Funding Law School
Students may choose a variety of methods to pay for law schools such as scholarships, loans, work-study, or personal savings. Below is some information on common options for funding your legal education.
Scholarships or Grants
Scholarships and grants are the optimal way to pay for law school, as they do not need to be repaid. Scholarships and grants can be awarded on the basis of need, merit, or both by either the institution or external organizations.
Individual law schools can award scholarships or grants, however, their funds are often limited. Confirm with each law school what application materials are required and the deadlines to apply for grants or scholarships. NYU Prelaw strongly recommends that you submit your law school applications early to allow you to maximize your chances of receiving internal scholarships or grants.
Additionally, having a LSAT score can help your chances of securing a merit based scholaship.
There are lots of organizations that grant scholarships, such as local bar associations; fraternities, sororities, and other social clubs; religious or business organizations; and other community organizations. We can encourage you to research the different external scholarships available to you. The LSAC has a list of different scholarships available for law school, as well as AccessLex® Scholarship Databse.
Loans are also available for students to finance their legal education. Unlike scholarships or grants, loans must be repaid. You will also be expected to pay interest on loans, interest rates will vary depending on the type of loan you have. NYU Prelaw encourages students to research different loans, interests rates, and repayment plans with law school’s Financial Aid Offices. Below is an outline of the different types of loans:
- Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan: Law students may use this loan to borrow up to $20,000/year from the US Department of Education. Interest begins accruing once the loan is disbursed and generally has a low-interest rate.
- Federal Direct PLUS Loans (Grad PLUS): Law students can use this loan to borrow the remainder of the cost of attendance. It is calculated by taking the total cost of attendance minus any other type of aid you are receiving including scholarships, fellowships, and grants. This loan carries a higher interest rate than the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan. Interest also begins to accrue once the loan is disbursed.
A variety of private loan programs are available to apply to for those not eligible for federal student loans. Loan amounts and rates can vary depending on your credit score. Pay close attention to the terms and conditions of private loans, as they often have high-interest rates and may not be eligible for loan forgiveness programs.