Columbia Law School 2012!

(housing, friendships, future exams, all things 2012)
sbalive
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Re: Columbia Law School 2012!

Postby sbalive » Wed May 13, 2009 1:51 am

SleekFire wrote:Could someone please explain in layman english what has to be accomplished by Friday...


Thanks! ;-)


First YOU MUST COMMIT 8)

prelaw
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Re: Columbia Law School 2012!

Postby prelaw » Wed May 13, 2009 2:04 am

The fin aid office made it seem like this Friday isn't a hard and fast deadline if you still haven't really decided or can't get it done by then for some reason. It is a suggested deadline, though, and you do want to get it done as close to the deadline as possible.

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aspasia
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Re: Columbia Law School 2012!

Postby aspasia » Wed May 13, 2009 9:36 am

Ok cool, that was much easier than expected. Phew!

SleekFire, if you're only getting federal loans, I think you just have to go to http://www.aessuccess.org and fill out the online applications (which require very little information). Then they'll give you a pdf of your MPN, which you sign and send back to AES and to Columbia.

paranoidjet
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Re: Columbia Law School 2012!

Postby paranoidjet » Wed May 13, 2009 11:13 am

Okay, so I've applied and been accepted for Stafford AND GradPLUS loans from Discover, and I've electronically signed for them. So the next step here is to mail my promissory notes (that I should be getting from the Discover website but that I can't seem to download) to Columbia along with the dinky little sheet that was included with my financial aid packet, right? I've still got to do a Perkins promissory note which I've heard I will get later on in the summer, but other than that can anybody think of anything I need to do from this point forward?

I appreciate the help - getting loan stuff done is a bit of a hassle.

paranoidjet
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Re: Columbia Law School 2012!

Postby paranoidjet » Wed May 13, 2009 11:28 am

SleekFire wrote:Could someone please explain in layman english what has to be accomplished by Friday...


Thanks! ;-)


I'll give it my best shot.

First, you need to do some research and choose a lender for both your Federal Stafford (if you are eligible to receive them) and for your GradPLUS loans. If you need more data about these broken down, people here can help. Personally, I chose Discover as opposed to the Access Group, but that was a personal decision and such a decision may not be right for you.

Then, you'll need to apply for these loans. I have almost no credit whatsoever and was approved by both lenders, so you probably shouldn't have an issue. That being said you will need some info for them in order to do this - I needed my Social Security number, my FAFSA pin, my driver's license number and some references. All in all it wasn't too stressful, although I did need to figure out how much GradPLUS I will need over the next three years which was a bit of work.

Assuming that you're approved (and I haven't heard anyone not being approved yet), you'll be given the option to electronically sign your promissory notes, which I elected to do. This makes everything groovy on the lender's end, but you still need to provide Columbia with your promissory note information. So then you need to download these notes from their website in order to inform Columbia about where you're getting your funding. You should also have a Columbia specific form that came with your award letter, and I think you need to mail both promissory notes and your Columbia-specific form to Columbia's financial aid office, presumably by this Friday.

You might have Perkins loans as well, which require their own promissory note and which another poster has indicated will be mailed to us later on. This I'm still a little lost on.

Does that clear things up for you? Let me or some other posters know if you need more info. We're all in this together.

sbalive
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Re: Columbia Law School 2012!

Postby sbalive » Wed May 13, 2009 11:36 am

I have a novel interpretation of the May 15 deadline based on reading everything through yesterday - and understand, I haven't checked this with the financial aid office (but will if I can't get stuff done today).

The May 15 deadline was intended for people who did not apply for grants. If you only "apply for loans", you still have to fill out a FAFSA to determine your Stafford/Perkins eligibility. In that case, you would not have done the FAFSA earlier to meet the May 15 deadline, but you'd need to have done it by now so you could actually apply for your federal loans.

Applicant7643
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Re: Columbia Law School 2012!

Postby Applicant7643 » Wed May 13, 2009 11:38 am

paranoidjet wrote:
SleekFire wrote:Could someone please explain in layman english what has to be accomplished by Friday...


Thanks! ;-)


I'll give it my best shot.

First, you need to do some research and choose a lender for both your Federal Stafford (if you are eligible to receive them) and for your GradPLUS loans. If you need more data about these broken down, people here can help. Personally, I chose Discover as opposed to the Access Group, but that was a personal decision and such a decision may not be right for you.

