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Charleston School of Law Juris Doctor Program Catalog and Student Handbook 2023-2024

Academic Catalog and Handbook

Financial Aid Information

The Office of Financial Aid is dedicated to helping students navigate through the process of applying for financial aid, exploring all federal aid options and utilizing all resources obtained for funding law school.

The Office of Financial Aid is located on the second floor of 385 Meeting Street. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Appointments are not necessary, but encouraged in order to guarantee availability of a financial aid counselor. You may also email them at financialaid@charlestonlaw.edu for assistance.

Tuition and Fees

The Charleston School of Law operates on a block tuition policy for fall, spring, and summer standard semesters. Tuition and general fees vary by course load. All tuition and fees for each semester are due no less than seven (7) days prior to the commencement of classes.

For students who entered prior to fall 2021, the tuition schedule for the J.D. Program is as follows:

  • Full-time (> 13 credit hours):
$20,550.00 per semester ($41,100.00 for the academic year)
  • Part-time (7-12 credit hours):
$16,512.00 per semester ($33,024.00 for the academic year)
  • Below 7 hours:
$  1,580.00 per credit hour

For students who enter in fall 2021 or thereafter, the tuition schedule for the J.D. Program is as follows:

  • Full-time (> 13 credit hours):
$22,550.00 per semester ($45,100.00 for the academic year)
  • Part-time (7-12 credit hours):
$18,100.00 per semester ($36,200.00 for the academic year)
  • Below 7 hours:
$  1,735.00 per credit hour

The fee schedule, which is subject to change, is as follows:

  • Student Bar Association fee:
$  60.00 per semester
  • Student Success fee:
$457.00 per semester
Student Success Fee

The student success fee covers the cost of the academic success and bar preparation program. This program includes extensive bar preparation materials and programs for all students throughout their law school education, as well as a bar program while preparing for the bar exam after graduation. For additional information, please see the BARBRI FAQ section below.

Tuition for Summer Session and Maymester is charged on a per credit hour rate for all students except students enrolled in the summer standard semester. Please see rates listed above under Tuition and Fees.  Students enrolled in the summer standard semester are charged the full-time and part-time rates listed above under Tuition and Fees.

BARBRI and Academic Success FAQs

The Charleston School of Law has an exclusive agreement with BARBRI to provide a comprehensive set of resources to support the law school’s program for student academic success, bar preparation and bar review. While enrolled, students will receive faculty approved programming to aid in comprehension and overall academic success.

The direct benefits derived from this partnership include a discounted cost for a bar review program available after graduation, supplemental materials available for 1L, 2L/3L courses,, assistance and materials utilized in the Legal Skills class, access to online exam preparation programming, written materials used during the bar preparation course students take during their final semester in law school, and outside grading and feedback made available to students during the bar preparation course and the bar review program.

Below are Frequently Asked Questions and Answers students may have related to this partnership.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do all students receive a post-graduation bar review course without additional charge?

Yes. All students that begin as a 1L with the Charleston School of Law (“Law School”) and graduate in six (6) or more semesters will be eligible for a bar review course at no additional charge.

All transfer students that enroll at the Law School, regardless of class designation (1L, 2L or 3L) will participate and gain the benefits of this program as well.

  1. Can students utilize the BARBRI post-graduation bar review program for any state?

Yes. Graduates may participate in one BARBRI bar review program for any state’s bar exam.

  1. Do eligible graduates have to take the bar exam immediately upon graduation?

Graduates are eligible to take one BARBRI bar review program at any time. It is strongly recommended that graduates take the bar exam soon following graduation, but graduates will remain eligible at any time.  

  1. What is the cost of a bar review course with BARBRI?

The Charleston School of Law has negotiated a post-graduation bar review program price. Students are guaranteed this negotiated price, which includes the BARBRI materials. The total student participation cost is $457/semester and encompasses significant resources provided during law school as well as the post-graduation program.

  1. Is a Charleston School of Law graduate eligible to repeat the BARBRI bar review course free of charge if the student did not pass the bar exam on the first attempt?

Students are eligible to take the bar exam review course in the same state, the subsequent administration free of charge.  Students will contact BARBRI directly to set up their free repeat, if needed.

