Planning for Your Legal Education
Your legal education should be considered an investment that will increase in value over time. You should begin planning now to secure financial aid to cover the costs associated with law school attendance. By planning ahead, you will better understand the financial obligations that you will be assuming.
Plan ahead – Make sure that you do the following:
- Explore scholarship opportunities through outside organizations
- Check with your employer for tuition reimbursement opportunities
- Review federal student loan requirements and limits
- Request your free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com
- Review your credit report to determine if you will qualify to borrow a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan
- Develop your personal financial literacy at www.mymoney.gov
- Look at Mapping Your Future’s 12-step guide to financial success
The most import way to minimize debt incurred during law school is through budgeting. South Texas College of Law Houston sets a standard living expense budget for students. Living within this modest budget will allow you to maintain control of your finances and borrow less. We recommend that you use an interactive Budget Calculator to begin the process.
Ways to Build Sound Credit
- Use a budget to help manage debt wisely
- Pay all bills on time
- If you miss a payment, get current and stay current
- Keep credit card balances low and make the maximum payment each month
- Pay off debt rather than moving it around to new credit cards
- Limit the number of credit cards that you carry with you
- Open new credit cards over time rather than several at once
- Follow creditors’ guidelines for dispute on your accounts. Not paying the disputed amount is a harmful strategy
Checklist for Admitted Students
All newly admitted students are considered for South Texas College of Law Houston scholarships. Please contact the Office of Admissions for information on the scholarship decision process and when you could expect to receive a scholarship offer.
Electronically submit FAFSA application (School Code: 004977)
- Click here to begin your FAFSA application.
- Please Note: A Federal Student Aid ID number is required to complete the FAFSA online application. To apply for a federal student aid ID number please go here.
- You will renew the FAFSA every year; retain your FSA ID number. A financial aid award packet, detailing your student loan eligibility will be sent (via email) once you submit the seat deposit to the Office of Admissions. Complete the following forms located here.
- Review the Federal Student Aid webpage located here for more information about loans, repayment plans and more.
- Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan Promissory Note
- Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan Entrance Counseling
- Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Promissory Note – a credit check will be completed and you cannot have adverse credit to qualify for this loan
NOTE: Students not able to borrow Graduate PLUS loans due to adverse credit history may need to secure a co-signer. The inability to borrow this loan could affect a student’s ability to pay the full cost of education at South Texas College of Law Houston.
Planning for Repayment
Federal regulations require all borrowers to complete Federal Direct Stafford Loan Exit counseling before they graduate, withdraw, or drop below half-time enrollment. Graduating students may meet one-on-one with their Financial Aid Counselor to discuss loan repayment
- Student Loan History Review Reviewing and understanding your student loan history is key when transitioning into loan repayment. The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the U.S. Department of Education’s central database for student aid. NSLDS provides a cumulative loan history of all your federal loans and includes contact information for your loan servicers.
- Loan Repayment Calculator to estimate your loan payment and choose a repayment plan that meets your future income level.
- View the Student Loan Exit Counseling Guide.
- There are several repayment plan options to choose from and it is important to research them on studentaid.gov.
- There are limited circumstances when student loan consolidation makes sense.
- You can deduct student loan interest on your income tax return if you meet the qualifications. Visit the IRS website for more information.
Loan Repayment Assistance
- The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
- Will forgive or cancel the remaining balance due on eligible Direct Loan Program loans after having made 120 payments on those loans under certain repayment plans while employed in certain public service jobs. More information here.
- Texas Access To Justice Program
- South Texas College of Law Houston and the Texas Access to Justice Foundation have a cooperative Loan Repayment Assistance Program. STCL Houston provides one-half of the funding for our graduates who participate in the program. TAJF provides the other one-half funding. If you are working in legal aid in Texas, please click here for more information.