Financing Your Legal Education

Going to law school is an investment in your future. Planning ahead, taking advantage of federal loans, seeking out external scholarships, and being frugal will make the navigation of financing law school easier and more effective. Take time to educate yourself about available options and then choose your best plan of action.

Tuition and Cost of Attendance

Current tuition is determined by the University of Miami Board of Trustees. Please consult the Law School Cost of Attendance for information about the tuition structure and other fees. For the Master of Legal Studies, please click here for information.

Types of Aid Available to Finance Law School

The two types of federal loans are the most commonly utilized method of financing law school.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan

This is the most attractive type of federal loan offered. All eligible law students are offered this loan as part of their award package. Need and creditworthiness are not requirements.

  • Students are capped at $20,500 each academic year.
  • The interest rate is 7.05% for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2023.
  • Interest accrues on these loans while you are in school.
  • The loan origination fee is 1.057% for loans disbursed on or after October 1, 2020, and before October 1, 2023. For example, if you borrow $20,500 of this type of loan, $20,283.31 would be applied to your student account ($10,141.66 at the beginning of each semester).
  • Graduate Entrance Counseling and a Promissory Note are required for the funds to be released to the University.

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

All eligible law students are offered this loan as part of their award package. Need is not a requirement, but a credit check is required.

  • Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans can cover the amount up to the Cost of Attendance less any institutional scholarships received and $20,500 of Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan.
  • The interest rate is 8.05% for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2023.
  • Interest accrues on these loans while you are in school.
  • The loan origination fee is 4.228% for loans disbursed on or after October 1, 2020, and before October 1, 2023. For example, if you borrow $20,000 of this type of loan, $19,154.40 would be applied to your student account ($9,577.20 at the beginning of each semester).
  • Approval for this loan is based on a credit check, which is done by the Department of Education as soon as a student accepts any amount of Grad PLUS Loan. The credit check looks for whether an applicant has an “adverse credit history,” and borrowers who have an adverse credit history will be asked to meet additional requirements to qualify. An adverse credit history includes being at least 90 days behind on one or more debts of more than $2,085; having a debt that was placed in collections or charged off in the last two years; or, in the last five years, having been subject to default, bankruptcy discharge, foreclosure, repossession, tax lien, wage garnishment, or a write-off of a federal student loan. Please be sure to lift the security freeze on your credit before accepting the Grad PLUS Loan to avoid any delay in loan disbursement.

Private Loans

Private loans, made through a bank or other financial lender, are the least attractive to borrow because the interest rate is likely to be higher and the terms less favorable than a student loan through the federal government.

If you are not taking out federal loans, visit this webpage for information on paying for law school.

Institutional Scholarships (Merit-based Aid)

All merit-based scholarships for incoming students are awarded by the Office of Admissions. Scholarships are highly competitive and granted to admitted students on a rolling basis. The majority of scholarships are awarded between January and April of each admission cycle or until the scholarship funds are exhausted. Competitive applicants who wish to be optimally placed for scholarship consideration should complete their application for admission no later than January 15.

Merit-based scholarships are also available to rising 2L and 3L students. Information about how to apply for these continuing student scholarships will be distributed each spring semester.

External Scholarships (Need-based or Merit-based Aid)

Any scholarship offered from a source other than the University of Miami is referred to as an external scholarship. External scholarship funds will be divided equally between the fall and spring semesters unless otherwise indicated in writing by the donor. Please note that if external scholarship funding is received after you have been packaged with federal loans, your federal loans will be reduced by the amount of the scholarship to keep your total aid award within your Cost of Attendance.

Miami Law maintains a webpage of external scholarships. AccessLex also maintains a databank of external scholarships.

Florida Bright Futures Scholarship (FBFS)

The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program establishes lottery-funded scholarships to reward Florida high school graduates for high academic achievement. FBFS recipients who graduate with a bachelor’s degree in the 2010-11 academic year or thereafter, in seven or fewer semesters, or the equivalent, may receive funding for one semester of graduate study, not to exceed 15 credit hours paid at the undergraduate rate through the FBFS Program. Your FBFS award will be part of your financial aid package at the University of Miami. An FBFS award will reduce federal loan eligibility, which will assist in decreasing future loan debt. For more information and to check your FBFS eligibility, please log in to your account on the FBFS website or contact the Florida Department of Education, Office of Student Financial Assistance, at 888-827-2004 or osfa@fldoe.org.

