OFF THE RECORD - Seton Hall Law

Understanding Your Financial Aid Award Letter

Posted by Karen Sokol on 5/23/17 1:13 PM


Congratulations! You’ve been accepted to law school. You’ve received your acceptance from the Admissions Office and your Financial Aid Award letter. Now what? What steps do you need to take to receive your financial aid awards?

Just to review, what you’ve likely done to date is completed the FAFSA, and once you were accepted, you received a Financial Aid Award letter. Some schools send this electronically, while other mail a paper copy to you. (This may be one of the few things you receive via snail mail.) Didn’t receive one? Check to make sure the school is not missing any documents, and by all means, contact the school with any questions.

Your Financial Aid Award letter should list the financial aid types and amounts, as well as the costs to attend the school. Costs are broken down into two categories. Direct Costs are what you are required to pay the school - such as tuition and fees. Indirect costs include items such as books, loan fees, and a modest amount for personal/ living expenses.

Review your Financial Aid Award letter:

  • If you were awarded a merit scholarship, return the signed scholarship certificate/award notice, if requested by the school. Review the requirements to renew the scholarship annually. This is money you do not have to repay; you don’t want to jeopardize losing it.

  • Review the Net Cost to attend the school. Net Cost is an estimate of the costs to attend the University, after scholarships and grants are subtracted.

  • Create a budget for the upcoming school year. Consider living expenses, commuting costs, books, and personal expenses.

  • Determine how much you will need to pay for Indirect Costs (books/living expenses). Seton Hall Law students may use figures provided here for guidance. 

If you made the decision to apply for student loans to help you cover the net cost of attending law school, you will have to take additional action steps to secure the funding.

  • For Direct Loans, accept your loan on the University portal (access Seton Hall Law's here).

  • Complete Entrance Counseling on the U.S. Department of Education's website

  • Complete a Master Promissory Note for the Direct Unsubsidized / Direct Graduate Plus Loan on the Dept. of Ed's website.

  • If applying for a Graduate Plus Loan, check the procedures for your school. Seton Hall Law students apply for this loan directly on the Department of Education’s website.


So what about work study?

Work-study is a term that refers to part-time jobs on campus, funded either from the federal government or the school. Some schools will list work-study on the Financial Aid Award letter, and others will let you know of student employment opportunities in another way (such as through Career Services.) So do not worry if it is not listed on your award letter, there may still be part-time employment opportunities at the school.

Many law schools (Seton Hall Law included) encourage you to work a minimum number of hours while a first year student and will have a larger number of part-time positions (such as Faculty Research Assistants) available to you after you have completed your first year of law school.

Have any questions?

The Financial Aid Office is here to help you navigate creating a realistic budget, and applying for financial aid. Don't hesitate to call!

You can reach Seton Hall Law School's Financial Aid office at 973-642-8502

Topics: Advice and Tips, Financial Aid

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