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Financial Aid FAQs

The links below will help you find answers to common financial aid questions. Clicking on a question will direct you to its answer.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When is the Financial Aid Application deadline? 
2. What information will I need to fill out the application? 
3. What forms do I have to fill out? 
4. What is the maximum amount I can borrow? 
5. Will I have to make payments on prior Stafford or Perkins loans while in school? If not, when does payment start and at what interest rate? 
6. I was working full-time last year and quit to return to school. How will that affect my eligibility? 
7. Do I have to complete a new FAFSA each year? 
8. What is the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford Loan? 
9. What scholarships are available for law students? 
10. I was awarded a scholarship from a private outside organization; do I need to inform the Financial Aid Office?
11. Does Widener Law Commonwealth have entrance and exit interviews? 
12. How is my estimated family contribution (EFC) calculated? 
13. What impact does my credit report have on my ability to obtain educational loan funds?
14. How, when, and where are financial aid funds disbursed?
15. Is direct deposit of my refund check available?
16. If I do not need the full amount of the loan offered, do I have to borrow the full amount?
17. I am preparing to graduate and need to borrow funding to cover my bar expenses. What do I need to do in order to access these funds?
18. When should I complete my application for a bar loan?
19. I have completed a Bar Loan Application form. What happens next?
20. What happens to my financial aid if I withdraw or take a leave of absence during a semester?
21. What if my financial aid is not enough to cover my tuition and living expenses?
22. What should I do if I have questions that are not answered in this section?

 


 

1. When is the Financial Aid Application deadline?  
Entering students do not have a specific deadline; however, they are encouraged to apply as early as possible, as some programs have limited funding. Financial aid is processed on a first-come first-served basis. Returning students have a priority filing deadline of April 1st for the 2016-2017 academic year.

2. What information will I need to fill out the application?  
In order to fill out the 2016-2017 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, you will need a copy of your 2015 Federal Tax Return. If you have not yet completed your tax return, you can complete the FAFSA with estimated information and your W-2s. Also, you will be asked for your driver's license number on most financial aid paperwork.

3. What forms do I have to fill out?  
All students who wish to apply for financial aid must complete the FAFSA and Institutional Data forms. Those who wish to borrow Federal Direct Loans for the first time at Widener Law Commonwealth must complete a new Master Promissory Note. Some students, upon request, also will need to submit additional paperwork.

4. What is the maximum amount that I can borrow?  
Most students will be eligible to access $20,500.00 in a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan per year and may be eligible to borrow additional funding in the form of a Federal Direct GradPLUS Loan.

5. Will I have to make payments on prior federal loans while in school? If not, when does payment start?  
No. You are not required to make payments on previous federal education loans while you are in school. When you return to school, enrolling with at least a half-time status, you will be eligible to request an in-school deferment from your lender. This deferment will only be good as long as you are enrolled . You can request the In-School Deferment form from your lender and submit it to the Registrar's Office when classes begin. Once you graduate, or cease to be enrolled with at least a half-time status, your repayment period on prior loans will begin again. There is no penalty to make payments on accruing interest while you are in school, although you are not required to. If you choose this option, you will only be responsible for the principal and any remaining interest when you are finished. Private loans may or may not require repayment. Contact your lender for specifics.

6. I was working full-time last year and quit to return to school: How will that affect my eligibility?  
FAFSA does analyze your previous year’s income and assets. You have the right to request we use your anticipated income for the current year. To file an appeal, please contact the Financial Aid Office.

7. Do I have to complete a new FAFSA each year?  
Yes. Every student wishing to apply for financial aid must complete a new FAFSA and new Institutional Data form each year. If borrowing from the GradPlus Loan program, a new application must be completed every year.

8. What is the difference between the Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford loan?  
Interest does not accrue on a Federal Direct Subsidized Loan while a student is in school but interest does accrue on a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan.

*The Budget Control Act of 2011 eliminated the Federal Direct Subsidized Loans for Graduate and Professional students for period of enrollment beginning on or after July 1, 2012.

9. What scholarships are available for law students?
Alumni and friends of Widener Law Commonwealth have donated funds for the creation of several endowed scholarships. These scholarships are awarded annually by the Scholarship Committee based on criteria determined by the individual donors. Applications are available in the spring to current students and must be submitted to the Scholarship Committee for review. The Financial Aid Office also has researched and made available a database of over 200 scholarship opportunities. Students can visit the Financial Aid Office on Campus Cruiser for access to its outside scholarship database.

