Undoubtedly, one of your major questions regarding law school is “How will I pay for it?” Nearly everyone who attends law school will rely on some form of financial aid, most of which comes in the form of loans that you begin to pay back after you graduate and begin working. Often, this will be a combination of low-interest federal loans supplemented by private loans. The school may have some resources for aid as well. You should think about borrowing money for law school as a long-term investment in your education and in your future.
Scholarships and grants—so-called “free money”—are rare, but do exist. The key to finding such financial aid for law school is being proactive and mounting a wide search. Some of your best sources may be small grants from your local state or minority bar association, your state’s higher education commission, a fraternity or sorority to which you or your parents belong, or your local civic association. You should spend considerable time in the library reviewing financial aid directories targeted for higher education in general and for minorities and law students in particular. Even though some of these grants may be small, you may be eligible for more than one, and those small sums can add up to a significant amount.
Don’t wait for an acceptance letter before applying for financial aid.
Generally speaking, you should apply for financial aid at the same time you apply for admission. (If you wait for an acceptance letter, your financial aid application will already be late.) Review the financial aid application information for each school to which you apply. Make a calendar of the due dates and file all documents at least two weeks early.
The law school is the primary source of information regarding money for legal education.
Let the school know of your interest early and follow up on all leads. Financial aid staff at any school can tell you about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and you only have to fill this out once. An individual school may have its own separate application for the monies that it makes available to some students.