Then, you'll need to apply for these loans. I have almost no credit whatsoever and was approved by both lenders, so you probably shouldn't have an issue. That being said you will need some info for them in order to do this - I needed my Social Security number, my FAFSA pin, my driver's license number and some references. All in all it wasn't too stressful, although I did need to figure out how much GradPLUS I will need over the next three years which was a bit of work.

Assuming that you're approved (and I haven't heard anyone not being approved yet), you'll be given the option to electronically sign your promissory notes, which I elected to do. This makes everything groovy on the lender's end, but you still need to provide Columbia with your promissory note information. So then you need to download these notes from their website in order to inform Columbia about where you're getting your funding. You should also have a Columbia specific form that came with your award letter, and I think you need to mail both promissory notes and your Columbia-specific form to Columbia's financial aid office, presumably by this Friday.

You might have Perkins loans as well, which require their own promissory note and which another poster has indicated will be mailed to us later on. This I'm still a little lost on.

Does that clear things up for you? Let me or some other posters know if you need more info. We're all in this together.


I thought you apply for the first year and then you can apply for more the next year? I talked to someone at my lender (bofa) and that's what they said.

They also said they forward the information for you.

jpaul09
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Re: Columbia Law School 2012!

Postby jpaul09 » Wed May 13, 2009 11:44 am

I'm pretty sure you borrow GradPLUS on a year by year basis (like Staffords), although the MPN can be valid for 10 years.

From a Michigan State Web site about loans:
Complete a GradPLUS Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN).
The MPN will be valid for 10 years provided a Plus loan is disbursed within 12 months of the MPN signing. If your former Grad Plus was approved with an endorser (co-signer), you will need to complete a new MPN.
Loan limits
The loan limit for each year is the annual cost of education (the "budget") minus other financial assistance. If your requested amount is too high, it will be reduced to fit within the budget.
The Office of Financial Aid (OFA) must determine your Stafford Student Loan eligibility before you may borrow under the Grad PLUS program. This means that many in-state graduate students, or students with graduate assistantships, will have their costs covered fully with Stafford Loan and may not need to use the Grad PLUS.

So since you can only borrow up to the cost of attendance for one year, you have to borrow new amounts of GradPLUS every year.

paranoidjet
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Re: Columbia Law School 2012!

Postby paranoidjet » Wed May 13, 2009 11:55 am

Whoa! Great new info. Maybe I need to readjust things, making sure that I only fill out data year by year.

Thanks guys!

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frank_the_tank
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Re: Columbia Law School 2012!

Postby frank_the_tank » Wed May 13, 2009 11:55 am

Applicant7643 wrote:
I thought you apply for the first year and then you can apply for more the next year? I talked to someone at my lender (bofa) and that's what they said.

They also said they forward the information for you.



Yeah, you only apply one year at a time.

Discover also said they will forward the MPN for you. But I called Columbia twice and both times they said you need to send it manually.

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Skadden Stairs
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Re: Columbia Law School 2012!

Postby Skadden Stairs » Wed May 13, 2009 12:06 pm

Does anyone know when loans actually get disbursed? I have a teeny fear that it will be too far in advance of the start of classes and I'll blow my budget shopping in July. (No, I have do not have self-control when there's 22k sitting in my bank account and nothing else to do.) I never took out loans from UG, so I don't have a point of reference.

Also, would it be prudent to try and budget to have (some) money saved for summer, or should I be fully confident in my ability to secure summer funding or find a paying 1L gig? Because assuming I get the housing assignment I requested, my 9 month budget is looking to be around 1300-1400 per month for food, shoes, etc., and I've lived in more expensive cities on less.

paranoidjet
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Re: Columbia Law School 2012!

Postby paranoidjet » Wed May 13, 2009 12:08 pm

Okay, so, after calling Discover and trying to verify things, this is what I've discovered about requesting GradPLUS loans.

Indeed, you are supposed to request loans year by year. This makes sense considering Columbia staggers grants, so the amount I'll need every year will be changing. I didn't initially do this, and instead requested a GradPLUS loan of around 75K, after figuring out that I would need that amount for three years. Needless to say I don't need 75K of GradPLUS next year, so I wanted to readjust this. I discovered, however, that the school will only approve your loans for the required amount, so they'll adjust it on their own.

In other words, I should be taking out around 15K, but my promissory note requests 75K. Columbia will see this, maximize my loan out to around 15K, and everything will be groovy.

Still, thanks to forum members for pointing this out for me.

paranoidjet
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Re: Columbia Law School 2012!

