For most students, the major portion of law school costs are met through the Federal Unsubsidized Loan, Federal Graduate PLUS Loan, and alternative educational loan programs. Generally, to be considered for an educational loan as a law student, you must:

  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Be a U.S. Citizen, permanent resident, or other eligible non-citizen
  • Enrolled at least half-time in a degree program
  • Registered with the Selective Service, if required
  • Not owe a refund on a federal grant or be in default on a prior federal loan
  • Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress

Loan Counseling

Before federal loan funds can be released, all incoming students must complete a Federal Loan Entrance Counseling session, regardless of whether they have borrowed in the past. This counseling session is a federal requirement for all students to ensure that they understand their rights and responsibilities as borrowers. Loan counseling can be completed online at  

All students who have borrowed through the Federal Loan Program are required to attend a Federal Loan Exit Counseling session before they graduate or drop below half-time. The counseling sessions will be scheduled in April for all third year students. 

Potential Loans

Pitt participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program exclusively for the Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized and Federal Grad PLUS Loans. The lender for the Direct Loan Program is the U.S. Department of Education. 

The Unsubsidized Loan is the most widely used and is regulated by the U.S. Department of Education. It is a guaranteed student loan that is not based on credit. Learn more about the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan.

The Federal Graduate PLUS Loan program is a federal loan program available to graduate students. This federally backed loan is based on simplified credit check criteria. Learn more about the Federal Graduate PLUS loan.

Various agencies offer private student loan programs to law students. Commercial banks and other lenders often offer these programs but state or federal financial aid funds do not fund them. Each organization determines the terms of lending, maximum loan amounts, repayment schedules, interest rates, fees, and qualifications.

Bar exam loan programs are available to graduating law students and recent law school graduates to assist with expenses related to the bar examination process. Bar exam loans are private loans offered by various lenders. FASTChoice allows you to compare and apply for bar exam loans. Consider interest rates, fees, and repayment terms when choosing a bar exam loan provider. Students are strongly encouraged to utilize any federal funding available during their final year in school before considering the bar exam loan.