Colleges of Law FAQ

Are The Santa Barbara & Ventura Colleges of Law accredited?

Yes, both campuses have been accredited for more than 30 years by the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California. We are now accredited by the Bar Examiners as one law school with two campuses. The Colleges of Law is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools & Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

What is the composition of the student body?

Men and women of all ages, backgrounds, and life experiences attend the Colleges. Our students range in age from their 20's to their 60's, with an average age of about 35. The ratio of men/women students is about 50/50. Our student body reflects widely-diverse undergraduate majors and current employment fields.

Juris Doctor (J.D.) Program FAQ

What does the J.D. program cost?

The current tuition and fee schedule for the J.D. program can be found here.

Must I pay tuition in advance?

Students pay semester-by-semester as they advance through the program. Learn more about the financial aid process.

Is financial aid available?

Yes. Students attending the Colleges of Law are eligible for Title IV financial aid.

Is the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is required for admission?

No. COL does, however, require the LSAT for candidates seeking admission as a “special student” or admission after a prior law school disqualification.

Can I be admitted without a bachelor's degree?

While most students at the Colleges have a bachelor's degree, applicants with an A.A. or A.S. degree or at least 60 acceptable academic semester units are also admitted (so long as the applicants have a sufficiently high GPA or LSAT score).

What if I don't have 60 undergraduate units?

“Special students” with fewer than 60 acceptable academic semester undergraduate units may be admitted if they meet other requirements.

From whom should I obtain the required letter of recommendation?

We suggest you seek a recommendation from a supervisor in paid or volunteer work, a former instructor, an attorney or other legal professional, or another individual (not related to you) who knows you well.

What should I include in my personal statement?

Your personal statement is your opportunity to convey to the Admissions Committee anything that contributes to your suitability, motivation, and skills to pursue a law degree. This might include details about your life experience, employment or volunteer history, maturity, moral character, and ability to communicate.

When can I begin my law studies?

Students are admitted to begin the program in the fall or spring semester. See our Academic Calendar for current start dates.

When are classes held?

Fall and Spring Classes

Santa Barbara Campus
6:30pm–9pm, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday

Ventura Campus
6:30pm–9pm, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday

Summer Classes
6:30pm–9:30pm, Monday–Thursday & some Saturdays (depending on electives)

Who will my instructors be?

Our faculty are attorneys, judges, and elected officials who bring their practical experience to the classroom. Many have taught at the Colleges for as long as 10–30 years; each is an integral part of the legal community our graduates will be joining.

What is the average class size?

Classes in the first year of the curriculum may have 30–65 members, while advanced courses and seminars usually have 10–45 students. The average class size is approximately 25 students—small enough so that each student receives personal attention and large enough to hear a wide range of viewpoints in discussion.

After I graduate, can I sit for the Bar Examination?

Yes. J.D. graduates are academically qualified to sit for the California Bar Examination.

What can I do before classes start to better prepare myself for law school?

While you do not need to pursue a particular undergraduate major to succeed in law school, the ability to write well is important. Some students find it helpful to brush up on English composition skills by taking a college-level course or reviewing self-study texts. Among our recommended titles:

  • The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White
  • Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace by Joseph M. Williams
  • How to Succeed in Law School by Gary Munneke, J.D.

Financial Aid FAQ

What type of financial aid can I receive?

The Federal Direct Stafford Subsidized Loan, Federal Pell Grant, and other state grants are available at the undergraduate level.

For graduate students, the primary source of aid from the federal government is the Federal Direct Stafford Unsubsidized Loan. A credit-based Grad PLUS loan is also available to graduate students. Depending on your credit history, you may require an endorser to be approved for the loan.

How do I apply for Federal Financial Aid?

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online. If you completed a FAFSA last year, complete a renewal FAFSA. You must "e-sign" your FAFSA with your pin. Completion should take about 15–20 minutes.

I don't remember my pin or don't have one. How do I obtain it?
What information do I need to complete my FAFSA?

You will need:

  • The Colleges of Law FAFSA school code (042501)
  • Your Social Security number
  • Driver's license
  • Income tax returns
  • Bank statements
  • Any investment records

As you are considered an independent student, your parents’ information is not needed.

When should I complete/renew my FAFSA?