10. I was awarded a scholarship from a private outside organization: Do I need to inform the Financial Aid Office? 
Yes. All outside financial aid must be included as part of your financial aid package. Outside scholarships are typically forwarded to the institution you are attending to be applied toward your tuition.

11. Does Widener Law Commonwealth have entrance and exit interviews? 
Yes. Even if you have attended another institution you are required to complete entrance and exit interviews. Your entrance interview will be conducted during your Widener Law Commonwealth orientation. Exit interviews are scheduled in the spring prior to graduation. If you have additional specific questions you can always make an appointment to see a counselor.

12. How is my estimated family contribution (EFC) calculated?
When a student completes and submits the FAFSA form, an automatic calculation of your EFC is based on the information you provided. Your EFC is calculated as follows:

1. Student Income (includes spouse income, if applicable) - Expenses and Allowances = Available Income
2. Student Assets (will include spouse assets, if applicable) - Debts Against Those Assets = Net Assets
3. Available Income x Assessment Rate + Net Assets x Assessment Rate = EFC

13. What impact does my credit report have on my ability to obtain educational loan funds?
If you have adverse credit history, you may have difficulty obtaining a Federal Direct GradPLUS Loan to cover living expenses or tuition balances.

14. How, when, and where are financial aid funds disbursed?  For any semester, financial aid cannot be disbursed until ten days before the start of classes. After funds are disbursed, the Bursar's Office creates refund checks for the beginning of the semester. All funds are disbursed to Widener Law Commonwealth. Please be aware that there will be a delay in processing and receipt of funds if your paperwork is not filed until August or later.

15. Is direct deposit of my refund check available?  Yes. Direct deposit of refund checks is available in Campus Cruiser  Log into Campus Cruiser, select the "Web Advisor" tab and then scroll down to "Bank Information."  Complete the requested information and click "I agree" at the bottom of the page.


16. If I do not need the full amount of the loan offered, do I have to borrow the full amount?
The Financial Aid Office always encourages students to only borrow what they need. If you have an excess of funds that are not needed, funds can be sent back to your lender at any time. Once the excess of funds requested to be returned has been processed, you will receive an award agreement showing the return and changes made. Prior to disbursements of aid, students are able to use their award agreement to accept or reject aid for the year.

17. I am preparing to graduate and need to borrow funding to cover my bar expenses. What do I need to do in order to access these funds?  We encourage all students to first borrow their maximum eligibility from federal funding for the academic year prior to accessing a Bar Loan. Bar loans carry higher interest rates and the repayment options are not as appealing as those of the Federal Direct Loan Program. If you are unsure about what you have borrowed and if you have any remaining eligibility, please see the Financial Aid Office.

18. When should I complete my application for a bar loan?  You should complete a Bar Loan Application form approximately a month before you wish to have the funds.

19. I have completed a Bar Loan Application. What happens next?  After you have applied for a Bar Loan, your lender will send the Financial Aid Office a notification for certification. Once the certification is completed, your lender will mail a check directly to the address you have used on your application. Widener Law Commonwealth will not receive funds borrowed through a Bar Loan.

20. What happens to my financial aid if I withdraw or take a leave of absence during a semester?  If you withdraw or are approved to take a leave of absence during a semester, you are considered withdrawn for financial aid purposes. Federal regulations require the Financial Aid Office to perform a Return of Title IV calculation to determine your eligibility to retain federal funds based on the actual percentage of attendance during a semester. If the Financial Aid Office is required to return Title IV funds, it will be done in the order prescribed by law. Institutional aid shall be retained in proportion to the percentage of tuition and fees charged. Please see the Bursar’s Office for the university’s Complete Withdrawal Policy.

21. What if my financial aid is not enough to cover my tuition and living expenses?  A student's cost of attendance is created using average expenses for a typical student. If you have received the maximum financial aid allowed under your cost of attendance you can request an increase for additional education-related expenses. Please submit a letter requesting a cost of attendance increase and include documentation supporting your expenses to the Financial Aid Office.

22. What should I do if I have questions that are not answered in this section? Please contact the Financial Aid Office, 717-541-3961.