Financial Aid FAQs

2013 - 2014 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).

Colorado resident living off-campus: $19,052 is budgeted for living expenses. Non-resident students are awarded an additional $682 for transportation costs.

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

$ 12,770

Room and board

  • Rent  - $963* per month
  • Food and utilities - $456 per month

* The $963 for rent is based on the average Boulder, Colorado rent for graduate students as designated by Colorado's Department of Higher Education.

$ 1,800

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

$ 936 Resident
($1,618 Non-Resident)

Transportation to and from the university during the school year.

$ 2,232

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

$ 1,314

Personal expenses: approximately $146 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
! There are two loan programs available to law students: the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan (Stafford) and the Direct PLUS loan (PLUS).

Stafford – 5.4% interest rate, maximum of $20,500 per year
PLUS – 6.4% interest rate, will make up the rest of your loan needs above $20,500

For both 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.
  • Personal expenses below your loan award? Borrow only what you will need.
  • 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 twice a year--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?
Appeals - The Department of Education and the University of Colorado allow you to appeal if you have special circumstances. Examples include child care, medical expenses over and above your budget, and expenses relating to a disabling condition. Credit card or car payment expenses may not be added to the budget. 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 that compares the information you submitted on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to your Federal Income Tax Return. During this process, additional documents may be required (e.g., Selective Service Confirmation).


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 no way intended to state contractual terms.

Updated 12/17/2013