Applying for Aid Step by Step

Applying for Aid Step by Step

Here is a list of steps you must take in account to apply for financial aid.

If you are applying for federal aid:

  1. is convenient, for you; begin the financial aid process in December to be well in advance of the school’s particular filing deadline. You should not wait until after you obtain admission propositions to begin the planning process.

  2. Obtain the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at or on paper from your college or university financial aid office, or from a law school to which you are applying. FAFSA is a need-analysis tool developed by the US Department of Education. As the name involves, there is no charge for the compilation and processing of data or the delivery of financial aid during this form. Do not pay to process your free application.
    • When terminating the FAFSA form, you will assign the names and school codes of up to six law schools to which you are applying. Additional schools may be added once the FAFSA is processed. Information on school codes is accessible from any law school financial aid office or at
    • The FAFSA form asks for information about your income, benefit, and other financial resources. Be sure to answer “yes” to the question: Are you a graduate or professional student? All graduate/professional students are considered independent of their parents for the federal loan programs.

  3. Organize your federal income tax returns as early as possible after the first of the year. Most schools will want to see a copy of your actual tax return, so be sure to keep a photocopy for your files. The FAFSA needs information that is requested directly from your tax return. While information packets (including the FAFSA) may be available from some law school financial aid offices in the fall, the FAFSA cannot be filed until after January 1. (They will be returned to you if received before the first of the year.) However, you can file any time after the first of the year—the earlier, the better.

  4. The law schools to which you apply will decide your eligibility for federal financial aid. The amount offered by each law school will differ, and each student’s financial require will be evaluated independently because costs change from school to school.

  5. Once you decide the school that you will attend, you may begin the federal loan application process. You can start your investigate early, however.

  6. Some of the private education loan programs will make credit decisions on the telephone or online. Contact them for details.

If you are applying for institutional aid:

Some schools may require additional information to the FAFSA. You may be asked to complete an institutional financial aid application or an additional form from another agency such as Need Access or CSS Profiles. It is important to know which schools need extra information. Many schools have very early filing deadlines.

Call, write, or e-mail the financial aid office of the law schools to which you are applying.