What should I know before I borrow a bar loan?
Private bar study loans can be a helpful option if you don't have the financial resources necessary to cover your bar study and bar exam expenses. Unlike educational loans you may have borrowed previously, bar loans are quite flexible. The amount you are allowed to borrow is not limited by a school designated cost of attendance, so you can borrow any amount up to the maximum set by your lender. Additionally, bar loan funds are disbursed directly to the borrower rather than being delivered through the school.
You should keep in mind, however, that all bar loans are private loans. They are not federally guaranteed, so you must be able to pass the lender's credit check. Additionally, bar loans cannot be included in a federal student loan consolidation, so you will have a separate repayment obligation for your bar loan.
Before venturing into private loan borrowing, you may wish to investigate if you have any remaining eligibility for the less expensive federal loans during your final year of enrollment.
If you do need to borrow a bar loan, you should first answer the following questions:
- What will my budget look like — how much money will I need to cover bar prep classes, exam fees, and living expenses during my bar prep time?
- How much money do I already have available from other sources (savings, family, and employment) to help cover those expenses?
- When do I need my bar loan funds to be disbursed? (Some lenders will let you indicate multiple preferred disbursement dates, which can help you save money on accruing interest charges.)
- Do I have any blemishes on my credit history that I need to resolve before I can apply?
The answers to these questions should help you to determine how much money you need to borrow and when it should be disbursed. You should begin the application process at least 2-3 weeks before you need to have the first disbursement.
As always, it is best if you do not borrow more money than you need. If your circumstances change and you should need more funds, you can reapply for an additional amount at a later time.
If you have questions while working through this process, please feel free to consult with the financial aid staff.
During the current credit crunch only a few student loan providers are offering private Bar study loans. Following are some products that can work for Penn State Law students. You should examine the information offered directly from the lenders to choose the best loan product for your needs. You are welcome to borrow from any lender you choose.
Please note that terms offered by individual lenders are subject to change. Please check directly with the lender to verify details.