The recommended date to complete the FAFSA is March 1 of each year. You should complete/ renew your FAFSA annually; however, it is recommended that you complete your current tax forms prior to filing your FAFSA, so that you can retrieve your tax information directly on the FAFSA website. This option on your FAFSA will be available 7–10 business days after you have submitted your federal tax returns.

How soon does the school receive my FAFSA information?

It takes approximately 7–10 business days after you complete your FAFSA for the school to receive your information.

When will I receive my award letter?

Once you have completed your FAFSA and have submitted any additional required documents, an estimated award letter will be sent within 2–5 weeks. (You will need to sign and return the letter). We begin to process awards letters approximately four months before each semester.

What steps do I need to do to ensure my financial aid is not delayed?
  1. Sign and return your estimated award letter.
  2. Complete and e-Sign your master promissory note at studentloans.gov.
  3. Complete the entrance counseling at studentloans.gov.
  4. Submit all missing documents prior to the start of the term.
Must I be registered as a full-time student to be eligible for financial aid?

No, but you need to be at least half time and you may not be eligible for the full amounts.

I'm a new student. How much am I eligible to receive with the Federal Direct Stafford Unsubsidized Loan?

Full- and half-time J.D. and M.L.S. students are eligible for up to $10,250 per semester.

Am I eligible for financial aid in the summer?

Yes, if you are at least half time.

Will I get financial aid if I am just registered for one credit hour?

There are some courses that are automatically considered half time. Review the Student Handbook for a list of courses.

Can I get an early disbursement of my financial aid?

We do not offer early disbursements of loan money nor do we disburse emergency loans.

When will I receive my fall or spring refund?

Refunds are available starting the first week of each semester. Please monitor your Intuit account for the most up-to-date information.

When will I receive my summer refund?

If all financial aid requirements have been met, summer financial aid refunds will be available within 14 days of the summer aid disbursement being applied to your student account.

I noticed my financial aid or my refund was posted to my account. When will I receive my money?

After your refund has been posted to your Intuit account, it will take 10–14 business days to receive it.

Is direct deposit available for refunds?

Yes. Please complete the Direct Deposit Authorization for Financial Aid Refunds form.

How much will my refund be?

To determine your refund amount, subtract your tuition and fees charges from your scheduled financial aid.

My refund seems to be less this semester than last. Why is this?

There are a few reasons why your refund might be less than last semester’s:

  • If this is your first year, you most likely had your $500 tuition deposit credited to your account last semester.
  • You are registered for more hours this semester than previous terms.
  • Tuition and fees have increased.
  • You received less financial aid this semester.
What if I add or drop a class?

Students will be assessed the appropriate fees associated with his/her add or drop. A student may need to make an additional payment even if he/she have already received a financial aid refund check. An outstanding balance on your account as a result of adding or dropping a course may prevent you from obtaining transcripts or future course registration. View your student account balance and make payments via Intuit.

What does "ACH" mean on my Intuit student account?

ACH means your refund will be direct deposited to your bank account.

What does “stipend” mean on my Intuit student account?

A “stipend” means a check or ACH has been processed. Please allow 7–10 days to receive this refund.

Can I consolidate my loans?

You can only consolidate your loans if you have graduated and are still within your grace period or you have entered repayment. The last year for in-school consolidation to be accepted was 2006.

What funding options do I have other than the Federal Direct Stafford Unsubsidized Loan?

The Colleges of Law offer scholarships as part of our institutional aid program to full-time students.

You might also consider a Grad PLUS loan or an alternative loan. We highly recommend first applying for a Grad PLUS Loan, as the benefits are similar to Stafford loan benefits, and you will be able to defer and/or consolidate. (Alternative loan interest is variable, and you will not able to defer or consolidate.)

Both Grad PLUS and alternative loans require certification from the Colleges of Law. We cannot certify aid above a student's cost of attendance.

When will I receive a scholarship notification?

A scholarship notification is emailed and mailed on the date the scholarship is awarded.

What if my financial aid does not cover my tuition?

Please contact the Office of Student Accounts to set up payment arrangements.

I have a two holds—a transcript hold and a registration hold. What does this mean?

This could mean you have an unpaid balance, an admissions contingency, or another issue preventing you from registering for courses and requesting transcripts. Please visit Intuit and review your messages to review which department you should contact to resolve the issue.

I have an FA hold on my account. Can I register for classes?

An FA hold will not prevent a student from registering or requesting transcripts; however, it does mean that we need to look carefully at your FAFSA information, which may require further documentation from you.

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