Personal expenses represent discretionary personal living expenses, such as entertainment, health insurance, and clothing. The student expense budget governs the total amount of aid (loans or a combination of grants and loans) that are available to a student in any given year. Students who have federal loans in their financial aid package may not borrow in excess of the approved budget. Living on less allows a student to borrow less and save money in the long run.
We realize that students come to the Law School from varied backgrounds, experiences, and lifestyles; however, the student expense budget allows only for the simple lifestyle of a graduate student. Federal regulations direct the budget construction process, and schools are limited as to the types of budgets and the items contained in budgets. Consumer debt and bar preparation courses are not valid budget items. There is a distinct advantage to discharging as much consumer debt as possible (such as credit cards) before entering law school.
The Financial Aid Office reserves the right to make adjustments in a student's aid package, up or down, when institutional resources change, the student's support from all sources exceeds need, or circumstances change, such as number of family members in college, or a substantial alteration in reported income.
If you experience a financial hardship, we recommend that you speak to the Office of Financial Aid. If you have legitimate educational expenses that cause you to exceed your student budget, our office can consider an adjustment once appropriate documents is received and approved. Please note that adjustments will only be made under extraordinary circumstances. Please be advised that requests for a budget increase will not be accepted until early October.
Items Not Covered by the Student Expense Budget
Moving expenses incurred during the summer preceding your entry into CUNY Law are not legitimate for an increase to your student expenses budget. You are advised to budget accordingly, if you plan to relocate to the tri-state area. Equally important, expenses incurred during the summer(s) between academic years are not covered under the student expense budget.
The financial aid budget will not allow for any consumer debt. Students are advised to pay off all credit card debt(s) before coming to law school. The Office of Financial Aid cannot make allowances for monthly credit card payments.
The cost of a professional wardrobe will not be considered for a budget adjustment. Students are advised that this cost may be considerable and that wise comparison shopping is advisable.
Items Covered by the Student Expense Budget
Medical and Dental Expenses
Expenses for necessary medical treatment not covered by insurance may be allowed as an adjustment to the student budget, if you have already borrowed to the full extent of the budget. Should you have a medical or dental expense that is not covered by insurance, please contact the Office of Financial Aid. We will expect a detailed cost of treatment and billing summary for the expenses along with a letter from your doctor substantiating your request.
If you have not borrowed up to the budget, you do not need a budget increase. On the other hand, if you borrowed up to the budget and require additional loan funds to cover the computer expense, you may request a budget increase for the purchase. You will need to complete the "Computer Loan Request Form" and attach supporting documentation of the computer expense.