Financing Your Legal Education

Commencement

Going to law school is an investment in your future. Planning ahead, taking advantage of federal loans, seeking out external scholarships, and being frugal will make the navigation of financing law school easier and more effective. Take time to educate yourself about available options and then choose your best plan of action.

Tuition and Cost of Attendance

Current tuition is determined by the University of Miami Board of Trustees. Please consult the Law School Cost of Attendance for information about the tuition structure and other fees.

Types of Aid Available to Finance Law School

 Loans

The two types of federal loans are the most commonly utilized method of financing law school.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan

This is the most attractive type of federal loan offered. All eligible law students are offered this loan as part of their award package. Need and creditworthiness are not requirements.

  • Students are capped at $20,500 each academic year.
  • The interest rate is 5.28% for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2021.
  • Interest accrues on these loans while you are in school.
  • Graduate Entrance Counseling and a Promissory Note are required for the funds to be released to the University.

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

All eligible law students are offered this loan as part of their award package. Need is not a requirement, but a credit check is required.

  • Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans can cover the amount up to the Cost of Attendance less any institutional scholarships received and $20,500 of Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan.
  • The interest rate is 6.28% for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2021.
  • Approval for this loan is based on a credit check, which is done by the Department of Education as soon as a student accepts any amount of Grad PLUS Loan. The credit check looks for whether an applicant has an “adverse credit history,” and borrowers who have an adverse credit history will be asked to meet additional requirements to qualify. An adverse credit history includes being at least 90 days behind on one or more debts of more than $2,085; having a debt that was placed in collections or charged off in the last two years; or, in the last five years, having been subject to default, bankruptcy discharge, foreclosure, repossession, tax lien, wage garnishment, or a write-off of a federal student loan.

Private Loans

Private loans, made through a bank or other financial lender, are the least attractive to borrow because the interest rate is likely to be higher and the terms less favorable than a student loan through the federal government.

If you are not taking out federal loans, visit this webpage for information on paying for law school.

 Scholarships

Institutional Scholarships (Merit-based Aid)

All merit-based scholarships for incoming students are awarded by the Office of Admissions. Scholarships are highly competitive and granted to admitted students on a rolling basis. The majority of scholarships are awarded between December and April of each admission cycle or until the scholarship funds are exhausted. Competitive applicants who wish to be optimally placed for scholarship consideration should complete their application for admission no later than the first week of January.

External Scholarships (Need or Merit-based Aid)

Miami Law maintains a page of scholarships offered by sources outside the University. These scholarships are often easily found through a google search.

Florida Bright Futures Scholarship (FBFS)

The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program establishes lottery-funded scholarships to reward Florida high school graduates for high academic achievement. FBFS recipients who graduate with a bachelor’s degree in the 2010-11 academic year or thereafter, in seven or fewer semesters, or the equivalent, may receive funding for one semester of graduate study, not to exceed 15 credit hours paid at the undergraduate rate through the FBFS Program. Your FBFS award will be part of your financial aid package at the University of Miami. An FBFS award will reduce federal loan eligibility, which will assist in decreasing future loan debt. For more information and to check your FBFS eligibility, please log in to your account on the FBFS website or contact the Florida Department of Education, Office of Student Financial Assistance at 888-827-2004 or osfa@fldoe.org.

 Other

Florida Prepaid Plan (FLPP)

Your parents or another adult might have invested money into an FLPP to fund your college education. Some incoming law students may have remaining FLPP funds and do not realize they may use them toward law school tuition and fees. The process for having FLPP funds sent to the University of Miami for law school is as follows:

  1. Contact FLPP or login to your FLPP account to determine if you have any remaining funds. Knowing the amount of FLPP funds you have if you successfully complete the FLPP process could impact the amount of student loans you decide to borrow.
  2. Fill out the Transfer Form and submit it to FLPP directly.
  3. Fill out the Authorization Form available on the Office of Student Accounts website and submit it through the Student Dashboard on CaneLink.
  4. Once you are officially enrolled in law school (late July-early August), the University of Miami will bill FLPP in the amount of your remaining FLPP funds. This means your FLPP funds will not show up as part of your initial financial aid package.
  5. The University of Miami will place a credit on your student account in the amount of the FLPP. The FLPP funds will be refunded to the student if there is an excess credit on the student account, which may happen in the case of someone with a significant merit scholarship award.