Postby paranoidjet » Wed May 13, 2009 12:10 pm

lex talionis wrote:Does anyone know when loans actually get disbursed? I have a teeny fear that it will be too far in advance of the start of classes and I'll blow my budget shopping in July. (No, I have do not have self-control when there's 22k sitting in my bank account and nothing else to do.) I never took out loans from UG, so I don't have a point of reference.

Also, would it be prudent to try and budget to have (some) money saved for summer, or should I be fully confident in my ability to secure summer funding or find a paying 1L gig? Because assuming I get the housing assignment I requested, my 9 month budget is looking to be around 1300-1400 per month for food, shoes, etc., and I've lived in more expensive cities on less.


1.) As I understand it, financial aid disbursements go out right before the beginning of the academic semester. Two disbursements are made - one for each semester. You do have to budget, this means, but it's a skill you pick up pretty quickly. All expenses belonging to the school are taken out before it gets deposited, so that means you don't get 71K in your account and then you cut a check to housing and another to the tuition office - all CULaw expenses get taken out before you get one penny.

2.) How did you already receive your housing information?!!? Has everyone gotten theirs?!? I don't think I've seen anything yet and I applied by the deadline...

EDIT: I'm... hopelessly retarded. Misread your post - you haven't gotten housing info yet because nobody has. Panic abated.

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Skadden Stairs
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Re: Columbia Law School 2012!

Postby Skadden Stairs » Wed May 13, 2009 12:18 pm

paranoidjet wrote:
lex talionis wrote:Does anyone know when loans actually get disbursed? I have a teeny fear that it will be too far in advance of the start of classes and I'll blow my budget shopping in July. (No, I have do not have self-control when there's 22k sitting in my bank account and nothing else to do.) I never took out loans from UG, so I don't have a point of reference.

Also, would it be prudent to try and budget to have (some) money saved for summer, or should I be fully confident in my ability to secure summer funding or find a paying 1L gig? Because assuming I get the housing assignment I requested, my 9 month budget is looking to be around 1300-1400 per month for food, shoes, etc., and I've lived in more expensive cities on less.


1.) As I understand it, financial aid disbursements go out right before the beginning of the academic semester. Two disbursements are made - one for each semester. You do have to budget, this means, but it's a skill you pick up pretty quickly. All expenses belonging to the school are taken out before it gets deposited, so that means you don't get 71K in your account and then you cut a check to housing and another to the tuition office - all CULaw expenses get taken out before you get one penny.

2.) How did you already receive your housing information?!!? Has everyone gotten theirs?!? I don't think I've seen anything yet and I applied by the deadline...

Our housing expenses aren't taken out automatically unless you get a dorm, tough. UAH says we are billed monthly and are on normal NYC leases. And no one has gotten their housing assignments yet, which is why I said "assuming I get the housing assignment I requested."

paranoidjet
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Re: Columbia Law School 2012!

Postby paranoidjet » Wed May 13, 2009 12:58 pm

lex talionis wrote:
paranoidjet wrote:
lex talionis wrote:Does anyone know when loans actually get disbursed? I have a teeny fear that it will be too far in advance of the start of classes and I'll blow my budget shopping in July. (No, I have do not have self-control when there's 22k sitting in my bank account and nothing else to do.) I never took out loans from UG, so I don't have a point of reference.

Also, would it be prudent to try and budget to have (some) money saved for summer, or should I be fully confident in my ability to secure summer funding or find a paying 1L gig? Because assuming I get the housing assignment I requested, my 9 month budget is looking to be around 1300-1400 per month for food, shoes, etc., and I've lived in more expensive cities on less.


1.) As I understand it, financial aid disbursements go out right before the beginning of the academic semester. Two disbursements are made - one for each semester. You do have to budget, this means, but it's a skill you pick up pretty quickly. All expenses belonging to the school are taken out before it gets deposited, so that means you don't get 71K in your account and then you cut a check to housing and another to the tuition office - all CULaw expenses get taken out before you get one penny.

2.) How did you already receive your housing information?!!? Has everyone gotten theirs?!? I don't think I've seen anything yet and I applied by the deadline...

Our housing expenses aren't taken out automatically unless you get a dorm, tough. UAH says we are billed monthly and are on normal NYC leases. And no one has gotten their housing assignments yet, which is why I said "assuming I get the housing assignment I requested."


I gotcha. Yep, I'm retarded.

I also hadn't yet heard that issue about dorm/apartments, but it does seem consistent with the other things I know about the way things should work next year. Good catch.

saveferris2785
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Re: Columbia Law School 2012!

