Entering Student Merit Scholarships--Frequently Asked Questions
Effective January, 2014, Entering Class
Do I need to apply for an Entering Student Merit Scholarships?
No. The scholarship is based on the information contained in your application and no separate application is required.
How does the school determine the amount of the scholarship I receive?
Entering Student Merit Scholarships are awarded based on a matrix that combines LSAT score and undergraduate G.P.A. Applicants from undergraduate schools that do not use a traditional 4.0 grading system and applicants who received an undergraduate degree from a foreign school will be awarded a scholarship consistent with the matrix using an individualized assessment of the applicant’s complete file.
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How long do I get to keep my scholarship?
Entering Student Merit Scholarships are initially awarded for the academic year, Fall and Spring terms (or in the Spring and Fall terms if the recipient first enrolls in January). Entering Student Merit Scholarships are guaranteed to be renewed for your second and third years provided you remain in good academic standing and don’t take a leave of absence. A full time student in good standing will receive his or her scholarship each semester for a maximum of six semesters. A part-time student in good standing will receive his or her scholarship each semester for a maximum eight semesters. The Law School’s policy on good standing can be found at www.tjsl.edu/student-life/student-handbook.
What do I need to do to retain my scholarship after the first year?
There are no conditions or stipulations on your scholarship other than being enrolled and in good standing.
When does the school make a decision that I am in good standing and renew my scholarship?
Good standing determinations are made for both full-time and part-time students at the end of the second semester of law school and at the end of each subsequent Fall and Spring semester.
If I fall out of good standing, can I get my scholarship when I return to good standing?
Students who fall out of good standing and lose a scholarship will have their scholarship reinstated for the semesters following their return to good standing, though they will not receive that portion of the scholarship lost while not in good standing.
How will I actually receive the scholarship money?
Scholarships are credited directly to your student account, and applied to your tuition in the Fall and Spring terms in two equal amounts.
If I take a leave of absence for a semester, does that affect my scholarship?
If you fail to enroll in any of the terms covered by the scholarship, the amount designated for that term is forfeited and will not be carried forward into a future term. For example, if you enter in the Fall and take a leave of absence in the Spring, the Spring portion of the scholarship is forfeited.
Can my scholarship be used for Summer or intersession tuition?
Entering Student Merit Scholarships may not be used to cover Summer or intercession tuition.
What is the difference between a full-time scholarship and a part-time scholarship?
Full-time awards are given to students who enroll for twelve or more units. Part-time awards are given for enrollments of seven to eleven units. Part-time student awards, therefore, are three-quarters of the comparable full-time award. For example, a full-time award of $10,000 would be $7500 as a part-time award.
If I switch from the full-time to the part-time program, will it affect my scholarship?
A full-time student who switches to part-time will see the scholarship reduced by one-quarter. For example, if you are awarded a full-time merit scholarship for $10,000 a year ($5,000 per semester) and later switch to part-time, the scholarship will decrease to $7,500 ($3,750 per semester), but the total award will not decrease. Assuming you stay in good standing and don’t take a leave of absence, you will receive your total award of $30,000, but in smaller increments over a longer period of time and in no event will the total amount exceed the $30,000 awarded on admission.
If I switch from the part-time to the full-time program, will it affect my scholarship?
A part-time student who switches to full-time will see an increase in their semester award by one-quarter, but the total award will not increase. For example, assume you are awarded a part-time merit scholarship for $10,000 a year ($5,000 per semester) and later switch to full-time status. Your scholarship will increase to $13,334 ($6,667 per semester), but the cumulative amount awarded if you remain in good standing and don’t take a leave of absence will not exceed the $40,000 award granted upon admission.
If I am a part-time student and enroll in six or fewer units, will it affect my scholarship?
Yes. When you enroll in six or fewer units, tuition is charged on a per credit basis. Your scholarship will be calculated by looking at your last regular semester to determine the percentage scholarship you received. That same scholarship percentage will be applied when you take 6 or fewer credits. For example, if your base scholarship is $8,000 per term and the tuition charged is $16,000; then your base scholarship percentage is 50%. If you then take 5 credits (assuming tuition is $1600/credit), your tuition will be $8000 per semester and your semester scholarship will be $4,000 (50% of your tuition).
If I get a larger scholarship from another law school, will you match it?
A scholarship offer is not negotiable. We want to be fair and transparent, treating each person receiving an Entering Student Merit Scholarships, at each scholarship level, equally. The Law School prides itself on fair and equitable treatment of every student enrolled and considers it important that students know they can rely on that fairness.
Why might my scholarship offer from Thomas Jefferson be less than that from another law school?
Another school may offer you more money, but you should carefully read the fine print. Consider whether you are being offered a guaranteed renewable scholarship dependent solely on being in good standing as we are offering you, or whether you are really being offered a one-year scholarship and a “lottery ticket.” If you need to achieve a stipulated GPA or rank in class in the first year to keep your scholarship, then what you have actually been offered is a one-year scholarship with a chance at having the scholarship renewed. By contrast, our scholarship is guaranteed past the first year, so long as you remain in good standing.