Financial Aid Process and Timeline

For those eligible, funds borrowed through the federal government can help you pay for law school. To apply for federal loans and use them to pay for law school, please follow these steps.

 1. File Your FAFSA (October - April)

Submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after it is released (October 1) so that your financial aid package is available to review as you make your decision to attend Miami Law. The FAFSA code for the University of Miami School of Law is E00532. If you selected the wrong code (001536), remove it and add the correct one to expedite the awarding process. As a graduate/professional student, you need not provide your parent’s financial information when filing the FAFSA.

The preferred FAFSA filing date for Miami Law is April 15, but the final deadline for the 2021-2022 academic year varies based on your enrollment.

What do I need to file my FAFSA?

  • FSA ID - students who have never filed a FAFSA or who have filed but do not remember their Federal Student Aid ID should first visit https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm to register/reapply for a FSA ID.
  • Social Security Number
  • Driver’s license (if any)
  • Current bank statements and investment records (if any)
  • Your W2 forms and any other record of money earned
  • Your federal income tax return. It is recommended that you use the Tax Retrieval Tool in the application to ensure the correct information is populated into the form.
  • Your untaxed income records (i.e., 401K contributions, child support received)
  • Alien registration card (if not a U.S. citizen)
  • If you are flagged by the Department of Education and need to supplement your financial aid application with additional documents such as proof of citizenship, selective service requirement, amended tax return or other documents requested by the Office of Financial Assistance and Employment, you should upload these items here: 2021-2022 Document Submission Form. You may also need to complete and submit the Original Document Affidavit with your requested documents.

 2. Receive a Loan Package Notification from Office of Financial Aid (March - June)

The Office of Financial Assistance and Employment will send you a notification once you have been packaged.

 3. View Your Aid Package and Accept Your Loans (March - June)

  • On CaneLink, visit the Financial Aid section of your Student Center.
  • Click “View Financial Aid.”
  • Click the “2021+” link to select the “Federal Aid Year 2020-2021 and after.” You will be redirected to the NetPartner Portal.
  • From the Menu dropdown box in the upper left side of your screen, select “Accept Awards.” Be sure to “accept” both loans if you plan to utilize them for the school year. This allows the Office of Financial Assistance and Employment to originate the loan(s) with the Department of Education.

Please note that the Office of Financial Assistance and Employment offers you the maximum amount that you are allowed to borrow, which is determined by the University’s cost of attendance. Please carefully consider how much money you will actually need to cover your expenses. You do not have to accept all the loans you are offered and are encouraged not to do so, if possible, in order to minimize your debt. If you choose to borrow less loan funding than you were offered, please fill out and submit the Loan Revision Form to indicate the amount you would like to borrow, then accept your loan package on CaneLink after the revised loan amounts are reflected.

Your institutional scholarship should be visible as part of your aid package. If you have been notified that you have been awarded an institutional scholarship and it is not part of your aid package, please contact the Office of Admissions for assistance.

If the Office of Financial Assistance and Employment has requested additional documentation to complete your financial aid file, it should be submitted via the Document Submission Form. Documents may include proof of citizenship, selective service requirement, amended tax return, and other documents required by the Office of Financial Assistance and Employment.

Once you have accepted your loans, the Office of Financial Assistance and Employment electronically submits the certified loan to the Department of Education. The Department of Education acknowledges the certified loan(s) and conducts a credit check for the Graduate PLUS Loan. The DOE will send you an email and a paper confirmation of the credit decision. In the event you are denied, the letter will provide the additional steps required to be approved.

 4. Complete the Required Documentation with the Federal Government (March - July)

Once you have notified the University which loans you are accepting, you must visit https://studentaid.gov to complete these documents:

  • Graduate Entrance Counseling
  • Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loan Promissory Note
  • Graduate PLUS Loan Promissory Note (if applicable)

 5. Notify Admissions of Any External Scholarships (June - July)

If you have been awarded any external scholarship awards, please notify the Office of Admissions via email at admissions@law.miami.edu as soon as possible, and before enrollment, so that these loans will be reflected on and applied to your student account.

