Law School Discussion

Bad Fin. Aid Office--Please Help

Bad Fin. Aid Office--Please Help
« on: June 22, 2005, 08:01:21 AM »
I thought I was being responsible si I went to talk to my financial aid office to get some help on how to finance law school.  The problem was, the fin. aid office at my school is for the entire university and seem to not know that much about the law school specifically.

They explained to me how to get my federal loans (up to the estimated COA) and that was easy.  However, I need more than what they are giving me as the COA only covers my rent, phone, car, and utilities.  I have to furnish my apartment (am moving from thousands of miles away so I have none) and get a computer plus , um...EAT.  When I asked them how to get additional loans, the woman looked at me like I was crazy.

She told me that the law school should have told me that law school was a sacrifice and if I can't live on the COA, I should reconsider going.  She specifically told me that the COA doesn't consider car payments and supplemental or NEW books (which EVERYONE recommends) and that I should find that funding elsewhere.  I said I have no assistance from my parents and that the law school recommended I have a one-bedroom so my only choice is additional loans.

Since my school is public, I don't have reservations about taking out private loans because my total debt won't be that bad after I graduate.  I'd rather be comfortable in my living situation and not have to constantly worry about money.  I'll deal with the debt when I get out and work in BIGLAW for a few years (by the way, I am a LA in the firm most notorious for its "sweatshop qualities" right now, so I know what I am getting into).

She said the school would not authorize any additional loans from a private bank and if I went and got additional loans, the government would reduce my fed. loans by the amount of my loans so that I was only taking out the cost of attendance.  In short, she suggested nothing to help me and basically patronized me for being high-maintenence.

I was so upset by this woman, my dad had to calm me down and reassure me that if I wanted a loan I could get one.

My question is: what was she correct about and what is she not?  I can't beleive that this office is so bad...but there's nothing I can do.  The fact remains, I need an additional loan. 

I applied for one from (because my sister has an undergrad loan from there) and I am waiting for approval...but I don't want this to take away from my federal loans.




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Re: Bad Fin. Aid Office--Please Help
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2005, 03:40:24 PM »
Somewhat correct about private loans; you only have private loan eligibility for the COA at your school. however, your school will increase your loan eligibility to purchase a computer, up to $2500 at most schools.

BTW, that COA seems rather low; most schools don't authorize much money for a car, but food, a reasonable book allowance... are always covered. I don't know how additional private loans will affect your govt. loans.

Re: Bad Fin. Aid Office--Please Help
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2005, 04:58:44 PM »
There are loans you can get that do not need to be certified by the school. These are above and beyond your COA. BofA has one (education maximizer) and Bank One does as well. There are a few threads here about them - I recommend you find those threads for more info.

I will tell you though, don't tell the fin aid office that you are getting one of these uncertified loans. They can decrease the amount of federal loans you get if they find out you have another source of money. I currently work at a college and our Director of Student Financial Services told me that this can happen. I'm not sure how often they do it (usually they don't find out about the additional loans), but they can if they want to.