FAQ & Financial Aid Glossary
Information for 2L's
Q: It looks like my financial aid package is a lot smaller than what I received as a first year law student, is this correct?
A: Yes, for most students this is correct and here are the reasons why:
- A one-time lap top allowance is included in your first year Cost of Attendance (COA) budget. This line item is not included in the COA for continuing students.
- Eligible continuing students are awarded Federal Work Study (FWS). It is a need based employment program that requires students to earn their award amount through work. FWS reduces the amount a student can borrow in federal student loans. If you do not plan on participating in the program and need additional funds you may email to request the amount be converted into additional loan funds. Please state the exact amount.
- As a first year JD student, your COA is based on a flat rate tuition charge. As a continuing student your initial COA is based on a per credit tuition charge. The tuition component of the COA for a continuing student is based on the standard minimum required credits for your program type:
- Full time/day division students = 12 credits per semester
- Part time/evening division students = 6 credits per semester
- If you are taking more than the standard minimum credit load per semester and your current cost of attendance budget does not meet your financial requirements, you may email the Office of Financial Aid requesting an increase to your loan(s), please specify the following in your email authorization request:
- Enrollment intentions for the fall and spring semester (specify per semester)
- Exact amount of Federal Work Study to be converted into loan(s)
- Exact dollar amount that you need in total for the entire academic year (not semester*)
- Due to privacy information restrictions, we are unable to tell you your financial aid eligibility amount via email.
For this reason, to determine your additional eligibility please complete the following steps:
1. Log into your myIIT portal account and view your financial aid award information under the Finances tab.
2. View your financial aid award and your cost of attendance budget totals for the current academic year.
3. Subtract your financial aid award total from your Cost of attendance total. The difference is your current loan eligibility amount.
4. Respond to this email to request the exact dollar amount of loan increase that you wish to receive.
If you need assistance in how to determine the exact dollar amount you are eligible for just give us a call or stop by the office.
Please note: Financial aid is disbursed for the entire academic year. Any amount you request will be disbursed equally between the fall and spring semester. If your registration for the fall and spring term is not for the same number of credit hours, your financial aid refund will not be for the same amount each term. Therefore, we ask that you budget accordingly.
The Office of Financial Aid cautions students against borrowing up to the Cost of Attendance limit.
Information for 3L's
Q: I am a full-time JD student that is graduating next year. I am planning to take less than 12 credits in either fall semester or spring semester. Am I eligible for financial aid?
A: You are eligible to receive federal financial aid if you are enrolled at least half-time. Half-time status for JD students is 6 credits.
- Unfortunately, if you plan to take less than 6 credits you are ineligible for federal loans and you must make alternative arrangements to pay your tuition balance.
- Generally, in order to be eligible for your scholarship you must be enrolled in at least 12 credits. Fortunately, in some cases, the Office of Admissions allows graduating students to receive their scholarship when taking less than 12 credits. Please contact the Office of Admissions for further confirmation.
- If you plan to take between 6 and 11 credits, it is best to send your fall and spring semester enrollment intentions to our office via email. This will help to prevent delays of your disbursements and refunds. Once we receive your enrollment intentions, we will customize your cost of attendance budget to reflect your projected enrollment. It is best to let us know your enrollment intentions at least 3 weeks before classes start to ensure that your financial aid is not delayed.
Q: What types of financial aid can I receive as a law student at Chicago-Kent?
A: Neither the federal or our state government have grant programs for graduate students, as a law student at Chicago-Kent you would be eligible to receive the federal loans and/or merit and/or need-based scholarships. In order to receive student loans, you must be enrolled in a degree-seeking program and enrolled at least half-time. Click here for more information.
Q: How can I receive a Chicago-Kent scholarship?
A: The Admissions Office administers all scholarships. You can reach their office at (312) 906-5020 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also do a scholarship search for outside scholarships on the Admission Office Scholarship Record Page and at fastweb.com.
Q: How do I apply for financial aid?
A: The first step to take in order to receive financial aid for each academic year is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or the FAFSA. Students should complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1st of the academic year in which you plan to enroll. The Office of Financial Aid recommends completing the FAFSA prior to March 1st. You must use the Chicago-Kent school code on your FAFSA-E00773. If you have completed the FAFSA online you will receive a Student Aid Report via email in approximately 1 week. Students who complete the paper FAFSA will be mailed a Student Aid Report (SAR) in approximately 4-6 weeks. For this reason, we recommend that students complete the online version of the FAFSA, as it is a much faster process. Be sure to review your SAR thoroughly and make corrections if necessary. The Chicago-Kent Office of Financial Aid will receive an electronic copy of your SAR and determine what types of aid you are eligible to receive. Click here for Steps to Apply.
Q: How do I accept my financial aid award?
A: All students can view and accept their award in their myIIT account. If you have difficulty accessing your myIIT portal account please contact our office via email at email@example.com to make changes to your award.
Q: Are there other forms to complete in addition to the FAFSA?
