Bar Loans

Creditworthy third year JD and LLM students are eligible for bar study loans either through a federal loan program or a private organization.

Federal Bar Loans

Certain fees related to bar study are allowed to be added to a 3L student’s cost of attendance. Students who are eligible for federal loan programs can receive additional funds in federal loans, most likely Federal Graduate PLUS loans, to offset these fees. Please note that the fees pertain only to the cost of the Illinois bar exam. Should you have bar examination fees in another state that exceed this amount, you will need to contact the Chicago Office of Financial Aid to discuss your options. Federal regulations only allow the university to cover the cost of one state exam. If you will be taking the bar exam in more than one state, your request can be for the exam with the highest cost. Additional fees for late registration cannot be included in the request. Federal regulations also allow the university to increase your cost of attendance for fees relating only to the registration and administration of the bar exam, not for any bar preparation classes.

Quick Facts:

  • To receive a federal bar loan, the student must already be eligible for federal student loans.
  • The student may only request a loan for the cost of the bar exam registration and administration of one state.
  • It is most likely that the student will receive a federal Graduate PLUS loan.
  • Federal bar loans are disbursed electronically to the school directly, then applied to the student's account, which can then be requested through CAESAR.

Private Bar Loans

Private educational loans can be used to help graduating students cover the costs of their bar preparation courses and bar exam expenses. Various lenders have bar loan options with varying amounts of borrowing limits, generally up to $15,000. Please note that a private bar study loan is not part of a financial aid package, meaning this loan will not appear on CAESAR. These loans will be sent via paper check to the borrower directly, not the Law School. Many of these lenders have an online application; however, you should speak with the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid if you are considering a private bar loan.

Individuals that are not creditworthy can qualify with a creditworthy co-signer. International students might also be limited in their lender choice since some lenders will not allow international students to participate in their bar study loan program.

Quick Facts:

  • A student may borrow up to $15,000, depending on the lender.
  • A student must be creditworthy to be eligible or have a creditworthy co-signer.
  • Some lenders require students to have a previous borrowing relationship.
  • Variable interest rate through the life of the loan.
  • Disbursements can be determined by the borrower.
  • Disbursements are sent directly to the borrower.