Florida Prepaid Plan (FLPP)

Your parents or another adult might have invested money into an FLPP to fund your college education. Some incoming law students may have remaining FLPP funds and do not realize they may use them toward law school tuition and fees. The process for having FLPP funds sent to the University of Miami for law school is as follows:

  1. Contact FLPP or login to your FLPP account to determine if you have any remaining funds. Knowing the amount of FLPP funds you have if you successfully complete the FLPP process could impact the amount of student loans you decide to borrow.
  2. Fill out the Transfer Form and submit it to FLPP directly.
  3. Fill out the Authorization Form available on the Office of Student Accounts website and submit it through the Student Dashboard on CaneLink.
  4. Once you are officially enrolled in law school (late July-early August), the University of Miami will bill FLPP in the amount of your remaining FLPP funds. This means your FLPP funds will not show up as part of your initial financial aid package.
  5. The University of Miami will place a credit on your student account in the amount of the FLPP. The FLPP funds will be refunded to the student if there is an excess credit on the student account, which may happen in the case of someone with a significant merit scholarship award.

Federal Loans Application Process and Timeline

For those eligible, funds borrowed through the federal government can help you pay for law school. To apply for federal loans and use them to pay for law school, please follow these steps.

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  • 1. File Your FAFSA (December - April)

    The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is your application for all federal loans available to Miami Law students. Submit your FAFSA as soon as possible after it is released (December 1) so that your financial aid package is available to review as you make your decision to attend Miami Law.

    When entering the school information, please select Florida under State and type Miami Law under School Name. To verify that you entered the correct school name, you will see that the Federal School Code for the Univ of Miami School of Law is E00532.

    If you selected the wrong code (001536), remove it and add the correct one to expedite the awarding process.

    As a graduate/professional student, you need not provide your parent’s financial information when filing the FAFSA. On the Student Education page under the Student Demographics section of the FAFSA, please be sure to indicate that you will be working on a graduate/professional degree in the upcoming school year.

    The preferred FAFSA filing date for Miami Law is February 1, but the final deadline for each academic year varies based on your enrollment.

    What do I need to file my FAFSA?

    • FSA ID
    • Social Security Number
    • Driver’s license (if any)
    • Current bank statements and investment records (if any)
    • Your W2 forms and any other record of money earned
    • Your federal income tax return. It is recommended that you use the Tax Retrieval Tool in the application to ensure the correct information is populated into the form.
    • Your untaxed income records (i.e., 401K contributions, child support received)
    • Permanent resident card (if not a U.S. citizen)
    • If you are flagged by the Department of Education and need to supplement your financial aid application with additional documents such as proof of citizenship, selective service requirement, amended tax return, or other documents requested by the Office of Financial Assistance and Employment, you should upload these items via the Document Submission Form. You may also need to complete and submit the Original Document Affidavit with your requested documents.

  • 2. Receive a Loan Package Notification from Office of Financial Aid (March - June)

    The Office of Financial Assistance and Employment will send you an email notification once you have been packaged.

  • 3. View Your Aid Package and Accept Your Loans (March - June)

    Your financial aid package will be posted on CaneLink. To view/accept your financial aid package, please follow the instructions outlined here

    Please note that the Office of Financial Assistance and Employment offers you the maximum amount that you are allowed to borrow, which is determined by the University’s Cost of Attendance. The Cost of Attendance is the estimated cost to attend Miami Law for the academic year and does not include summer expenses.