A: Yes. After you have reviewed and made any necessary changes to your award, there will be certain forms to complete to begin the student loan process. Students planning to borrow any of the following loans will need to complete the processes described below:
Federal Stafford and Plus loans Loan Requirements
New students who have been awarded and accept the Federal Direct Stafford loan and/or Plus loan will need to complete each loan's Master Promissory Note, and one Loan Entrance Counseling Session that covers both loan types online at the Department of Education's website. Funds will not be disbursed until all requirements are completed.
Continuing students who have received a Federal Direct Stafford and/or Federal Plus loan in the past will not need to complete another Master Promissory Note or Loan Entrance Counseling, if both requirements have already been completed for IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. However, if you used an endorser or filed an appeal with Direct Loans in order to secure the Plus loan in the past, you may have to use an enodrser or file an appeal again in the future, as well as complete a new Master Promissory Note after your loan is approved. Direct Loans will notify students of their credit decision once the loan has been transmitted from the school to Direct Loans.
Q: What is the Master Application/Promissory Note?
A: This form a legal aggreement between the student borrower and the Department of Education. It is the product of the 1998 Re-authorization of federal student aid. It is called a "Master" promissory note because when you sign it the first time, you are giving your school and the government authorization to process and disburse a student loan for you every year you are enrolled, up to 10 years. The only exception to this is the Federal Plus Loan which is credit based. If you are not approved for credit and add an endorser or appeal your decision to Direct Loans, you may have to complete a new Master Promissory Note after you are approved.
Q: How will the Office of Financial Aid know how much I want to borrow in Federal loans if I do not have to submit a promissory note every year?
A: The Office of Financial Aid will process your Federal Direct Stafford and Federal Direct Plus loans based on the amount you accept on your financial aid award via the myIIT portal.
New and continuing students who wish to borrow a private loan will need to select a lender and complete a loan application at the lender's website. Additional information about private loans can be found here.
First time Perkins Loan recipients will receive an email notifying them when to complete the online requirements with IIT's Loan Servicer, ECSI. The student must complete the online promissory note and entrance counseling in order for the loan funds to be credited to their account.
Q: What is an application/promissory note?
A: This is your contract to receive a student loan and your agreement to promise your repayment of the loan. A student loan cannot and will not be disbursed if an application/promissory note is not completed.
Q: Why do I have to submit my federal IRS Tax Transcript to the Office of Financial Aid?
A: The government randomly selects a population of students to perform the Verification Process. In completing this process, our office simply compares your actual IRS Tax Transcript to the tax figures you reported on your FAFSA. If there are any discrepancies, they are corrected and your financial aid awards are reviewed again for eligibility. If any changes are made to your award due to Verification, you will be contacted. Click here on how to request your IRS Tax Transcript.
Q: Are there other forms of documentation I may need to submit?
A: On occasion, depending on the student and the circumstance, our office may be required to request citizenship verification, copy of social security card, marriage license, confirmation of prior default status cleared, verification of registration with selective service, etc. Be assured that if our office requires any additional information from you to complete your financial aid file, you will be contacted and one of our counselors will answer any questions you may have. Click here for required forms and worksheets.
Q: When will I receive my student loan disbursement?
A: The arrival of disbursements to the Office of Financial Aid will vary, depending upon loan type and when the loan documentation is complete. When our office receives your disbursement, your file will be reviewed for completeness, your enrollment status will be confirmed and then your disbursement will be forwarded to the Student Accounting Office. Student Accounts will notify you by email that a disbursement has been received for you. Click here for our disbursement schedule.
Q: What if the amount of financial aid awarded to me is not enough to cover my education and school expenses?
A: To help you determine how much loan funds you may need, please complete the Estimated Cost Worksheet. Also see the FAQ section below for common questions from 2L's and 3L's. You have the right to appeal your financial aid package with our office. Contact our office and consult with a counselor about your circumstances and how to go about an appeal action.
Q: What if I am visiting another school. Can I still receive financial aid?
A: Yes, if the Assistant Dean of Office of Academic Administration and Student Affairs has approved your visit and the transfer of the credits that you will earn. You will have to complete a Financial Aid Application to Visit Another Law School form. This form will provide us with the information needed to contact your visiting school and set up a Consortium Agreement. If you are planning to visit another school, see a counselor in our office for more details. Students visiting another law school are automatically ineligible for the Perkins Loan.
Q: What if I am studying abroad via Chicago-Kent. How do I receive financial aid?
A: You must still follow the same eligibility criteria as if you were taking classes at Chicago-Kent. You must complete a FAFSA, be enrolled at least half time, and be degree seeking. Please notify our office of the number of credits you wish to take. Please be aware that your Cost of Attendance during your study abroad term will be based on the living expenses and tuition charges of the school that you will attend.
To help you better understand the financial aid process, we have provided a list of definitions of the most commonly used terms. For a full list of terms see the U.S. Department of Education glossary.
