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Financing Law School

Law school is typically financed through loans, work-study, scholarships and grants. The law schools to which you are applying should be your primary source of information, as the amount of aid you receive and the forms to fill out are school specific. Don’t be shy in talking to the individual school about what they offer. They understand the cost and the burden and will gladly talk with you. In fact, they are expecting these questions. You never know what you might be eligible for if you don’t ask. Let them help you!

LSAC has great information about financial aid. Basic questions are:

  • Eligibility
  • Options
  • Appling step-by-step
  • Planning before law school
  • Living on a budget while in law school
  • Repayment options

Law school policies vary and there are frequent changes in financial aid rules and regulations. It is your responsibility to educate yourself about financial aid in much the same way you should research law schools when deciding where to apply. Sometimes scholarships have caveats. You may need to keep a certain GPA, you may have to re-apply every year, it may be good for only year. Ask questions! Make sure you know exactly what you’re being offered. Remember, just because you receive more money from one school scholarship doesn’t mean that is the best deal overall.

Things to Consider

Law school is an important investment in your future. Consider the financial aid process as seriously as you do the law school application process. Before you apply to law school, spend money wisely and pay your bills on time to ensure a good credit score. Bad credit will affect your ability to borrow money. If possible, pay off credit cards and other debt before law school.

Think about your post-grad goals. Salaries for lawyers vary widely depending on the type of law and location. Law school debt will probably claim a significant portion of your income once you graduate. One option is to consider a state school where you are a resident or where you think you might eventually want to end up. If you are considering a career in government or public interest law, think about the loan repayment assistance program. This is a program that will help ease some of that debt after 10 years of practice. You will still need to pay down your loan within the 10 years, but after that, the forgiveness program will ease some of the burden.

Financial Aid Resources

The Access Group is a fantastic site to visit. They have free counseling for questions, concerns, and options. Check out the free student loan calculator. This may put things into perspective.

The FAFSA is required to apply for Federal Stafford Loans. Fill this out after January 1st once you have all your tax information.