Federal Direct Loans
Federal Direct loans are the major form of financial aid for law students. Any regularly eligible student enrolled at least half-time may borrow loans. There is one type of Federal Direct loan available: Unsubsidized (non-need based with a maximum of $20,500 per year.). The maximum annual combined loan limit will be the lesser of $20,500 or the cost of attendance minus other financial aid. Most students are eligible for the maximum. Origination fees for this type of loan are 1.069% effective for loans first disbursed between 10/1/16 & 10/1/17. The interest rate for this loan is a variable fixed rate that is reset each year on June 1st and is capped at 9.5%. Please see below for interest rate details. For further information, including sample repayment options, about Federal Direct loans, go to www.studentloans.gov.
Federal Graduate Plus Loans
Graduate students are eligible to borrow under the PLUS loan program up to their cost of attendance minus other estimated financial assistance. Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans must be applied for first. The terms and conditions include that applicants must not have an adverse credit history, repayment begins on the date of the last disbursement of the loan (students still in school can get forbearance to postpone repayment), 4.276% loan fees are charged for loans first disbursed between 10/1/16 and 10/1/17 and the interest rate is a variable fixed rate that is reset each year on June 1st. Please see below for interest rate details. These loans will be helpful for those students in the 3-year program or others who would otherwise rely on private or alternative loans to cover their educational expenses. Unlike private/alternative loans, PLUS loans are easier to qualify for, federally regulated, capped at 10.5% interest rate (can never exceed that rate) and able to be consolidated with Federal Direct subsidized/unsubsidized loans upon graduation. Further information at www.studentloans.gov.
The Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013
Retroactive to 7/1/13, the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013 amends the Direct Loan interest rate section of the Higher Education Act. There are now new formulas that apply to all Direct Loans – including graduate Unsubsidized and Graduate PLUS.
Each year, the interest rate will be determined by the 10-year Treasury note (T) auctioned at the final auction held prior to June 1, plus a statutorily defined “add-on”. The rate will then be effective for loans disbursed on or after July 1 of that year. The rate formula add-on will be T + 3.60% for graduate Unsubsidized loans and T + 4.60% for Graduate PLUS loans. For 2015-16 loans disbursed on or after 7/1/15, the rates will be 5.84% for graduate Unsubsidized loans and 6.84% for Graduate PLUS loans. The interest rate, once established, will apply for the life of the loan. As a result, it is likely that many borrowers will have a set of fixed-rate loans, each with a different interest rate.
NOTE: Just because you CAN borrow maximum loan amounts does not mean you SHOULD. Please review your budget carefully and only borrow what you absolutely need. Loan totals add up quickly, as does accruing interest. Do not saddle yourself with an unmanageable loan debt that you may not be able to easily repay once you leave school.
This is a need-based federal program that provides job opportunities to eligible students who wish to earn money to assist with educational expenses. Jobs are available on a limited basis and most require the completion of the first year of law school to qualify. The school receives a federal grant to pay a portion of the wages for the positions that the school administers. See Career Services for available job postings
Veteran's Education Benefits
San Joaquin College of Law is committed to making a law degree accessible for our nation’s veterans and their dependents. We are approved for and participate in federal VA programs that provide up to 100% of tuition and fee benefits to qualified veterans who are accepted and enrolled at SJCL. The SJCL certifying official, in the Financial Aid Office, acts as a liaison between the law school, students and all agencies involved with VA benefits, including but not limited to; Chapter 33-Post 9/11, Chapter 30–GI Bill, Chapter 35–Dependents, Chapter 1606 – Selected Reserve and Chapter 31 – Vocational Rehabilitation.
To determine eligibility for benefits, the VA requires that you complete the form VA22-1990. You may apply online here. To access the “GI Bill Comparison Tool”, which compares benefits at post-secondary institutions, click here (Note: This site requires the latest version of your browser).
You may also call the regional office in Oklahoma (for California Schools) at 888-442-4551 for further information and assistance.
Once the VA22-1990 is submitted, the Department of Veteran Affairs will send you a Certificate of Eligibility for Education Benefits. A copy of this certificate along with a copy of the DD Form 214 (certificate of release or discharge), if applicable, must be submitted to the SJCL Financial Aid Office.
You must have all required documents on file and be accepted and registered for classes before SJCL can certify your enrollment to the online VAOnce processing center.
Maintaining VA Status at SJCL
Once you start receiving benefits, you must maintain satisfactory attendance and progress. If you do not meet the standards set by SJCL (see student handbook), the certifying official will notify the VA and your benefits may be terminated.
If you change the number of units enrolled in, either by increase or decrease in status, you need to inform the certifying official. Failure to do so may result in overpayment or underpayment of your benefits.
When will I receive the Financial Aid funds?
No financial aid can be disbursed until all financial aid documents are complete. Federal Direct loan disbursements are made to the school in equal payments at the beginning of each term. The first disbursement is approximately 3 weeks after the start of the first term of the academic year. Remaining disbursements for the year are made about two weeks after the start of the subsequent term(s). Check with the accounting office for issue dates of overage checks (amounts over what is owed to the school for tuition and fees). NOTE: Book purchases must be made using your own resources. Tuition payments can be delayed until your financial aid has been received.
Additional Financial Aid Information
IRS Education Tax Credit Information
For information on IRS education tax credits, please visit their website by clicking here.