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If your goal is to become a lawyer, you may be wondering how to pay for law school. Luckily there are a few law school scholarships that may help you with your investment of time and money.
The cost of attending (COA) law school includes fixed expenses like tuition and fees. Then there are extras like food, housing, books and travel.
Most people enter law school after earning a bachelor’s degree. Law school then takes three years and awards a Juris Doctor or JD degree.
Once you graduate with a JD degree and pass the Bar Exam, one option may be to practice law. According to the BLS.gov, many lawyers today earn from $58,220 to more than $208,000.
That’s something to keep in mind when you weigh the pros and cons of each type of aid. Especially because one pays back a loan back with future income.
The cost of law school will vary depending on where you study. Tuition and fees for instance, differ across institutions. And the extras (like housing, books and travel) reflect the cost of living in a state and region.
According to the NCES, the average cost of law school is $8,698 per year at a public school. The cost is even higher, $42,227 per year if you earn your degree at a private school.
As these are only norms, you’ll find a range of more expensive law schools. And ones that may be more affordable to you budget and keep your debt down.
This is pretty important. The NCES found that 75% of students who completed a professional doctorate (such as a law degree) had student loans. They also report the average total loan balance was about $186,600 per borrower.
Loans, grants, and scholarships are three of the most common ways to pay for law school.
Some students may also get part time employment through the federal work study program. This tends to be in their second and third years of law school.
First year students are expected to focus fully on schoolwork. Also, there is an ABA mandated limit on the number of hours full time law students are permitted to work.
Here is a bit more information about popular sources of funding. Compare these guidelines to your goals so you can make an informed choice.
Both scholarships and grants are “free money”. Unlike loans, you do not repay the money you get from a scholarship or grant. But you may need to sign a contract and agree to any terms.
To apply for either a scholarship or a grant, you need to first qualify. There are ones for certain groups (minority, women) attending law school. And for students who want to practice a specific kind of law.
Apart from your law major, eligibility may also depend on your GPA and test scores. Providers may also want to see your level of financial need and any efforts you make to serve your community.
MileMark Media Legal Scholarship offers an annual $1,000 scholarship to incoming and current law students. To apply, eligible applicants must have a 3.0 GPA and submit an essay of 500 words or less.
The federal gov’t also offers financial aid. Federal Pell Grants are one kind, and these go to low income undergrads and some post bachelor’s students.
Bear in mind though that 12 terms is the max any student can receive Pell Grants. So, if you’ve maxed out on the grants, you may need to think about a loan.
Federal student loans are another type of aid available through the gov’t. Unlike a grant which you do not repay, a student loan is money you borrow and pay back. With interest.
There are three types of federal student loans for grad students. One is a direct subsidized loan which is not based on financial need.
The second is a direct PLUS loan. Also called grad PLUS loan when referring to professional students.
Grad PLUS loans pay education expenses not covered by other financial aid. And, while eligibility doesn’t depend on financial need, you must pass a credit check.
Last are Direct Consolidation loans. These allow you to meld all your eligible federal student loans into a one loan with a single provider.
To find out if you qualify for a grad PLUS loan, you must fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This gives the gov’t a picture of your unmet financial need.
Unmet need is the difference between two things. Your Estimated Financial Contribution or EFC and the cost of attendance (COA) of college.
As an undergrad, your EFC reflects your parental income. But as a grad or professional student, your status is “independent”.
It also explains why lenders look at your credit report before giving the OK on a loan request.
That said, law school policies about independence vary and some do ask for family info. Above all when you apply for institutional grants, loans and scholarships.
Then, armed with this info, the financial department is able to figure out how much aid to award you and what type of aid you are eligible for.
Another option if you want to borrow money to pay for law school is to take out a private student loan. Private student loans often help qualified students who are not eligible for federal loans.
These loans tend to be available through lenders such as banks. If this is your preferred form of aid, make sure your provider is credible and has a solid reputation.
Then you might shop around for competitive interest rates, grace periods and repayment plans.
There are 137 awards worth $584K below. Apply now to our list of law school scholarships.
Deadline: November 30, 2020
Deadline: December 03, 2020
Deadline: December 15, 2020
Deadline: December 31, 2020
Deadline: January 15, 2021
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The sources for school statistics and data is the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.
This is an offer for educational opportunities that may lead to employment and not an offer for nor a guarantee of employment. Students should consult with a representative from the school they select to learn more about career opportunities in that field. Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific program curriculum. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. The information on this site is for informational and research purposes only and is not an assurance of financial aid.