Nov 15, 2018  
2018-2019 Law School Student Handbook 
    
2018-2019 Law School Student Handbook

Financial Aid



As a reminder, students should note that the policies, rules and procedures in the Student Handbook are subject to change.

Most Golden Gate University School of Law students require some type of financial assistance to pay for their education. While the law school makes every effort to assist students, financial aid funding is limited. Therefore, students should make every attempt to supplement their financial aid with savings and employment.

General Eligibility

Golden Gate University School of Law administers a full range of programs to help students fund their education. Funding can be met with a combination of scholarships, federal work-study, federal loans (Perkins, Stafford, PLUS) and private loans.

In order to be eligible for federal student aid, a student must:

  • Submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at www.fafsa.ed.gov;
  • Be admitted and/or enrolled in the School of Law (at least on a half-time basis) as a degree seeking student;
  • Be a US citizen or permanent resident or have an eligible alien status;
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress (see Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress);
  • Have registered with the selective service, if required by federal law; and
  • Not be in default on any Title IV loan or owe a refund on any Title IV grant.

A separate university financial aid application is not required for JD students. JD students are automatically packaged for the fall/spring terms. A separate financial aid application is needed for summer. All LLM and SJD students must submit a financial aid application, available on our website. Visa-holding LLM and SJD students should consult the “International Students ” section of this Handbook for more information. Students enrolled in the JD/MBA program receive aid based on the cost of attendance for law students during their entire tenure. Students enrolled in the JD/PhD program receive financial aid from Golden Gate University during their first year of law school and the first summer semester. All future eligibility is determined and disbursed by Pacific Graduate School of Psychology (PGSP).

Student Responsibilities

A student who wishes to receive financial aid must complete the following items each academic year:

  1. Students must complete and submit a FAFSA to the Federal Processor. The FAFSA must be filed every year. The priority deadline is March 2. Students must indicate in Section H on the FAFSA form that Golden Gate University is the college they plan to attend. Golden Gate University School of Law’s Title IV Institutional Code is: 001205-29.
  2. If selected for verification, students must submit additional documents as requested by the Financial Aid Office, such as an IRS tax transcript, W-2 forms, verification worksheets and/or proof of citizenship or permanent residency.
  3. All first-time GGU federal loan borrowers must complete a mandatory online entrance counseling session at www.studentloans.gov Information regarding the counseling session is sent with the award offer.
  4. All first-time federal loan borrowers must sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) for the Stafford Loan(s) with the federal government at www.studentloans.gov. The Financial Aid Office will certify a student’s Stafford Loans each year upon the student’s acceptance of his or her financial aid offer. The amount requested is the amount the student accepts on the financial aid award letter.
  5. Students who receive a Federal Perkins Loan or Federal Work-Study Award must complete the required documents requested by the Financial Aid Office in a timely manner, or the funds may be forfeited.
  6. Students applying for a PLUS loan must sign an MPN online at www.studentloans.gov and submit a loan request form to the school. Students applying for private loans must contact their lenders directly and go through the loan approval process. The Law School strongly encourages students to complete the loan process online and to e-sign the promissory note to expedite processing. In most cases, the Financial Aid Office certifies all loans electronically, unless the student chooses a lender that does not accept electronic certification.
  7. Students requesting a PLUS or private loan must complete and submit a Budget Worksheet/Loan Request Form, available on the financial aid website.
  8. Students requesting additional funding or a late loan certification for a PLUS or private loan must make sure that the certification request is submitted to the Financial Aid Office no later than December 1 for the fall term, May 1 for the spring term, and July 1 for the summer term. Certification requests received after this date will not be certified.
  9. Upon graduation or separation from the law school, students receiving federal aid must complete exit loan counseling as instructed by the Financial Aid Office.

Failure to complete the above items can result in delays or the complete loss of all financial aid eligibility.

Further information about financial aid may be obtained by calling the Financial Aid Office at 442-6635 or by e-mailing lawfao@ggu.edu.