  1. Can a Charleston School of Law graduate take a BARBRI bar review course in a second state?

Students will be eligible to take the bar exam review course once in any state. Graduates who elect to take a second bar exam from another state, or select a different state to take the bar exam after failing the first exam, are responsible for all costs associated with the bar review course, at a reduced alumni rate.

  1. Can a Charleston School of Law student opt out of the Student Success Fee?

No. All students receive the benefits of the partnership with BARBRI and are eligible to take the bar review program at the paid in reduced rate.  

  1. If a student elects to use another post-graduation bar review program or not take the bar exam, is any of the cost for the BARBRI post-graduation bar review program refunded?

Upon graduation, if a student elects to forego taking the bar exam or selects an alternative post-graduation bar review program, they may inform the law school who will in turn notify BARBRI.  Students will receive a pro-rated cash refund of up to $1,000, for those who enrolled on and after Fall 2020. The pro-rated calculation is based on the number of semesters a student attends the Charleston School of Law and pays a Student Success Fee. This refund is paid directly from BARBRI towards the end of the student’s last semester of law school.

Change in Student Status for Tuition Purposes

For tuition purposes, the permanent status of a student is ordinarily determined at the time of the student’s admission to the Law School. Students seeking to change their tuition status from full-time to part-time or part-time to full-time, or to enroll in fewer than 7 credit hours, must first apply for and receive permission from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs prior to the end of add/drop for that particular semester.

The Associate Dean may require the student to submit additional information and/or to receive financial aid counseling, academic counseling or other counseling. The approval or disapproval of an application for change of status is committed to the sound discretion of the Associate Dean who may allow, deny, or defer a change of status application. If approval for a change is granted, students typically must remain at that status for the remainder of their time at the Law School.

Full-time to Part-time

When a full-time student elects to take a reduced course load in a given semester, this does not alter the student’s tuition status and, therefore, does not obviate the student’s obligation to pay full-time tuition. To pay part-time tuition, students must apply for and receive permission from the Associate Dean to change to part-time tuition status prior to the end of add/drop period for that particular semester.

Part-time to Full-time

Part-time students are enrolled in nine credit hours per semester for their first two semesters and in 12 credit hours for subsequent semesters. After the end of 2 semesters of enrollment and at least 18 credit hours of first-year courses, part-time students  are eligible to apply to the Associate Dean for a change to full-time tuition status.

Taking Fewer than 7 Credit Hours in a Fall, Spring or Required Summer Standard Semester

Any student who wishes to enroll in fewer than seven credit hours in a fall, spring or required summer standard semester must obtain the written approval of the Associate Dean. Approval will only be granted in extraordinary circumstances.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

  1. During the fall and spring semesters, and summer standard session, the Charleston School of Law will provide to students who withdraw from the Law School a pro rata refund consistent with regulation 62-18 of the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, but in no event less than:

Before fall, spring semester or summer standard session begins

100%
  • On calendar days 1-7 of semester
80%
  • On calendar days 8-14 of semester
60%
  • On calendar days 15-21 of semester
40%
  • On calendar days 22-28 of semester
20%
  • On and after calendar day 29 of semester
0%
  1. The following policies relate to students who completely withdraw from all summer sessions during expected summer enrollment:

Before Maymester or summer session begins

100%

For Maymester session:

 
  • On calendar day 1
100%
  • On calendar day 2
80%
  • On calendar day 3
60%
  • On calendar day 4
40%
  • On calendar day 5 or later
0%

For summer session:

 
  • Before or During Add/Drop  
100%
  • On calendar day 1 after Add/Drop
80%
  • On calendar day 2 or 3 after Add/Drop
60%
  • On calendar day 4 or 5 after Add/Drop
40%
  • On calendar day 6 or after Add/Drop
0%
  1. Tuition is refundable, consistent with above, if notice of withdrawal is made in writing to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs by submitting the appropriate form, located on the Law School’s website, or from the Office of the Registrar. Please note that the last date of attendance dictates tuition adjustments and/or refunds, financial aid and veteran benefits eligibility, Return of Title IV funds calculation and all federal institutional reporting. Students who do not formally withdraw and do not sit for examinations will receive a grade of “F” in each course.

