Law school is a major commitment and a significant financial investment. Fortunately, there are affordable and flexible funding options to help pay.
Financial Aid 101
Financial aid is available. The primary funding options are Scholarships and grants—the “free” money this is either funded by your law school or funded by private organizations, civic groups, etc.; Loans which can be federal loans or private/alternative/institutional loans. Always use federal loans first; only use private/alternative/institutional loans when federal loans are not available.
Sources of additional funds used for paying for law school. These include your savings, financial gifts from family and friends, and earnings from part-time employment in the second and third years of law school.
Types of scholarships and grants. There are merit-based awards for outstanding academic achievements, special talents, leadership potential, and other personal characteristics. There are also need-based awards given on the basis of financial need of the student. FAFSA is used for determining federal, state, and institutional need-based aid eligibility. Tip: Make sure you find out how and when you need to apply for the “free money.”
Decide how much you need to borrow—make sure you borrow the right amount.
- Estimate available resources from savings, financial support from family and friends, and earnings
- Estimate in-school expenses including tuition and fees, books and supplies, housing, food, transportation, clothing, entertainment and recreation, and miscellaneous expenses.
- Don’t forget the cost of getting admitted to the bar. This likely is your ultimate goal. Estimate these expenses as well, including the cost of studying for and taking the bar exam and living expenses until you get your first paycheck.
Here are the steps to follow when applying for financial aid.
- Attend a Financial Aid workshop at an LSAC Law School Forum—you also can speak one-on-one to school representatives and to a financial aid expert when you attend a forum.
- Identify all financial aid application requirements and deadlines for each school you want to attend.
- Collect financial documents needed to apply for financial aid.
- Complete and submit “Free Application for Federal Student Aid” (FAFSA) at www.FAFSA.gov. Note: Must be submitted each year you need federal student aid.
- Review your “Student Aid Report”(SAR); submit corrections/updates as needed.
- Provide any additional information requested by the school.
- Review the financial aid award notices you receive from each law school.
- Apply for loan funding, as needed.
- Apply for privately funded scholarships/grants.
The Good News is that funding is available to help cover tuition and fees, books/supplies, and living expenses for the academic year. Financial aid can cover the FULL COST of attendance established by the school you attend, if needed. IF YOU NEED TO BORROW loans for this important investment in your future, the flexibility and safety of the federal student loan programs lets you afford repayment of any federal loans you borrow, regardless of career.