School-Based Financial Aid

To be eligible to receive a Federal Perkins loan, Federal Work-Study, or need-based Special Scholarship assistance, a student must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the priority deadline of March 2. Failure to meet the priority deadline may preclude the student from being considered for school-based aid. School-based aid can be used to cover tuition expenses at Golden Gate University only; it cannot be applied toward semesters visiting away. If a student decides to study abroad for a semester during which he or she has been awarded school-based aid, this aid will be canceled and may not be transferred to any other semester.

  1. Federal Perkins Loan
    The Perkins Loan is a federally funded fixed 5% interest loan through Golden Gate University. Repayment of the loan and interest accrual begins nine months after the borrower graduates, leaves school, or drops below half-time enrollment. Students may be considered for Perkins Loans after they have completed their first year of law school. Funding is awarded at the discretion of the Financial Aid Office with priority given to students who meet the FAFSA priority deadline and demonstrate financial need as defined by the federal processor and the university. Perkins Loans are offered to help offset the cost of tuition. If awarded a Perkins Loan, a student must complete a Perkins promissory note as instructed by the Financial Aid Office prior to funds being transmitted to the student’s account. Funding is limited, and it is possible that in certain years, no funds will be available. The maximum annual award is $8,000, with an aggregate Perkins lifetime loan limit of $60,000.
  1. Federal Work-Study
    The Federal Work-Study (FWS) program was designed by the federal government to expand part-time employment opportunities for students with demonstrated financial need. Through this program, federal funds are used to pay a portion of the student’s salary; the job provider is responsible for the remainder. Students may be considered for FWS after they have completed their first year of law school. Funding is awarded at the discretion of the Financial Aid Office with priority given to students who meet the FAFSA priority deadline and demonstrate financial need as defined by the federal processor and the university. Funding is limited; the amount of work-study award is based on the availability of funds.

    In addition, the jobs developed under this program are intended to serve the public interest and thus meet the needs of the community and the University. Off-campus job providers are private employers, non- or not-for-profit agencies, or organizations in the public or private sectors. Private sector employment must be educationally relevant. No work-study student employee may displace previous employees, nor may the work-study job involve political or religious activities.

    Work-study funds may be made available during periods of non-enrollment (e.g., summer). However, if a student chooses to secure federal work-study funding and is not enrolled at least half-time for that semester, the gross amount the student earns will be considered a monetary resource for the next term in which the student is enrolled at least half-time. FWS will not be processed for students who will not be enrolled the following semester. Students may not receive FWS funds during the same semester they are working for the same job provider for academic credit.

    All work-study recipients are employees of Golden Gate University, even if they are working for an off-campus job provider. Employment is governed by the personnel policies and practices of Golden Gate University. During periods of enrollment, students may work up to 19.5 hours per week, provided that there are no conflicts with class schedules. During periods of non-enrollment, or during an HLP apprenticeship, students may submit time sheets for up to 37.5 hours per week. Overtime is never allowed. Anything over 7.5 hours per day is considered overtime. Additionally, if students work more than 5 hours in a day, a minimum 30-minute lunch break is required. Students cannot work more than 999 hours per calendar year. Students should meet with a financial aid counselor for more information.
  1. Public Interest Work-Study (PIWS)
    The School of Law established the Public Interest Work-Study (PIWS) program to assist selected students in gaining work experience at government agencies and public interest organizations. Through PIWS, the School of Law pays the job provider’s portion of a student’s salary to supplement federal work-study funds. In this way, students may work for job providers who are unable to pay their salary allocation required under the Federal Work-Study program (described earlier). Private, for-profit employers are not eligible to participate in the Public Interest Work-Study program.

    Historically, the number of students who apply exceeds the number of PIWS placements that are available. Preference is given to students who are seeking to work for a job provider with whom they have not previously worked in any capacity. Community involvement and academic performance also may be considered.