Auditing

For students currently enrolled in the Charleston School of Law:

  • A full-time student may audit a class as part of his or her full-time tuition. However, a full-time student cannot take more than 16 credit hours, including any hours from an audited class, in a fall or spring semester. 
  • A part-time student may audit a class as part of his or her part-time tuition. However, a part-time student cannot take more than 12 credit hours, including any hours from an audited class, in a fall or spring semester.   
  • Students may not exceed the credit hour limits, including any hours from an audited class, in a Maymester, summer session or summer standard session. 

Alumni of the Charleston School of Law may enroll in any course, on a space available basis, with no charge for tuition. 

Financial Aid Resources

Resources to assist you in funding your education at the Charleston School of Law might include scholarships (institutional and private); federal loans (Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan and Direct Graduate PLUS); private loans; and Veterans Benefits. Both need-based and merit scholarships are awarded by the Law School to qualifying students to ease the loan burden. Student loans are available to law students who meet federal eligibility requirements to assist with covering tuition charges and qualified living expenses. The Charleston School of Law also participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, providing eligible veterans funding for tuition expenses. All outside grants, scholarships, and financial resources, including military benefits, will be taken into consideration when determining eligibility for institutional scholarships. This applies to all students. Additional information and requirements about the above listed programs may be obtained from the Office of Financial Aid.  More information can also be found here: https://www.charlestonlaw.edu/financial-aid/.

Applying For Financial Aid

Students applying for financial aid must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Form found at https://studentaid.gov/.  The submission of this form will allow students to be considered for up to $20,500 in Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans per academic year. Students must complete a FAFSA form each academic year to apply or reapply for assistance for the upcoming academic year. Students may also apply for another federal loan, the Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, to help pay their tuition costs and provide money for living expenses. If applying for federal loans, students must also complete the Direct Unsubsidized Loan/Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Request Form which will be sent to you by email via an e-signature form. Students must be at least half-time status and meet Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements in order to be considered for financial aid. Other student eligibility requirements as defined by the Department of Education and federal regulations must also be met in order for loan requests to be processed. In order to meet federal eligibility requirements for each semester of enrollment, a student must be enrolled in at least 7 credit hours necessary for degree completion. Federal Title IV Aid will not pay for courses that are not required for completion of the J.D. Program. Merit-based and need-based scholarships are also awarded to qualifying students from the Charleston School of Law. Contact the Office of Admission for more information and application deadlines for these scholarships. For more information about the federal application process and federal loans, please contact the Office of Financial Aid or review the Law School’s website.

Study Away/Study Abroad Opportunities

Charleston School of Law Students who gain approval to transfer study abroad credits towards their degree program may be able to borrow federal loans through a consortium agreement to help pay for their study away expenses and provide living expenses as determined by the “host” law school. Not all programs of study are deemed eligible for financial aid. Aid eligibility will be limited to only two (2) study away opportunities while at the Charleston School of Law. Documentation related to the program of study such as dates of the program, length of the program and hours of enrollment along with a Study Away Request for Aid Form must be submitted to the Director of Financial Aid for review of eligibility at the time of enrollment. If the program is deemed eligible, the student must obtain academic approval as well as complete all other steps of the financial aid process (FAFSA, loan request forms, etc.) before a consortium agreement will be sent to the host institution’s Office of Financial Aid. For loan eligibility purposes, students must be enrolled at least half-time status and meet satisfactory academic progress requirements. Interested students should contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information about eligibility and the process.

Veteran Benefits

The Office of Financial Aid assists students who qualify for VA educational benefits in researching and navigating through the steps and guidelines established by the Department of Veteran Affairs governing all VA programs. The Charleston School of Law is a Yellow Ribbon participating institution. Students must provide the Certifying Official in the Office of Financial Aid written authorization to submit their enrollment certification to the VA. Eligible students should do so by completing the VA Enrollment Certification Request Form which will be delivered by email via an e-signature form. Students must also submit a current Certificate of Eligibility and/or Statement of Benefits along with the completed form. Since enrollment certifications are submitted after the drop/add period for each term and the VA Processing Center may require at least an additional thirty days to process, students are not required but may choose to pursue federal financial aid (loans) or other budgeting options for housing and living expenses while they await VA payment. Students seeking to utilize VA educational benefits are also encouraged to contact the VA Benefits Center at 1-888-442-4551. More information about establishing eligibility with the VA and other student responsibilities may be obtained from the Office of Financial Aid.

