These Bar Loans Offer Law Students Financial Help for Exams

Sitting for the bar exam can be an expensive undertaking for law students.

Depending on which state you are in, the test itself could cost up to $1,000 or more. And that’s not counting the hotel you may need to book overnight between test dates, or a bar review course you may sign-up for.

That’s why there are bar loans available for law students who need financial help to pass the bar. Here’s what you need to know about bar loans and how to qualify for one.

What are bar loans?

Many law schools encourage their students not to work while they are studying to pass the bar. Yet, this may be financially impossible for many students unless they are able to get a bar study loan.

Some students may be able to borrow additional funds through federal student loans if they haven’t maxed out their federal student aid eligibility. However, bar loans can help law grads with no additional federal funds available to pay for all of their bar-related costs.

Keep in mind though that all bar exam loans are private loans. You are not required to demonstrate financial need in order to qualify for a bar loan. Yet, it is in your best interest to borrow as little as possible.

Bar study loan aspects

Since bar loans are private loans, their interest rates and fees may be higher than what you might get from a federal student loan. And, bar loans can’t be consolidated with federal student loans.

Also, a bar study loan will often have an aggregate debt limit for borrowers. So if you have a large amount of student loans or other consumer debts, you may not qualify for the loan.

You can apply for a bar study loan on your own. Or, with the help of a co-signer.

If you are denied a bar loan because of bad credit, you can either appeal the decision with the lender or apply with another lender. However, bar study loans have deadlines for application, so it’s important to apply early if you are at all concerned that you might be denied.

Bar loans are not exactly mainstream loan products, so you might not know where to get one.

Here are four lenders who offer these loans, and the terms you can expect from each one.

Sallie Mae

You can borrow as little as $1,000 or as much as $15,000 with the Bar Study Loan from Sallie Mae.

Interest rates are variable and can range from 3.50% APR to 10.20% APR, depending on your creditworthiness.

There are no disbursement or repayment fees, and you will not be penalized for prepayments. While your payments are deferred while you are in school, borrowers can also enjoy a nine-month grace period after graduation or cessation of half-time enrollment.

Students may apply in their final year of study if they are enrolled at least half-time, or they may apply up to twelve months after graduation. You must take the bar exam no more than twelve months after your graduation.

PNC

The PNC Solution Loan for Bar Study offers up to $15,000 for bar loans. Borrowers have an aggregate debt limit of $225,000, whether or not they are borrowing with a co-signer.

There are both variable and fixed interest rate options based on a variety of factors, including your credit history.

The variable interest rates range from 3.71% APR to 10.70% APR. The fixed rate loan interest rates range from 6.37% APR to 12.99% APR.

PNC does not charge application or origination fees. They also offer a six-month grace period after graduation or cessation of half-time enrollment.

You must apply during your final year of study or up to six months after graduation. And, you must sit for the bar exam no later than six months after graduation.

The repayment period is up to 15 years.

Discover Student Loans

With a Discover Bar Exam Loan, amounts can range from $1,000 to $16,000.

Discover offers both variable and fixed rate loan options. The variable interest rates range from 4.49% APR to 9.24% APR. Fixed interest rates range from 6.49% APR to 11.24% APR. The margins in both cases are based on the borrower’s creditworthiness.

There are no application, origination, or late fees, and payments are deferred while in school. Plus, there is no penalty for prepayments.

The grace period for the Discover Bar Exam Loan is nine months after graduation or cessation of half-time enrollment.

You may apply for this loan during your final year of study or up to six months after graduation.

The repayment period is up to 20 years.

Wells Fargo

You can borrow up to $12,000 with the Wells Fargo Bar Exam Loan.

There are both variable and fixed rate options for each borrower. Variable interest rates range from 8.85% APR (with discounts) to 9.07% APR (without discounts). Fixed interest rates range from 10.21% APR (with discounts) to 10.44% APR (without discounts).

There are no application or origination fees, and no penalty for paying off your loan early.

Your payments are deferred while you are in school, and you’ll receive a six-month grace period after graduation or after you cease half-time enrollment.

Borrowers can apply for this loan during their final year of school, or up to 30 days after graduation.

You must have had satisfactory academic progress in an eligible program and an established, positive credit history. You must be also a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or permanent resident alien without conditions and with proper evidence of eligibility.

The repayment period is up to 7 years.

An Investment in Passing the Bar

The path to becoming a lawyer can be very expensive.

However, picking the best bar loans for your situation can be an excellent investment in your future career, while granting you freedom from financial concerns that could distract you from studying.

Ultimately, taking out bar loans can give you the financial breathing room necessary for you to focus on passing your bar exam and becoming a full-fledged practicing lawyer.

Interested in a personal loan?

Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2018!
LenderRates (APR)Loan Amount 
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

2 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Finance Lender Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)
  2. Personal Loans: Fixed rates from 5.49% APR to 14.24% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.29% APR to 11.44% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of December 1, 2017 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 5.29% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.34% plus 4.20% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of August 1, 2017, the one-month LIBOR rate is 1.23%. Variable interest rates range from 6.02% – 15.97% (6.02% – 15.97% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of your loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms and presence of a co-applicant. Fixed interest rates range from 5.99% – 16.24% (5.99% – 16.24% APR) based on applicable terms and presence of a co-applicant. Lowest rates shown are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with Citizens Bank at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, Citizens Bank checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  3. Automatic Payment Benefit: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
7.39% - 29.99%$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upstart
5.29% - 14.24%1$5,000 - $100,000Visit SoFi
8.00% - 25.00%$5,000 - $35,000Visit Payoff
5.99% - 16.24%2$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
5.99% - 35.89%$1,000 - $40,000Visit LendingClub
5.25% - 14.24%$2,000 - $50,000Visit Earnest
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