Continuing Student Checklist

This information applies to continuing JD students only for the 2021-22 academic year. Entering 1L or transfer J.D. students should use the Entering Student Checklist. LL.M and J.S.D students should refer to the Checklist for LL.M./J.S.D. Students 



  • Renew your FAFSA
    • The FAFSA can be submitted as early as October 2020. That said, UC Berkeley will download  FAFSAs for 2021-22 in spring 2021.
    • Be certain to list “UC Berkeley” and include our school code: #001312
    • The FAFSA is required to be offered federal student loans. It also provides us with financial information that may be used in determining eligibility for need-based scholarships on the continuing student scholarship application. All U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens who apply are typically offered loans up to the Cost of Attendance.
    • Complete parent information on the FAFSA if you are under the age of 30 and are interested in need-based scholarships (see above). Otherwise, we do not require parental information on the FAFSA.
  • Start researching University of California  and outside agency scholarships



  • Check your financial aid offer through CalCentral
    • Make sure you are viewing the correct aid year on CalCentral.
    • Please note that your financial aid offer is not available until mid-May and may not show a complete offer if any part of your application is missing.
    • If Berkeley has received your FAFSA you should be able to view this on CalCentral one week after receiving a confirmation email from Federal Student Aid.
    • You must accept Terms and Conditions on CalCentral before being able to view any tasks and view awards.
  • Non-Residents of California should submit the Statement of Legal Residence (SLR) typically by June 1st to establish residence for the following year. Click here for actual due dates each year. It is important that this be done early as processing can take up to several months. If you are currently a non-resident, you will be held responsible for paying non-resident fees until processing is complete. This will impact your bill and your financial aid refund, if eligible.
  • Review your financial budget from the prior year
    • Determine if you need to borrow loans to cover your educational expenses for the upcoming year. Click here for federal loan eligibility criteria
    • If borrowing loans, revisit your loan repayment options and estimate your monthly payments when you graduate with Loan Simulator
    • Read about how to fund your legal education and create a budget, and manage your finances
    • If using financial aid to cover indirect expenses like books, rent, and travel, remember that the earliest financial aid refunds will be available is the first week of classes for the fall semester, and the first week of classes for the spring semester. We are not able to release financial aid refunds earlier than these time frames, so budget accordingly for your travel/book expenses prior to the term, as well as your winter break expenses.
  • If you haven’t already, we encourage you to sign up for Direct Deposit to get your refund
  • Submit the Continuing Student Scholarship application
    • Availability and deadlines are communicated on the Berkeley Law Financial Aid website and through email.
  • Apply for private outside agency scholarships



  • Eligible student parents should apply for the Graduate Division’s Parent Grant – application due July 2021.
  • Accept any loans you wish to borrow 
    • On CalCentral, you will be able to indicate how much you want to accept. Please note that federal student loans are divided evenly between the fall and spring semesters and paid out on a semester basis. Not sure how much you need? Visit our FAQ page.
    • 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. If not approved for this loan due to adverse credit history, you will be notified and have the option of seeking an endorser.  Please note, that at Berkeley Law graduate students are not required to complete their own credit check or separate loan application. Simply ensure that your online entrance counseling and master promissory note(s) have been completed and that you’ve accepted your loans on CalCentral. Notification of credit declines are sent via email. It is important to check your spam folder
    • We encourage you to accept the smallest amount of loans needed for the year. You can accept less than the offered amount, which is your maximum current eligibility. If you accept less than the maximum amount offered to you, you have until the end of the term to accept additional amounts of the loan. We are available to assist you in determining the appropriate amount of loan to borrow. Visit our FAQ page for more information.
  • Make sure you’ve created a financial budget (see above)
    • Financial aid is paid out on a term basis directly to your fees bill, typically a week prior to the start of the term. After financial aid applies to your tuition, fees, and university charges, if there are funds leftover, you may receive funds to use for indirect expenses like books, rent, and travel. This is called a refund.
    • The earliest financial aid refunds will be available is the first week of classes of each semester. Make sure you’ve budgeted for your summer and winter break expenses accordingly.
  • Complete Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory Note(s) if borrowing the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford or Graduate PLUS Loans
    • Only required if you haven’t already borrowed these loans in a previous year at Berkeley Law.
    • Must be completed online at before the loans can disburse and pay towards your bill or be refunded to you.
    • Entrance counseling only needs to be completed once for both the Unsubsidized and Graduate PLUS Loans. On the other hand, Master Promissory Notes must be completed for each loan type.
    • Allow 1-2 weeks for processing
  • Notify the Law financial aid office if you will be using a private educational loan to cover your expenses
    • Most lenders require the school to certify the loan.
    • Allow 4-6 weeks for processing.
  • Make sure to complete all financial aid tasks on CalCentral
  • Sign up for Direct Deposit to get your refund
    •  Refunds not set up for Direct Deposit will be issued in a paper check and mailed to the local address on record within 10 business days.  Addresses can be viewed and updated on your CalCentral profile. We strongly recommend you sign up for Direct Deposit since that is the fastest and safest way to receive your funds.
  • Determine if you will be waiving SHIP and submit waiver by the deadline. This fee will otherwise be automatically assessed and be part of your semester fees bill.
  • Continue to apply for outside agency scholarships
  • Report private outside agency scholarships on CalCentral
    • It’s important to do this early because your financial aid, typically the Graduate PLUS Loan, may be reduced to ensure that the amount of your financial aid resources doesn’t exceed your Cost of Attendance. More information about how and where to mail scholarship checks can be found here.
    • If unable to report private scholarships on CalCentral, email us to notify us of your award and to discuss impacts to your financial aid



  • Check your bill and refund status on CalCentral
    • Official billing statements for the fall semester will be available online through CalCentral in late July. Don’t worry when you don’t see financial aid on this bill. However, make sure you’ve completed all of your tasks on CalCentral and don’t have any holds.
    • After you’re enrolled in classes, accepted financial aid will disburse directly to your fees bill on the anticipated disbursement date that is communicated via email from the Financial Aid Office.
    • Detailed billing information can be found on CalCentral under the My Finances Tab. Click on “View Transactions” next to Billing Summary and change the filter to “Show All”. This is where you can view your charges and credits like grants, scholarships, loans, tuition waivers, veterans benefits payments, third party billing payments, etc.
    • Make sure your tuition and fees are paid by the fall semester deadline. The fees deadline is typically in mid-August, approximately one week after the first financial aid disbursement. Official bill due dates will be available on your CalCentral billing statement. 
    • Remember, financial aid refunds are only available as early as the first week of instruction for both the fall and spring semesters. Make sure you’ve budgeted for your winter break expenses accordingly.
    • Be sure to sign up for Direct Deposit to get your refund as early as possible. (CalCentral –> My Finances –> “Manage Account” under Financial Resources)
  • If you have not completed your financial aid requirements or will be paying out of pocket, consider enrolling in the Tuition and Fee Payment Plan (FPP) to avoid late fees and impacts on enrollment.


Questions? Visit our FAQ page or Contact Us!