Postby saveferris2785 » Wed May 13, 2009 1:42 pm

It doesn't have to be done by Friday at all, I spoke with financial aid office and they just said as soon as possible

jpaul09
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Re: Columbia Law School 2012!

Postby jpaul09 » Wed May 13, 2009 3:05 pm

Yeah, paranoid, you can only get GradPLUS to the cost of attendance minus any financial aid/Stafford loans, so Columbia would have just taken your amount down. (Or they will now.) For all of us who went with Discover, the customer service rep said the check would be sent to Columbia. We'll have to go to Kent Hall, sign it (it should be made out to the student and Columbia), and then wait for the check to clear for our funds to be disbursed. Since we arrive in August and the bill isn't due until mid-September (the 15th, I think), we should have enough time to sign the check, have it disbursed, and get the extra money to put in our bank accounts for rent, etc.

prelaw
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Re: Columbia Law School 2012!

Postby prelaw » Wed May 13, 2009 3:09 pm

What is Discover's interest rate for people with good credit? Does it have a grace period? Does it qualify for Columbia LRAP?

06132010
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Re: Columbia Law School 2012!

Postby 06132010 » Wed May 13, 2009 3:11 pm

I better get some financial discipline before law school, or I'm going to be an extremely well-dressed homeless 1L.

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whyamidoingthis
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Re: Columbia Law School 2012!

Postby whyamidoingthis » Wed May 13, 2009 3:40 pm

probably stupid question, but can you pay for part (or all) of your tuition on a credit card? I'd pay it off immediately, so no concern about interest rates, but I'm thinking cash rewards/airline miles/etc?

jpaul09
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Re: Columbia Law School 2012!

Postby jpaul09 » Wed May 13, 2009 3:41 pm

Discover advertises their GradPLUS rate as 8.25% fixed and their private as "Variable, from Prime minus 0.50% to Prime plus 4.75%, based on credit evaluation."

Here's Columbia's LRAP policy from its website in regards to whether private loans are covered:
Indebtedness included in calculations for benefits is formal debt incurred by the participant for payment of educational expenses up to the standard student budget atColumbia Law School–that is, loans for standard law school expenses under institutionally approved and certified loan programs. Thus, all FFELP loans are included (Stafford, Graduate PLUS, and Perkins), as well as Columbia University loans, and such supplemental credit-based educational loans as Law Access Loan, Law Student Loan,CitiAssist education loans, etc. Personal loans from banks or from family members, and credit card andconsumer debt are not covered under the Program, even when they are used to finance higher education. Other loans not covered are commercially available educational loans not certified by the Financial Aid Office, bar exam loans, and loans taken out by parents or others to finance a student's education.

jpaul09
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Re: Columbia Law School 2012!

Postby jpaul09 » Wed May 13, 2009 3:51 pm

Re: credit card payments: Here's what Columbia's Web site says:
Students must then calculate and pay any balance not covered by their actual aid. Student balances may be paid on-line using E-Check which debits a bank account directly, by mail, in person at the University's Cashiering windows in Kent Hall, or by credit card through a third party processor (fees apply).


Depending on the fees, it might not be worth it.

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Skadden Stairs
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Re: Columbia Law School 2012!

Postby Skadden Stairs » Wed May 13, 2009 4:01 pm

jpaul09 wrote:Re: credit card payments: Here's what Columbia's Web site says:
Students must then calculate and pay any balance not covered by their actual aid. Student balances may be paid on-line using E-Check which debits a bank account directly, by mail, in person at the University's Cashiering windows in Kent Hall, or by credit card through a third party processor (fees apply).


Depending on the fees, it might not be worth it.

Could just show up and pay with your card in person? I figure the third party processor is probs an online thing?

imchuckbass58
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Re: Columbia Law School 2012!

Postby imchuckbass58 » Wed May 13, 2009 4:13 pm

Credit cards charge interchange fees regardless of whether you use them in person or online (1-3% of each purchase deducted from merchant, great racket, eh?)

I imagine Columbia would make you pay these, in which case it's probably not worth it. The federal government does the same thing if you pay your taxes via credit card.

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whyamidoingthis
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Re: Columbia Law School 2012!

Postby whyamidoingthis » Wed May 13, 2009 4:19 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:Credit cards charge interchange fees regardless of whether you use them in person or online (1-3% of each purchase deducted from merchant, great racket, eh?)

I imagine Columbia would make you pay these, in which case it's probably not worth it. The federal government does the same thing if you pay your taxes via credit card.


yes, that would definitely make it not worth it!




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