More than 97 percent of Mercer Law students receive some amount of financial assistance. We make every effort to assist students with obtaining the aid they need to attend law school. The aid may be in the form of merit scholarships, Direct Stafford loans, Direct Graduate PLUS loans, alternative private loans, work-study assignments, vocational-rehabilitation benefits, and other programs.
Information on Sources of Financial Aid
For information on the types of financial aid available, eligibility for financial aid, student loans, federal work-study and student loan repayment, please see the Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Financial Aid.
Mercer Law School offers merit scholarships each year to applicants whose academic records, LSAT scores, and personal achievements demonstrate the potential for outstanding performance in the study of law. The Law School also makes some scholarship awards for the final two years of law school to students who excel academically in their first year and who received little or no award when they entered. Mercer Law does not award scholarships that are conditional on law school academic performance other than remaining in good academic standing. In order to remain in good academic standing, all students beginning with the entering class of 2017, must have a 78 average or above at the end of each academic year. The deadline to accept your scholarship is the same as your seat deposit deadline.
We also encourage students to seek and apply for outside scholarships and awards. Opportunities for scholarships and awards from sources other than Mercer are posted in SharePoint, which requires accepted and current students’ login credentials.
Applying for Financial Aid
To apply for federal student loans and/or federal work study, you must complete the following two items. The deadline for priority consideration is April 1.
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Mercer’s school code is 001580.
- Complete the Mercer Application for Financial Aid by clicking here. (Available only for accepted applicants and current students).
Important Financial Aid Websites
- To obtain a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to complete the FAFSA and access student loan account information, see www.pin.ed.gov.
- To determine your loan servicer, review all federal student loans or to complete exit counseling, see the National Student Loan Database System at www.nslds.ed.gov.
- To access your Direct Loan account, review loans, select a repayment plan, apply for a deferment/forbearance or make a payment (if Direct Loans is your servicer) see https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/index.action
- See www.StudentLoans.gov to complete entrance counseling.
- See www.StudentLoans.gov to complete a Stafford and/or Graduate PLUS Master Promissory Note.
- For calculators on all loan repayment plans, see www.finaid.org.
- To determine if you are eligible for Veteran’s Benefits, see www.gibill.va.gov.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy
The Department of Education requires a school to establish minimum standards of academic progress that a student must meet to maintain general eligibility for financial aid. Mercer Law School’s Satisfactory Academic Progress standard (SAP) is used to determine if an enrolled student is making satisfactory academic progress to remain eligible for federal aid. SAP standards are used solely to determine federal financial aid eligibility; they do not cancel, modify, or override Mercer Law School’s academic policies or requirements. This policy provides a consistent application of standards to all students, ensuring both the quality of academic work and the completion of a student’s program within the maximum time frame. Mercer Law School’s SAP policy provides that a student’s academic performance will be evaluated at the end of each semester.
The SAP policy will measure:
1. Qualitative Standard - Cumulative GPA a student must achieve at each evaluation checkpoint to be eligible for federal financial aid and considered as having made SAP.
2. Quantitative Standard - Pace of progression to ensure graduation within the maximum time frame.
To be eligible for federal financial aid and considered as having made SAP, a student must maintain the minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) required by Mercer Law School’s policies relating to academic exclusion and readmission. At Mercer, a student must maintain a minimum 78 GPA and the GPA is evaluated at the end of each semester. If a student’s cumulative average falls below a 78 average at the end of the spring semester of the first or second year, the student shall be dismissed from the Law School.
Federal regulations allow us to award students up to 150% of their required hours. Our degree requires 89 credit hours to graduate, therefore Mercer may award a student up to 133 credit hours (89 X 150% = 133). A student must also complete at least 67% of attempted hours each semester. The maximum timeframes for students to finish their degree will be verified at the end of each semester or grading period to ensure compliance toward graduation and monitor the student’s SAP.
Transfer hours- Will count as both hours attempted and hours earned.
Incompletes- Will count as hours attempted until the course is completed. A passing grade will count as hours earned; a failing grade will remain as hours attempted only.
Repeat Courses- Both courses will count as attempted hours.
Withdrawal- Will count as hours attempted only.
Remedial course work- Not included in the GPA, but reviewed for progress.
Financial Aid Warning and Probation
Financial Aid Warning - A student who fails to maintain the qualitative or quantitative standards for SAP is automatically placed on Financial Aid Warning. The Director of Financial Aid will notify the student when this occurs and will advise the student regarding the SAP standards that must be met by a specific term to retain eligibility for federal financial aid. The following apply to students on Financial Aid Warning:
1. The student will continue to receive federal financial aid for one payment period or semester (referred to as the warning period). Aid for the subsequent period is placed on hold status until SAP can be reviewed following the warning period.