    Before accepting your loans, we strongly recommend that you develop a budget to determine how much you will need to cover your expenses. Please carefully consider how much money you will actually need to avoid borrowing more than you need. You do not have to accept all the loans you are offered and are encouraged not to do so, if possible, in order to minimize your debt. If you choose to borrow less loan funding than you were offered, please fill out and submit the Loan Revision Form to indicate the amount you would like to borrow, then accept your loan package on CaneLink after the revised loan amounts are reflected. You can learn more about the loan revision process here.

    Your institutional scholarship should be visible as part of your aid package. If you are an incoming law student who has been awarded an instiutional scholarship, and it is not part of your aid package, please contact the Office of Admissions for assistance. If you are a current law student with an institutional scholarship, and it is not part of your aid package, please contact Lidiette Esquivel at scholarships@law.miami.edu.

    If the Office of Financial Assistance and Employment has requested additional documentation to complete your financial aid package, it should be submitted via the Document Submission Form. Documents may include proof of citizenship, selective service requirement, amended tax return, and other documents required by the Office of Financial Assistance and Employment.

    Once you have accepted your loans, the Office of Financial Assistance and Employment electronically submits the certified loan to the Department of Education. The Department of Education acknowledges the certified loan(s) and conducts a credit check for the Graduate PLUS Loan. The DOE will send you an email and a paper confirmation of the credit decision. In the event you are denied, the letter will provide the additional steps required to be approved.

  • 4. Complete the Required Documentation with the Federal Government (March - July)

    Once you have notified the University which loans you are accepting, you must visit studentaid.gov to complete these documents:

    • Graduate Entrance Counseling
    • Direct Unsubsidized Loan Promissory Note
    • Graduate PLUS Loan Promissory Note (if applicable)
    • Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement (recommended)

  • 5. Notify Admissions of Any External Scholarships (June - July)

    If you have been awarded any external scholarship awards, please notify the Office of Admissions via email at admissions@law.miami.edu before enrollment so that these awards will be reflected on and applied to your student account.

  • 6. Sign Up for Direct Deposit (June - July)

    So that your loan refund can be direct deposited into your bank account as quickly as possible, sign up for direct deposit. Learn how to sign up for direct deposit on CaneLink here.

  • 7. Complete Title IV “Opt-in” Authorization (July)

    To opt-in to have your federal loan funds applied to non-qualifying charges such as health insurance and parking fees, follow the instructions outlined here.

    If you do not opt into the Title IV authorization by July 31, your financial aid will NOT pay these charges. If you are eligible for a refund and do not opt in to have these charges applied through financial aid, they will still be due and are your responsibility.

    For additional information about the Title IV authorization, please click click here.

  • 8. Receive Tuition Bill (Mid-July)

    Your tuition bill will be posted on CaneLink several weeks before classes begin. You are not required to pay this tuition bill until your loan funds have been disbursed.

  • 9. Receive Loan Disbursement and Refund (Mid-August)

    Loan disbursement occurs once the above steps are properly completed. This means your student loan funds will be applied to the charges on your student account, including any expenses to which you have opted to have included. Any funds over and above the charges on your student account will be refunded to you so that you may pay for costs that are not charged through the University, such as housing. Refunds are not processed until after the first week of school, so please plan accordingly.

Financial Aid Forms

Note that some of the forms referred to may not yet be available for the current term/year. Please check this website for updates.

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  • Loan Revision Form

    Used by the student to decrease the offered loan amount, or in some cases, to reinstate a loan that was erroneously declined. Available here.

    For assistance in determining the loan amount you would like to request on the Loan Revision Form, please use the Federal Loan Revision Calculator. You may also refer to this 'Canes Central knowledge article to learn more about the loan revision process.

  • Cost of Attendance Review Forms

    The COA Review Forms allow students who intend to borrow federal loans to supply documentation to determine if an increase in their total COA is warranted. If approved, the total COA and typically the Grad PLUS loan offer can be increased to cover the approved allowance. There are three types of COA Review Forms: (1) the Grad/Law UM Health Insurance COA Request Form, (2) the Grad/Law COA Review Form, and (3) the Grad/Law Tuition COA Request Form.