Here is a tip: If another school offers you a scholarship that requires you, for example, to be in the top 20% of the class at the end of your first year, ask what percentage of the incoming 1L’s were awarded a similar scholarship. If more than 20% were, you have been offered a lottery ticket for your second and third year. You will find on law schools’ websites, as required by the ABA, the number of students who have lost their scholarships in the previous year – this is valuable information.
Here is another tip: If another school offers you a scholarship that requires you to achieve a certain G.P.A at the end of your first year, ask what percentage of the class generally achieves that average. Many law schools have a grading curve so that only a certain percentage of the class can achieve a certain G.P.A. As explained above, a percentage requirement can mean your scholarship is a lottery ticket for the second and third years.
Do you offer housing grants?
The Law School does not award separate housing grants. A housing grant is simply another name for a scholarship. Money is fungible (a word you will quickly become familiar with in law school). In other words, money is money. The total amount of money that the school awards you would be same, whether it is labeled a scholarship or a housing grant. A scholarship is better for you, however, because a housing grant is of no value to you unless you choose to live in the designated housing. By giving you a larger scholarship instead of a smaller scholarship coupled with a housing grant, we let you decide how you will use the money that you save on tuition, rather than steering you toward a particular housing choice. We do, by the way, have great student housing in Entrada. It is close to school and rents at fair market prices with students having first priority for housing. www.tjsl.edu/entrada
If I do really well in my first year of law school, will my scholarship increase?
There may be academic success scholarships awarded at the end of your first year, but there is no guarantee. Although there is no guarantee that your scholarship will be increased, as long as you remain enrolled and in good standing, we guarantee that it will not be reduced.
Does the Law School offer any other scholarships to first year students?
The Law School seeks an entering class whose members will meet the needs of a modern world when they become lawyers. The Law School, therefore, awards a limited number of additional scholarships to achieve that class. For example, as the U.S. increasingly moves to a knowledge based economy, increasing the number of lawyers with degrees in science, technology, engineering or math is critical. As another example, there is an increasing “access to justice” gap in the U.S. There are simply too few lawyers to help the millions in need at prices they can afford. One way to address that gap is to ensure that the legal profession welcomes traditionally underrepresented demographic groups. The Law School also participates in the Veterans Affairs’ Yellow Ribbon program that may result in military veterans receiving a larger award. You do not need to apply separately for any additional scholarships. All eligible applicants will be considered automatically. Military veterans do, of course, need to file for benefits with the VA.
I am eligible for military benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. What does the award cover?
The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides financial support for education and housing to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service after September 10, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days. You must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. This benefit provides up to 36 months of education benefits. Generally, benefits are payable for 15 years following your release from active duty. Payments include a tuition allowance for 2013/2014 up to $19,198 per year (as determined by VA), monthly housing allowance based on the zip code of the school (as determined by VA), and book stipend up to $1000/year. The percentage of maximum benefit payment is based on the length of military service time after September 10, 2001.
I am a military veteran. Does Thomas Jefferson participate in the VA Yellow Ribbon Program?
Yes. The Law School prides itself on its generous participation in this important program. This program allows institutions of higher learning (degree granting institutions) in the United States to voluntarily enter into an agreement with VA to fund tuition expenses that exceed the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition rate. The institution can contribute up to 50% of those expenses and VA will match the same amount as the institution. Unlike most law schools, Thomas Jefferson School of Law agrees to fund the maximum 50% of the tuition cost, with a corresponding match from VA.
For more information on the Yellow Ribbon Program go to the Law School’s website at www.tjsl.edu/admissions/financial-aid/types-aid/va-benefits and the VA’s website at www.gibill.va.gov/gi_bill_info/ch33/yrp/2013/states/ca.htm
I am a military veteran. How does that affect my scholarship?
Military veterans who are eligible for the Veterans Affairs’ Yellow Ribbon program will receive scholarship funding from both the VA and the Law School, not to exceed full tuition. Due to this shared arrangement, once the Law School receives the appropriate documentation, your scholarship amount might change. In no event, however, will you receive less financial assistance than you were offered on admission.
I am a military spouse. How do I qualify for educational benefits?
The Department of Defense (DOD) determines whether or not an active-duty service member can transfer benefits to family members. Upon approval by DOD, a spouse may apply to use transferred benefits with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) by completing VA Form 22-1990e (http://vabenefits.vba.va.gov). An eligible service member may transfer up to the total months of unused Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, or the entire 36 months if the member has used none. Once approved by DOD and VA, a spouse may start to use the benefit immediately. Spouses are not eligible for the monthly housing allowance while the member is serving on active duty.
Whom should I contact if I have any other questions about financial aid?
You should contact our Director of Financial Aid, Marc Berman, at firstname.lastname@example.org.