 6. Sign Up for Direct Deposit (June - July)

So that your loan refund can be direct deposited into your bank account as quickly as possible when it becomes available, sign up for direct deposit. Learn how to sign up for direct deposit on CaneLink here.

 7. Complete Title IV “Opt-in” Authorization (July)

To opt-in to have your federal loan funds applied to additional charges by the University, such as your health insurance, athletic fees, or campus parking pass, complete the Title IV authorization form on CaneLink under "View Student Permissions."

If you do not opt into the Title IV authorization by July 31, your financial aid will NOT pay these charges. If you are eligible for a refund and do not opt in to have these charges applied through financial aid, they will still be due and are your responsibility.

For additional information about the Title IV authorization, please click here. If you have further questions, please contact ‘Canes Central.

 8. Receive Tuition Bill (Mid-July)

You will receive your tuition bill via email several weeks before classes begin. You are not required to pay this tuition bill until your loan funds have been disbursed.

 9. Receive Loan Disbursement and Refund (Mid-August)

Loan disbursement occurs once the above steps are properly completed. This means your student loan funds will be applied to the charges on your student account, including any expenses to which you have opted to have included. Any funds over and above the charges on your student account will be refunded to you so that you may pay for costs that are not charged through the University, such as housing. Refunds are not processed until first week of school, so please plan accordingly.

Financial Aid Forms

Note that some of the forms referred to may not yet be available. Check this webpage for future postings.

 Loan Revision Form

Used by the student to decrease the offered loan amount, or in some cases, to reinstate a loan that was erroneously declined. Available here.

 Cost of Attendance Review Request Form

Allows a student to supply documentation and a summary of their budget versus the financial aid budget to determine if an increase can be made. Special circumstances that can be considered include living expenses, dependent care expenses (daycare/afterschool care), computer purchase, and additional educational expenses such as additional books and supplies, required computer software, instrument required for degree program, and travel for educational purposes (required for degree conferment). As Health Insurance is not included in the COA budget, students who are not opting out of the University’s Health Insurance Plan may request an increase for coverage.

 Document Submission Form

Allows you to submit materials such as proof of citizenship, selective service requirement, amended tax return, or other documents requested by the Office of Financial Assistance and Employment. Available here.

 Title IV Authorization Form

Is a process done with Student Accounts. Students must submit this form to allow Student Accounts to use their federal aid to cover charges outside of tuition and fees. Available here.

FAQ

 What is the difference between federal and private student loans?

Federal student loans are made by the government through the University, with terms set by law and many benefits (such as fixed interest rates and income-driven repayment plans) not typically offered with private loans.

In contrast, private loans are made by private organizations such banks, credit unions, and state- based or state-affiliated organizations, and have terms and conditions that are set by the lender. Private student loans are generally more expensive than federal student loans.

 What does federal aid cover? What should loans be used for?

Federal aid is available to pay for your Cost of Attendance. The Office of Financial Assistance and Employment develops the cost of attendance as it is the average cost to attend the University. It is also the maximum amount of all aid you can receive from any source (i.e., loans from federal, state, or private lenders) for the academic year (fall and spring semesters).

Loan funds should be used for actual cost of attendance (tuition, housing, food, books, and necessary miscellaneous school-related expenses). During your time in law school, you can request a one-time only increase to buy a new computer. (Receipts and documentation directly in your name are required). Further, if you experience an emergency (i.e., unexpected car repair) and extra funds are needed, you can make a one-time request for an increase using the Cost of Attendance Review Form (not yet available for 2021-22). Again, the request must be school-related, and receipts tied to your name must be submitted.

 Do I need an endorser for my loans?

An endorser is not needed for the Direct Unsubsidized Loan. However, the Graduate PLUS Loan has a credit check requirement, which is conducted by the Department of Education and may require an endorser under certain conditions. If you are denied a Graduate PLUS Loan, information about the appeal process will be provided directly to you by the DOE.

 When should I accept my loans?

Accepting your loans by mid-June will allow ample time for processing and disbursement in a timely manner.

 How will I receive my funds? What is the disbursement process?