    The Grad/Law UM Health Insurance COA Request Form specifically relates to the expense associated with enrolling in the University’s Health Insurance Plan. The premium for the University’s Health Insurance Plan is not included in the COA. Therefore, students may request a COA increase (and thus additional Grad PLUS loans) to cover this expense. This form will be available here prior to the start of classes.

    The Grad/Law COA Review Form allows students who intend to borrow federal loans to request a COA increase (and typically additional Grad PLUS loans) for extenuating circumstances. The circumstances are detailed on the form as follows: emergency health-related living expenses, dependent care expenses (daycare/afterschool care), computer replacement (this does not include the purchase of a new computer), additional educational expenses such as additional required books and supplies that exceed the current allotment, computer software required for degree conferment, instruments required for a degree program, and required travel for educational purposes (i.e., required for degree conferment), and private health insurance. This form will be available here prior to the start of classes.

    The Grad/Law Tuition COA Request Form is used in situations where a student has not enrolled or dropped below a full-time status after the initial financial aid application review. Once aid has been adjusted down based on that enrollment, should you add courses that bring you back up to the full-time status, you must request that additional aid be offered. This also applies to students who enroll beyond the 17 flat rate credits and have not been offered financial aid up to the COA. Upon review of the form, students will be offered any additional eligibility, typically in the form of the Grad PLUS Loan. This form will be available here prior to the start of classes.

  • Document Submission Form

    Allows a student to submit materials such as proof of citizenship, selective service requirement, amended tax return, or other documents requested by the Office of Financial Assistance and Employment. Available here.

  • Title IV Authorization Form

    Allows a student to authorize Student Accounts to use their federal aid to cover any charges on their student account outside of tuition and fees. Available here.

FAQs

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  • What is the difference between federal and private student loans?

    Federal student loans are made by the government through the University, with terms set by law and many benefits (such as fixed interest rates and income-driven repayment plans) not typically offered with private loans.

    In contrast, private loans are made by private organizations such banks, credit unions, and state- based or state-affiliated organizations, and have terms and conditions that are set by the lender. Private student loans are generally more expensive than federal student loans.

  • What does federal aid cover?

    Federal aid is available to pay for your Cost of Attendance, which is the estimated cost to attend the University. It is also the maximum amount of all aid you can receive from any source (i.e., loans from federal, state, or private lenders) for the academic year (fall and spring semesters).

    Loan funds should be used for items covered by the Cost of Attendance.

    Using the Cost of Attendance Review Form, students may request a Cost of Attendance increase for living expenses (in emergency health-related situations), dependent care expenses (daycare/after school care), computer purchase, and additional educational expenses such as additional books and supplies, required computer software, instrument required for degree program, and travel for educational purposes (required for degree conferment).

  • Do I need an endorser for my federal loans?

    No. However, if a student fails the Graduate PLUS Loan credit check, an endorser may be required in certain cases.

  • When should I accept my loans?

    Accepting your loans by mid-June will allow ample time for processing and disbursement in a timely manner.

  • How will I receive my loan funds? What is the disbursement process?

    The federal government will send your loan funds each semester to the University of Miami, and the University of Miami will apply your loan funds to the balance on your student account. Any loan funds available beyond your account balance will be issued to you as a loan refund. You may receive your loan refund by check in the mail or via direct deposit. You are encouraged to sign up for the direct deposit option on CaneLink as this is the quickest way to receive your funds. Designate a bank, and the funds will be electronically transferred to your account. Loan refunds are issued after the first week of classes each semester. If you have further questions, please click here or contact 'Canes Central.

  • What is a loan origination fee?

    loan origination fee is assessed by your lender (e.g., for federal loans, the federal government) to help offset the cost of processing your loan. The origination fee is assessed on each loan disbursement. For the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, the loan origination fee is 1.057%, and for the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, the loan origination fee is 4.228% for loans disbursed on or after October 1, 2020, and before October 1, 2023.

  • Up to what date can I change my loan amount?

    If you accept an amount and then later wish to decrease it or wish to request additional funds, the deadline for doing so will be on the Loan Revision Form.

  • How do I submit supplemental documents?

