Frequently Asked Questions – Billing and Financial Aid

last updated 7/30/2017 at 1:55pm

 

Why hasn’t my financial aid applied to my bill?

 How do I pay my bill?

How can I pay my bill in installments? What is the Fee Payment Plan?

I have a private student loan. Will the money be paid to me directly?

How do I know if I have a Hold on my account?

How do I know if my financial aid/loans have disbursed?

How do I find my Tasks in CalCentral?

How do I get money for living expenses? How can I track my financial aid refund?

How do I get my refund?

What steps do I need to take to prepare for the upcoming year?

How do I find my Estimated Cost of Attendance (COA)?

My Cost of Attendance (COA) is not reflective of my actual expenses. What should I do?

What aid is available for International students?

Why do I see a notification in Cal Central saying I am “Not officially registered”?

What other outside scholarship opportunities can I apply for?

 

FAQs: Federal Student Loans Borrowers

 

How is my federal student loan eligibility determined?

What are my options if I’m not approved for the Federal Graduate PLUS Loan?

How do I accept just a portion of the federal student loans that I’m offered?

How much should I accept in federal student loans to account for student loan origination fees?

If I don’t borrow federal student loans the first semester, can I borrow federal student loans in the second semester?

If I don’t accept the maximum amount of federal student loans I’ve been offered, how do I accept additional amounts later?

Can I reduce or cancel a federal student loan that I’ve accepted?

What are the current interest rates and origination fees for Federal Unsubsidized and Grad PLUS loans?

How does interest accrue on Federal student loans?

What happens to my federal student loans after I graduate or leave school?

How can I estimate what my monthly student loan payments will be after graduation?

Glossary of Financial Aid Terms

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What aid is available for International students?

University policy requires international students to demonstrate the ability to pay their expenses through their first year. Continuing international students may apply for limited student aid funds through the university and should contact the Berkeley International Office at the International House for additional information.  

The following link provides a partial list of funding opportunities for LL.M international students. This list is for informational purposes and does not imply any connection with, or endorsement by, Berkeley Law:

International Funding Sources

 

What other scholarship opportunities can I apply for?

All gift aid (scholarships) are administered by the Berkeley Law Advanced Degree Programs Office (ADP). Please see the Scholarships page for more information or for questions regarding scholarships for LL.M students. 

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What steps do I need to take to prepare for the upcoming year?

Please follow the steps provided on our LLM Student Financial Aid Checklist. This checklist will outline instructions you must follow between the months of October – August.

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How do I pay my bill?

Your first e-Bill for the semester will be available a few weeks before instruction begins on CalCentral if enrolled. If eligible for financial aid, please note that this statement may not show your anticipated financial aid, including loan disbursements, for the semester. The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office will begin applying financial aid the week before instruction begins, as long as you meet eligibility requirements. Eligibility requirements include, but are not limited to, being enrolled at least half-time, not having any registration blocks, tasks, or holds. Payments can be made via CalCentral directly to your balance. Please click here for more information.

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What is the Fee Payment Plan?

The Fee Payment Plan (FPP) is available to students who do not have enough financial aid to cover fees and tuition by the deadline, or will not be using financial aid to cover the bill. Students may make five equal monthly installments during the semester for a fee.

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How is my financial aid eligibility determined?

The university uses a standard student budget called a Cost of Attendance (COA) when offering federal and campus-based financial aid awards.  The COA is not the bill that you may get; it is the total estimated amount it will cost you to attend each year or term. The COA includes tuition and fees, room and board, allowances for books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, and, if applicable, dependent care. The law school (ADP office for LL.M students) determines grant and scholarship offers independently and notifies recipients directly. Loan eligibility is generally the difference between the COA and gift aid. 

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How do I find my Estimated Cost of Attendance (COA)?

Login to CalCentral (fall 2017 and beyond). Click on “My Finances” and view “Award Details.” To view semester amounts (fall and spring), click on “View Term Amount” under the Estimated Cost of Attendance. The standard student budget accounts for direct and estimated indirect expenses for the 9 month academic year. The Cost of Attendance does not include expenses for periods of non-enrollment, such as summer. Professional LL.M. students should contact us for information specific to the PLLM program. Click here for J.D. Cost of Attendance information.

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My Cost of Attendance (COA) is not reflective of my actual expenses. What should I do?