    Students are not eligible for School of Law PIWS funds if they are not in good academic standing and/or are likely to be disqualified, or if they will not be enrolled at the School of Law the following semester. Preference is given to students who have not been previously awarded PIWS. Approval of PIWS funds for a particular job provider is subject to the discretion of the Financial Aid Office. The job provider must be a government agency or a non-profit organization. A job provider who employs any students under the regular Federal Work-Study program is not eligible under the School of Law PIWS Program.
  2. Veteran Benefits
    Students who qualify for benefits under the Veterans Affairs Educational Assistance Programs listed below may use those benefits to assist with their educational expenses.*
    • Chapter 30 Montgomery GI Bill: Active Duty
    • Chapter 31 Veterans Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation
    • Chapter 32 Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)
    • Chapter 33 Post 9/11 Tuition/Fees & Yellow Ribbon Program
    • Chapter 35 Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance
    • Chapter 1606 Montgomery GI Bill: Selected Reserve
    • Chapter 1607 Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP)

Golden Gate University is proud to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, a provision of the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Under the Yellow Ribbon Program, the university will award a grant up to 50% of unmet tuition costs, not to exceed $13,000 per semester, to eligible Yellow Ribbon Program veterans. The Veterans Administration will match the other 50%.

Merit scholarships awarded by GGU Law will be applied to tuition costs only. The combination of a merit scholarship, VA tuition benefit, and GGU’s Yellow Ribbon grant may not exceed the total cost of tuition. Eligible students should contact the University’s designated VA certifying officer as soon as possible to receive a comprehensive review of how VA benefits may assist with tuition and to initiate the certification of enrollment to the Veterans Administration. The VA officer may be reached at (415) 442- 7283 or via email at va@ggu.edu.

*VA benefit information is accurate as of the time of the printing of this document. Students applying for VA benefits are strongly encouraged to review the VA benefits at www.gibill.va.gov as benefits are subject to change at any time without prior notice.

Cost of Attendance/Budget Petitions

A student who experiences a change in circumstances (e.g., unexpected medical expenses, childcare expenses, other emergencies) may file a petition for additional funding. Relocation expenses and consumer debt (e.g., credit card debt, high-cost apartment, car loans) will not be considered for budget increases. To apply, students must submit a petition form, available only after meeting with a financial aid counselor, along with a detailed explanation for the request with the appropriate receipts and documentation to support the petition. Petitions will be accepted from the beginning of the semester for which the expenses were incurred but no later than November 15for the fall term, April 15 for the spring term and Friday of the fourth week of the term for the summer term. Petitions may take up to three weeks to be reviewed. A student must agree to submit any additional documentation that is requested. All submitted documentation is confidential and considered property of the University once it has been submitted and, therefore, will not be returned under any circumstances. All petitions are submitted to the Financial Aid Office and reviewed by a committee. Approval of a petition does not guarantee the student will be able to obtain the loan funds from the lender and/or automatically constitute that a similar petition may be approved in the future. Any misrepresentation or falsification will result in the denial of the petition and possible withdrawal of future financial aid and may be subject to action under the Standards of Student Conduct.

Computer Purchase Budget Increase

Students receiving financial aid may request a budget increase to reflect the expense of purchasing a computer for educational use. The increase is allowed as a one-time adjustment during the student’s tenure at Golden Gate University, regardless of what might happen to the computer (e.g., theft or loss). Increasing a student’s budget to allow for the purchase of the computer will increase the student’s PLUS/private loan eligibility. Approval of the budget increase does not guarantee the student will be able to obtain the loan funds from the lender.

In order to have the budget increased, the student must first purchase a computer. The computer must be purchased during the academic school year period for which the student is enrolled. Students will need to submit an itemized copy of the receipt(s), including the total cost of the computer, to the Financial Aid Office. The budget will be increased by the actual cost of the computer, not to exceed $2,000. Computer budget increase requests will be accepted from the beginning of the semester during which the expense was incurred but no later than December 1 for the fall term, May 1 for the spring, and July 1 for the summer.

