Financial Aid FAQs
Below are some links to help you find answers to some common financial aid questions. Clicking on a question will re-direct you to its answer:

The Questions:
The Answers:

When is the Financial Aid Application deadline?
Entering students do not have a specific deadline, however, they are encouraged to apply as early as possible as some programs have limited funding. Financial aid is processed on a first come first serve basis.

Returning students have a priority filing deadline of April 1 for the 2014-2015 academic year.

What info will I need to fill out the applications?
In order to fill out the FAFSA you need a copy of your 2013 Federal Tax Return for the 2014-2015 academic year application. You will be asked for your driver's license number on most Financial Aid paperwork. If you have not yet completed your tax return, you can complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with estimated information and your W-2s.

What forms do I have to fill out?
All students wishing to apply for aid must completely fill out a FAFSA and an institutional data form. Those borrowing for the first time at Widener Law must complete a master promissory note (in order to borrow Federal Direct loans). Some students will also need to submit additional paperwork upon request. (See also: What forms do I need?)

What is the maximum amount that I can borrow?
Most students will be eligible to access $20,500.00 in a Federal Direct loan for the 2014-2015 year and may be eligible to borrow additional funding in the form of a Federal Direct GradPlus loan. This amount will vary based on the program and academic year of the student.

Will I have to make payments on prior federal loans while in school? If not, when does payment start?
No. You are not required to make payments on previous federal education loans while you are in school. When you return to school as at least a half time student you will be eligible to request an in-school deferment from your lender service. This deferment will only be good as long as you are enrolled . You can request the form from your lender and submit it to the Registrar's Office once classes begin. Once you graduate or cease enrollment as at least a half time student, you will begin your repayment period on your prior loans. There is no penalty to make payments on accruing interest while you are in school, although you are not required to. If you choose this option, you will only be responsible for the principle and any remaining interest when you are finished. Private loans may or may not require repayment. Contact your lender for specifics.

I was working full time last year and quit to return to school. How will that affect my eligibility?
The FAFSA does analyze your previous years income and assets. If you are not eligible for any need based aid (Subsidized Stafford loan, Perkins Loan, or a Dean's Grant), you have the right to request that we use your anticipated income for the current year. To file an appeal please contact the Financial Aid Office.

Do I have to complete a new application each year?
Yes. Every student wishing to apply for financial aid must complete a new FAFSA and a new institutional data form each year. If borrowing from the GradPlus loan program a new application mut be completed every year.

What is the difference between the Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford loan?
Interest does not accrue on a subsidized Federal Direct loan while a student is in school but it does on an unsubsidized Stafford loan. The amount of funding a student may be eligible for will be different for each.

How do I appeal my financial aid award?
In order to appeal any financial aid award decision, you must write an appeal letter to the Director of Financial Aid. Appeals for need based aid are not considered until October.

What scholarships are available for law students?
We suggest that students complete individual scholarship searches for outside funding. Alumni and friends of Widener Law have donated several endowed scholarships. These scholarships are awarded annually by the Scholarship Committee based on the criteria determined by the individual donors. Applications are available to current students in the spring. In addition, The Financial Aid Office has researched and made available on our website, information available from over 100 scholarship opportunities. Please visit this link for access to outside scholarship data. (See also: Widener Endowed Scholarships)

I was awarded a scholarship from a private outside organization; do I need to inform the financial aid office?
Yes. All outside financial aid must be included in your packet. Outside scholarships are typically forwarded to the institution you are attending to be applied toward your tuition.

Does Widener Law have entrance and exit interviews?
Yes. Even if you have attended another institution you are required to complete an entrance and exit interview. Entrance interviews are held during your orientation at Widener Law. While exit interviews are scheduled in the month prior to your graduation. If you have additional specific questions you can always make an appointment to see a counselor.

