The average public law school student graduates with over $75,000 in student loan debt, which pales in comparison to the nearly $125,000 a private law school student accumulates. That’s quite a large sum to deal with, especially when starting salaries for law students have dropped in recent years. With less than 50 percent of graduates finding work with law firms, it can be struggle to repay loans, let alone make enough to cover their typical living expenses. One way to avoid graduating with enormous debt is to find scholarships that will help defray the cost of a law degree. Many law firms and legal journals offer generous awards to help reduce the costs associated with law school. Here are 10 scholarships that future legal eagles can apply for right now.
This scholarship is open to students who are currently enrolled (or enrolling) in a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) for the 2013-2014 academic year. Students must be pursuing a public service career or demonstrate a past/present commitment to public service. Amount: $5,000 Deadline: July 15
Students who are pursuing a degree in pre-law, paralegal studies, or are working toward their juris doctorate in any concentration of the law may apply. Students must have a 3.0 grade point average or higher. Amount: $1,000 Deadline: July 15
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) provides several scholarships to future legal eagles, including Anheuser-Busch/NLF Presidential Scholarships and UPS/NLF Gold Mountain Scholarships. Students must be pursuing their juris doctorate at an accredited U.S. law school. Amount: Varies Deadline: September (TBD)
To be eligible for this scholarship, students must have completed their first year of a juris doctorate degree and plan to graduate by 2015. Students must also plan to practice law in a major U.S. city after graduation. Amount: $10,000 Deadline: September 3
This legal writing competition is open to students currently attending a U.S. law school who expect to graduate by Sept. 30, 2013. Current lawyers and recent graduates are also eligible. Amount: Varies Deadline: September 30
Students who have attended (or are currently attending) an ABA accredited law school between Sept. 1, 2011 and Aug. 15, 2013, may be eligible for this writing competition. Students must submit a paper on nuclear power, nuclear proliferation or national security law. Amount: $500 Deadline: October 1
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund and Marathon Petroleum Corporation provide one scholarship to U.S. minority students who are first-year law students. Students must have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Amount: $7,500 Deadline: October 31
This fellowship is open to international and U.S. students who are currently enrolled in a law program. Students must attend full time and have demonstrated an interest in the intellectual and institutional foundations of a free society. Amount: Varies Deadline: December 31
9. Franchise Law Diversity Scholarship
To be eligible for this award, students must be currently enrolled in an accredited ABA law school and have reached 2L or 3L status during the scholarship period. Students must also be enrolled in a minimum of one franchise law course and be a member of a diverse group (African American, Hispanic, Gay/Lesbian, etc.). Amount: $4,000 Deadline: December 31
Law students, who are currently enrolled or graduating, may submit an article of general interest regarding any of the following topics: Civil and Criminal Antitrust Law, Competition Policy, Consumer Protection, and International Competition Law. Students must have their articles published in an ABA-accredited law review or journal between January 1, 2013 and March 1, 2014 to be considered. Amount: $2,000 Deadline: January 31
Although scholarships will help reduce the costs of a law degree, most students will still graduate with quite a bit of student loan debt. Fortunately, many law schools offer loan repayment assistance programs (LRAPs). Students must agree to work in the public interest sector, government or other low-paying legal fields to receive the benefits. In addition to the school programs, 23 states also provide loan repayment assistance programs for those working in the public interest sector. Students should remember to look for other financial aid opportunities, as well, such as open scholarship programs that can be used for any major, including a law degree. The writing skills acquired while pursuing a legal career can often give students the winning edge!
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