Bar Loans

  1. Private Bar Exam Loans
    Bar examination loans are available to graduating students through private lenders to assist with financing the costs associated with taking the bar exam and living expenses during the bar exam study period immediately after graduation. Bar loans are credit-based, and the amount students can borrow varies by lender. Please note the Financial Aid Office may certify a bar loan through one lender only. Bar loans are in addition to any financial aid a student may have received for the regular school year.
  1. GGU School of Law Bar Exam Prep Loans
    Golden Gate University School of Law offers an institutional loan to students who are otherwise ineligible to obtain a private bar study loan. The intent of this loan is to assist graduating JD students in covering the cost of taking a prep course to pass the California bar exam for the first time. Funding is limited to cover up to the cost of the review course plus reasonable living expenses. Loans are awarded on a first come, first served basis.

    To be eligible, a JD student must complete a timely application and:
  • Be sitting for the California Bar Exam for the first time;
  • Have been denied a private bar loan through two of the private lenders within 30 days of applying for the GGU BAR loan (proof will be required);
  • Be in good standing with the University;
  • Submit proof of registration for a bar review course;
  • Submit a brief statement explaining the need for funding;
  • Submit a statement from their law school bar mentor stating they are participating in the Law School Bar Mentor Program; and
  • Attend a one-on-one in-person exit loan counseling session prior to graduation.

External Sources of Financial Aid

In order to obtain adequate funding for a law school education, students are encouraged to explore additional avenues of funding. We recommend that students research other outside private scholarship opportunities through the Bar Association of San Francisco, state or local bar associations, ethnic or cultural membership organizations, or local Chamber of Commerce offices. Many national and local organizations are eager to recognize promising law and graduate students. Students receiving outside scholarships should report them to the Financial Aid Office, as they must be considered as part of the aid package.

Institutional Scholarship & Grant Information and Policies

All School of Law institutional scholarships are applied against tuition for courses taken at Golden Gate University School of Law. Our school policy dictates that a student may not, at any time, receive more scholarship than their tuition expenses for any given semester. Students cannot use these awards to pay tuition at other law schools, study abroad programs, or other schools within Golden Gate University. This does not preclude using the award to pay for units taken through the Northern California Law School Consortium.

Please refer to the Academic Standards  section of this Handbook for a complete listing of the required courses that are considered in order to determine your cumulative grade point average in required courses and scholarship eligibility for each year of law school.

For purposes of institutional scholarships, the evaluation period to determine eligibility occurs at the conclusion of each spring semester. However, the first two evaluation periods for part-time evening students that started in fall 2015 or later will be at the end of each full year of law school to include summer. Any student who is granted an Incomplete in a required course or granted a leave of absence from law school will not be evaluated for scholarship eligibility until all required courses attempted have been completed. Please note this might jeopardize the total amount of scholarship a student is eligible to receive. Continued scholarship eligibility will be communicated by the Financial Aid Office. At the end of the first year or during any subsequent evaluation period, if a student fails to achieve the necessary cumulative GPA in required courses and loses his or her scholarship, there will not be an opportunity for re-evaluation. Students academically disqualified from law school will lose all institutional scholarships they had received, regardless of any subsequent reinstatement. Once forfeited, institutional scholarships cannot be regained.

Generally, all institutional and special scholarship awards are divided in half and applied equally against tuition charges in the fall and spring terms. Second year HLP students who maintain their merit scholarships after the evaluation period will have half of their merit scholarships retroactively applied toward their summer tuition and the other half will be applied towards their subsequent spring tuition. Second year HLP students who are also recipients of Public Interest, Environmental Law, and special scholarships will have these awards applied toward their tuition for the subsequent spring semester. Part-time students matriculating in fall 2015 or later will have their scholarships divided over the fall, spring and summer terms of their first and second years.
 
Any change in a student’s program or enrollment status will result in the re-evaluation of the award but will not increase the amount or extend the term of the scholarship that was originally offered. Scholarships are granted contingent upon the student’s matriculation and successful completion of all courses undertaken. If a student withdraws from law school in a given term, the scholarship will be revoked or canceled, and the student may be liable for tuition costs for those courses as determined by the Withdrawal Tuition Credit Policy. A student who graduates early or who chooses to visit away may forfeit some of the scholarship award. All questions regarding scholarship allocation should be directed to the Financial Aid Office.
 
