aid award. Who should I contact?
A: Contact the Office of Financial Aid. The financial aid administrator combines various forms of aid into a package to help meet a student’s needs. Using available resources to give each student the best possible package of aid is one of the aid administrator’s major responsibilities. Also, the amount of federal student aid in a financial aid package is affected by other sources of aid received (scholarships, fellowships, etc).
Q. How long does it take to apply for financial aid?
A: The process is fast and easy. The FAFSA can be completed online. SLS will receive access to your FAFSA application within 7-10 business days after completion. If you receive any requests for additional documents from the Financial Aid Office, the process may be delayed based on your response time. Please adhere to the following deadlines dates to ensure timely processing:
- June 1st Deadline to complete FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov
- June 1st Earliest you can apply for a Graduate Plus Loan at www.studentloans.gov
- June 30th Deadline to complete Entrance Loan Counseling at www.studentloans.gov
- July 15th Deadline to complete Master Promissory Note(s) for Unsubsidized and/or Graduate PLUS Loans
Q. Do I need to apply for financial aid every year?
A: Yes. You will need to complete the FAFSA annually.
Q. What is the annual Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan limit for graduate students?
A: All law students who submit a FAFSA and meet eligibility requirements are entitled to receive an annual allocation of $20,500 in a Direct Loan regardless of their assets or income.
Q. What is the aggregate Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan limit for the graduate students?
A: The U.S. Department of Education permits all eligible recipients to receive a lifetime amount of $138,500 in Direct Subsidized and Direct Unsubsidized Loans, including any undergraduate and graduate loans received. However, no more than $65,500 can come from the Direct Subsidized loan.
Q. What if I have exhausted my annual Federal Direct Loan eligibility and I still have not reached the Cost of Attendance? How do I secure additional loans?
A: You have a choice to borrow a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan or obtain a credit-based private education loan. Both of these loans have a credit review requirement. However, the Direct Graduate PLUS loan has a fixed 6.84% interest rate for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2015 and before July 1, 2016, while private loans have a variable rate. With private loans, often times, students have not acquired enough credit to establish a viable credit history and the lender may ask for a co-borrower. The loan funds are disbursed through the school and not directly to the student.
Q. How soon after my loan has been disbursed to the law school can I expect to have my overage/refund?
A: Generally, each semester, overage funds are disbursed via direct deposit 10 business days after classes have begun.
Q. What happens if I change my enrollment status at any point in the semester?
A: Enrollment status affects all types of financial assistance. Dropping classes after the semester has begun could have an impact on the eligibility for any loan. Once an overage/refund has been issued to a student and then courses are dropped, that could create an over award and a required return of federal and/or private funds.
Please be sure to contact the Office of Financial Aid, if you are an aid recipient and are considering a change to your enrollment. Adding or dropping courses creates an additional bill after funds have already been disbursed based on the prior enrollment.
Q. What should I do if I withdraw or take a leave of absence after receiving my loan checks?
A: Depending on the timing of your withdrawal or leave of absence, a portion of your loan funds may have to be returned to the lender, including any overage/refund amount you may have received. These are federal regulations that control the Return of Title IV Funds. These situations are individualized, and it is important to contact all offices that need to be involved. The Associate Dean, the Registrar’s Office, the Office of Financial Aid, and the Associate Dean of Students will advise you appropriately regarding any and all repercussions of a withdrawal.
Q. What aid is available for summer attendance?
A: Typically students have exhausted their unsubsidized loan funding prior to the summer semester, so Graduate PLUS or private loans are the only funds typically available.