Does Widener Law have a Loan Repayment Assistance Program?
Yes. We do have a Loan Repayment Assistance Program for students that are within three years of their graduation. This program is directed at students who secure a position working for a non-profit, non-governmental organization that provides legal services, which benefit the community, underrepresented groups, or indigent people. Information is provided to students after graduation. (See also: Loan Repayment Assistance program)

How is my family contribution (estimated family contribution - EFC) calculated?
When a student completes and submits the FAFSA a calculation is automatically done based on the information provided. Your EFC is calculated as follows.

1. Student's Income (will include spouse if applicable) - Expenses & Allowances = Available Income
2. Student's Assets (will include spouse if applicable) - Debts Against Those Assets = Net Assets
3. (Available Income x Assessment Rate) + (Net Assets x Assessment Rate) = EFC

What is the difference between Federal Perkins Loan and Federal Direct Loan?
While both of these loans are Federal loans it is important to note that a Perkins loan is administered by the institution. The Federal Perkins loan has very limited funding available, which means not all students will receive a Perkins loan. Generally Perkins loans are small amounts of $1,000 to $3,000 while with the Federal Direct loan an individual may be eligible for up to $20,500.

What impact does my credit report have to do with my ability to obtain educational loan funds?
If you have adverse credit history you may have difficulty obtaining a Federal Direct GradPlus loan to cover living expenses or tuition balances.

How, when, and where are financial aid funds disbursed?
Financial aid cannot be disbursed until 10 days before the start of classes for any semester. This will allow the Bursar's Office to create refund checks for the beginning of the semester. All funds are disbursed to Widener Law. Please be aware that there will be a delay in processing and receipt of funds if your paperwork is not filed until August or later.

Is direct deposit of my refund check available?
Yes. Direct deposit of refund checks is available (information on how to sign up for direct deposit of refunds)

If I do not need the full loan amount offered to me, do I have to borrow that amount?
The Financial Aid Office always encourages students to only borrow what they need. If you have applied for more then you needed, funds can be sent back to your lender at any time. Once your loan is processed, you will receive an award agreement telling you what amount has been processed for you. The award agreement asks you to accept or reject your aid. At this time, you can reject all or part of your financial aid packet.

I am preparing to graduate and need to borrow funding to cover my bar expenses. What do I need to do in order to access these funds?
We encourage all students to first borrow up to their maximum budget for the academic year prior to accessing a Bar Loan. Bar loans carry higher interest rates and the repayment options are not as appealing as those of the Federal loan programs. If you are unsure about what you have borrowed please see the Financial Aid Office.

When should I complete my Bar Loan Application?
You should complete a Bar Loan application approximately a month before you wish to have the funds.

I have completed a Bar Loan application. What happens next?
After you have applied for a Bar Loan the Financial Aid Office is required to certify your loan application. Once this is completed and your application is in order your lender will mail you a check directly to the address you have used on your application. Widener Law will not receive funds borrowed through a Bar Loan.

What happens to my financial aid if I withdraw or take a leave of absence during a semester?
If you withdraw or are approved to take a leave of absence during a semester, you are considered withdrawn for financial aid purposes. Federal regulations require the Financial Aid Office to perform a Return of Title IV calculation to determine your eligibility to retain federal funds based on the actual percentage of attendance during a semester. If the Financial Aid Office is required to return Title IV funds, it will done according in the order prescribed by law. Institutional aid shall be retained in proportion to the percentage of
tuition and fees charged. Please see the Bursar’s Office for the University’s Complete Withdraw policy.

What should I do if I have questions that are not answered in this section?
Please contact the Financial Aid Office at (302) 477-2272 in Delaware or (717) 541-3961 in Harrisburg. (See also: Contact us)

What if my financial aid is not enough to cover my tuition and living expenses?
A student's cost of attendance is created using average expenses for a typical student. If you have received the maximum financial aid allowed under your cost of attendance you can request an increase for additional education related expenses. Please submit a letter requesting a cost of attendance increase and include documentation supporting your expenses to the Financial Aid Office on your campus.