If you are a student utilizing VA educational benefits, please be aware that you may be financially responsible for any difference between the amount of your financial obligation to the Charleston School of Law and the amount of the VA educational benefit disbursement.

In compliance with the Veterans Benefits and Transition Act of 2018, section 3679(e) of Title 38, United States Code, the Charleston School of Law will not impose any penalty, including the assessment of late fees, the denial of access to classes, libraries, or other institutional facilities, or the requirement that a covered individual borrow additional funds, on any covered individual because of the individual’s inability to meet his or her financial obligations to the institution due to the delayed disbursement funding from VA under chapter 31 or 33. A Covered Individual is any individual who is entitled to educational assistance under Chapter 31, Veteran Readiness and Employment, or Chapter 33, Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

Students using VA Education Benefits, Chapters 33 or 31, will be certified per session of enrollment according to the following individually defined full-time modifier (IDM):

Session

Length

IDM

 

Summer Standard

93 days

9

 

Maymester

17 days

1

 

Summer 1

72 days

7

 

Summer 2

32 days

3

 

Summer 3

45 days

4

 

Satisfactory Academic Progress ("SAP") Policy

All Federal Financial Assistance Programs are authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, and require the establishment of minimum standards of academic progress that students must meet to maintain general eligibility for financial aid. Continuing students, as well as entering transfer students, to the Charleston School of Law must make Satisfactory Academic Progress to remain eligible for federal aid such as Direct Loans and Graduate PLUS Loans, as well as some private loans. The Law School enforces the following standards of measuring SAP:

  • Charleston School of Law Qualitative SAP Standard

Students must maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 as established by the law school. Students’ GPA will be verified at the end of each semester and at the conclusion of all summer sessions.

  • Charleston School of Law Quantitative SAP Standard

Students must earn 67% of all credit hours attempted including accepted transfer hours, regardless of whether federal financial aid was received. The quantitative SAP assessment will be reviewed for all students at the end of each semester and at the conclusion of all summer sessions.

  • Charleston School of Law Maximum Time Frame Standard

Students must complete their degree program within a maximum time frame, defined as 150% of the number of credit hours required to complete the program (135 credit hours or 5 years). Maximum time frame progression will be verified at the end of each semester and at the conclusion of all summer sessions.

Please note: These standards and provisions are different from the academic standards at the Charleston School of Law and may have no bearing on your status of academic probation or disqualification. All decisions related to a student’s academic standing are made through the Office of Academic Affairs, and all decisions related to a student’s financial aid eligibility are made by the Office of Financial Aid.

Financial Aid Warning

The Office of Financial Aid will work in conjunction with the Registrar and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs to monitor and review the qualitative, quantitative, and maximum time-limit requirements for all enrolled students. Students who do not meet the school’s SAP requirements will be placed on financial aid warning and monitored for eligibility.  Students placed on financial aid warning are encouraged to meet with the Associate Dean or his or her designee to discuss their failure to meet the necessary academic standards and formulate an academic plan to help meet those standards.  Students are allowed to receive federal or private aid for the subsequent semester or grading period after they have been placed on warning. Students who are not in SAP compliance after their subsequent semester or grading period are NOT eligible for federal or certain private loans and may only become eligible after successfully appealing and being granted financial aid probation.

Appeals Process

A student who is ineligible for aid may submit a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal to the Director of Financial Aid if they feel they encountered mitigating circumstances during the academic period(s) that affected their academic ability when they fell out of compliance. Examples of mitigating circumstances are a student’s injury or prolonged illness, death of a relative, repercussions of a natural disaster, or other special circumstances. The Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form and documentation must reflect how the mitigating circumstances led to an academic deficiency that was out of the student’s control. The student’s appeal must provide a detailed plan on how the student will limit the mitigating circumstance or resolve any issues so that they may regain their financial aid eligibility and return to making Satisfactory Academic Progress. The appeal will be reviewed by the SAP Appeals Committee, and a decision will be made based on the documentation received. If the appeal is denied, the student must immediately set up a payment plan to pay for their school expenses. If the appeal is approved, the student will be placed on financial aid probation, but may be able to receive financial aid during the subsequent academic period. Students may have only one appeal approved during their attendance at the Charleston School of Law. Students may petition for an exception to the one appeal policy by appealing to the SAP Appeals Committee.