  1. Entering JD Student Scholarships
    The Office of Admissions awards Dean’s and Faculty Merit Scholarships to eligible students at the time of admission. Scholarship amounts are stated in the admission offer letter. To maintain eligibility for a Dean’s or Faculty Merit Scholarship as a continuing (upper-year) student, a student must earn a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 or higher in required courses at the end of each scholarship evaluation period. Please refer to the Academic Standards  section of this Handbook for the list of the courses that are considered in order to determine a student’s required course GPA.

    The Office of Admissions awards California Scholarships to a select number of admitted students who earned their undergraduate degrees at one of California’s public universities (California State University or University of California). These scholarships are awarded at the time of admission and are based on the recipients’ academic achievements and contributions to their campus communities. Scholarship amounts are stated in the offer of admission. California Scholarships are one-time, non-renewable awards.
  1. Public Interest and Environmental Law Scholars
    The Office of Admissions also awards Public Interest Scholars Program (PISP) Scholarships and Environmental Law Scholars Program (ELSP) Scholarships to eligible students at the time of admission. PISP and ELSP Scholarship amounts are stated in the admission offer letter. To maintain eligibility for a PISP or ELSP Scholarship as a continuing (upper-year) student, a student must earn a cumulative GPA of 2.50 or higher in required courses at the end of each scholarship evaluation period. Please refer to the Academic Standards  chapter of this handbook for the list of the courses that are considered in order to determine a student’s required course GPA.
  1. Continuing JD Student Scholarships
    Funds permitting, the Law School Scholarship Committee may evaluate for Continuing Student Merit Scholarships those continuing students who did not receive a scholarship at the time of admission. The amount of the scholarship award is based on academic achievement and contingent on the availability of funds. This scholarship does not require an application. Continuing Student Merit Scholarships will be awarded only prior to the beginning of the student’s second full academic year. New scholarships will not be awarded at the start of any subsequent academic year. To maintain eligibility for a Continuing Student Merit Scholarship, the student must earn a minimum 3.00 cumulative grade point average (GPA) in required courses at the end of each evaluation period thereafter. Please refer to the Academic Standards  section of this Handbook for the list of the courses that are considered in order to determine a student’s required course GPA.
  2. Special Scholarships
    The School of Law is the custodian of several donor-based and endowed scholarship funds that are distributed to students based on eligibility and specific award criteria. Some of these scholarship sources are used to supplement the law school’s institutional aid and merit scholarship programs. Others are awarded on a competitive basis for which an application or essay is required. Typically, special scholarship applications are available in late spring. Please contact the Financial Aid Office with any questions regarding special scholarships.

    Students who are selected to receive a special scholarship must agree to write a thank you letter to the donor prior to the scholarship being applied to their student account.

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress

  1. Measures of Progress
    All students who receive Title IV Federal Financial Aid must maintain financial aid satisfactory academic progress. Golden Gate University is required to periodically evaluate students’ progress toward their degree completion. Note that this financial aid evaluation is separate and distinct from the law school’s evaluation for academic standing. Golden Gate University’s Satisfactory Academic Progress policy evaluates students’ qualitative progress (GPA) and their quantitative progress (courses completed) as follows:
    1. Qualitative (GPA) Measure of Progress
      All financial aid recipients must demonstrate a certain level of academic achievement, as measured by the cumulative overall and cumulative required course grade point averages (GPAs). Please refer to the Academic Standards  section of this Handbook for the list of the courses that are considered in order to determine a student’s required course GPA. The following GPAs represent the minimum cumulative GPAs needed to maintain a student’s financial aid eligibility:

      All JD degree programs (following two semesters):
        For students who matriculated in fall 2014 or earlier:
        Overall 2.00
        Required courses 2.15
       
        For students who matriculated in fall 2015 or later: 
        Overall 2.00
        Required courses 2.30
       
        All LLM degree programs (after eight or more units) 2.50
       
        SJD degree program 3.00
  1. Quantitative Measure of Progress
    All students receiving financial aid must successfully complete at least 80% of the units attempted. Attempted units include all graded and transcripted units, all incomplete units, units from prior terms that were dropped after the first week of classes or that were not completed, and all transfer units. Completed units are those units for which the student has received a grade and degree credit, including all transfer units.

