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, hours for cashing checks are limited as follows:
Monday through Thursday: 8:00am to 5:00pm
Friday: 8:30am to 4:00pm
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 how to make payments through Connect2U.
Refunds of excess financial aid and/or private loans are disbursed via checks at the SAS Bank. Refunds for Law students will be on the following schedule. If all financial aid elements are in place, we will be able to generate FALL refunds for PRIVATE loans for pick-up two business days prior to the start of classes and SPRING refunds will be ready on the first day of class. We will refund the smaller of the private borrowing, or the total expected semester credit balance. These refunds will be processed automatically and held at the Bank for pickup at the start of the fall semester, since many local addresses are not established. Spring semester refunds will be held for two weeks after classes begin, at which time they will be mailed to local addresses.
Refunds due to College administered aid disbursements and federal funds will be generated automatically by the ninth business day after classes commence and held at the SAS Bank for pickup in the fall, or held for two weeks then mailed in the spring. 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.
There is a campus ATM located across from the bookstore entrance, in the Campus Center. There is a $1 fee charged for transactions at this machine. The closest bank owned ATM is a Bank of America machine, across the street from the Welcome Center in the mini-mall parking lot.
Federal Ford Direct Loans
Western New England University participates in the Federal Ford 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.ed.gov/. In addition, all students must submit a signed copy of their most recent federal income tax return and all W-2 forms.
Each year, typically in early spring, students should complete a FAFSA renewal application and submit the last year's tax forms to the SAS office.
Ford 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. Actual Ford Loan disbursements are reduced by origination fees retained by the government. Disbursed amounts are 98.5% of awarded amount. For example, total maximum disbursements for the year are $20,295, or $10,148 per semester.
Eligibility and Loan Amounts
You must be enrolled at least half-time in an approved certificate or degree program of study to receive Ford 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 Ford 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
All loans originated after July 1, 2006 have a fixed rate of 6.8%. Subsidized loans are interest-free while you are enrolled full-time (part-time under certain circumstances). Unsubsidized loans are not interest-free while you are in law school. In either case, there is an origination fee.
Repayment begins six months after enrollment ceases to be at least half-time. The maximum payback period is 20 years.
Sample Loan Repayment Schedule
This is a sample repayment schedule for a Federal Ford Direct Student Loan with an 8 percent interest rate:
These sample repayment schedules should be considered only guides. The official repayment schedule will be provided by your lender. Consult the lender for detailed and current information on the program(s) in which you are interested.
Federal Perkins (National Direct Student Loans)
The University has established and administers a Perkins Student Loan Fund. Eligible students are automatically awarded this loan with their financial aid award but can only borrow $12,000 aggregate for all undergraduate and graduate years.
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% annually. Contact Nancy Sykes, Assistant Dean Law Student Affairs, for an application.
Law School Student Endowment Loan Fund
Loans are awarded annually to third-year full-time and fourth-year part-time graduating students on the basis of academic merit and financial need. These loans do not exceed $4,000 and the interest rate is 9% annually.
Federal Work Study (FWS)
First-year law students who receive a Federal Work Study (FWS) award generally work 10-15 hours per week in the School of Law. Upper-level law students on FWS may work off campus in public interest offices such as the District Attorney’s or Public Defender’s Offices. FWS funds are limited and eligible students are automatically awarded FWS with their financial aid award.
Students may borrow the remainder of their financial aid budget after the maximum Ford Direct Loan award is reached. These loans are credit-based loans. The following loans offer a variety of features to compare. 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
Law students enrolled at least half-time are eligible for private loans. 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 history based with no debt to income test. With no negative credit references, the loan is approved. The fixed rate through the University is 7.9% with an effective origination fee of 4.0%. Repayment begins 60 days after full disbursement, but you can request a deferment until after graduation.
MEFA Graduate Loan: www.mefa.org/wnec or 800 449-6332. Note: MEFA has not yet established financing for this loan. MEFA is still hoping to secure financing, but we are encouraging students to establish financing from other sources, such as payment plans or the Plus loan. If MEFA does establish the loan within the next month or two, it is possible to cancel prior loan disbursements from other sources and replace those with MEFA disbursements.
Education Finance Partners (EFP): http://www.educationfinancepartners.com/wnec
Law Access Loan: www.accessgroup.org or 800-282-1550. This loan has deferred repayment.
Key LawAchiever: www.key.com/grad or 800 539-5363. This loan has deferred repayment
Chase PreferredSelect: www.cfspreferredselect.com or 866 308-0329. This loan offers lower rates and fees with a good co-signor.
The University will notify students or parents via the e-mail address as listed on the student's FAFSA filing when the promissory note is ready for you on the site. If a valid e-mail address is missing, notification will be mailed. If you receive the printed promissory notes, you may still access the online site to sign your notes.
Only after the University has originated a loan and notified the borrower that the promissory notes are ready, clicking here brings you to the Federal Direct Ford Loan site where promissory notes can be electronically completed for students' Ford Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans, as well as parents' PLUS loans. Choose either "Complete New MPN for Student Loans" or "Complete New MPN for Parent PLUS Loans".
If you have a Perkins Loan, you will be given instructions to complete the separate promissory note for that loan.
You can quickly and easily complete your Federal Direct Ford Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loan Entrance Interview online. The one-time interview is required of all first time borrowers. Without the interview, the University cannot disburse loan proceeds. Click here to go to the Direct Loan Servicing website. The link for the interviews is in the upper right of the screen. This Direct Loan Servicing site has several other links that are useful for establishing access to and monitoring your Direct loan accounts.
This same link is used to access the federal loan Exit Interview site. The Exit Interview is requested upon graduation, or when a student leaves Western New England University.
If you are taking a Perkins Loan, you will be notified of the loan interview separately.
You can quickly and easily complete your Federal Perkins Loan Entrance Interview and sign your Federal Perkins Loan promissory note by linking to our billing service, University Accounting Service, by clicking here.
To utilize this site you must meet all the following criteria:
Enrolled in classes at Western New England University
Have your financial aid award letter
Have a FAFSA PIN
To fulfill your Federal Perkins Loan Exit Interview Counseling and better understand the repayment of your student loans you may click here to go to the University Service Exit website.
The Exit Interview is required upon graduation, or when a student leaves Western New England University.
You should have the following information available:
- Your Social Security Number
- Your Driver's License Number
- Name, Address, Telephone Number of 3 References
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 the insurance, you must go on-line at the Health Services Forms link.
Once the waiving period is over on August 1 and College 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 interviews and completed verification worksheets. 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%.
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?
Refunds of excess financial aid and/or private loans are disbursed via checks at the SAS Bank. Refunds for Law students will be on the following schedule. If all financial aid elements are in place, we will be able to generate refunds for PRIVATE loans for pick-up on August 28th, the first day of classes. We will refund the smaller of the private borrowing, or the total expected semester credit balance. These refunds will be processed automatically and held at the Bank for pickup, since local addresses may not be updated at the time. Refunds due to College administered aid disbursements will be generated automatically by September 5th and held at the SAS Bank for pickup. 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.
What if some aid does not post to the account after classes start and remains in the Estimated Pending Financial Aid portion of the bill?
Aid items will not post to the account and will remain listed as pending aid if a required step pertaining to a particular aid item is missing. Contact the SAS office to determine what must be done if aid items do not disburse.
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 entire financial aid application process is incomplete. In this case, the University's awarded aid is suspended until the problem is corrected. Any portion of the bill not covered by a College 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. The 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.