2. If the student is still not making SAP after the warning period, the Director of Financial Aid will notify the student that he or she is ineligible for federal financial aid until either all SAP standards are successfully met or the student has successfully appealed and been granted a period of financial aid probation, as detailed below.
3. Financial aid warning status is not appealable.
Financial Aid Probation - This status is assigned to a student who fails to make SAP, has appealed, and has had eligibility for aid reinstated. Once a student is notified that aid eligibility has been suspended for failing to make SAP, the student may appeal that determination using the process below. Financial Aid Probation allows a student to continue to receive aid under the terms specified by the Assistant Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid if the appeal is granted. No more than two appeals will be granted per year.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal
A student who fails to meet the qualitative SAP standard at the end of the spring semester of the first or second year shall be eligible to appeal this adverse determination as described under the “Academic Dismissal and Readmission Policy” found in the Student Handbook. A student who fails to meet the quantitative SAP standard shall be eligible to appeal this decision by submitting to the Director of Financial Aid and Assistant Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, in writing, an explanation of the mitigating circumstances that led to the failure to make SAP. These circumstances shall be considered mitigating if they are of a severe and temporary personal, medical, or financial nature. As part of the appeal process, the student must:
1. Describe and submit documentation to support how the mitigating circumstances led to an academic deficiency outside the student’s control.
2. Provide a detailed plan about how the student will handle or resolve the mitigating circumstance to regain his or her financial aid eligibility and return to making SAP.
3. If the student cannot mathematically achieve SAP standards in one semester, the student must submit a proposed academic plan that would allow the student to meet the SAP standards within a set period of time. The student is required to meet with the Director of Academic Success and/or the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs in developing a proposed academic plan.
Appeal Process - The Assistant Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs will review all SAP appeals. If a student cannot mathematically achieve SAP standards in one semester, then the academic plan must be approved before Financial Aid Probation can be granted. As noted above, an academic plan must detail what is necessary for the student to achieve SAP standards in a prescribed amount of time.
If Financial Aid Probation is granted through appeal and the student can meet SAP in one semester, aid may be received for that semester. A student will be required to fulfill specific terms, such as participating in an Academic Success Program while on Financial Aid Probation. If an academic plan is approved, eligibility for aid will be reinstated and can be received as long as all conditions of the plan are met. If the academic plan conditions are not met, then aid eligibility is lost until the student meets the SAP standards.
If the appeal is denied or eligibility lost for failing to meet the terms of an approved academic plan, the student must immediately arrange to pay for his or her school expenses. Students who lose their federal financial aid eligibility may continue their studies using other aid sources or by funding their education themselves as long as they otherwise meet our academic standards.
The student will be notified of the outcome of his or her appeal in writing or via email to the student’s law school email address.
Delays in Aid Disbursement - Because grades may not be available before the beginning of the next scheduled semester, it is possible that financial aid may be disbursed to a student before the review can be conducted. If a student is placed on Financial Aid Warning after grades are posted, the student remains eligible for the aid received. If the student is already on Financial Aid Warning, aid will not be disbursed until it is determined that the student has met the requirement for SAP. If the student is on Financial Aid Probation, the student must meet the requirement of satisfactory academic progress or meet any academic plan conditions in order to receive aid. If a student is determined to be ineligible for the financial aid that has been disbursed due to failure to meet one or more qualitative or quantitative SAP standards or academic plan condition, the aid that was disbursed will be canceled and returned to the student’s loan servicer. The student is then responsible for making payment arrangements for any amounts owed to Mercer Law School.
- Public Interest Loan Forgiveness—For a good resource on loan forgiveness for public interest work, see www.equaljusticeworks.com.
- Decreasing your loan payments: If you need options or assistance with student loan repayment, see https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/index.action. Please sign into your account and search for Lower My Repayment Amount. Here, you will find information on income driven repayment options, loan payment deferments, and forbearances options for all Direct Loans regardless of servicer. If you would like further assistance, please contact Lindsey R. Stewart, Director of Admissions and Financial Aid.
- Income Based Repayment Plan-- For information on the new income based repayment plan, including a payment calculator, see www.ibrinfo.org.
Lindsey R. Stewart
Director of Admissions and Financial Aid
Office Specialist for Admissions/Financial Aid