Contra Costa County Bar Association Scholarships

The Contra Costa County Bar Association Women’s Section is offering its annual Honorable Patricia Herron and Honorable Ellen James Scholarship in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.  The purpose of the scholarship is to provide financial and community support to local law students (male and female) who are in good standing and have demonstrated active community involvement, including involvement in or commitment to women’s issues.

To be eligible, students must have completed their first year of law school and have an affiliation with Contra Costa County – either by residency or intention to practice law in the county.

Applications can be found on our website and must be submitted by October 3, 2012.

2012-13 Offer Letters for Continuing Students are Not Yet Complete

This post applies to continuing JD students only.

On Monday, April 23, 2012, many of you received an email notifying you that your 2012-13 financial aid offer is now available on MyFinAid, with instructions on how to access the information.

Unfortunately, the campus released this information in error earlier than scheduled. For many, merit or gift aid has not yet been calculated and the offers on MyFinAid are incomplete.

The law school financial aid office is working to repackage financial aid offers to include the missing awards. The updates will be made over the next week to two weeks. If your financial aid offer is adjusted, you will receive an email from the campus letting you know a change has been made to your financial aid package and to review your offer online at MyFinAid.

In addition, all students receiving a message that they are missing the “Grad/Professional Status Certification” in the “missing documents” section of their MyFinAid should ignore the message. This is an error the campus financial aid office is working to correct.

Need help finding your student loan servicer?

The processing of federal student loans is contracted out to one of several loan “servicers.” You can find the name and contact information for the servicer of your loans on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) website.

After logging in, click on the individual loan number to access detailed information such as the “scheduled start of repayment” date and the servicer / lender contact information. The most common servicers for Boalt students are Direct Loan Servicing (ACS) and Department of Education (Pheaa). Regularly updated contact information for each servicer can be found on the Department of Education’s

Some Boalt graduates reported that their federal student loans were transferred from Direct Loan Servicing (ACS) to another servicing provider without any notice or access information. The NSLDS website is the best place to find the new servicer’s information.

Direct Loan Early Repayment Problem

The financial aid office has received word from a growing number of you that at least one of your Direct Graduate Plus loans has been placed into early repayment by the Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) due to an error in the ACS processing system. Some have been in repayment for some time and are now considered “past due” or may have had a payment deducted from your personal account.

We recommend that ALL students who have borrowed Graduate Plus loans view their loan record online at If Direct Loan (ACS) is your servicer and you find that your recent GradPlus loan(s) are in repayment, contact the ACS customer service center immediately at 1-800-848-0979. Ask to have the loan placed into forbearance until your graduation date and confirm your current address. It can take up to 7-20 days for the the request to be processed. For those of you who have had early payments deducted from your accounts, request that you be reimbursed. We are told it can take up to 6 weeks for the reimbursement to be processed.

If you find your interaction with the customer service representative unhelpful, ask to speak to a supervisor. Should you find that unhelpful as well, contact our office and we will contact them on your behalf.

Finally, we recommend that you report your loan servicing problem with ACS to the Consumer Financial Protections Bureau at 1-855-411-2372. We are hoping that enough students will submit a complaint with the CFPB to expedite the system-wide fix.

Info Session Thursday, April 12: Law Degree Economics

We are fortunate to have Jason DiLorenzo of GLAdvisor return this semester to make another presentation to Berkeley Law students. He made two well received presentations last spring, one of which was at the “Tax Day” event. Jason’s expertise in the areas of loan repayment and financial advising will make the session worthwhile to all students, regardless of their current grade level or post-graduation plans. Please plan to take the time to hear him speak!


Law Degree Economics:

How Federal Legislation Has Improved the Economic Value of A Law Degree

Learn what steps you need to take in order to position your debt, tax filing and finances to fully realize the benefits of these pivotal statutory student loan changes.

Thursday, April 12

100 Boalt Hall


Presented by Jason DiLorenzo

• An examination of escalating debt levels’ effect in eroding a Law degree’s financial value and how recent events have reversed this trend markedly.

• The steps you need to take in order to maximize the benefits of these programs and to mitigate the costs of your debt.

• Inherent conflicts of interest and common mistakes people make while navigating these programs and other financial matters.

• Q & A to follow

Financial Aid Offers For Entering Students Now Available on MyFinAid

Correction: this announcement applies to Entering JD students only

Students who submitted their FAFSA (and Supplemental Application if applying for grants) by the deadline should now be able to see their financial aid offer through the online campus system MyFinAid. Need-based aid applications received after the deadline are processed on a first-come first-served basis as funds remain available.

If eligible for aid, your financial aid package is expected to contain loan information and any need-based grant award you have been offered.

If you don’t see any loans on your offer (and you meet eligibility guidelines), have an otherwise incomplete file, or if you believe there is an error on your offer, we encourage you to contact us at

Scholarship awards are currently being determined by the Admissions scholarship committee and are most likely not listed on your financial aid package yet. Students who are awarded scholarships will be notified directly by the committee by phone or e-mail. Scholarship awarding is an ongoing process and you are still in the running unless otherwise notified.

If you included a deadline on your matching scholarship application, it has been noted and we will make every effort to notify you of a decision prior to you deadline at the other school. Please note, however, that ours is a thorough and holistic review process which cannot always be expedited based on the response deadline of another law school. Questions about scholarships should be directed to the Admissions Office at

When to Expect Financial Aid Offers

Entering first year students should be able to see their initial financial aid offer for the 2012-13 academic year starting in early April. All initial offers will contain eligibility for federal student loans. Students who have completed all requirements for Berkeley Law’s need-based grant will also see any grant eligibility. Please note: Scholarship information will, for the most part, not be available at the time of initial offers. If you are offered a scholarship, you will be notified by e-mail and your financial aid offer will subsequently be modified to reflect the new award.

Continuing students will have initial financial aid offers for 2012-13 available to them at the beginning of May. As with entering students, initial offers will contain loan eligibility and any need-based grant eligibility. Please note: If you haven’t already completed Expected Summer Earnings (ESE) form, you must do so by April 15 to be considered for the need-based grant.

Reminder: FAFSA Deadline Approaching

The priority filing deadline for the 2012-13 FAFSA and Supplemental Application for Need-based Grants is March 2, 2012.

Students who will be 2Ls or 3Ls next year who are applying for Need-Based Grants will also need to submit their Expected Summer Earnings Statement to the Financial Aid Office by April 15, 2012 (and later the Confirmed Summer Earnings Statement). Entering 1Ls do not need to complete these two forms this year.

For more info, see the grant instructions.

Farella Braun + Martel LLP Diversity Scholarship

The firm provides Diversity Scholarships to support outstanding diverse law students attending Bay Area law schools. Applicants must be current first-year law students who are students of color, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community, disabled, or whose background or experience would otherwise contribute to the diversity of the legal profession.  The firm awards a total of $25,000 to be divided between three to five scholarship recipients.

Applications must be postmarked by March 2, 2012.

Interested students are invited to attend the program reception on February 15.

For more information and to download the application, please visit the firm’s website.

How to file the FAFSA as an international JD student

International JD students who wish to be considered for need-based grants at Berkeley Law may submit the FAFSA using the following method.

If you will be in the U.S. on an F1 or F2 student visa, a J1 or J2 exchange visa or a G series visa, you can select “No, I am not a citizen or eligible noncitizen.” You will not be eligible for federal student aid; however, you should still complete the application because you may be eligible for institutional aid.