Academic Year: The period of time beginning at the start of the fall semester and ending at the end of the spring semester (mid-August to mid-May). If a student attends and receives financial aid for the summer semester, that semester will then begin the academic year.
Accrued Interest: The addition of daily interest calculated on the unpaid principle balance of the loan. Depending upon the type of loan, this interest is payable by the borrower. Loans that accrue interest are the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford, Graduate Plus and Private Loan.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): A percentage calculation that reflects the total costs of a loan (interest plus all fees) on an annual basis.
Borrower: Anyone who obtains money from a lender. The borrower signs a master promissory note, which serves as the formal promise to repay the loan.
Capitalizing: A process where a lender adds any unpaid interest to the principal of the loan, thereby increasing the balance due and the monthly payment of your loan.
Cost of Attendance: Your financial aid eligibility is based on this budget. A student's total financial aid package, including scholarships, loans and any other financial aid resources, may not exceed the Cost of Attendance Budget, as determined by the Office of Financial Aid. Included in the Cost of Attendance Budget are direct costs and indirect costs. Direct costs are items that will be charged direct by IIT Downtown Campus. They include tuition and fees. Indirect costs such as books, room and board, transportation, miscellaneous, and computers fees are based on average expenses. They are estimates to assist you in budget planning. Indirect costs are not payable to the university.
Consolidation: A process where a company will combine all outstanding student loans into a new loan.
Default: The failure of a borrower either to make payment installments when due or to comply with other terms of the master promissory note.
Deferment: A period of time during which the repayment of the principal amount of the loan is suspended as a result of the borrower meeting one of the requirements established by law and/or contained in the master promissory note. During this period, borrowers may not have to pay interest on the loan.
Delinquent Borrower: A borrower who has failed to make one or more payment installments on their due date.
Disclosure Statement: A statement of the actual loan costs, including the interest rate and any additional fees. This statement must be presented to the borrower on or before the date the money is sent out by the lender.
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan: A government-backed educational loan in which the student is responsible for all of the interest that accrues on the loan. Fixed interest rate is 5.41% and accrues while in school. The student may either pay the interest while in school or have it accrue and capitalize on the principal. There is a 1.051% or 1.072% origination fee deducted from the loan before it is disbursed for the 2013-2014 academic year (see Loan Origination Fee section below).
Federal Direct Plus Loan: A government backed credit based education loan that is not need-based loan. You must first apply for your maximum loan eligibility through the Direct loan before the PLUS Loan can be awarded. Fixed interest rate is at 6.41% and begins to accrue when the loan is disbursed to the school. Repayment of the principal begins immediately, but is deferred by Direct Loans if a student also has Stafford Loans, to match the 6-month grace period. An origination fee of 4.204 or 4.288% is deducted from the gross amount borrowed prior to disbursement for the 2013-2014 academic year (see Loan Origination Fee below). The annual limit is the Cost of Attendance minus other financial aid, but there is no aggregate limit. The Direct Loan Servicer (the loan service for the U.S. Department of Education) will review a student's credit report when determining eligibility. Generally, a student with an adverse credit history may be denied. Student may appeal credit decision or provide endorser to Direct Loan Servicer if denied.
Forbearance: A temporary cessation of loan payments; an extension of time for making payments; or and acceptance of smaller payments than were previously scheduled. Forbearance may be given for circumstances that are not covered by deferment, such as hospitalization or short-term unemployment, that adversely affect the borrower's ability to meet loan payment obligations.
Grace Period: A period of 6 months after a student graduates or ceases to be enrolled at least half time. After 6 months the student goes into repayment. Loan payments do not have to be made by the student during the grace period. However, interest will continue to accrue on loans that are not subsidized.
Loan Period: The academic year or portion thereof for which the applicant is enrolled and is seeking one or more loans.
Origination Fee: A processing fee calculated on the amount borrowed and charged to the student by the Department of Education. This fee is deducted from the amount of the loan proceeds. Subtract 1.051% from the Federal Stafford Loan and 4.204% from the Federal Plus Loan if the loan’s first disbursement was made to your student account before December 1, 2013. Subtract 1.51% from the Stafford Loan and 4.288% from the Federal Plus Loan if the loan’s first disbursement was made on or after December 1, 2013. For more information see our Loan Origination Fee website.
Principal and Interest: Principal refers to the total amount borrowed plus any capitalized fees and interest. Interest refers to the amount charged for the use of the money over time, and is usually stated as an annual percentage of the principal amount.
Master Promissory note: A legal document signed by the borrower when obtaining a loan. The master promissory note lists the conditions under which the loan is made and the terms under which the borrower agrees to pay back the loan. It is completed online at www.studentloans.gov.
Repayment Schedule: A plan which calculates the principal and interest due in each installment, number of payments required to pay the loan in full, the interest rate, and the due dates of the first and subsequent payments.
Servicer: The Department of Education, private lenders and secondary markets hire companies that specialize in student loans to handle billing, collections, deferments, etc. These organizations are called "servicers" since they service the loans for the lenders. See our website for a list of current servicers.