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Financial Aid for Law Students

Financial Aid for Law Students

Frequently Asked Questions

Applying for Aid

What scholarship options do I have and how do I apply for them?

For law students, institutional grants and scholarships are awarded directly by the Sturm College of Law (not Financial Aid), usually at the time of admission. There are no federal grants available to graduate students. However, there are private scholarship opportunities available. Begin your search using our scholarship search site.

For more information about institutional grants and scholarships, please contact the Sturm College of Law directly.

What is the deadline to submit the FAFSA? What if I miss the deadline?

The FAFSA can be completed as early as October 1. We recommend that you submit the FAFSA shortly after October 1 to ensure you have access to as many types of federal aid as possible, as some funds can run out as time passes. To increase your chances of receiving highly sought-after awards such as work-study, new students should apply by January 15. Returning students should submit their FAFSA by March 15.

How long will it take for DU to receive my FAFSA?

We will typically receive your FAFSA within 7-10 days after you submit it. You can verify receipt on the Law Student or Incoming Grad Students tab of PioneerWeb.

If I am only planning to receive merit-based aid, do I need to fill out the FAFSA?

No. Only students who are applying for need-based aid or wish to borrow a federal student loan are required to submit the FAFSA. However, we encourage all prospective students to apply for aid in the event that you do qualify for need-based aid or decide to use available student loan options.

Eligibility for Aid

Is financial aid available for summer classes?

Federal loans are available (usually in the form of a Graduate PLUS loan) for summer classes. You will need to submit a summer financial aid application if you wish to apply for summer aid, which is typically available in April of each year. We will notify all current students once the application is available. Students whose first term of enrollment is the summer semester do not need to submit the summer aid application, as summer is already included in their financial aid package.

Is financial aid available for international students?

Unfortunately, international students are not eligible for federal financial aid, but you may qualify for a merit scholarship through the Sturm College of Law. You may also be eligible to borrow a private education loan through a bank or credit union if you have a U.S. citizen as a cosigner.

What is my Expected Family Contribution (EFC)?

Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC)—calculated when the FAFSA is completed—is an amount that indicates how much of a student's resources should be considered "available" for college expenses. It is used as an index to determine financial need, however, and should not be thought of as a dollar amount you will need to pay to DU.

How is "financial need" determined?

Financial need is calculated by subtracting your Expected Family Contribution from your Cost of Attendance. The total amount of your need-based awards cannot exceed your calculated financial need. Need-based financial aid awards include scholarships, grants and work-study.

Award Letter and Next Steps

I haven't received my award letter yet. When can I expect it?

Award letters are sent out every year beginning in early February for admitted new students and late-May for returning students. For all other admits, we begin sending award letters roughly three months prior to the start of the semester. Remember you must be admitted to a DU program to receive an award letter. If you have not received it yet, and you feel like you should have, we may need some additional documentation from you. Be sure to check your financial aid requirements on PioneerWeb, or contact our office for more information.

I'm having trouble logging into PioneerWeb to view my award letter. What do I do?

To view your award letter, you'll need to log into If it's your first time logging in, your password will be your 6-digit birthday in the MMDDYY format.

If you're stuck on the "Edit Security Question & Answer" page, or are experiencing other errors when trying to log in, review the PioneerWeb troubleshooting page. If you're still having problems, please contact IT Support at 303-871-4700.

I was awarded work-study. How do I apply for a position?

If you were awarded work-study, log into PioneerWeb, go to the Student tab and click on the "Find a Job" link. That link will take you to all of the currently available work-study positions through DU. Positions for the 2018-19 academic year will beging to be posted in June.

Please note: The Sturm College of Law strongly discourages full-time students from seeking employment during their first year of study. First-year, full-time students frequently find satisfactory grades impossible to achieve while engaged in outside employment. Additionally, the American Bar Association prohibits full-time students from working more than 20 hours/week during periods of enrollment.

I wasn't awarded work-study. Why?