Return of Title IV Funds

A Return of Title IV Funds Calculation is performed for all students who have federal loans when they do not complete a grading period which they have started. The Return of Title IV Funds Policy only applies if the student completely terminates enrollment (i.e., cancels his/her registration, withdraws, or is dismissed) or stops attending classes before completing more than 60 percent of the enrollment period. If a student withdraws (voluntarily or involuntarily) after completing 60 percent or longer of the grading period, then no adjustments will be made to the student’s federal loans. The Return of Title IV Funds Policy applies to federal student financial aid programs. If applicable, The Office of Accounting will calculate the amount of a refund of tuition/fees for students who withdraw. Contact the Office of Financial Aid for specific details or more information.

The amount of Title IV aid that a student must repay is determined via the Federal Formula for Return of Title IV Funds, as specified in Section 484B of the Higher Education Act. This law also specifies the order of return of the Title IV funds to the program from which they were awarded. The amount of Title IV aid earned is determined by multiplying the total Title IV aid (other than Federal Work Study) for which the student is qualified by the percentage of time during the term that the student was enrolled. A repayment may be required when aid has been credited to a student's account from financial aid funds in excess of the amount of aid the student earned during the term. If less aid was disbursed than was earned, the student may receive a late disbursement for the difference. If more aid was disbursed than was earned, the amount of Title IV aid that must be returned (i.e., that was unearned) is determined by subtracting the earned amount from the amount actually disbursed.

The Charleston School of Law will distribute the unearned aid back to the Title IV programs as specified by law. The student will be billed for the amount the student owes to the Title IV programs and any amount due to the Law School resulting from the return of Title IV funds used to cover charges. Any student with an outstanding balance will be unable to register for classes or obtain an academic transcript until the student’s financial balance is repaid.

The Return of Title IV Funds Policy is a federal policy and has no bearing on the Charleston School of Law’s Cancellation & Refund Policy.

Cost of Attendance

A student’s Cost of Attendance (COA) is an estimate of the student’s educational expenses for a period of enrollment. Federal regulations specify the types of costs that are included in the cost of attendance and is generally tuition and fees and an allowance for housing and food, books and supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses. Miscellaneous expenses such as car payments and personal debt, including credit cards, are not included and cannot be taken into consideration. Allowances for a laptop and/or printer, daycare expenses, etc. are not included in the COA but may be considered. Students may submit a request for a COA increase if they have purchased a laptop and/or printer for school, have daycare expenses during classes, or have expenses associated with a disability during the current enrollment term and academic year. Students should submit the Request for Budget Increase Form (available on the CSOL website) along with receipts and other required documentation to the Office of Financial Aid for consideration during the term the expense occurs. If the budget increase request exceeds the average amount of similar requests, an additional review will be required and conducted by the Director of Financial Aid and the Assistant Dean of Admission. As a result of the review, the request may be adjusted or denied. Approval of the request would increase the student’s COA and should allow for an increase in the Direct Graduate PLUS Loan or private loan to assist with those expenses provided all other eligibility and disbursement rules are met. The maximum amount that a student’s budget can be increased for computer and printer expenses is $2,000.

Helpful Student Links and Funding Sources

External Scholarship Sites

http://www.salliemae.com/before_college/Students_plan/free_money/scholarships/scholarships.htm:

  • Scholarship page that gives sources for possible outside scholarships, information on how to avoid scholarship scams, and multiple scholarship searches platforms.

http://www.fastweb.com: A popular scholarship search engine.

https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/types/scholarships: Scholarship information from the Department of Education.

http://www.princetonreview.com/scholarships.aspx?uidbadge=%07: Under the heading “Try Online,” click on “Scholarship Search.” You will need to register with Princeton Review.