Financial Aid Options

What Funding Options Are Available?

Paying For Law School: Infographic. Select to view full version.Law school is a major commitment and a significant financial investment. Fortunately, there are affordable and flexible funding options to help you pay.

View Paying For Law School: Infographic

Scholarships and Grants

Scholarships and grants are free money! A scholarship or grant is an award that does not have to be repaid. It may be given on the basis of need, or merit, or both. Most scholarships are conferred by individual law schools. Some organizations may also have scholarships to offer. Among them are local bar associations; fraternities, sororities, and other social clubs; religious or business organizations; and the US Department of Veterans Affairs. A number of companies offer tuition reimbursement benefits to their employees and to their employees’ dependents as well.

The availability of scholarships and grants is limited, but worth taking the time to research. Law school admission and financial aid offices can also provide information about the resources available. Be aware that many scholarships and grants are merit-based and may require a certain level of academic performance for continuation. Some schools award merit money shortly after admission, while others may require separate scholarship application forms.

Some schools award need-based institutional grant aid. Confirm with each law school what application materials are required and the deadline for submitting those materials. Apply early for all institutional aid from law schools.

Federal Loans

  • Law students may borrow up to a total of $20,500 in the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan program each academic year from the US Department of Education.
  • Interest starts accruing as “simple” interest (it is not compounding while you are in school) once the loan is disbursed.
  • This loan has a six-month grace period that delays the start of repayment until six months after you graduate.
  • Flexible repayment plans exist, including options based on your household income; payment relief (deferment or forbearance) is available when needed if you are experiencing financial hardship during repayment; and refinancing is possible through the Federal Direct Consolidation Loan program.
  • This loan also qualifies for inclusion in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.
  • Law students with no adverse credit may borrow the Direct Grad PLUS Loan from the US Department of Education to help cover their education costs.
  • If you do have adverse credit, you can apply with an “endorser,” who must be a US citizen or permanent resident and who cannot have adverse credit.
  • You can borrow this loan in an amount up to the school’s Cost of Attendance (COA) minus the amount of all other financial aid you are receiving (including scholarships, grants, and all other loans) for the academic year.
  • Interest accrues as “simple” interest once funds are disbursed.
  • Repayment of this loan is deferred while you are in school and for six months after you are no longer enrolled in law school.
  • Flexible repayment plans exist, including options based on your household income; payment relief (deferment or forbearance) is available when needed if you are experiencing financial hardship during repayment; and refinancing is possible through the Federal Direct Consolidation Loan program.
  • This loan also qualifies for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.

Private Loans

A number of private loan programs are available to credit-worthy borrowers who are not eligible for federal student loans. Some lenders also offer postgraduate loans for bar-review study. Eligibility is based on your credit history and the lending institution’s willingness to lend.

Terms and conditions vary greatly. Be sure to pay attention to the explanations in loan application brochures and consumer information. You can also contact the individual lenders or visit their websites for more details.

Remember to borrow federal loans first, if available. Only borrow the minimum needed to attend your chosen school.

Federal Work-Study Program

Federal Work-Study is a program that provides funding for full-time students to work part time during the school year and full time during the summer months. Students sometimes work on campus in a variety of settings or in off-campus nonprofit agencies. Students are encouraged to limit their paid employment to no more than 20 hours per week during the academic year after their first year in law school. (Full-time students are discouraged from part-time paid employment during the first year so that they can focus on performing as well as possible on their coursework.) Additional information is available from the financial aid office serving a participating law school. Not all law schools participate in the Federal Work-Study program.

Veterans Educational Assistance

The US Department of Veterans Affairs administers a number of educational benefit programs for veterans. These include, but are not limited to, the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post-9/11 GI Bill (9/11 GI Bill). The 9/11 GI Bill assists eligible individuals with tuition and fees, a monthly housing allowance, an annual books and supplies stipend, and a one-time rural benefit payment for eligible individuals. In addition to the 9/11 GI Bill providing an education benefit for eligible veterans, the education benefit may also be transferred to dependents under certain conditions.

The 9/11 GI Bill also has a provision that established the Yellow Ribbon Program, which assists with funding tuition and fee expenses not covered by the 9/11 GI Bill. The benefits are exclusively for eligible veterans; the Yellow Ribbon benefits cannot be transferred to dependents. For more information on veterans educational assistance, check with the US Department of Veterans Affairs and the veterans’ benefits coordinator on the campuses of the law schools to which you are applying.