The amount of funding we have available for this type of aid is extremely limited. In fact, only about 20% of our currently enrolled, eligible students have work-study. Therefore, many students who would otherwise be eligible won't have it offered as a part of their financial aid package. If you don't see work-study on your award letter, chances are that funding has been depleted. However, if you'd like to receive work-study, you may contact our office to submit your name to the waitlist.

Student Loans

If I accept a loan, will it be disbursed over fall and spring semesters automatically?

Any aid you accept through PioneerWeb will be split evenly over the terms listed on your award letter (typically the fall and spring semesters). If you will only be here for one term or will be graduating early, please submit an Enrollment Adjustment form so we can adjust your aid accordingly. 

I accepted a Graduate PLUS or applied for a private loan. Has it been certified by DU?

We begin certifying and processing Graduate PLUS and private loans each June prior to the start of the new academic year. If you have accepted a PLUS loan or applied for a private loan after June or sometime during the school year, please allow 1-2 weeks for a loan to be certified. Once your PLUS or private loan is certified by DU, it will appear as a part of your overall financial aid package on PioneerWeb. Private loans can take 3-4 weeks to actually disburse once certified.

I was denied a Grad PLUS loan. What are my options?

Students who are denied a Graduate PLUS loan can either reapply with an endorser (co-signer) or appeal the decision. Find further information about your options on

Receiving Your Aid

When will my financial aid disburse?

Financial aid disburses each semester no earlier than 10 days prior to the start of the term. Your aid will always be applied to your bill first. If any excess remains, you will receive a refund. Refunds are typically generated approximately three days after disbursement. Find tentative disbursement dates on our website.

How will I receive my refund?

We highly recommend that you set up direct deposit for your refund by clicking on the "Direct Deposit Info" link on the Law Student tab of PioneerWeb. Students who have direct deposit set up can expect to see their refund in their bank account 3-5 days after aid disburses. If you are not using direct deposit, a check will be mailed to you. All refunds require a valid mailing address, so be sure you have the correct mailing address listed in PioneerWeb.

My financial aid hasn't disbursed yet. Why?

In order for your aid to disburse to your student account, you must be enrolled at least half time (4 credits or more), have accepted your aid through PioneerWeb, and have no outstanding requirements on the Student tab of PioneerWeb (which are indicated by a red flag). If you have completed all of these steps and your aid still hasn't disbursed, please contact us.

Keeping Your Aid

I have additional aid not listed on my award letter (such as a private scholarship). Will this affect my financial aid package?

It might. Your financial aid eligibility is limited by the cost of attendance and your expected family contribution. Therefore, if you receive additional aid (such as a grant, scholarship, or tuition benefit) from outside the University of Denver, we may have to adjust your financial aid award package. We will first reduce student loans, then work-study, before reducing any DU scholarships or grants. In some cases, however, additional outside awards that must pay toward tuition charges may result in the reduction of a DU scholarship or grant that is also restricted to tuition.

If you have a private scholarship, be sure to report it using the Private Scholarship Reporting form so we can add it to your award letter.

Will I lose my financial aid if I choose not to maintain full- or half-time enrollment?

All federal aid—including students loans and work-study—are only available to you if you maintain half-time enrollment (4 credits or more). The terms of law scholarships may vary; please contact the Sturm College of Law directly for information about the minimum requirements of those awards.

We verify enrollment for all law students at the 100% add/drop date each semester. If you are enrolled in less credits than what your initial financial aid package is based upon, we may need to return a portion of your loan, which could create a balance due to DU. Learn more about the enrollment adjustment policy on our website.

How will my financial aid be affected if I withdraw from all of my classes?

A portion of your loans may have to be returned, even if they have already disbursed to your account. Please review our refund and withdrawal policy for more information.

Are there academic requirements for me to keep my financial aid?

In order to keep receiving any federal aid—including loans—you must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). The minimum standards for SAP are:

  1. Maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.30 (2.70 for graduate tax students)
  2. Complete and pass a minimum of 66.6% of all the courses you attempted
  3. Complete your degree requirements within 150% of the minimum credits required to graduate

If you fail to meet these minimum standards, your financial aid will be placed on suspension. Learn more about the SAP policy.