Bar Loan Information for 2014 graduates

(updated January 2014)

Graduating students may apply for a bar loan to assist them with the costs associated with studying for and taking the bar exam. The law school encourages students not to work while studying for the bar exam if possible, and we have found that this can help guarantee the best results on the bar exam. The availability of bar loan funds made this a realistic option for many graduates.

We encourage you to find out if you have any eligibility remaining in your financial aid budget for the 2013-2014 academic year. If so, you can borrow those funds through a federal Direct Unsubsidized or Direct Graduate PLUS loan and may not have a need for any additional funding through a bar loan. You should only apply for a bar loan if you have already reached your maximum financial aid eligibiltiy and will have a need for additional funds to cover your costs while you are studying for and taking the bar exam.

Bar Loan lenders

View a Bar Loan Comparison Chart with detailed information re: borrowing limits, fees and application information or each lender.

About the Bar Loan

Graduating students may apply for a loan to help with the costs associated with studying for and taking the bar exam. You do not have to demonstrate "need" for a bar loan, however, you should try to borrow as little as possible. Because the bar loan is a private loan, the interest rate and fees associated with the loan may be higher than those of a federal loan. In addition, you should be aware that any amounts you borrow in a bar loan cannot be included in a federal loan consolidation and you will be required to make an additional loan payment of at least $50 every month to pay off a bar loan.

Good credit is essential to your eligibility for a bar loan. If you are denied for a bar loan based on your credit, you do have the right to appeal directly through the lender. You may be given the option of applying with a cosigner. However, a cosigner does not make up for a borrower's unacceptable credit history. If your bar loan application is denied by your original lender, you can apply through another lender provided their deadline has not already passed. If you choose to apply for a bar loan through another lender, you will need to complete a separate application for that lender and submit proof of your credit denial from the original lender to the Law School Financial Aid Office. If you anticipate that the credit criteria could be a problem, you should apply for the loan as soon as possible. Doing so will allow you enough time to appeal or apply with another lender.

How to Apply for a Bar Loan

  1. Complete and submit the Intent to Apply for a Bar Exam form to the Law School Financial Aid Office.
  2. Choose a lender and complete the bar loan application directly with the lender.
  3. When you apply directly through the lender online or over the phone, you normally receive a credit decision within a few minutes. If you are approved for credit, the lender will send the Law School Financial Aid Office a request for school certification (if required).
  4. When the lender receives all of the required information from both the student and school (if school certification is required), the lender will disburse the funds directly to the student on or around the dates requested by the student.

Generally, if you complete the online application, bar exam loans can take 7-10 days to process. Paper applications can take longer. The Law School Financial Aid Office will determine if you have any remaining eligibility through a federal Stafford loan before certifying your bar loan application. Due to the more favorable interest rate and terms, you should always borrow up to your limit through the federal loan program before you take on any private loan debt.

Please look over the Bar Loan Comparison Chart for detailed information on rates and terms for the bar loans that are currently being offered. You should also review the application materials for the bar loans which are available on the individual lender websites.