Information for Graduating Students

Bar Study Awards

Many state or local bar associations offer awards to assist in defraying the cost of the bar exam or living expenses incurred during the study period. You are encouraged to research and/or contact organizations in the state in which you plan to take the exam, in addition to your state of residence, to determine if funding may be available.

Please refer to the Scholarships section of our website for known Bar Study Awards.

Bar Study Loans

While studying for the bar exam, you may discover that you need additional funds to assist in focusing your time studying for the exam. Federal student loans are not available after the end of the regular enrollment in law school or if you are enrolled in less than half-time course work (six credit hours during the regular semester; three credit hours for a summer term). There are several private lenders that offer loans specifically for this situation. These loans may cover living expenses, bar exam fees, and fees for review courses. You may apply for a Bar Exam Loan during the final semester of your law degree or after you graduate. 

Detroit Mercy partners with ELM Select to maintain a list of lenders you may want to consider. Each lender sets its own limits for the amount you may borrow. You are not limited to the products identified by Detroit Mercy or ELM Select and are welcome to use any lender of your choice. You know your particular circumstances best and you should evaluate all loan products carefully and wisely; read the fine print and make sure you are aware not only of the interest rate but also the deferment and repayment terms, additional fees, and any benefits.

Some lenders will require Detroit Mercy to certify your bar loan application before issuing funds. In these situations, Detroit Mercy Law is certifying your graduation date and the requested disbursements comply with the lender's policies. We request that students notify the Law Financial Aid Office when they request a Bar Study Loan so that we know to log in to the system. 

Before you apply for a Bar Study Loan, check with the Law Financial Aid Office to see if you still have federal loan eligibility and if you do, you may want to compare the pros and cons of a federal loan and a private bar study loan. 

Federal Student Loan Repayment

As you prepare for graduation, you should ensure that you understand all of your student loan data. Make sure you have a comprehensive list of all your loans from both undergraduate and graduate studies. Identify who the lender is for each loan, the account numbers, the type of loan (e.g. Subsidized or Unsubsidized), as well as whether the loan was borrowed under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program or the Direct Loan Program. You can find much of this information by logging in to the "Financial Aid Review" on nslds.ed.gov. If you are not able to find the information online, contact your lender or servicer.

Generally, your federal loans will have a six-month grace period for repayment after graduation. However, this may not be the case for all of your loans. For example, if you took time off before law school, you may have already used up the grace period on your undergraduate loans. You should ensure that you know when your first payment is due for each loan. If you are not contacted around graduation time regarding repayment, you should contact your lender or servicer. Make certain that your lender or servicer always has your most up-to-date contact information. Failure to receive a bill is not a valid defense against defaulting on your loans. Remember, you are ultimately responsible for repaying your student loans. Failing to do so in a timely manner may result in damage to your credit score and other long-term consequences.

Federal Loan Repayment Options

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    Standard Repayment

    In the Standard Repayment Plan, all monthly payments will be at a fixed amount for 10 years. The loan will be paid off after 10 years. Payments may be high under this plan but you'll usually pay less over time than under other plans as there is less time for interest to accrue.
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    Graduated Repayment

    In the Graduated Repayment Plan, payments start out lower and increase every two years under the assumption that your income is also increasing. After 10 years of payments, your loans will be paid off. You'll pay more over time in this plan than under the Standard Plan because more interest is accruing.
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    Extended Repayment

    The Extended Repayment Plan is for those students who have more than $30,000 in outstanding Direct Loans. Under this plan, your loans will be paid off within 25 years. You can enroll in a Standard Extended Repayment Plan or a Graduated Extended Repayment Plan. Your monthly payments will be lower than under the standard or graduated plans but you'll pay more over time as more interest will be accruing.
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    Income Driven Repayment Plans

    An income-driven repayment plan is a repayment plan that uses your actual income, family size, and student loan debt to calculate your monthly repayment amounts. Those enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan are required to update their loan servicer(s) annually with their income tax information. You'll usually pay more over time than under the standard 10-year repayment plan as smaller payments mean more of your payment is going towards your accrued interest and less is being applied to your principal loan amount. All of the income-driven repayment plans count as qualifying payments for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

    • Revised Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (REPAYE):
      • Your monthly payment will be 10% of your discretionary income.
      • If you're married, both your and your spouse's income and/or loan debt will be considered, whether taxes are filed jointly or separately.
      • Any outstanding balance on your loan will be forgiven if you haven't repaid your loan in full after 25 years of payments on this plan.
      • You may have to pay income tax on any amount that is forgiven.
    • Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (PAYE):
      • Your monthly payments will be 10% of your discretionary income, but never more than you would have paid under the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan.
      • You must be a new borrower on or after October 1, 2007, and must have received a disbursement of a Direct Loan on or after October 1, 2011.
      • You must have a high debt relative to your income.
      • If you're married, your spouse's income or loan debt will be considered only if you file a joint tax return.
      • Any outstanding balance on your loan will be forgiven if you haven't repaid your loan in full after 20 years.
      • You may have to pay income tax on any amount that is forgiven.
    • Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR)
      • Your monthly payments will be either 10 or 15 percent of discretionary income (depending on when you received your first loans), but never will be more than you would have paid under the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan. 
      • You must have a high debt relative to your income.
      • If you're married, your spouse's income or loan debt will be considered only if you file a joint tax return.
      • Any outstanding balance on your loan will be forgiven if you haven't repaid your loan in full after 20 or 25 years (depending on when you received your first loan).
      • You may have to pay income tax on any amount that is forgiven.
    • Income-Contingent Repayment Plan (ICR)
      • Your monthly payment will be the lesser of 20 percent of discretionary income or the amount you would pay on a repayment plan with a fixed payment over 12 years.
      • If you're married, your spouse's income or loan debt will be considered only if you file a joint tax return or you choose to repay your Direct Loans jointly with your spouse.
      • Any outstanding balance will be forgiven if you haven't repaid your loan in full after 25 years
      • You may have to pay income tax on any amount that is forgiven.

Exit Counseling

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    Federal Student Loan Exit Counseling

    Students who borrowed loans through the Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program while at Detroit Mercy Law are required to complete Federal Student Loan Exit Counseling. Exit Counseling is an opportunity to learn about the repayment terms that apply to your federal loans. The counseling session will provide you with important information you'll need as you prepare to repay your federal student loan(s). You should plan about 30 minutes to complete your Exit Counseling.
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    Loan Counseling Sessions

    We will be hosting a number of loan repayment sessions throughout the year. These do not count as your Exit Counseling requirement that you must do through studentloans.gov but we offer them for students to hear about loan repayment options, consolidation, basic debt management principles, and best practices form the Law Financial Aid team. We provide these sessions to answer questions that may have come up when students were completing the federal exit counseling or to helps students feel more comfortable and confident when they complete the required federal exit counseling sessions.

    DATES: TBD

    You can also schedule a one-on-one appointment with your financial aid counselor to discuss your specific loans. Students should come prepared with their federal loan history and a copy of their Federal Student Aid Repayment Estimator. Please plan for these meetings to be at least 30 minutes. 

Loan Forgiveness

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    Public Service Loan Forgiveness

    Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program: The PSLF Program is intended to encourage individuals to enter and continue working full-time in public service jobs. Borrowers may qualify for forgiveness on the remaining balance of their federal loan(s) after 120 on-time qualifying payments while working full-time at an eligible public service job. For more information, visit the Public Service Loan Forgiveness page on the federal student loan website.