DISCLAIMER: You must be enrolled at least half-time (five 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.

Cost of Attendance

What is Cost of Attendance?

"Cost of Attendance (COA)" is an estimate of how much it will cost a student to live and attend school for an academic year (9 months). Tuition and fees are just one part of the overall cost to attend CU Boulder. For a list of other case-by-case expenses, such as computer purchases or dependent care expenses, view the full cost of attendance. Note that during your 3L year your cost of attendance will automatically include bar exam related expenses. Bar preparatory materials such as BarBri, Themis, Helix, etc. are not covered by this allowance.

How is COA determined?

The COA 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 COA.

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 COA.
  • 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.

What if 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?
Half of your total awarded dollar amount 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. View instructions to setup direct deposit.

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 expenses, you may request a reevaluation of your financial aid eligibility. Students may also request an increase to their cost of attendance for unusual expenses they may have during the academic year, such as purchasing a new computer, child care expenses, or books and supplies that exceed the budgeted amount. View more information on special circumstance appeals.​

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. You may be asked to provide additional documentation to the Office of Financial Aid as part of the process. If you are selected for verification, you must complete the process in order to receive your financial aid. 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 http://registrar.colorado.edu/students/tuition_classification.html.

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 our financial aid counselor at lawfinancialaid@colorado.edu. 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:

  • Reallocating the Unsubsidized Loan to a fall-only loan period- 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.

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

Additional Loan Options and Repayment Information

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.