Financing Your Legal Education
SAS On-Campus Bank
The bank is located in the SAS office in the Lower Level of D'Amour Library. It is open any time that the SAS office is open. However, the bank STOPS cashing checks one half hour prior to SAS office closing.
The on-campus bank cannot establish deposit/checking accounts for students. There are local bank representatives on campus at the start of the school year for that purpose. The SAS bank is the place for the following:
Payments for any charges to the student account can be made at the bank. To mail payments, send to:
Western New England University
1215 Wilbraham Road
Springfield MA 01119-2684
On-line payments may be made by clicking on this link, On-line Payments, which describes making payments through Connect2U.
Refunds of excess financial aid and/or private loans are disbursed via checks at the SAS Bank. As a general matter, providing that all financial aid elements are in place, SAS will be able to generate refunds (of loan funds in excess of tuition and fees) for FALL loans for pick-up 5-7 business days after loans are disbursed. The Fall disbursements are held at SAS for pickup, since many local addresses are not established with sufficient certitude. SPRING refunds will be ready during the first week of classes of the Spring semester. The Spring semester disbursements will be held for two weeks after classes begin, at which time they will be mailed to local addresses.
For students who have PRIVATE loans and all financial aid elements in place, we can generate refunds upon request after the private loan is disbursed. For refunds in advance of federal funds and WNE scholarship disbursements, we refund the smaller of the private borrowing, or the total expected semester credit balance.
Refunds due to University administered aid disbursements and federal funds will be generated automatically by the seventh business day after classes commence and held for pickup at the SAS Bank for two weeks, then mailed. To request a refund at other times, call a Student Services Administrator (SSA) at 413 796-2080. Federal regulations require refunding, within 14 days, any credit balance due from Federal (Title IV) disbursements greater than the mandatory charges on the student's account, unless the student requests the credit remain on the account.
Federal Direct Student Loans
Western New England University participates in the Federal Direct Loan program, which allows the University to receive loan funds directly from the U.S. Department of Education and to disburse them to eligible students. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form is your application for this program and can be completed on-line at http://www.fafsa.gov/. We no longer require copies of the federal Form 1040 income tax return or W-2 forms. Please use the IRS Data Retrieval Process when filing the FAFSA. If filing the FAFSA before completing federal income tax forms, update the FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool at least two weeks after the tax returns have been filed.
Federal Direct Loans are government-funded loans. They can be awarded to any student provided he/she is not in default on a government student loan. Up to $20,500 can be borrowed per year. After July 1, 2012, all Federal Direct Loans for law students are Unsubsidized loans. Subsidized loan eligibility for graduate and professional students has been eliminated. Actual Direct Loan disbursements are reduced by origination fees of 1.05% which are retained by the government. For example, total maximum disbursements for the year are $20,286, or $10,143 per semester.
Eligibility and Loan Amounts
You must be enrolled at least half-time in a degree program to receive Federal Direct student loan funds. Loans are based on financial need as determined by the University’s analysis of your completed FAFSA. Students must be U.S. citizens, eligible non-citizens, or permanent residents to receive Federal Direct Loans. They must also not be in default on a prior student loan and not declared bankruptcy in the last seven (7) years.
Interest Rates & Fees
Interest rates for the Federal Direct student loans are a fixed 6.21 percent with a 1 percent origination fee.
Repayment begins six months after enrollment ceases to be at least half-time. The maximum payback period is 25 years.
Sample Loan Repayment Schedule
Sample repayment calculators are found on most lender sites, private and federal. The federal site is studentloans.gov.
Massachusetts Bar Foundation Emergency Loan Fund
The School of Law occasionally loans small amounts of money to students on a short-term basis. These loans do not exceed $500 and the interest rate is 12 percent annually. Contact the Assistant Dean for Law Student Affairs for an application.
Federal Work-Study (FWS)
Federal Work Study is available for summer employment after a student completes their first year.
The FWS award is $3000 and is based on financial need. Funds are limited and awarded on a first come basis. Public Interest Scholars and Holmes Scholars are ineligible for consideration.
A summer FWS application and the FAFSA are required by a specific submission date.
Income-Based Repayment and Loan Forgiveness
As a result of the University Cost Reduction Act of 2007, discussed in more detail here, repayment of all federal student loans is capped at 15 percent of your adjusted gross income and, if you work in a government or public interest position after law school, your loan balance is forgiven after 10 years of such employment (and 120 monthly loan payments). The income-based repayment and loan forgiveness provisions of this important new law apply only to federal loans and thus become a major factor supporting the selection of federal direct, as opposed to private and state, loans.
