Law School Discussion

Financial Aid Questions


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Financial Aid Questions
« on: February 07, 2006, 08:13:07 AM »
Any knowledge regarding the following questions would be very helpful:

1) I'm married w/ a child.  My wife is a stay-at-home mom.  I am going into law school straight out of undergrad (read: no savings).  Has anybody else been in this (or a similar) situation before?  Do you think my family and I can squeeze by on the budget the law school gives me, or will we have to find other sources of income?  If the latter is the case, will it all be private loans...and could I even get additional "student" loans, or would they be higher-rate private loans?

2) My EFC is 0...what kind of need-based aid can I get?  In CA as an undergrad last year I received ~13k in grants from the state...will I see anything like that in law school?

3) When do schools usually give you a full financial aid proposal?  Will I not see that until I accept?  Is there any chance I'll hear about need-based aid before the decision deadline?

4) Since my EFC is 0, does this mean that every school will find some way for me to pay for their budgeted amount in some way other than private loans?  I know this is the case for undergrad.  For law school the budget is usually ~45k.  18.5k in federal loans still leaves 25k+ to pay will this be made up in their financial aid package?  Do they sometimes offer loans from the school?  Will it all be scholarships/grants?

Any help is greatly appreciated...thanks.


Re: Financial Aid Questions
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2006, 08:28:38 AM »
Allow me to give you some advice, and related experience.  A friend of mine graduated law school with a wife and child.  He went MCGeorge, and graduated with more than 120K in debt.  He borrowed extra to live on.  Federal loans will only cover 18.5k, so you will have to take a private student loan.  Salliemae s/p?, etc, are willing to give them out to potential lawyers.  So, live cheap, but make sure your child and wife eat.

As for me, I have 3 children, and obviously a wife.  I am leaving the military and will have the GI bill which will be about 1300 a month, so that will give us a place to live, with a little left over for whatever.  I will have to take private loans to cover school, but am hoping for needs based grants, etc.  If not, I will get loans, and place them into savings immediately.  If I use it, ok, if not, it will sit in my savings until I graduate, upon which I will pay them back.  Also, some schools have loan repayment and assistance programs, to assist paying off student loans.  You will have to work in a public service job, but they will pay off a lot of your loans. 

You have to think about your family and insurance for them, etc.  I am not sure about the insurance part, but if they don't have any, I am sure I don't need to tell you how much more financially ruined you may become, so, as the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Or, in the realm of law school, 10k in private loans is worth 100k in medical bills! 

I was always told, since my youth, that I should make EXTREME sacrifices in order to gain an education.  If that means I need to take out extra loans to do so, I MUST.  Additionally, those EXTREME sacrifices must also include living as cheaply as possible in order to get out of school with the least amount of debt as possible.

To answer your questions...

1. YES, wife should always stay home with children! (personal opinion)
2. NEEDS BASED GRANTS--get your financial aid in as of YESTERDAY!!

GOOD LUCK, where are you looking at attending??