Student Loan Options
Cincinnati Law offers loan assistance through three main federal student loan programs: Federal Perkins, Federal Direct Unsubsidized and the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan. The UC Student Financial Aid Office offers a comparison chart showing the differences in these federal loans in regard to their eligibility, interest rates, and repayment terms. Repayment on all of these loans does not begin until after graduation from law school or unless a student falls below half-time enrollment status.
The Federal Graduate PLUS Loan is designed to cover any remaining gap in tuition/living expenses left after all other sources of aid and loans have already been exhausted. As a result, the loan amount is only limited by a student's total cost of education minus all other forms of aid/loans. Private education loans, or alternative loans, offered by banks and other lenders are another “gap financing” option available. Often they provide a choice of competitive fixed or variable interest rates and fees which may be lower than the Federal Graduate PLUS Loan. Borrowers are encouraged to research the advantages and disadvantages of these options prior to applying. If you identify an alternative loan that interests you, we recommend you speak with a staff member in the Office of Admission & Financial Aid to discuss the terms of the loan.
A credit check is required as part of the approval process for either the Federal Graduate PLUS Loan or an alternative loan. Sometimes a co-signer may be necessary to secure these loans, or to enable a borrower to receive better terms in the case of private lenders. We therefore advise incoming law students to obtain free copies of their credit report from the three major credit bureaus by late spring or early summer to ensure they will be able to access one of these loans if needed. Read more from the US Department of Education’s Grad PLUS Q&A site.
Law students applying for any federal student loan must first submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with the University of Cincinnati's Title IV school code of 003125. Once the FAFSA is processed by the US Department of Education, the results are sent to the University's Student Financial Aid Office (SFAO) located on campus in the University Pavilion. Following admission to the College of Law, the SFAO prepares aid eligibility as early as March or April each year and then sends emails to admitted and current students to their designated UC email address confirming the award letter can be viewed online. Students should accept or decline all forms of aid offered and specify what amount they intend to borrow. Students may initially accept less than the amount offered and then request an increase later in the school year if needed.
After accepting the loan amounts online, students then receive further communication from the SFAO in early summer advising them to complete the entrance loan counseling and promissory note steps online.
Students who elect to borrow an alternative loan will need to follow the application instructions provided by the lender they select.
Public Interest Loan Forgiveness
Students who plan to work in a public interest capacity after graduating from law school may qualify for student loan forgiveness under federal regulations if they commit to work for 10 years in a qualifying public service position. This includes work in the government and non-profit 501 (c)(3) sectors. Please visit the US Department of Education website for more information. Equal Justice Works, a non-profit organization, also has helpful information on this loan forgiveness program as well as other student debt relief.
Temporary emergency loans are available to law students through a fund established by the Cincinnati Bar Association and through the James J. Muir and Leslie A. Meek Loan Funds. Since the fund balances are determined by the repayment performance of previous borrowers, loan applicants are required to furnish a financial statement showing their ability to repay by the due date.