Expenses may be taken into consideration to increase a student’s estimated COA, such as child care, computer expenses, uninsured medical costs, and relocation expenses (for entering students) for example. These adjustments to the standard student budget are reviewed and approved on a case-by-case basis. The Berkeley Law Cost of Attendance Adjustment Request form can be downloaded from our Forms webpage beginning in September of each academic year. If approved, typically this would result in an additional student loan offer, if eligible.

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If I take out a private educational loan while at Berkeley Law, will the money be paid to me directly?

No, private loan disbursements are first applied to unpaid charges on your billing account. Once the outstanding charges are paid, the extra funds are then given to you as a financial aid refund.  

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How do I find my Tasks in the Communications section  in the My Finances tab?

Log into CalCentral. Under the “My Finances” tab, accept your Terms and Conditions if you have not already done so:

T&Cs

Click on “Details” under the “Financial Aid and Scholarships 2016-17” box:

Task details

At the bottom left-hand side you will be able to see the “Communications” and “Tasks” sections. Here you can see both completed and uncompleted tasks. Tasks that you need to complete will show as “INITIATED”:

task

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How do I know if I have a Hold on my account?

Certain holds may prevent financial aid disbursement. Any hold that prevents registration may impact financial aid, as you must be enrolled for financial aid to disburse and to receive a refund. Holds can be viewed on CalCentral:

Holds

HOLD_screen

The “applied” date corresponds to when the hold was put on your account.

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How do I accept just a portion of the loans that I’m offered?

Login to CalCentral (fall 2016 and beyond). Click on “My Finances” and “View Awards.” To accept any amount of your loans, click on “Accept”. Then, you will have the opportunity to indicate how much you’d like to accept for the year. Accepted loans will be disbursed evenly between fall and spring semester. Be sure to consider the origination fees (processing fee) for federal loans in your calculations. Processing of the Graduate PLUS Loan, including the credit check, typically occurs in early August. 

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What are my options if I’m not approved for the Graduate PLUS Loan?

If not approved for the Graduate PLUS loan due to adverse credit history, you will be notified by Direct Loans after Berkeley begins loan processing and you will have the option of seeking an endorser. Click here for more information on seeking an endorser. Loan processing typically begins four weeks before classes begin each semester. To receive a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, you must be a graduate or professional student enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school in a program leading to a graduate or professional degree or certificate, not have an adverse credit history; and meet the general eligibility requirements for federal student aid. 

For purposes of qualifying for a Direct PLUS Loan*, you’re considered to have an adverse credit history if

• you have one or more debts with a total combined outstanding balance greater than $2,085 that are 90 or more days delinquent as of the date of the credit report, or that have been placed in collection or charged off (written off) during the two years preceding the date of the credit report; or

• during the five years preceding the date of the credit report, you have been subject to a
o default determination,
o discharge of debts in bankruptcy,
o foreclosure,
o repossession,
o tax lien,
o wage garnishment, or
o write-off of a federal student aid debt.

*The information above is accurate for Direct PLUS Loan credit checks performed on or after March 29, 2015.

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How do I view my bill details?

To view your bill details go to the “My Finances” tab and click on “Details” next to the “Billing Summary Fall 2016” box. 

billa

On the right side of the page you will see the “Activity” box. Click on the “Balance” filter, and select “All Transactions”. 

transactions

If financial aid has been applied to your bill, then you will see it in green font as an “Award”. If your financial aid has covered all charges on your account and there is still an amount left over, then this amount will be given to you in the form of a financial aid refund and you will be able to see this on the same page, listed as a “Refund”.

**This image corresponds to the 2015-16 academic year, values and dates for 2016-17 may vary**

finaid

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How do I get money for living expenses? How can I track my financial aid refund?

If your financial aid payments exceed your charges, the extra funds may be issued to you as a refund, typically by the first week of instruction. The actual timing of your refund depends on when your financial aid was applied to your account. Check CalCentral to monitor your aid payment dates so that you can estimate the date of any expected refund. You will get an email letting you know when your refund is available either via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) or as a paper check available for pickup at Cal Student Central. We strongly encourage Berkeley Law students to enroll in EFT if possible to avoid waiting in long lines at the beginning of the semester. Note: UC Berkeley does not require that students open an account with any financial institution. Students may choose to receive credit balances, or refunds, through any banking institution of their choice or via a paper refund check. 

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How do I pay my fees and tuition?

Your first e-Bill for the semester will be available a few weeks before instruction begins on CalCentral if enrolled. If eligible for financial aid, please note that this statement may not show your anticipated financial aid, including loan disbursements, for the semester. The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office will begin applying financial aid the week before instruction begins, as long as you meet eligibility requirements. Eligibility requirements include, but are not limited to, being enrolled at least half-time, not having any registration blocks, tasks, or holds. Payments can be made via CalCentral directly to your balance. Please click here for more information.

