photo credit: Joe Gratz
When it comes to applying for a student loan, a work-study program, or a grant to help pay for law school or graduate school, applicants are not considered to be dependent upon their parents. So when you submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, you will not need to submit the details regarding your parents’ income. In the case of Columbia University Law School, the deadline for submitting the FAFSA form is March 1st.
Although law school students are considered to be financially independent from their parents, Columbia University Law School requires the income tax details of candidates’ parents in order to issue grants and loans such as the Federal Perkins Loan Program. If your parents file separately, then both tax returns are required. The deadline to complete loan applications is May 15th.
Columbia University decides to provide financial assistance to its law students based on the financial need of the applicants, taking into account the financial capacity of the candidate’s parents. In the event that parents refuse to divulge of their financial details, Columbia University will refuse to issue a grant to help the applicant pay for law school. There may be cases in which a student seeks an exemption from this policy by appealing to the Director of Financial Aid at Columbia University, by providing court documents, letters from attorneys, social workers, clergy members, and others in order to support the candidate’s claims of financial need.
How are the Law School Grants Disbursed?
If a student has already been admitted to Columbia University Law School, then the applicant will need to consult the Financial Aid Office to complete the Need Access application and other forms. Students who receive financial aid at Columbia University can generally expect their grants and loans to be disbursed in August for the fall term and in January for the spring term. Any awards are generally credited directly to the law student’s account at Columbia University. If an applicant’s documents are not complete, it will likely prevent the financial aid from being available. Columbia University notifies its students of the documents that are required to complete the process to help students pay for law school. If law school students have received awards and scholarships from outside Columbia University, those awards should generally be credited to the student via the Financial Aid Office. Law school students are required to inform the Financial Aid Office of any outside awards, even when they are issued directly to the student rather than via the Financial Aid Office.