In This Section
Berkeley Law provides need-based grants (also known as Boalt Hall Grants) to JD students to ensure that the school remains financially accessible. The grants are intended to assist students from low-income families such as those who were Pell grant recipients as undergraduates.
- How Do I Apply for Need-Based Grants?
- Do I Need to Submit Parent Information?
- Navigating the FAFSA
- How Does Berkeley Law Calculate Eligibility?
- Timeline for Grants
- What Happens If I Miss One of the Deadlines?
- What if I Am Married or Have A Child/Dependent?
To apply for a need-based grant, you must submit complete student and parent information on both the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and a supplemental application by the March 2 deadline.
To apply for a need-based grant, you must submit complete student and parent information on both the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and a supplemental application by the March 2 deadline. You must also submit both an Expected Summer Earnings (ESE) form by April 15 and a Confirmed Summer Earnings (CSE) form by July 15. The ESE form allows us to calculate your tentative grant eligibility based on your predicted summer earnings. The CSE form allows us to make modifications to your grant eligibility based on your actual earnings and to release your grant funds for payment to your billing account.
To apply for a need-based grant, you must submit complete student and parent information on both the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and a supplemental application by the March 2 deadline. You must also submit both an Expected Summer Earnings (ESE) form by June 15 and a Confirmed Summer Earnings (CSE) form by July 15. The ESE form allows us to calculate your tentative grant eligibility based on your predicted summer earnings. The CSE form allows us to make modifications to your grant eligibility based on your actual earnings and to release your grant funds for payment to your billing account.
Applications received after the deadlines will be considered on a first-come first-served basis if funds remain available.
Yes, all students are considered to be dependent for need-based aid (meaning that they must submit parent information to be considered for need-based aid) except in the following situations:
- The student will be 30 years of age or older by December 31 of that academic year. If this is the case for you, you do not need to notify us and can simply omit the parent sections.
- The student can provide documentation of at least 5 years of financial independence from their parents based on these criteria. If this is the case for you, your status as independent must be formally approved by our office.
With these two exceptions, all students who wish to be considered for a need-based grant must submit complete parent information on the FAFSA and supplemental application.
Without complete parent information, dependent applicants will not be considered for grant eligibility. If you are in doubt whether you need to submit parent information, please ask us!
The FAFSA is designed primarily for undergraduate students and therefore requires some workarounds for law students:
- When you get to the parent section, the FAFSA will tell you that you do not need to submit parent information as a graduate level student. While this is true if you are applying for federal aid (loans, work-study) only, you must submit parent information anyway if you are interested in institutional need-based aid (grants, scholarships) at Berkeley Law.
- If you do not wish to include parent information on the FAFSA for other law schools, you may want to consider submitting the FAFSA to those schools first, then resubmitting for Berkeley. This can be done once an e-mail is received confirming receipt of the initial FAFSA submission. Remove those school codes, add the information to complete your application to Berkeley and resubmit with Berkeley’s school code, 001312.
- International JD students (in the U.S. on an F1 or F2 student visa, a J1 or J2 exchange visa or a G series visa) can select “No, I am not a citizen or an eligible non-citizen.” for the citizenship question. You will not be eligible for federal student aid; however, you should still complete the application to be considered for Berkeley Law’s need-based grants and scholarships.
Each student's eligibility for a need-based grant is determined by utilizing the information submitted on the FAFSA and supplemental application. The elements for determining eligibility are subject to change every year. For the current academic year, the Berkeley Law Financial Aid Office will determine a student's grant eligibility by taking the cost of attendance for the academic year and subtracting a base loan amount, parent contribution (for students who did not demonstrate financial independence), student contribution from summer earnings, and student contribution from available assets. The remaining balance is the student's need-based grant eligibility for the academic year. Read more about the policy.
- Jan 1 – FAFSA and Supplemental App become available
- Mar 2 – Priority deadline for FAFSA and Supplemental App
- Admitted Students Weekend (early/mid April) – Financial aid offers including grants become available on BearFacts for entering students
- April 15 – ESE deadline for continuing students
- Early May – Financial aid offers including grants become available on BearFacts for continuing students
- June 15 – ESE deadline for transfer students
- July 15 – CSE deadline for continuing and transfer students
- Early August – Financial aid pays to student CARS billing accounts
- Late August – First refunds are deposited into student personal bank accounts if they have EFT, otherwise a paper check is printed
Students who do not submit all applications by their respective deadlines will be considered for the need-based grant on a first-come first-served basis as funds remain available. If you miss the March 2 deadline, submit the applications as soon as possible afterward. Note: Deadlines are extended for students admitted after March 2 (such as those admitted by the second round committee, waitlist admits, and transfer admits) to accommodate their adjusted timeline.
If the student is married, the spouse's income and assets must be reported in the FAFSA. For continuing and transfer students, the spouse must also provide expected and confirmed summer earnings. Students who have children/dependents as defined by the federal tax code should email Berkeley Law Financial Aid. Read more about the policy.
If the timeline shows that offer letters for your grade level are already available and you have not yet received any information regarding your grant eligibility, check for one of the following common errors:
|Common error||Where to check your status|
|Missing/Incomplete parent information on FAFSA||Check to make sure the parent section is complete on your FAFSA Student Aid Report|
|Missing student Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) on FAFSA||Check to make sure student AGI is present on your FAFSA Student Aid Report (enter $0 if no income)|
|Missing Supplemental Application||You should have received an email receipt when you submitted the form; if not, contact Financial Aid|
|Missing parent information on Supplemental Application||Check with Financial Aid if unsure|
|Continuing/Transfer Students Only: Missing ESE or CSE||Check with Financial Aid if unsure|
The Berkeley Law Financial Aid Office will send you an email when we determine
- your application is complete and we calculate your grant eligibility (or determine that you are not eligible to receive one this year); or
- you started applying for grants (i.e. submitted the Supplemental App or included some parent info on the FAFSA) but your application is incomplete.