Students are encouraged to set aside earnings throughout law school for their bar study expenses. Earn while you learn opportunities offered at AUWCL, in addition to external employment, may provide some or all of the savings needed to help off-set the additional expenses that cannot be covered by financial aid.
Saving throughout law school to minimize additional borrowing is an investment in your own future success. For those students who need additional financial resources, a limited number of private lenders offer bar study loans designed to assist graduating law students with financing expenses such exam fees, bar application fees and living expenses. While these loans are not part of your academic year financial aid, they must to be certified by AUWCL Financial Aid Office in order to verify your expected graduation date. Most bar study loans are capped at $15,000 and this figure may also be utilized by those planning to save for related expenses with an understanding that factors such as the location of the exam and where one lives may impact the funding needed.
Please note: Enrolled students should confirm that they have exhausted their financial aid eligibility for the current academic year prior to pursuing a private bar study loan. Bar study expenses cannot be added to the AUWCL cost of attendance. Only JD students/graduates of AUWCL can be certified by the Financial Aid Office; LL.M students must go through their JD institution.
What is the approval process for bar study loans?
Bar study loan approval is credit-based and at the discretion of each private lender’s criteria. General criteria include:
The borrower must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident.
Borrowers must be enrolled in a law school program or have recently graduated.
The borrower must satisfy credit criteria. If the borrower does not have satisfactory credit, a creditworthy co-signer may be required.
Total indebtedness, including the bar loan, does not exceed the lender specified cap, if any.
How much am I eligible to borrow?
Bar study loan caps vary by lender generally ranging from $12,000 - $15,000. Many students find that borrowing $10,000 or less is sufficient to meet their expenses. Borrowing as little as possible in bar study loans is recommended as they are not eligible for loan forgiveness or consolidation, income-driven repayment, and the AUWCL Public Interest Loan Repayment Assistance Program (PILRAP).
Students are encouraged to set aside earnings throughout law school for their bar study expenses. Earn while you learn opportunities offered at AUWCL, in addition to external employment, may provide some or all of the savings needed to help off-set bar exam related expenses. Saving throughout law school to minimize additional borrowing is an investment in your own future success.
Will I need a co-signer?
If you do not meet the lender established credit criteria, you may be asked to add a co-signer to gain approval. Additionally, the lender may suggest adding a credit worthy co-signer to lower the interest rate on the loan.
When should I apply for a bar study loan?
Students typically apply for the bar study loan during their final year of the JD program. Since the loan is disbursed directly to the borrower, the borrower is able to set up the disbursement dates and number of disbursements for the loan. Borrowers are encouraged to take advantage of the multiple disbursements to assist with budgeting and reduce interest accrual.
What is the interest rate?
Since this is a private loan, the lender will set the interest rate. Interest rates may be fixed or variable.
How do I determine which lender is best?
The AUWCL Financial Aid Office does not recommend lenders. You are encouraged to review each lender’s website and determine which lender is best for you based on the terms of the loans and your personal financial information, including indebtedness and credit history.
I have completed the application and was approved. What do I do next?
Send an email to the AUWCL Financial Aid Office to notify of your approval. Please include your name, AU ID number and the lender.
When will the loan disburse?
Disbursement of bar study loans is based on the disbursement date(s) you select when applying for the loan. The borrower chooses the disbursement date(s) for the loan on the application and the loan check(s) will be mailed directly to the address you provide. In general, the process will take a minimum of two to four weeks from the time that you submit your application and are approved until the receipt of your (first) disbursement.
The AUWCL Financial Aid Office does not provide a preferred lender list for bar study loans. The list provided below in alphabetical order assists students in finding a lender and represents lenders from which AUWCL JD graduates have borrowed in the past. Loan criteria are subject to change without notice; therefore, it is important to contact the lender directly for the most accurate and up to date information. Follow the links below to view interest rates, borrowing limits, fees, and repayment terms.
The AUWCL Financial Aid Office can assist with questions about bar study loans and budgeting. For questions about bar preparation, the exam and associated fees, please contact the AUWCL Office of Academic Excellence.