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Law School Scholarships: Law School Financial Aid, Law School Grants

Getting into law school is just the first step towards a successful career in law. Prospective law school students usually need funding and financial assistance to manage the high costs of education, and there are many law school scholarships and law school grants available. Many law school scholarship options are available through online applications, while others require a formal written application and interview. In most situations, finding the right resources for funding may take the form of a law school grant, law school scholarship, or by applying for law school financial aid.

How to Find Law School Scholarships

Securing financing for an educational career in law school will require time, persistence, and research. The average costs of law school including tuition, registration, course expenses, loan fees, and room and board can reach up to $50,000 per year. Independently funding a law school education can be challenging, and most students turn to law school scholarships, grants, and federal loans to complete their education.

Even though there are a few law school scholarships available through universities and colleges, these are very competitive and limited in scope. As a result, thousands of prospective law school students search and apply using other resources.

A variety of law school scholarship options are available online, and these generally have a simple application process that includes an essay, a test, or even a written examination. Databases on law school scholarships available in a specific city or state can also be found by searching the local library. Many law school financial aid offices also have libraries of law scholarship source books. The average scholarship or grant amount varies depending on the location, school, and student eligibility.

Calling the state bar's association is another option, as these organizations offer many local law school grants and scholarships. A valuable online search engine is the EdFed Scholarship Search http://www.edfed.com site, as well as FastWeb http://www.fastweb.com. The most common sources for law school scholarships include:

  • Law school scholarships by location

  • Law school scholarships for diversity

  • Law school grants available through a particular law school

  • Law school scholarships available through a sponsoring law firm

Securing a Law School Scholarship: The Process

The first step in securing a law school scholarship is to collect as many potential scholarships and grants as possible. This will involve listing online resources, visiting the library, and networking with professors and guidance counselors to create a list. Law school loans are another option for students who do not qualify for a law school scholarship or law school grant. A preliminary list of resources can be found below.

It's important to apply as early as possible to increase the chances of eligibility. Most law school scholarships have strict guidelines and tight deadlines. If an essay or other sample of work is required, applicants need to have plenty of time to create and develop the presentation.

Law School Scholarships vs. Law School Grants

Law school scholarships offer a valuable way for prospective students to pay for all costs at law school, and most of these are privately-funded and based on merit. Competition is fierce for most for law school scholarship, but most first-year law school students have at least half of their tuition paid for through these means. The University of California, Berkeley offers 12 scholarships each year, while Notre Dame grants 44 different scholarships and fellowships. Columbia School of Law is one of the nation's top law schools, and offers a variety of grants and scholarships for eligible students.

Law school grants are generally sponsored by a law school or law firm. These are generally available for undergraduate law students, and can help with both partial and complete funding for a law school education. These are usually offered over the course of a few years so a student receiving the grant will have funding year after year.

Law School of Financial Aid: What You Need to Know

Law school financial aid is the final option for students who are not eligible for a law school grant, scholarship, or loan. The Federal loan limit for graduate students is $18,500 per year, and students who are eligible for the federal Perkins loan can receive an additional $1,800 per year. The lifetime limit for Federal loans is $135,800 in subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans, but no more than $65,500 can come from a federal subsidized loan.

Additional Law School Scholarship and Funding Information

Returning students who are attending law school can also turn to a 401(k) account or tap into a home equity line of credit (HELOC) for funding. Many banks will extend credit from a second mortgage that can be used to fund a law school education, and this may be valuable instead of taking out a high-interest loan.

Types of Law School Scholarship and Law School Grants Available

Applying for multiple law school scholarships and law school grants offers the most opportunity for completing an education. The following scholarships and financial aid resources are available for eligible students:

Access Group http://www.accessgroup.org : a nonprofit organization that provides private loans to the law school community

Key Education Resources http://www.key.com/education : an organization that extends LawAchiever private loans for students attending an ABA-approved school at least part-time.

TERI Professional Education Program (PEP) http://www.teri.org/pep.htm : this organization provides loans for both professional and graduate studies

Food and Drug Law Institute Scholarships http://www.fdli.org : The Food and Drug Law Institute (FDLI) is focused on the study of public health law, and offers several scholarships through a writing competition.

The American Bar Association http://www.abanet.org offers a variety of law school grants and sponsorships for those interested in advancing their legal profession.

Nellie Mae LOAN LINK http://www.nelliemae.com : this nonprofit loan provider extends the LawEXCEL Education Loan Program for law students

Sallie Mae http://www.salliemae.com : this organization provides secondary market loans in addition to private loan programs such as LAWLOANS


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