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What is the Fee Payment Plan?

The Fee Payment Plan (FPP) is available to students who do not have enough financial aid to cover fees and tuition by the deadline, or will not be using financial aid to cover the bill. Students may make five equal monthly installments during the semester for a fee.

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How much should I accept in loans to account for the origination fee?

You’re encouraged to accept the smallest amount of federal student loans needed for the year. You can accept less than the offered amount, which is your maximum eligibility. If you accept less than the maximum amount offered to you, you have until the end of the term or year to accept additional amounts of the loan. Feel free to use the following examples as guides:

Example 1: Student needs enough to cover tuition and fees. She will be waiving the SHIP health insurance and paying for indirect expenses out of pocket. Her total university charges are estimated at $26,000 per semester.*

She has been offered the following:

  Academic Year* Fall Spring Origination Fee**
Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan $20,500 $10,250 $10,250 1.068%
Federal Graduate PLUS Loan $60,000 $30,000 $30,000 4.272%
  • She decides to accept the full amount of the Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan of $20,500. The origination fee of $110.00 is deducted from the loan before the funds apply to her charges ($10,250 x .01068 = $110.00 origination fee per semester). The net amount disbursed per semester is therefore $10,140.00.
  • After the Unsubsidized Stafford loan disburses, she has has a remaining semester balance of $15,860.00.
  • She decides to accept the Graduate PLUS Loan to cover the remaining balance of $15,860.00 per semester, or $31,720 per year. She uses the following method to calculate how much she needs to accept: $31,720 ÷ (1 – 0.04272) = $33,136. She therefore accepts ~$33,136 in the Graduate PLUS Loan ($33,136 x .04272 = $1,415 –> $31,720 + $1,416 = $33,136) for the year.

*Amounts are solely for demonstration purposes. Refer to your estimated Cost of Attendance or bill on CalCentral to view costs and awards.

**Refer to the federal student aid website for current origination fees

Example 2: Student needs enough to cover direct expenses like tuition, fees, and SHIP health insurance. Additionally, he’s determined he needs $20,000 in a refund for room/board and living expenses for the academic year. His total university charges are estimated $27,500 per semester.*

He has been offered the following:

  Academic Year* Fall Spring Origination Fee**
Gift Aid (Grant/Scholarship) $10,000 $5,000 $5,000 n/a
Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan $20,500 $10,250 $10,250 1.068%
Federal Graduate PLUS Loan $50,000 $25,000 $25,000 4.272%
  • After his gift aid disburses, his remaining balance per semester is $22,500 ($27,500 – $5,000 scholarship). He decides to accept the full amount of the Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan of $10,250 per semester. The origination fee of $110.00 is deducted from the loan before the funds apply to his charges ($10,250 x .01068 = $110.00 origination fee per semester). The net amount disbursed is therefore $10,140.00.
  • His remaining semester balance comes to $12,360.00 after his scholarship and Unsubsidized Stafford loan are applied ($27,500 – $5,000 – $10,140.00 = $12,360.00)
  • He decides to accept the Graduate PLUS Loan to cover his remaining balance plus an additional $10,000 to cover his living expenses for a total of $22,360 per semester. After accounting for the 4.272% origination fee, he decides to accept $23,358 in the Graduate PLUS Loan ($22,360 ÷ (1 – 0.04272) = $23,358) for the semester, or $46,716 per year.
  • After his aid is applied to his charges, he can expect a $10,000 refund for the semester to use for living expenses.

*Amounts are solely for demonstration purposes. Refer to your estimated Cost of Attendance or bill on CalCentral to view costs and awards.

**Refer to the federal student aid website for current origination fees

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What are the current interest rates and origination fees for Federal Unsubsidized and Grad PLUS loans?

All interest rates for federal student loans are fixed rates for the life of the loan. The interest rate varies depending on the loan type and (for most types of federal student loans) the first disbursement date of the loan. Interest rates on federal student loans are set by Congress. View current interest rates and origination fees on the Federal Student Aid website.

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If I don’t borrow loans the first semester, can I borrow loans in the second semester?

Yes, if you meet all eligibility criteria, you can accept loans throughout the academic year. Professional LL.M. students should contact us for additional information.

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If I don’t accept the maximum amount of loans I’ve been offered, how do I accept additional amounts later?

