Financial Aid FAQ


Applying for Financial Aid:

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid):

Work Study/Working:

Scholarships, Grants and Loans:

Loan Entrance Interviews:


Q. What is the cost of attendance at USD?

A. See the Cost of Attendance section of the website.

Q. What percent of students receive financial aid, including loans, grants, work study, etc.?

A. Approximately 85%.

Q. Do I have to accept all the programs offered on my award letter?

A. No. You may decline any program or loans offered to you.

Q. How much can/should I borrow?

A. As a graduate student, you may borrow $20,500 each academic year from the Federal Direct Loan program. Students who demonstrate exceptional financial need and meet the FAFSA priority filing date may be considered for the Perkins Loan and Tuition Credit Loan. In addition, you may borrow a Federal Graduate PLUS loan up to the cost of attendance. It is important to establish a budget, review your outstanding undergraduate loans and consumer debt, and only borrow the minimum amount you need.

Q. What is Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)?

A. EFT is a method of expediting your student loan from the lender to your student account. The funds are received electronically, therefore avoiding any need for you to stand in long lines waiting to sign your student loan check at the Student Account Office.

Applying for Financial Aid

Q. How do I apply for financial aid?


  • Step 1: File a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or a Renewal FAFSA. The FAFSA form will generate a Student Aid Report (SAR) for your record.
  • Step 2: If additional forms are needed, you will be notified. Once your file is complete, you will receive an Offer of Financial Assistance Letter.

More information

Q. Do I need to be admitted before I can apply for financial aid?

A. No. We recommend you file a FAFSA even before you are admitted or make a decision on which university to attend.

Q. Do I have to apply every year for financial aid?

A. Yes. Your financial need has to be determined every year. Your financial circumstances, as well as your aid, may change each year.

Q. Besides the FAFSA, are there any other forms I will need to provide to be considered for financial aid?

A. Once you are admitted, if you are selected for the verification process or have incomplete information, you may be required to provide additional documents.

Q. If I decide to attend summer school, do I have to apply for financial aid twice in one year?

A. To apply for Summer financial aid, you must have a FAFSA on file from the prior academic year.  Additionally, you will need to complete the electronic Summer Institutional Financial Aid application. Once your Summer application is processed, you will receive a revised financial aid award and an additional electronic loan application may be required.

Q. How long after I am accepted will I receive an offer letter?

A. Once your file is complete, the financial aid office will subsequently prepare your tentative award based on the evaluation received from the Department of Education. Usually, offer letters are emailed two to four weeks after your financial aid file is complete.

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

Q. What is FAFSA?

A. FAFSA is an application for federal student aid. It determines your financial need based on information you supply. You need to file a FAFSA in order to be eligible for most loans, including Perkins, Federal Direct, Graduate PLUS, TCL loans, Federal Work Study, scholarships and grants.

Q. Where do I obtain a FAFSA?

A. These forms can be obtained from the U.S. Dept. of Education by calling 1-800-4FEDAID. Students are encouraged to file their FAFSA online.

Q. Is there a FAFSA deadline?

A. There is no deadline; however, students who apply before March 1 have a significantly greater chance to receive priority consideration for programs with limited funding (e.g., Perkins Loan, Federal Work Study, grants and scholarships).

Q. What is the USD Law School FAFSA Code?

A. You must properly specify " USD School of Law" and use the Law School Code G06976 on the FAFSA form to ensure we receive your financial aid data electronically from the U.S. Department of Education.

Q. Do I have to provide parental information on the FAFSA form?

A. No. Because you will be working towards completion of a graduate degree, you are automatically considered an "independent" student for financial aid purposes. However, any parental support that you received in the previous calendar year must be reported on "Worksheet B" of the FAFSA under the category "cash received, or any money paid on your behalf."

Work Study/Employment

Q. What is Work Study?

A. Federal Work Study is a work program that provides on-campus jobs for students with financial need. A typical student award is approximately $4,000 annually.

Q. I heard full-time first-year law students should not work or even accept a Work Study position. Is this correct?

A. The first year in law school is very demanding. It is recommended that students concentrate on their studies first and then decide whether they have some available time for a part-time job or a Work Study job.

Q. I am going to quit my job and go to school full-time. Will this affect my financial aid eligibility?

If your previous calendar year income is significantly different and not a true reflection of your current financial aid situation, you may request the use of projected year income. Please talk to a financial aid advisor on how to request this special financial circumstance consideration.

Scholarships, Grants and Loans

Q. How do I apply for scholarships?

A. Entering students are automatically considered for institutional grants and scholarships based on outstanding academic performance.

Q. Am I eligible for the Pell Grant or CAL Grant?

A. No. As a graduate student you are not eligible for Pell Grant or CAL Grant consideration.

Q. How do I choose a lender?

A. The University of San Diego School of Law participates in the Direct Loan Program. This program is administered by the U.S. Department of Education.

Loan Entrance Interviews

Q. What is a Loan Entrance Interview?

A. This is a federal requirement where students will receive pertinent information and rights and responsibilities about their student loan borrowing and repayment obligations. More information.

Q. If I attended an Entrance Interview at my other university, do I need to complete one at USD School of Law?

A. Yes. All first time borrowers at USD School of Law are required by federal law to complete an Entrance Interview prior to any aid being disbursed.

Q. I am an International student. Can I apply for financial aid?

A. No. Both the Federal Government and the University of San Diego require U.S. citizenship or U.S. Permanent Residency status (in possession of a valid I-551 card) in order to be eligible to apply for financial aid.

Q. How do International students finance their law school education?

A. We encourage all international students to investigate all available options in their home countries and with outside funding organizations. There are also private education lenders who will work with international students; generally, a U.S. cosigner is required on the loan application. These loans are credit based and may have other specific financial requirements for co-signors. Various lenders offer competitive private loans specifically geared to assisting international students.

For questions about this page, please email Financial Aid.


Financial Aid
Warren Hall, Room 203
Phone: (619) 260-4570
Fax: (619) 260-2218


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