If you are taking out federal loans, you are doing so with the understanding that the funds are sent directly to the University to pay charges being billed by the University for that semester. If you want the Office of Student Account Services to use your loans to cover your parking pass or health insurance for which you will be billed, you must complete the Title IV authorization in your CaneLink portal. You should not expect to get a refund prior to the first week of classes and this will be forthcoming only if you have completed all required steps in order for the funds to be released to the University. You will not have access to your loan funds for purchases until the refund is released.

You are encouraged to sign up for the Direct Deposit option through ‘Canes Central as this is the quickest way to receive your funds. Designate a bank and the funds will be electronically transferred to your account. For additional information about enrolling in Direct Deposit, please click here. If you have further questions, please contact ‘Canes Central.

 Up to what date can I change my loan amount?

If you accept an amount and then later wish to decrease it or wish to request additional funds, the deadline for doing so will be on the loan revision request form. The Loan Revision Form will be available through Canes Central.

 How do I submit supplemental documents?

If the Office of Financial Assistance and Employment asks you to supplement your FAFSA with additional documents such as proof of citizenship, selective service requirement, or amended tax return, you may do so here: 2021-2022 Document Submission Form. You may also need to include the Original Document Affidavit.

 What is my housing allowance and when should I plan to move in?

Access the Cost of Attendance webpage to help you plan your housing budget. Note that the housing budget included in the Cost of Attendance assumes you will be living with at least one roommate, and we have a Roommate Referral Program to assist you in finding a roommate. Securing a lease that begins on August 1 will give you time to get settled prior to Orientation in mid-August. Please review our Housing Guide and Tips for Renters.

 Is the cost of the University’s health insurance included in the Cost of Attendance?

No. If a student requires the University’s health insurance, the policy’s premium will be a cost over and above the Cost of Attendance. A Cost of Attendance revision to obtain loans to cover the cost of the premium may be requested by filling out a Cost of Attendance Review Form.

 Do I need to file FAFSA for new loans every year? What if I plan to take law classes over the summer?

You must complete a renewal FAFSA prior to each year of law school. The FAFSA becomes available October 1 each year for the next academic year. Your FAFSA covers attendance from fall through summer. You are not required to complete a new FAFSA for summer.

 How do I get financial aid for summer classes?

Students may qualify for some forms of federal loans to pay for summer courses if they enroll at least half/part-time. For law school, half/part-time is considered a minimum of three credits. Students will not receive a financial aid package for the summer until (a) they have registered for the summer semester for at least half/part-time and (b) they have received a summer bill. If you have already received federal loans during the academic year, you need not submit a separate or renewal FAFSA to obtain loans for the summer. Please note that, since most law students exhaust their maximum eligibility for Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans during the academic year ($20,500), the initial summer aid package will only offer you Grad PLUS Loans. If you did not borrow $20,500 in the preceding academic year, you may fill out a Loan Revision Form to change the amount and type of loan to include Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans, keeping in mind the annual $20,500 cap and the cost of your summer class(es).

 What are the scholarship retention policies at Miami Law?

Each academic year, the School of Law reviews scholarship recipients to ensure they have maintained eligibility. Eligibility for scholarships is maintained when students are not on academic oversight and abide by the School of Law’s Honor Code. Students with a law school GPA below 2.5 are placed on academic oversight. In compliance with Standard 509 of the American Bar Association, Miami Law posts its scholarship retention data as part of the 509 Report. For more information about scholarship retention policies, please click here.

 Do you offer financial aid resources for military and veterans?

Yes. Military and veteran financial aid information is available here.

 Do you offer loan forgiveness or other financial support for those pursuing public service after graduation?

Yes. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program helps make it financially feasible to go into a career in public service. There are also postgraduate fellowships available; those interested should contact the HOPE Public Interest Resource Center during their 2L year. For additional information on both programs, please click here. Please review the links at the bottom of this page for more public interest financial aid information.

 Who can I contact if I have financial aid questions or concerns?

For any concerns prior to matriculation, contact the Office of Admissions at admissions@law.miami.edu or 305-284-6746. For Financial Aid questions or concerns as a continuing student, contact Canes Central at https://www.canescentral.miami.edu/contact/ or 305-284-4247.

Other Financial Aid & Scholarship Resources

Public Interest Financial Aid Information