You’re encouraged to accept the smallest amount of loans needed for the year. You can accept less than the offered amount, which is your maximum eligibility. If you accept less than the maximum amount offered, you have until the end of the term or year to accept additional amounts of the loan, which will be automatically offered. Login to CalCentral to accept loans. If you’ve already completed Entrance Counseling as well as the Master Promissory Note for that loan type, you will not need to complete them again.

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Can I reduce or cancel a loan that I’ve accepted?

You have the right to cancel all or part of any disbursement of a Federal Direct Loan without being charged interest or other loan fees as long as the cancellation is processed within 120 days of your loan’s original disbursement date. Please note that if you cancel or reduce a loan that has already disbursed, a charge will be applied to your account within approximately 2 to 3 business days and will create a balance due. You are responsible for paying this balance so that Berkeley can return the funds to the lender. If you are looking to cancel loan amounts that have been given to you as a financial aid refund and you have not authorized Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) then your refund will be mailed to you as a check. Please do not return the check to Berkeley or send a payment to your servicer if you cancel your loan. Be prepared to send your payment to your bill.

If it has been more than 120 days since your loan disbursement date, you cannot cancel your loan. However, you can make a payment to your servicer. Locate the servicer’s contact information by logging into your National Student Loan Data System account at www.nslds.ed.gov and clicking on the Financial Aid Review button. In order to ensure that your payment is applied to a particular loan, you must include a letter with your payment that has specific instructions about how to apply your payment. For example: “Please apply this $200 payment to my unsubsidized loan first disbursed on 01/10/09, paying off any accrued interest and then applying any remaining payment to the principal of that loan.”

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How do I know if my financial aid has disbursed?

Financial aid is set to disburse around August 16th for the fall 2017 semester. To check if your aid has disbursed click on “Details” under the “Financial Aid and Scholarships 2016-17” box:

Task details

At the right-hand side you will be able to see the “Awards” and “Loans” sections. Here you can see the status of your financial aid at the bottom right of each award/loan. Awards that have disbursed will show as “DISBURSED” and awards that have not will show as “NOT DISBURSED”. When fall aid disburses, this will show as “PARTIALLY PAID”:

award&loan

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Why hasn’t my financial aid applied to my bill?

If you have accepted financial aid and do not have any tasks or financial aid holds (see below), financial aid will begin applying (disbursing) to fees bills prior to the due date around the first week of classes. If you are a continuing student financial aid will for the spring term will begin disbursing prior to the bill due date in January. Scroll down for more information regarding financial aid refunds, and make sure you have completed tasks as early as possible to prevent delays in processing. If you are planning to use financial aid to cover just a portion of your fees bill and you will be making a payment out of pocket for the remaining amount, feel free to make that payment on Cal Central prior to your financial aid disbursing. Do consider the origination (processing) fee on the Federal Unsubsidized Stafford and Federal Grad PLUS Loans, as this fee is assessed before the loans are applied to bills.

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Why do I see a notification in Cal Central saying I am “Not officially registered” ?

Financial aid is scheduled to automatically disburse towards bills the week that classes begin and prior the bill due date. Until then, you may see a notification in Cal Central warning that you are ‘not officially registered’ for spring semester. However, if you will be using financial aid to cover your balance and do not have other holds or tasks, this warning should be removed after financial aid disburses. Until at least 20% of your tuition and fees is paid, you will continue to see this notice.

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What happens to my federal loans after I graduate or leave school?

Before leaving school (transferring, withdrawing, cancelling, taking a semseter off, or graduating), be sure to complete your Exit Counseling. Keep in touch with your loan servicer. Update your loan servicer through the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) with any changes to your school attendance or contact information. Once you leave school for any reason, your 6-month grace period begins. If you do not re-enroll before 6 months, you will enter repayment. Toward the end of your 6-month grace period, you should receive information about beginning repayment. If you do not, contact the servicer(s) of your loans immediately and confirm that they have your correct contact number and last date of attendance. You begin repaying your loans after the 6-month grace period has passed.

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How can I estimate what my monthly student loan payments will be after graduation?

If you plan on borrowing federal student loans, it’s a good idea to become familiar with the different repayment options you have. To make your payments more affordable, repayment plans can give you more time to repay your loans or can be based on your income. Use the Department of Education’s Repayment Estimator. On this site, you can either ‘log in’ to view your actual federal student loans, or you can ‘proceed’ to manually enter in estimated loan balances. If you will be using Berkeley’s LRAP program, we strongly encourage you to speak with an LRAP advisor for more information.

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