Students may borrow the remainder of their financial aid budget with the credit based Grad Plus or private loans. The main features to compare are:
1. APR% which balances fees and interest rates.
2. Repayment Period.
3. Interest rate capitalization frequency.
Eligibility and Loan Amounts
Private loans are available for all students, some even for those taking fewer than 6 credits. Grad Plus loans are only offered to those taking 6 credits or more per semester. You may borrow up to your cost of attendance, minus any other aid. Students who are in default on any loan or in bankruptcy are typically ineligible for these loans.
The federal Grad PLUS Loan is credit based with no debt to income test. The fixed rate is 6.41 percent with an origination fee of 4.2 percent. Repayment is deferred until 6 months after the end of enrollment. The website for completing the application and promissory note can be accessed by clicking here.
Private Loans- Visit ELM Select for a listing and easier comparison of the loans listed below. Note that almost all private loans offer better rates if approved with a credit-worthy co-signer.
The University will notify students via the email address listed on the student's FAFSA when the promissory note is ready to be signed.
The promissory notes for the Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans, as well as the Grad PLUS loan, are electronically signed at studentloans.gov. Sign in using your FAFSA PIN and choose "Sign Master Promissory Note."
You must complete your Federal Direct Unsubsidized or Grad PLUS Loan Entrance Coounseling online. The University cannot disburse loan proceeds until the required counseling has been completed at studentloans.gov. Sign in using your FAFSA PIN and choose "Entrance Counseling."
This same link is used to access the federal loan Exit Counseling site. The Exit Counseling is requested upon graduation, or when a student leaves Western New England University.
What does the first summer bill show?
The first bill for the upcoming academic year shows estimated tuition and fees. Any adjustments of tuition and fees due to changes in status will be posted in the next bill after classes commence.
Why is there a Health Insurance charge?
Per Massachusetts law, any student who registers for more than an established minimum of credits must carry health insurance. The University, by default, will provide health insurance and charge the student on the first bill of the academic year. Students are given an interval during which they can waive the University's coverage and avoid the charge. To waive insurance, you must go on-line at the Health Services Forms link.
Once the waiving period is over on August 1 and University coverage is initiated, the health insurance charges cannot be reversed.
How do we arrive at the Estimated Pending Financial Aid that shows on the bill?
The bill reflects aid that the University has awarded and other external scholarships or loans of which we are aware. The University's award may be tentative pending receipt of required documentation and may change prior to the start of the semester. Actual disbursement of the University's award depends on completion of a number of steps, including signed award letters, completed promissory notes, loan counseling and other requested documentation. Students will receive notices from our office detailing any missing items.
What needs to be paid, and when?
The net balance due, after Estimated Pending Aid, is due by the due date noted on the bill, unless the bill reflects a Prepayment Plan. Bills for Plan participants indicate the monthly amount due. After the due dates, that portion of charges not covered by aid and loans is subject to a monthly finance charge of 1 percent.
What is the billing schedule?
Bills that reflect anticipated charges for the fall semester are mailed in June. Prepayment Plan participants are billed on a monthly basis thereafter. All others will not be billed again until after classes begin and aid is posted. Bills are printed on a monthly basis once classes begin. Bills for the spring semester charges are mailed in early December.
When will financial aid be posted to the account?
All financial aid and federal loans are posted once classes begin. The first bill generated after classes start should reflect all aid and loans posted to the account. These items will not appear in the Pending Aid section after posting to the account. Private loans are disbursed the week prior to classes beginning.
When will refunds be available?
Click here for a discussion of refunds.
What if the aid does not post to the account after classes start and disappears from the Estimated Pending Aid section of the bill?
If aid did not post, and the Pending Aid section is now blank, this indicates that the financial aid application process is incomplete or a required step in a particular aid item is missing. In this case, the University's awarded aid is suspended until the problem is corrected. Any portion of the bill not covered by a University Payment Plan is past due by the second bill, and may be subject to finance charges. Call the SAS office to determine what must be done.
Are there other payment options?
The Prepayment Plan spreads a year's payments over 10 or 12 months. The Early Payment Plan can be used to lock in the current year's tuition rate for future years. Use this link to Payment Plans for more information. If you need to finance a portion of the balance due, click here for a discussion of private loan options beyond the award letter. Remember that you need to plan for the entire year's charges, not just a semester's.
Once a student commences a semester, there are non-refundable charges. Click here for a discussion of the tuition and fee refund policy and schedule.
If you need to speak to a Student Services Administrator about financing issues, please call 413-796-2080 or 800-325-1122 ext. 2080.