Calculation of Grants
Need-based institutional aid (grants, university loans) is calculated on the basis of family financial strength as demonstrated by the need analysis forms and other required documents described in the Eligibility for a Scholarship Grant section. Prior educational debt and the family’s willingness to contribute to the student’s educational costs are not factored into the aid decision.
Grant awards for entering J.D. students (Class of 2017) will be made on a three-year basis. Award letters to recipients of institutional grants will include information about the financial aid package, including educational loans, and the School’s grant commitment for each of the student’s three years of full-time study at Columbia Law School.
Law School grant funds for each class (e.g., Class of 2017) are committed at the time of admission. Therefore, the Law School does not accept grant applications from students in their second or third years, nor from students admitted with advanced standing. Of course, upperclass J.D. students who are experiencing financial difficulty because of significant adverse changes to their circumstances are encouraged to meet with a Financial Aid Officer to explore their financial aid options.
Expected Loan Component for Need-Based Grant Recipients
All need-based grant packages require a significant loan component, comprised of federal loans for U.S. students, and private educational loans for international students. Because students who are not able to secure the loans necessary to finance their education do not receive any institutional funds to pay for their Law School expenses, they must find other means to pay for their education.
Renewal of Grant Awards for Continuing Students
Continuing students (2L’s/Class of 2016 and 3L’s/Class of 2015) who received a three-year grant at the time of admission to the Law School will have their financial aid renewed in accordance with their award notification once they have submitted the following: Financial Aid Questionnaire, Grant Data Sheet, current resume, biographical sketch, loan documents, and loan application(s). They will not need to complete the Need Access application again, nor to submit tax returns, unless tax data is required for verification of FAFSA data. In some cases, when significant changes have occurred in a student’s personal circumstances (e.g., student’s marriage or divorce, change of spouse’s status, etc.) or when a student receives grants from other sources, the student may be asked to provide additional information since eligibility for certain types of aid may be impacted.
Grant recipients are required to notify the Financial Aid Office of significant changes to their circumstances (e.g., marriage, children, inheritances, tuition exemption, outside awards, etc.). While adjustments to the Law School grant may not always result from such changes, it may be necessary to modify loan amounts.