If you’re thinking about going to law school but are worried about the cost, you’re not alone. Figuring out how to pay for law school isn’t easy. Although a law degree is certainly a good investment for your future, the financial roadblocks you face today may seem insurmountable. Don’t get discouraged; there is some good news! There are plenty of law school scholarships available. You just need to know where to look.
How Much Is Law School?
The true cost of law school varies from one institution to another but, in general, you can expect to pay upwards of $150,000 for tuition plus additional costs for books, fees, and the regular cost of living fees like housing and food.
When you consider that a lot of schools also have a work restriction that prevents you from working more than 20 hours a week, it can be difficult to figure out how you’ll get by much less pay for tuition and books.
If you’re willing to put in the time, there are a lot of scholarships available for law students. The best place to start looking is at your school’s financial aid office.
What Type of Scholarships Are Available?
You’ve scoped out the best law school rankings and are thinking of applying to your dream school. Now, how are you going to pay for it if you get accepted? If you’re wondering how to get scholarships for law school, there are a few different methods available.
A lot of law schools offer scholarships based on merit and are based on your previous GPA and LSAT score. These are awarded based on academic achievement and do not take your financial need into account. You may even be eligible for merit scholarships if you’re transferring from another law school based on your performance. How do you apply for scholarships based on merit? It’s usually done for you automatically when you submit your initial application.
One thing to remember about merit scholarships is there is only a limited number available, so it’s important to get your application in as soon as possible. Most law schools have a deadline for applications to be considered for scholarships.
Merit scholarships often cover half or full tuition and anyone who is chosen to receive one is very lucky. That said, It’s important to keep in mind that only a limited amount are offered. You should always try for a merit-based scholarship, especially if you have the grades and academic achievements to back it up but the competition is fierce, and the odds are not in your favor.
Another option is endowed scholarships that are available for students who meet certain criteria. Each is provided by a specific donor who sets up the qualifications. These scholarships can be specified for students in their first, second, or third year, those who belong to certain clubs or organizations on campus, or even those interested in pursuing a specific area of the law.
One of the great things about endowed scholarships is they’re both merit and need-based. In addition to your academic performance and meeting all of the designated criteria, financial need is also considered.
Most law schools can provide you with applications for additional awards. Some use one application to apply for everything available while others require specific applications for each one. While these scholarships are easy to apply for, only a limited number are awarded.
External and Local Scholarships
There are also plenty of resources outside of the school itself where you can find scholarships for graduate students hoping to enter law school. Sometimes, the law school itself will provide information as to where to access these scholarships although they are completely external and not related to the law school in any way.
These scholarships are available for some of the best law schools and are often funded by law firms or companies in a specific community. Sometimes, outside scholarships have a lot of qualifications. It’s worth looking around to see if any apply to you.
Your hometown may also have scholarship funds available for current or former residents. These scholarships are usually funded by rotary clubs, veteran’s clubs, or even small town governments. In addition to your GPA and academic performance, a lot of these applications also require an essay explaining your relationship andinvolvement in the community.
There are a lot of places online where you can find information about other scholarships. The great thing about these portals is that they may include scholarships that are pretty obscure or that have a very specific set of requirements.
A lot of these websites allow for easy filtering and sorting so you can easily find the type of scholarships you’re looking for instead of having to weed through options that don’t apply to you. There are even a few that are geared specifically to law students.
Other Options for Financial Assistance
In addition to scholarships, the federal government offers loans and grants to help students who want to continue their education. The first step to seeing what you’re eligible for is filling out a FAFSA form which you may already be familiar with from your undergraduate studies. The main difference is that, as a graduate student, you’re considered independent from your parents and their income will not be included in any income-based decisions.
Don’t Give Up
Figuring out how to pay for law school is daunting, but it shouldn’t discourage you from pursuing your dreams. In the long run, a law school degree is a great financial investment, though it might not seem like it at the beginning.
Scholarships are out there, but they’re not always easy to find. It’s important to spend the time looking around for anything that you might be eligible for and applying to everything you can. Start with your law school’s financial aid department and any other resources they may have. Then, scour the internet for websites that give you access to every scholarship out there.