Elements of Financial Aid

Law School Grants

Law School grants are credited to your student account automatically by the central University (one-half of the total annual grant each semester). Full-time enrollment at Columbia Law School is required.

External Awards

External awards should be deposited to your student account. Most external award checks arrive at the Financial Aid Office. You are required to notify us of any payments that are made directly to you or to your student account. For more detailed information on how external awards may impact your current aid, please refer to the Awards from External Sources webpage.

Federal Direct Stafford Loans

Federal Direct Stafford Loans must be used first to pay tuition before being used for living expenses. Accordingly, one-half of the total loan amount, minus any loan origination fees, will be disbursed directly to your student account each semester. At least half-time enrollment is required. It is your responsibility to ensure that the Federal Direct Stafford Loan funds are credited to your student account. Before Federal Direct Stafford Loan funds can be disbursed, you must complete Federal Direct Loan Entrance Counseling online at the U.S. Department of Education website.

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans must be credited to your student account, one-half of the total annual award each semester. At least half-time enrollment is required. The loan funds are transmitted directly into the student’s University account at the beginning of each semester. It is your responsibility to ensure that the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan funds are credited to your student account. Before Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan funds can be disbursed, you must complete Federal Direct Loan Entrance Counseling online at the U.S. Department of Education website.

Private Educational Loans

Private Educational Loans are disbursed in a variety of ways.  Many lenders transmit funds electronically directly into the student's University account.  Other lenders send checks made co-payable to the student and the University, so you must endorse them at the University’s Cashiers Office before they can be credited to your student account.  Paper checks are usually mailed to the Law School Financial Aid Office, and we will notify you via e-mail once it is available to be endorsed.  Typically, one-half of the total annual loan amount borrowed, minus any origination fees, is disbursed at the beginning of each semester. You may contact your lender or our office with regard to your lender’s specific private loan disbursement method.  Full-time enrollment is required for most programs. Students wishing to budget their funds over the academic year may request more than two disbursements, or may request an uneven disbursement of funds if they anticipate unusual expenses in either semester.