    In addition, students must complete at least 70% of the units for which they receive financial aid. A student will not receive degree credit twice for the same course, so a repeated course will not be counted as completed units. Courses taken with audit status are not included in either the number of units attempted or the number of units completed. Likewise, courses taken in “Open Enrollment” status are not included unless those course(s) are subsequently applied toward a degree program. Satisfactory progress always measures what has happened in prior terms, so all registration and enrollment activity for the current term is excluded from the evaluations.

    All students receiving financial aid must complete their degree programs within 150% of the minimum required units for the degree (rounded up to the nearest whole number of units). For example, the JD degree program requires 88 units for graduation. Students may attempt 132 units toward this degree before becoming ineligible for financial aid. All students are eligible to receive aid for up to 150% of the minimum time frame required to complete their degree. For example, the full-time JD degree program is completed in 3 years. A student may receive aid for up to 4.5 years to complete their degree. If a student does not complete their program within this time frame, he or she will no longer be eligible to receive further federal aid. Students should monitor their total loan debt while completing their degree.
  1. Financial Aid Warning
    A student who falls below either measure (qualitative or quantitative) will be placed automatically on “financial aid warning” (FAW) for one semester. Note that financial aid warning is completely separate from academic probation as described in the Academic Standards  chapter of this Handbook. A student may be placed on FAW independently of his or her academic standing. A student who has not met the minimum GPA requirements will have one warning semester to raise his or her GPA up to the minimum required level. A student who does not achieve the 80% completion rate will have one warning semester to raise his or her completion rate back up to 80%. A student on FAW will not be eligible to receive funding in a subsequent semester until he or she has met the minimum requirements to be removed from FAW. Funding for a subsequent semester may be certified but funds will be held until eligibility is cleared. If a student regains satisfactory standing at the end of this period, he or she will be removed from FAW, and any pending aid will be released. If, at the end of the warning semester, the student fails to gain satisfactory standing, the student’s financial aid will be canceled. Students are allowed only one warning period. Students who drop below the minimum progress requirements a second time will not be given a second warning period, and their financial aid will be subject to immediate cancellation.
  1. Financial Aid Appeals
    Students who are unable to regain satisfactory academic standing at the end of a warning period or whose financial aid is otherwise subject to cancellation have the right to petition for a probationary period. Students who feel that there were truly exceptional and/or unavoidable circumstances that prevented them from meeting the eligibility requirements should submit a letter of appeal to the Financial Aid Office, stating in detail the basis of their appeal, along with any supporting documentation. Supporting documentation must be detailed and specific as to its relevance to a student’s request for an exception to this policy and must provide information about the student’s ability to continue in their program. The Financial Aid Appeals Committee will review the documentation submitted and make a final decision. The student will be notified of the decision via email.
  1. Financial Aid Probation
    If an appeal is approved, the student receives aid for one additional semester. Funding for a subsequent semester may be certified, but funds will be held until eligibility is cleared. If a student regains satisfactory standing at the end of their probationary period, he or she will be removed from Financial Aid Probation and any pending aid will be released. If, at the end of the probationary semester, the student fails to gain satisfactory standing, the student’s financial aid will be canceled and the student will become ineligible for further aid. A student whose financial aid is canceled after he or she fails to maintain financial aid satisfactory academic progress must regain satisfactory standing in order for his or her eligibility for financial aid to be reinstated. This can be done by the student if he or she raises their cumulative GPA to the minimum required for the student’s degree program or by increasing their completed-to-attempted units percentage during a semester without receiving federal financial aid.

    A student who is returning to Golden Gate University after being academically disqualified will be evaluated on a term-by-term basis at the end of every term. In this case, a student’s evaluation for financial aid satisfactory academic progress will be based on the term GPA and not on the student’s cumulative GPA.