Financial Aid FAQs

DISCLAIMER: You must be enrolled at least half-time (four credit hours for financial aid purposes) in any semester to be eligible for federal financial aid. Note: You will need to be enrolled half-time over the Summer Session if you will need financial aid. Summer Session terms are combined to determine aid eligibility and you ONLY get living expenses for periods of enrollment.

2016 - 2017 Cost of Attendance

What is the cost of attendance?

"Cost of Attendance" is an estimate of how much it will cost a student to live and attend school for an academic year (9 months).

The breakdown below is based on full-time enrollment for both fall and spring semesters (9+ credit hours for financial aid purposes):

$ 12,906

Rent, Utilities, and Food

$ 1,800 (est)

Books and supplies (including textbooks, pens, paper, study guides, etc)

$ 936 Resident (est) $1,658 Non-Resident

Transportation to and from the university during the school year.

$ 2,430

Medical insurance premiums for 12 months.
Insurance may be purchased through the University of Colorado Health Insurance Program. You may choose from several levels of coverage or purchase health insurance elsewhere.
Important Note: You will automatically be billed for the Student Gold Health plan unless you waive insurance with Wardenburg Student Health Center at

$ 1,358 (est)

Personal expenses: approximately $150 per month for personal necessities (clothing, recreation, etc.).

Not considered educational expenses: Moving expenses (transporting personal items from previous residence to Boulder) and expenses related to car ownership (including car payments, insurance, maintenance and campus parking), and credit card debt payments.

How is the cost of attendance determined?
The cost of attendance for the University of Colorado is determined by the Office of Financial Aid, the U.S. Department of Education (ED), and the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) guidelines. The Office of Financial Aid uses the maximum allowed parameters from ED and CDHE in designing the budget. Your financial aid, including loans, scholarships, grants, and work-study cannot exceed the cost of attendance.

Loans, Scholarships, & Work Study

What kind of financial aid is available to law students?

All three years: You may qualify for Federal Direct Stafford Loans and Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans. In addition, the Law School's Office of Admissions administers institutional scholarship funding.

Second and third-year students may be eligible to receive Federal Work-Study, depending on funding and eligibility.

When I receive my Financial Aid Award Letter, should I accept the maximum loan amounts offered?

Do not accept more loan money than you need

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
Graduate PLUS Loan

For both loan programs, the interest begins accruing once disbursed, so you will be accumulating interest before you start making payments. Borrowing as little as possible will minimize the interest you accumulate before you graduate.

How do I decide how much I need?

  • Compare your personal expenses to your cost of attendance.
  • Any balance of the award you do not take up front can serve as a safety net for unexpected emergencies during the nine month academic year.

Will I need money prior to receiving my loan funds?
In most instances, loan funds and/or scholarships will be disbursed to your student account at the beginning of each semester. This may cause a temporary cash-flow problem. Please come to Boulder prepared to make deposits on housing and utilities and be able to purchase books prior to receiving your financial aid.

How are my awards credited to my student account?
One half of your total awarded dollar amounts will be automatically credited to your student account each semester after you accept your financial aid award offer and follow instructions for processing additional required forms and promissory notes. You will need to establish direct deposit with the Bursar's Office in order to process any amount due to you after your student account has been paid in full. You can sign up for direct deposit after your University student account has been activated.

What should I do if I have special circumstances for which I need additional funding?
If you or your family has experienced a recent hardship that is not reflected on your current FAFSA, such as loss of income or unusually high medical espenses, you may request a reevaluation of your financial aid eligibility. Students may also request an increase to their cost of attendance for unusual expnses they may have during the acdemic year, such as purchasing a new computer, child care expenses, or books and supplies that exceed the budgeted amount. For information on special circumstance appeals, please go to

Will a credit check be necessary before I can qualify for my loans?
A credit check will not be necessary for the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan program. However, a credit check will be necessary to qualify for Graduate PLUS loans. These are performed by the Direct Loan program's confidential third-party partner and no one at the University will ever be able to access your credit information or score.

What is "Verification"?
Verification is a process established by the Department of Education to check the accuracy of aid applications. The Office of Financial Aid primarily verifies income data and will submit corrections to the FAFSA if they find any discrepancies.


How do I qualify for in-state tuition?
There is a required 12-month waiting period for in-state tuition classification. This begins 12 months before the first day of class for the term for which you are petitioning. This rule is governed by state law and is subject to change without notice. Information about tuition classification is available at

Information sheets and petitions for residency are available from the Residency and Tuition Classification Department located in the Registrar's Office in the Regent Administrative Center.

December Graduates

What do I need to know about financial aid and completing my degree in December?
Financial aid exit counseling is available to all students graduating in December. You can request an appointment by sending an email to one of our financial aid counselors at We encourage all graduates to make the time to meet and discuss their financial aid in-depth prior to the end of your last semester. Some things to keep in mind and discuss during exit counseling: December graduates should request the spring portion of their Unsubsidized Loan be designated to the fall semester and Graduate PLUS Loan aid reduced in its place if appropriate to have the lower interest rate loan available; increases to your cost of attendance can be made while you are still enrolled at least half-time (four credit hours for financial aid purposes) for certain expenses (e.g., cost of the bar exam and MPRE); options for any bar prep courses and living expenses while preparing for the exam; repayment options (we suggest income driven repayment plans); loan consolidation; and possible eligibility for our Loan Repayment Assistance Program and the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

Please email Dean Jackson at to discuss options for having spring scholarship funds reallocated to the fall semester.

Federal financial aid is heavily regulated and aid options become extremely limited once you complete the JD program. It is essential that you make time to meet prior to the last day of classes in the semester, in which you will graduate.

This information is subject to change without notice. It is intended as a general source of information about financial aid and is in no way intended to state contractual terms.