Financial Aid Checklist & Timeline For Entering Students

This information applies to incoming 1L J.D. students for the 2018-19 academic year only. Incoming transfer students should contact financial-aid-law@berkeley.edu with questions. about how to apply for financial aid in spring 2018.

Continuing JD students should use the Continuing Student Checklist. LL.M and J.S.D students should refer to the Checklist for LL.M./J.S.D. Students 

 

Entering First Year J.D. Students (2018-19)

 

Upon Applying for Admission

November – March

  • Review the webpage on Gift Aid for Entering Students for more information about how and when Berkeley Law determines gift aid offers. After you are admitted, you will receive an email with instructions on how to apply for gift aid at Berkeley Law. There is therefore an advantage to applying for admission early, as gift aid is not unlimited.

  • Submit the 2018-19 FAFSA
    • While loan offers may not show on CalCentral until spring, students who submit the FAFSA and are eligible for federal students loans can expect to be offered student loans up to the Cost of Attendance.
    • Be sure to include “UC Berkeley” school code #001312 on your application.
    • There is no hard deadline to complete the FAFSA, but we suggest completion by March 2018 to ensure your loan offers will be viewable on CalCentral in the summer preceding the academic year. The FAFSA must be completed by this date to be considered for the GDP (Graduate Diversity Program) scholarship.

March-May

  • View your financial aid offers, including federal student loans, through CalCentral
    • You may be notified of gift aid offers separately before or after this date; if so you will receive notification via email.
    • While loan offers may not be viewable on CalCentral until the spring/summer prior to enrolling, students who submit the FAFSA and are eligible for federal student aid are offered student loans up to the Cost of Attendance.
    • If Berkeley has received your FAFSA you should be able to view this on CalCentral 1-2 weeks  after receiving a confirmation email from Federal Student Aid.
    • You must accept Terms and Conditions on CalCentral before being able to view the status of your FAFSA application and any tasks (to-do’s), in addition to being able to view your financial aid award.
  • Complete your Statement of Legal Residence after being admitted

    • Submit through CalCentral. This will show as a ‘task’ in CalCentral. It is important that this be done early as processing may take up to several weeks. You will be held responsible for paying non-resident fees until processing is complete.
    • If you have residency related questions, you may contact the Residence Affairs Unit.

  • Create a financial budget
    • Determine if you need to borrow loans to cover your educational expenses. Not sure how much you need? Visit our FAQ page.
      • 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 winter break expenses.

June-July

  • Complete tasks above if you have not done so already.
  • Accept any loans you wish to borrow on CalCentral
    • You will be able to indicate how much you want to accept. Note that federal student loans are divided evenly between the fall and spring semesters and paid out on a semester basis.
    • Be sure to consider the origination fees (processing fees) for federal loans in your calculations. Visit our FAQ page for more information.
    • 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. Visit our FAQ page for more information on accepting loans.
    • Complete Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory Note(s) if borrowing the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford or Graduate PLUS Loans
      • Must be completed online at studentloans.gov 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 2-3 weeks for processing
  • Make sure you’ve created a financial budget (see above), and have accounted for winter break and summer expenses.
    • 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.

  • Notify the Law financial aid office if you will be using a private educational loan to cover your expenses. Most lenders require us certify your loan. Allow 4-6 weeks for processing.
  • Make sure to complete all financial aid tasks on CalCentral. Not sure where to find your task list? Visit our FAQ page.
  • Sign up for EFT (i.e. direct deposit) to get your refund as early as possible and avoid delays in getting your refund. Without EFT you may need to wait it long lines to pick up any refund checks.
  • 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.
  • Apply for outside agency scholarships
  • If a student parent, consider applying for the UC Parent Grant administered by the Berkeley Graduate Division. 

August

  • Complete June/July tasks if you have not already done so
  • 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 will be available online through CalCentral at the beginning of August. 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 in mid-August (August 15th for fall 2017)
    • Detailed billing information can be found on CalCentral under the My Finances Tab. Click on “Details” next to Billing Summary and change the filter to “All Transactions.” 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 in mid-August (official bill due dates are available on this webpage annually.)
    • Remember, financial aid refunds are only available as early as the first week of instruction. Be sure to sign up for EFT 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 in installments, 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!