Determination of Need

Financial Need

Financial need is the difference between the Cost of Attendance (student financial aid budget) and the student's (and spouse's, if married) Expected Family Contribution (EFC) plus other educational benefits as determined by the need analysis process.

  1. The information utilized in the need analysis process may include the following: student's and spouse's income and assets, U.S. income taxes paid, untaxed income and benefits including any assistance and cash received from parents or relatives, family size, the number of family members in college, medical and emergency expenses and unusual circumstances.
  2. All students are expected to contribute toward their cost of education. Other educational benefits considered by the financial aid office as assistance may include aid that was not necessarily processed or handled by that office, i.e., outside loans, scholarships, gifts, benefits from federal or state programs such as educational benefits through Social Security, Veteran's Administration, AFDC and Vocational Rehabilitation.
  3. The university determines an adequate expected cost of education for the period the student is in attendance at the School of Law. This budget includes expenses for tuition and fees, books, transportation, food, personal expenses and housing allowance. Note: Federal methodology prescribes that the student's living expenses be considered in the student's budget; however, family members are considered in the formula used to derive the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

Financial Aid Awards

The Financial Aid Office will attempt to meet the student's financial need* up to the student's full Cost of Attendance.

*Cost of Attendance - Expected Family Contribution - Other Educational Benefits = Financial Need

  1. The amount of the award will be based on the student's enrollment status, estimated budget, financial need, availability of funds and individual program criteria.
    • All students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Application in order to be evaluated for all financial aid programs including scholarships.
    • Upon review of all required documents and the completion of the verification process, a tentative Financial Aid Award letter will be emailed to the student listing the financial aid programs the student is eligible to utilize.
    • All School of Law scholarships or grants are determined by the Admissions or Records Office. University scholarships are part of the award package and the combination of university funds, federal aid and outside financial aid resources cannot exceed the Cost of Attendance.
    • Priority consideration for other discretionary funds such as the USD Tuition Credit loan, Law Access loan Loans and Federal Work Study funds will be given to students who meet the priority filing deadline and also have a pre-determined high need level. Consideration is given to the student's preference for loans or Federal Work Study funds. The Federal Work Study Program has specific requirements, i.e., availability of positions and funding that must exist in order for students to initialize the Federal Work Study award.
  2. Students who have unusual expenses such as emergency medical care may request a revision to their Cost of Attendance and aid offered by submitting their special circumstances in writing to the Financial Aid Office.
  3. Scholarships awarded after the original notification of award may cause a student's financial aid package to be revised. Students are responsible for reporting to the Financial Aid Office all changes in status and resources used to meet their Cost of Attendance.
  4. Some students will be selected for a process called "Verification."  This process is used by the institution to check the accuracy of the information a student (and their spouse) has given to the U.S. Department of Education when applying for federal aid. Information is verified by securing additional documentation and a signed statement attesting to the accuracy of the information provided.
  5. Students who are not eligible for financial aid due to financial or academic reasons will receive a notification from the Financial Aid Office.
  6. Because of limited funding, the university is not able to meet every student's full financial need.
  7. Students enrolled in dual degree programs must coordinate the financial aid processing between the law school Financial Aid Office and the Graduate/Undergraduate Financial Aid Office.