    If you are flagged by the Department of Education and need to supplement your financial aid application with additional documents such as proof of citizenship, selective service requirement, amended tax return, or other documents requested by the Office of Financial Assistance and Employment, you should upload these items via the Document Submission Form. You may also need to complete and submit the Original Document Affidavit with your requested documents.

  • What is my housing allowance and when should I plan to move in?

    Visit the Cost of Attendance webpage to view your estimated housing budget. Note that the housing budget included in the Cost of Attendance is a 9-month figure and assumes you will be living with at least one roommate. We have a Roommate Referral Program to assist you in finding a roommate. Securing a lease that begins on August 1 will give you time to get settled prior to Orientation in mid-August. Please review our Housing Guide and Tips for Renters.

  • Is the cost of the University’s health insurance included in the Cost of Attendance?

    No. If a student requires the University’s health insurance, the policy’s premium will be a cost over and above the Cost of Attendance. A Cost of Attendance revision to obtain loans to cover the cost of the premium may be requested by filling out a Cost of Attendance Review Form.

  • Do I need to file FAFSA for new loans every year? What if I plan to take law classes over the summer?

    You must complete a renewal FAFSA prior to each year of law school. The FAFSA becomes available October 1 each year for the next academic year. If you have already filed a FAFSA for the academic year, you are not required to complete a new FAFSA for the summer.

  • How do I get financial aid for summer classes?

    Students may qualify for federal loans to pay for summer courses if they enroll at least half/part-time. For law school, half/part-time is considered a minimum of three credits. Students will not receive a financial aid package for the summer until (a) they have registered for the summer semester for at least half/part-time and (b) they have received a summer bill. If you have already received federal loans during the academic year, you need not submit a separate or renewal FAFSA to obtain loans for the summer. Please note that, since most law students exhaust their maximum eligibility for Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans during the academic year ($20,500), the initial summer aid package will only offer you Grad PLUS Loans. If you did not borrow $20,500 in the preceding academic year, you may fill out a Loan Revision Form to change the amount and type of loan to include Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans, keeping in mind the annual $20,500 cap and the cost of your summer class(es). For more information about financial aid for summer classes, please click here.

  • What is the scholarship retention policy at Miami Law?

    The scholarship retention policy may be found here.

  • Do you offer financial aid resources for military and veterans?

    Yes. Military and veteran financial aid information is available here.

  • Do you offer loan forgiveness or other financial support for those pursuing public service?

    Yes. For students borrowing federal loans, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program helps make it financially feasible to go into a career in public service. There are also fellowships available through the HOPE Public Interest Resource Center. For additional information on both programs, please click here.

  • Are there any financial aid resources available to help me while preparing for the bar exam?

    Yes. Miami Law has partnered with BARBRI, the largest bar preparation company in the United States, to create the Miami Pass Program. This program will provide you with a bar preparation course discount and additional study resources during law school. The cost of this course is included as part of your mandatory student fees throughout your time at Miami Law.

    As a 3L student, your Cost of Attendance will include a one-time licensure allotment of $600 in the fall semester and $600 in the spring semester to help you cover bar application fees.

    Finally, you may be eligible for a private bar study loan to assist with your living expenses while studying for the bar.

Contact Information

AccessLex Resources

Miami Law has partnered with AccessLex Institute to bring its students a personal finance education program specifically for law students and Miami Law alumni available at no cost. Throughout their time in law school, Miami Law students have access to the following:

- all of AccessLex’s online finance lessons, webinars, and in-person workshops;
- one-on-one financial counseling sessions with any of AccessLex’s MAX Accredited Financial Counselors;
- scholarship incentives to motivate students to engage in the material. AccessLex will award over $110,000 to 1Ls through MAX Scholarship drawings during the academic year! The more modules you complete that are designated as scholarship drawing entries, the better your chances of winning.

Current Miami Law students may register for AccessLex using their UM email address. Incoming Miami Law students will receive registration instructions during the onboarding process.

Other Financial Aid and Scholarship Resources

Public Interest Financial Aid Information

Bar Study Resources

Resources for Alumni

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